Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dumb runs wild

The poetry boards I read and where I sometimes post seem to have collapsed in a heap of stupidity, meanness, spite, recrimination, and sheer incompetence, as though everyone simultaneously had said, "I can't take it any more! All this trying to be intelligent and artistic, well read, well mannered, and literate--it's just not me, and I give it up! Let the real me flow!"

And flow it has. It turns out everyone has pretty much hated everyone else all along, and they didn't really like poetry all that much either. Many of them actually seem to resent poems, as though poetry were an imposition on their time and a burden on their attention. With some of them, that comes as a surprise. Others? Not so much.


Julie Carter said...

I begin to think boards have a lifespan. Something more akin to a betta than a tortoise. But it's so disheartening when one crashes, or flares, or just molders away.

Dan said...

Yep. That certainly seems to have happened. You know what you should do? You should start your own poetry board and...oh...wait...

As a teacher I'm always suprised to find that students who are perfectly nice, capable young men and women nurse titanic hatreds for each other on the basis of nothing at all. And it's the same with poetry boards. From where I sit, everyone except for a few wackos seems to mean well, and yet not only don't they get along, but the substance of their not-getting-along goes back many years, spanning who knows how many previous forums, email addresses and the like.

I've been posting and reading at Eratosphere recently. Seems like as reasonable a place as you're likely to find, if that's what you're looking for.

Regards (ever thought about signing a letter RHEgards? Didn't think so).


RHE said...

Perhaps we can chalk it up to something vague and grandiose, like The Human Condition. I was going to say it had something to do with wanting to be a Poet, because then you got to feel that you were free from, and superior to, civilized constraints (the "It's all Byron's & Shelley's fault" argument), but that wouldn't account for your students.

Maybe it's as simple as,

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

And certainly talking smack on poetry boards begets smack. On the other hand, those who decline to layeth the smacketh down just get stepped on and overlooked. So maybe it really is The Human Condition, and what we can do is to cultivate our own gardens and quietly display the fruits by the side of the road.

Of course I'm not very good at that.

CoralPoetry said...


Do you know the Listening Bank? It is a bank that likes to foist upon its victims all the plastic they never needed. Somebody stuck a giant papier mache ear to its fa├žade. And you can imagine what happened to the tadpoles at the sperm bank.

Here is a picture of the current posters at poetry forums.



RHE said...

What were they doing at The Midlands Bank? They'd have been more comfortable down at The Spar.

CoralPoetry said...


I have no idea why people go to the bank. But I know the same people go to Spar in Barcelona for their clingfilmed goat’s cheese and pre-packed chickens


chippy said...

It's often said that poetry boards are like pubs. The comparison doesn't go far before disappearing up its own black hole, but it's always sad to see the pub close down.
After relentlessly pursuing a relationship with poetry, I feel now that the muse regards me, disdainfully, as some sort of stalker. If I should bitterly return a little of that disdain (the grapes really are sour), then might I not say that I am only human, after all?

It wouldn't work, I know.

RHE said...


Try playing hard to get. Refuse to write poems. Write a manual explaining shuffleboard strategy. Prove by Venn diagrams that the Cubs actually won the pennant this year. Practice starting a fire by rubbing 2 Brownies together. Perhaps the Muse will be sucked in by your apparent indifference and will come to you when you least expect it. Perhaps not.

Agnes said...

Poetry groups are like underwear. Ya gotta find the right fit. Some folks like tightie whities. Those who like the feel of a string up their ass choose thongs. For others, nothing but Spongebob Squarepants boxers will do. Then there is the Commando Club...

RHE said...

Kari, I trust you've noticed that you brought this thread to a dead stop. Underwear will do that.