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-   -   Raise the Accomplishment Bar? (

John Isbell 01-31-2018 02:34 PM

I'd like to take a moment to appreciate the idea of crowing like a moose.


Mark McDonnell 01-31-2018 02:50 PM

When I discovered this site, about a year and a half ago, less than half a dozen people had read anything I'd ever written. The idea that I was hob-nobbing with published poets was pretty thrilling, and still is tbh even though I've been lucky enough to have a little publishing success since. The Accomplished Members board seemed a magical place, (bear with me) an aspirational place. Maybe there is a bit of elitism in me, and I like to think it would be there whether I had had any success or not, but I'm kind of with Rick and Michael. I think.

Susan McLean 01-31-2018 04:40 PM

Let me phrase my argument a different way. I used to workshop all of my poems on Eratosphere, so I assumed that most people here who were interested in seeing a poem had already had an opportunity to do so earlier. Now I write a certain number of poems that I don't workshop here. If one of them gets accepted, I would still like to have people here know about it so that they can read the poem if they wish. Gaining readers for poems is one of the (few) perks of publishing online. I also go through periods in which I am too busy to read the poems of others when they are workshopped. Hearing that a poem has been published online gives me one more opportunity to connect with it. So I am all in favor of everyone letting everyone else know of each poem that gets published.

If we start setting standards of how "important" a publication needs to be before it can be mentioned here, there will be a lot of bad feelings on the part of many members, and the whole process will encourage snobbery, even if that is not the intended effect.


John Isbell 01-31-2018 05:10 PM

It sounds as if we lack a consensus opinion on this topic. That would make me leery of changing the status quo. Call me conservative.


Kate Benedict 01-31-2018 05:32 PM

There will be an answer. Let it be.

john savoie 01-31-2018 07:02 PM


Roger Slater 01-31-2018 07:27 PM

I don't understand how people are supposed to decide whether their accomplishment is sufficiently grand to merit an announcement. If they want to share the news of a publication, I don't think they should be burdened with having to determine first whether it meets some elusive standard. Maybe someone should prepare a list of impressive venues that justify crowing so there will be no confusion?

I like to be alerted when people I know have poems at Asses or NVN or wherever. I don't check these sites every day, or even every week, so I like to be given a heads-up when someone I know appears there.

Matt Q 01-31-2018 09:04 PM

What I do is choose which Accomplished Members posts I look at. Sometimes I choose to look at a post because it's reporting a prestigious achievement, sometimes I choose to look at a post because of who's posted it, sometimes I look just because it looks interesting. I find that using this method it's almost like I have my own personalised Accomplished Members forum that matches my wants and preferences.

Seriously though, if someone's feeling pleased with, or even proud of, their publication and wants to share the news, why not? There's no obligation to congratulate everyone on everything they publish (at least, I hope there isn't, because I don't). And if you don't want to read about someone's poem appearing at a less-than-prestigious venue, the thread title will usually give you enough advance warning allow you to avoid clicking on the link.

Mark McDonnell 01-31-2018 09:31 PM

I'm back to say that I completely understand Roger and Susan's points as well, and the always reasonable Matt, and am therefore in a genuine quandary. I'll try to clarify my position, which may involve several questions so, again, bear with me. When I read Accomplishment Members I'm happy for every announcement. I'm frankly just happy to be part of this world, full stop. But. Presumably Rick's original post must have been motivated by some discernible change that he has seen on the sphere in its long history and as a relative newcomer to all this I'd like to understand. Is it that there has been a rise in the proliferation of poetry sites in the last decade, so that the possibilities for 'accomplishment' have become greater and therefore easier? Is it just easier to get published somewhere/anywhere now? How was AM different, say, 10 years ago and why? Or wasn't it? Is Rick just feeling grumpy?

Roger asks how people are supposed to know whether their 'accomplishment' is going to be deemed sufficient enough to merit announcement. This is a good question, which could be asked in two different ways. It could be asked rhetorically, ironically, in the sense that it is designed to mock the idea that there should be any discrimination made between degrees of accomplishment. Or it could be asked as a genuine question, with the assumption that there is some kind of hierarchy of achievement. Is it wrong to acknowledge hierarchy of achievement? Of course, you can always do what Simon and Matt suggest and just self-filter the posts as you read them, internally differentiating between someone on a daily website and someone announcing a major publishing event with a glowing review from the New York Times. But I always, from my first day here, kind of liked the idea that there was a board on the sphere that had a whiff of something special about it. I liked it precisely because I felt it was a world beyond me. I think that's good motivation for an emerging writer. It took me a good while to realise there was a difference between Autumn Sky Daily and PN Review, say. I knew nothing, still don't know much. It can't be reasonably called snobbery can it, because poetry is a meritocracy. Mostly.

I speak as someone with a grand total of two published poems (and a couple in the bag). These are my thoughts. Sorry if they seem over-earnest. I seem to have two modes: over-earnest or over-flippant.

Edit: Practically, though, I doubt much can or should be done to change AM. Interesting discussion still.

Rick Mullin 01-31-2018 09:40 PM

I think most of us read the dailies--New Verse News, Asses of Parnassus, E-Verse Radio, Autumn Sky Poetry. And it's always nice to see our people there. I check these sites, primarily looking to see what my friends are up to. I want to come to Accomplished Members, however, to see outstanding accomplishments. People receive high honor prizes, publish books... All the landings in, say, Lite on Line...? I dunno. There may be some founding fathers and mothers at Eratosphere who can explain what the thread was intended to showcase. Of course, these are the people who thought there should be a ~~Deep End~~.....

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