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Rick Mullin 01-31-2018 10:11 AM

Raise the Accomplishment Bar?
I'm wondering whether or not we should raise the bar for posting in Accomplished Members. It used to be, as I recall, that Acc Mem was for announcements on the level of prizes won, collections published, poems coming up in the big name journals, dazzling reviews received (perhaps). Not sure that every landing in, say, online journals, especially the dailies, matters enough to announce in this venue.

I may be wrong! I can understand the interest in celebrating publication and recognition of all sizes and shapes, and I love getting into the dailies. I crow immediately Facebook and Twitter. Just want to see if this requires a discussion. My view is that, in keeping with our trying to maintain a high-end critique board here, we apply some kind of high-end criteria for posting in Acc Mem. We have enough heavy hitters to keep it active.

Simon Hunt 01-31-2018 11:23 AM

Thanks for speaking up, Rick. I can imagine that it might have been tempting to keep quiet so as not to seem a scrooge, and I think you may have a point--certainly it's worth discussing.

For myself, though, I enjoy reading whatever people want to post in AM--much as I'm always glad to see the "good news" thread in GT bumped back up and to see what's there. At this point, I seldom post congratulations to AM threads--except for news that seems especially BIG to me--and I accept that my threads may be little-commented-upon... But I read them often and enjoy people's successes of various kinds (and occasionally glean the name of a place I'd like to submit myself).

Julie Steiner 01-31-2018 11:30 AM

My self-serving, opportunistic side (we all have them) enjoys seeing which form-friendly journals and editors the rest of you hard workers have laboriously researched and vetted for me. Keep those announcements coming, people. They're easily skipped by those who find them unimpressive.

Rick Mullin 01-31-2018 12:03 PM

In any case, I don't suggest that anything other than personal discretion regulate what is posted. Just opening a vein to see what bleeds.

Susan McLean 01-31-2018 12:08 PM

I think snobbery is to be avoided when it comes to accomplishments. Not everyone can win a prize or get a book out often, yet even beginners can bask in getting their first publications (even online!) and we can all benefit from hearing which venues that we may not know of are accepting poems in form.


Rick Mullin 01-31-2018 12:36 PM

I do hope I'm not coming off as a snob, Susan.


Maryann Corbett 01-31-2018 01:02 PM

A very long time ago, I proposed that we only post in Accomplished Members about poems we'd workshopped here. I can't find the thread, but I assure you that suggestion floated about as well as the Titanic after it met the iceberg. Since then I've figured people need to use their own best judgment about what belongs in A.M.

(And Rick, no, you're certainly not coming off as a snob.)

Max Goodman 01-31-2018 01:53 PM

I want to echo Simon's thanks that you brought this up, Rick.

Rick Mullin 01-31-2018 02:04 PM

OK, so I notice that Susan M. has a good one at Asses of Parnassus today. I had one at New Verse News over the weekend. I have two accepted poems on deck at Asses of Parnassus, and that's my second of the month at NVN. I love being in both places, and both have sent me packing in the past.

Neither Susan nor I have posted these "accomplishments" in accomplished members, so the personal discretion thing seems to work.

Many of us have been repeat offenders at these places, as well as at Autumn Sky and E-Verse Radio and the Lite journals. They are accomplishments at a certain level, but not the trigger level, I've determined, for my own little victories. And I guess that affects my view of what the thread is for. Maybe I am a snob.

Oddly, I completely disagree that the poems should be workshopped here. If I ever win anything and its for a poem I didn't bring here, I am going to crow like a moose.


Michael Cantor 01-31-2018 02:10 PM

I agree with Rick. It's not a beginner's site, and I don't think every poem published requires an announcement and a series of congratulations. If it's a first poem, or a prestigious publication, or or one that might not be recognized as form-friendly, or a prize winner, or a Pulitzer or Nobel nominee - of course - but basically I'm in accord Rick's post. (Of course, if I have something published anywhere, and somebody else mentions it - well that's just fate.)

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~~.....

Mark McDonnell 01-31-2018 09:47 PM

I just realised Rick, that two upcoming things I have to announce are in 'online journals' so I retract everything I said. Away with your vile elitism! ;)

Maryann Corbett 01-31-2018 09:54 PM

Rick wrote: "There may be some founding fathers and mothers at Eratosphere who can explain what the thread was intended to showcase."

Whatever the intention was, it's easy enough to see what actually happened. On Accomplished Members, way down at the bottom of the page, under "Display Options," set "from the" to "Beginning" and hit "Show Threads." This will bring up every Accomplished Member post that ever was, and if you then select "Last" you'll see the very earliest ones. You can then judge for yourself what sort of things people were posting.

Michael Juster 01-31-2018 10:45 PM

In the ancient times Accomplished Members was mostly my noting publications of members, but we lost our shyness as we grew exponentially, and now no small group of people could track what people are doing.

I think self-regulation works better here than elsewhere in the magical kingdom of Eratosphere, so I would leave things are they are.

