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  #11  
Unread 03-14-2019, 07:51 PM
Daniel Recktenwald's Avatar
Daniel Recktenwald Daniel Recktenwald is offline
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R. S.: So funny. Thank you.

Allen: I agree with the characterizations in your outcry above. I have zero "FOMO" of poems I might not be catching on the fly from The NY-er, or Poetry. Content to be an amateur, I feel no obligation to stay "in the know," and can freely follow poems I enjoy, their authors, those authors' recommendations/comrades/mentors . . . . But ah, you touch upon something I find painful to contemplate and hard not to contemplate: how many literate, willing, sensible readers are turned off/away from the "poetry" they encounter in big, main-market periodicals (although there is little to encounter there). Into what poor repute the genre has fallen, for so many.

Julie: Thanks for the Montreal article-- a peek behind the curtain, with stats and everything. Ugh.

Daniel
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  #12  
Unread 03-15-2019, 01:53 AM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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"Shouts & Murmurs" and the cartoons usually make one laugh and think. If ever there was an audience for intelligent light verse it's the readers of the NYer. The poets I know don't like the poems, and the non-poet readers don't like them either. Back in the day, the editor(s) picked poems they thought their audience would enjoy. Now they seem to use the poems to punish the reader. Surely they get feedback about the poems they publish. If not, we ought to pick some future issue and mobilize as many letters as we can muster up.
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  #13  
Unread 03-15-2019, 11:08 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is online now
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Before the New Yorker was swallowed by Conde Nast, people like John Updike could do brilliant double-tongued light verse about bottled water (e.g. eschewing the “quencher from Croton”) that rattled away with carbonated glee and a subtext of unusual subtlety. That one, in my youth, got me to boil up a thingamabob on shoes that was published in the good old Mella-edited hardcopy “Light.” Now, everything is corporate. A magazine designed by a committee of one hundred dromedaries and an uncertain number of llamas. The New York Times Sunday Magazine now publishes “poems” that are mostly boring. SPOWs on the whole: Short Pieces Of Writing. The New Republic now has a poetry policy of remarkable gerrymandering: I couldn’t get published there again (I’ve tried) even if I’d submitted something identical to one of their recent items, but had submitted it first. Enough for this post.

PS: Not enough. I also think (a) that poetry is seen by many on big magazine staffs as elitist, and (b) that signed poems are seen as a constant reproach and threat by the faceless, anonymous advertising people on mags and elsewhere who went into copywriting and continuity creating, instead of into our art — as I almost did for WSBT-TV, South Bend, Indiana. Unacknowledged jealousy is a subtle venom that can rule many selection choices at editorial confabs.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 03-15-2019 at 09:02 PM. Reason: ( )
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  #14  
Unread 03-17-2019, 12:48 AM
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I'd be perfectly content if the space given in the NYer to poems could be used for two more Roz Chast cartoons per issue. She is the best poet publishing there. Or almost anywhere for that matter. To anyone who says, "But that's not poetry!" my response would be "Is the poetry poetry?"
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  #15  
Unread 03-17-2019, 08:56 AM
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Sam, I agree about her humor, especially with people who are a bit (or a lot) drunk, or wildly uninformed - as in a recent one about a woman watching a rodeo who asks “Where are the Cows?” - but that would mean there would be no place for your next submission to the magazine. It would need to be below your usual standard, slightly incomprehensible, and goofy or simply weird, squared. Spoken as a resident of New York who imagines that he “gets” fifty percent of the cartoons, even if he often doesn’t like them much. Write gnarly, submit. Wottheheck, let’s all gang up on the magazine with things we’ve never posted anywhere. Real dirtbag poems. Mob it like birds do. Ready, set, go team. Surround it. Sit on it.
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  #16  
Unread 03-18-2019, 09:07 AM
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Claudia Gary Claudia Gary is offline
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Allen, your metaphor...

“Mob it like birds do”

...got me thinking about something that happened here last month.

An opossum fell prey to traffic in the road that runs past my house, and someone (perhaps a free-verser?) saw fit to toss the roadkill onto the foot of my driveway. Next thing I knew, a mob of turkey vultures (?) had descended on the cadaver.

They took turns feasting. Business as usual, of course. What surprised me, though, was that they kept moving it around.

Is this what you have in mind?

Claudia

Last edited by Claudia Gary; 03-18-2019 at 04:56 PM.
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  #17  
Unread 03-18-2019, 10:35 PM
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Claudia (I knew a Claudia in California when I was six to eight years old), I was thinking more about a recent item online about hens mobbing a juvenile fox that had somehow sneaked through a faulty henhouse door that hadn’t closed properly. It took a drubbing and was a very unhappy foxlet when humanity intervened. The fox was defenestrated (or dejanuated, whatever) and the door was repaired. But other birds, being airborne, can dive and swoop away. I guess chickens can too. What I was imagining was that if enough of the thousand or so members of Eratosphere all submitted their unworkshopped stuff at once (perhaps with a subtle swerve about good writing in the content) to Poetry or The New Yorker - essentially simultaneously - (an impossible dream of course), maybe something interesting could happen. I’m afraid that the New Yorker editors who choose their poems for consumption by native translators in London and St. Helena wouldn’t be moved though.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 03-18-2019 at 10:53 PM.
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  #18  
Unread 03-18-2019, 11:48 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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For all I know, from the report upthread, it may be that New Yorker selectors scan a submission for the author's name and don't get so far as to read the actual poem unless they recognize it. This would clearly be a time- and labor-saving strategy.

Cheers,
John
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  #19  
Unread 03-19-2019, 12:15 AM
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Allen, I saw that article, too. The young fox was killed.

But that's not the scenario I'm picturing, if we all submitted our poems to The New Yorker.

I'm picturing Ray Bradbury's short story "There Will Come Soft Rains," in which a fully automated, soul-less system just keeps humming along without human intervention.

I suspect that some dusty, forgotten server at The New Yorker receives unsolicited electronic submissions, waits a pre-set amount of time, generates an automatic rejection, and purges itself--all without any human being (other than the poet) paying any attention whatsoever.

If I'm correct, no one at The New Yorker would know or care if a bunch of poets all sent in a wave of submissions. Perhaps not even if that wave reached the level of a denial-of-service attack.

As for Poetry, I think increasing the workload of the student screeners would just make them even more inclined to make snap judgments of the "Oh, this rhymes--I don't have to read any further to reject it" variety.

I think both venues operate on the assumption that, for the most part, anything worth publishing will be brought to their attention by the handful of literary agents who already have the editors' personal phone numbers and email addresses.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 03-19-2019 at 09:14 AM. Reason: "humming along for decades" (story has shorter timeframe)
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  #20  
Unread 03-19-2019, 12:34 PM
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Following up on John Isbell’s thought, my next two submissions to The New Yorker will be under names with high recognition factors and low legal entanglements, first “Stuart Dulles,” then “Ozone Layer.”
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