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  #51  
Unread 10-16-2019, 10:38 AM
Orwn Acra's Avatar
Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
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I'm shocked some straight people would think Juster is tolerant and reasonable.

John Whitworth and Maryann Corbett have both published in First Things. I have no problem with either of them, though perhaps the latter might consider what it would mean to have a poem facing an article arguing against the basic dignity of gay and trans people, and how that might affect how one reads the poem.
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  #52  
Unread 10-16-2019, 11:27 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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I've never had any dealings with Mike Juster. I only know him from a lovely poem in Mary Meriam's 'Irresistible Sonnets'. I regret my 'Dear Poetry Police' jape a little, because it was snarkier than I now feel. Also, if any poetry editors are reading, I don't really think you're 'all fucking nuts' honest, and I've no doubt the founder of 'Think' is a thoroughly nice woman, as the current editor seems to be a thoroughly nice man. I've also no doubt that when Aaron, Quincy and others post this sort of thing they have the best of intentions. I'd never send to First Things, because the whole religious vibe just taints it for me anyway. The 2 articles are pretty horrible, and I've no desire to delve further. But in a small, niche community like the Sphere, there does feel something of the witch hunt about the public condemnation of a journal and the inevitable, subsequent hushed wonderings and whisperings about who the heretics might be. And yes, even as I write this, I can see the other side (such is my curse): that 'calling out hate' can only ever be a good thing, that bigotry should never go unchallenged. Yes and yes. Who could disagree? And yet. A weird taste in my mouth. Don't know why, and there's every chance that ultimately this reflects badly on my fundamental ethics and priorities. But I'll have to live with that.

I also hope I didn't offend anyone with my question about some of the feminist arguments around the trans issue and my subsequent ramblings. I'm a contrary swine. I was only getting involved, as I said, because I can't seem to to write poetry at the moment, which is depressing. I can't even read it.

Bless you all.
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  #53  
Unread 10-16-2019, 04:23 PM
Chris O'Carroll Chris O'Carroll is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark McDonnell View Post
Also, if any poetry editors are reading, I don't really think you're 'all fucking nuts' honest
Just for the record, Iím pretty sure that all the poetry editors I know are fucking nuts. In some cases, thatís the only thing I like about them.
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  #54  
Unread 10-16-2019, 04:37 PM
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Quincy Lehr Quincy Lehr is offline
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Mark—

I’d say you almost have it backwards. That is, the small community, due to narrowly defined interests (where can I send my poetry and maybe get some money for it?) overwhelm the bigger picture (First Things is generally known in this country as one of the leading journals of the religious right that has, of late, taken an integralist turn in its promotion of Sohrab Ahmari). That is, it isn’t as it would be if Rattle ran something I didn’t like/thought was stupid/etc. Tim Green’s tastes overlap with mine but are not identical, and on some political issues (e.g. global warming), I think he’s dangerously wrong. But Rattle is a poetry magazine, and a good one. First Things is mostly a political/cultural magazine that goes into meltdown every time a drag queen reads a book to children in a public library.

Some James Baldwin seems apropos: “We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”

Quincy

Last edited by Quincy Lehr; 10-16-2019 at 04:58 PM.
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  #55  
Unread 10-16-2019, 04:57 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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First Things is generally known in this country as one of the leading journals of the religious right
Well. I did not know that. I thought it was just a fairly small, obscure Catholic journal with a right wing bias. There are many things I don't know, Quincy, I wonder how I get through the day sometimes.

Thanks.

Chris — ha!
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  #56  
Unread 10-17-2019, 11:39 AM
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Maryann Corbett Maryann Corbett is offline
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Originally Posted by Orwn Acra View Post
John Whitworth and Maryann Corbett have both published in First Things. I have no problem with either of them, though perhaps the latter might consider what it would mean to have a poem facing an article arguing against the basic dignity of gay and trans people, and how that might affect how one reads the poem.
Since I'm mentioned by name here, I'd like to respond. As I said on Facebook many months ago, I no longer submit to First Things, and my main reason is the very problem Orwn/Walter mentions. But conscience is an individual matter, and I don't want to argue with those who do submit.

I do respect Mike Juster, and I accepted his invitation to read in NYC under the auspices of the magazine on 10/27. In a reading that's all me, I can control what's said. (I'll put the event info in General Announcements.)

Perhaps those who can't in good conscience attend will still hang out with me on the 26th.
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  #57  
Unread 10-17-2019, 01:20 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Quincy summed it up perfectly, for me, in his last post. I'm not, actually, intolerant of views very different from my own. But when extreme views are a substantial chunk of the magazine's reason to be, it will provoke. I'm sure they're aware. They're loud, so I'm loud back (to channel Sonny a little).
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  #58  
Unread 10-17-2019, 01:20 PM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orwn Acra View Post
I'm shocked some straight people would think Juster is tolerant and reasonable.
Is it his association with First Things that makes him intolerant and unreasonable or is there more?
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  #59  
Unread 10-17-2019, 02:23 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is online now
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Max, there are several old Eratosphere threads in which people clashed. I don't think it would be productive to have a public recap.

I agree that it was courageous to publicly withdraw poems from First Things, in response to that venue’s publication of an article widely deemed (and I personally shared that assessment of it) homophobic, some years ago.

However, there are other kinds of courageous acts, too.

For example, it can also be courageous to continue certain friendships and associations despite intense public disapproval, when one believes that doing so can achieve something more valuable than a disavowal can.

Two examples:

My Chinese-born father-in-law has often spoken about the atrocities he and his family members survived, and sometimes didn’t, in Japanese-occupied Shanghai and environs. He speaks admiringly of the courage of a defeated Chinese general who was universally reviled as a traitor and collaborator by the Shanghainese. But my father-in-law has good reason to believe that this man’s ability to maintain a relationship with the occupation leadership gave him opportunities to persuade the occupiers to change their tactics when dealing with protestors, thus saving many more Shanghainese from being tortured and killed.

It may seem frivolous to cite Harry Potter in this context, but hey—we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t believe that art is important, right? [SPOILER ALERT] In the epilogue to the series, a main character refers to another main character, by then revealed to have been a completely credible operative in the enemy camp, as “the bravest man I ever knew.”

The current situation is not quite so dramatic and high-stakes as those two examples. But to change people’s attitudes, you not only have to speak truth to those whose attitudes and policies you do not share, you have to do so in a way to which they will be receptive. Reputation and friendship—both foundations for trust—increase that receptivity.

Yes, it is unfortunate that the association of respected poets with a venue that many people find objectionable can’t help but appear to endorse and lend credibility to that venue. But I am personally willing to give people I greatly admire—and who appear to have much more to lose than to gain from continuing friendly dealings with the Venue that Shall Not Be Named—the benefit of any doubt about their motives and goals.
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  #60  
Unread 10-17-2019, 02:48 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Blah. Never mind.

Last edited by James Brancheau; 10-18-2019 at 01:39 AM. Reason: Added 'more'
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