Julie Steiner 02-01-2018 12:10 AM

I don't have to worry about receiving one of these, then? Just the usual 237 views and 0 replies, which basically communicate the same thing?


Thank you for your interest in the Accomplished Members forum.

We have carefully considered your self-puffery and we're sorry that it isn't quite right for us at this time.

However, we hope you'll try us again in the future. Thank you very much for the opportunity to consider your work.

Rhadamanthys, Minos, and Aeacus

Mary McLean 02-01-2018 01:48 AM

I rarely find time to check the online dailies, so I appreciate the prompt when people who interest me are in them.

Catherine Chandler 02-01-2018 04:01 AM

Let well enough alone.

Mark McDonnell 02-01-2018 05:06 AM

I'm more than happy with 'Let well enough alone', though I think it was valid point to raise. Still, I may have a little play with what Maryann suggested, mainly because I'm quite fascinated with the history of this place. But I'm sad like that..

John Isbell 02-01-2018 05:13 AM

Julie, that did make me smile! Though I'm not sure being rejected by those three judges is such a bad thing...


Roger Slater 02-01-2018 06:46 AM


Originally Posted by Mary McLean (Post 410613)
I rarely find time to check the online dailies, so I appreciate the prompt when people who interest me are in them.

My sentiments exactly. I can't for the life of me see why this is a problem for those who do check the dailies daily. Is it really that annoying to see a subject line referring to something you already know?

Rick Mullin 02-01-2018 08:44 AM

Very good! I'm glad we had this discussion~,:^)

I will take my seat in the curmudgeon corner with Cantor.

Thanks all.

Jim Moonan 02-01-2018 09:06 AM

Perhaps if the Accomplished Members Board itself was described in more detail that would help... As of now it states:

The Accomplished Members
Announcement by members of their recent publications/awards....

This is a relatively small, connected community of writers. I don't think "raising the bar" for this board would be in the best interests of Eratosphere. It is clear to me what is more/less impressive when I see posts to the Accomplished Members Board. Members can make their own personal judgements (and we do) about how "accomplished" a given announcement is and still be supportive to all. The fact that there are varying degrees of accomplishment only shines a brighter light on those accomplishments that are "higher." To be more exclusive than that would be tipping the balance of this place.

Roger Slater 02-01-2018 09:38 AM

I know! Let's have a Deep End Accomplishments forum for the impressive stuff and a Piddly Ass Accomplishments forum for everything else.

Rick Mullin 02-01-2018 11:50 AM

It is written thus, "Roger": ~~Deep End~~

James Brancheau 02-01-2018 12:40 PM

I think Rick was only breezing the idea by. Something to keep in mind, as I think he mentioned. Particularly those everyday venues, sympathetic venues. At a time when I think those who post here are more diverse, and are getting into more diverse-- good, places. Not a judgement so much as it comes off as insular. Not the end of the world and really don't care all that much. But since Rick brought it up, I thought I'd get myself into trouble.

John Riley 02-01-2018 01:33 PM

I've been embarrassed for posting a pub not considered worthy. I don't post any of them now. It's too much trouble to keep up with what the cool kids think is worthy.

James Brancheau 02-01-2018 01:46 PM

I'm a little bit of a snob, John, but that's not hardly the point. I am truly grateful for some of the new voices here.

John Riley 02-01-2018 02:14 PM

I agree, James, but when someone is evaluating if the journal is worthy of posting you will not hear many new voices.

James Brancheau 02-01-2018 02:51 PM

They're the same places, John. I don't ever want to get published where I know someone. Maybe that's not always possible, but that's how I feel. So we might be talking past each other. I'll give my poem to a neighbor and call it published before I indulge in that.

Mark McDonnell 02-01-2018 03:07 PM

Hey John,

Despite being a tentative advocate of the 'elitist' idea, that does sound awful. If anyone deliberately made you feel embarrassed for appearing in an 'unworthy' publication then they're a dick. I can't imagine such a thing. You're one of the truly distinct poetic voices on here as far as I can see. Also, surely none of us are 'cool kids' are we? Aren't they all on Instagram? (don't get me started haha) Or in 'Poetry' magazine writing free-verse (like your good self) and looking young and beautiful? (possibly not like your good self) ;) I have no idea.

But as for the sphere's tolerance for 'new voices', well, don't they appear on the met/non-met boards all the time here and are judged fairly and accordingly? I think so.

Anyway, I'm rapidly coming round to completely contradicting myself ('I am large/I contain multitudes' etc) and saying 'crow about whatever the hell you want'.


Edit: I feel I'm missing something in your exchange with James and my naivety is showing again.

Roger Slater 02-01-2018 04:13 PM

Another factor to bear in mind is that I often learn about new journals because people here whose poetry I like and respect are publishing in them. In those cases, the poet is not being elevated by virtue of the publication, but the publication is being elevated by virtue of the poet. I figure if [fill in the blank] is publishing there, it must be a venue worthy of my notice. And I'm sure that the editors of those journals appreciate the shout-out.

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