Friday, December 22, 2006

Tupelo Press and Ann Rabinowitz Sell Souls to Satan

So I just got this email that seems like a perfect symbol of where poetry is at as an institution. So desperate are publishers for a return to some mythic time when poetry was a mainstream art form that (formerly) respectable presses will crap themselves at the slightest hint of mass market acknowledgment. Just a whiff of the stench of mainstream media sends them quivering away. It doesn't matter if such acknowledgment comes from the most despicable source of American "journalism." It doesn't matter if the editors themselves would never watch the program pimping their book. The slightest nod from corporate-sponsored bobble heads equals "a coup" for poetry--and those are their words, not mine.

So Fox News is trying to bring a highbrow touch to their nut-job pandering, faith-based news by trotting out a real live poet! Hmmm ... let's see, what type of contemporary poetry would be acceptable? I know (Gretchen Carlson scratches head) ... something Christmasy! Let's see, a book of Haiku about Rudolf? Santa sonnets? Maybe a book about the birth of baby Jesus?

Well, they couldn't find any contemporary poets writing those poems, so they got the next best thing--a book about the Virgin Mary! That's right, Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" has invited poet Anna Rabinowitz to come on their show and talk about her new tome, The Wanton Sublime. I wonder if Gretchen will be able to restrain herself from asking what it's like for a Jew to write about Jesus's mom.

Tupelo Press, breathless with joy, dashes off an email that reads like a press release, informing us of the news, citing blurbs, and concluding with this statement:

"What a coup for Anna, for poetry."

Uh, Yeah. Poetry is big time now, baby ... Fox News big! Maybe Laura Bush will invite Ms. Rabinowitz to the White House to give a reading! Then we'll know that poetry is truly right with the world.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Donald Rumsfeld Moment

"Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war." --Donald Rumsfeld

Ah, that Rummy, always looking on the bright side of things. What does death have to do with war, anyway?

By the way, did you know that Rumsfeld lives in the former plantation home of Edward Covey? Yes, I mean the same Edward Covey that Frederick Douglass beat the shit out of in his famous autobiography--described as the cruelest "slavebreaker" in the area.

Sometimes reality is just too ironic to be believed.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Guess the Poet. Win a Prize.

I know a game. It's called "guess who said these things at last night's reading." Wanna play?

The rules are simple. Read this post and then tell me in the thread who you think Poetry Snark heard read last night. First one to get it right gets, um, gets...

The poetry snark secret lame-ass-poet decoder ring!

With it, you can secretly occupy the imaginative position of someone who actually likes this shit. OK, not really. My ring actually exploded last night in a frenzied effort to translate the reading into something that resembles art. C'est la vie.

Let's play anyway, shall we? Anyone who was at the reading is asked to refrain from posting in this thread--that is, unless you once thought that you liked this writer and want to repent now before the muses smite you down. Then it's OK.

Alright then, here goes:

Clue number 1: Mystery poet needed to explain what a word in one of his/her poems meant because the poet assigned to introduce him/her didn't know how to pronounce it. It turned out to be made up.

Clue number 2: Mystery poet interrupted the reading to imitate the sound of the wind (I don't mean farting--actual imitation).

Clue number 3: Mystery poet felt compelled to explain every single "poem" he/she read with an introduction that exceeded the length of the poem.

Clue number 4: Mystery poet felt compelled to explain to the audience who Oliver North is. I'm not kidding.

Clue number 5: Mystery poet felt compelled to offer his/her philosophy of teaching. This is what mystery poet said, word for word (yes, I took notes): "There is a state between trance and logic where teachers rest."

Still baffled? Let's see if a few excerpts from the reading will help. All of these are verbatim quotes, without any alteration or exaggeration. Some of these are things said between poems, others are lines from poems. I'll let you try to figure out which are which:

"Caliban, besides being a character in Shakespeare, is also the name of my convertible."

"Coastal pine trees must wonder why it isn't enough just to be good pine trees."

"Rocks are like consciousness."

"At some point, I am going to turn the poem sideways, because that's what they did to the mountain."

"Teaching the epic is difficult for me because there is a lot of murder and violence in it. And I'm a pacifist."

"Be what orange? Be what orange?"

OK, gentle readers, who is the mystery poet?

Monday, December 04, 2006

On the Thirteenth Anniversary of Frank Zappa's Death

I promise to get some new content up soon (yes, I read your emails).

Meanwhile, tip a glass for one of the great geniuses of the twentieth century and go watch this classic video of Frank Zappa on Crossfire. Zappa going at it with Robert Novak is a sight to behold.