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  #21  
Unread 09-22-2019, 10:12 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Yeah, Nausheen and Alicia were in the volume and deserve kudos. So does anyone in that volume. I certainly wouldn't turn it down.

It's impossible to read everything, and everyone knows that the "Best of..." series is going to necessarily be an exercise in "Poems liked by the Guest Editor." Still, I'd say it's not just the Jackson, his wife, and Lehman: he put his boss in there, too. And I think few would gripe seriously about the volume of NYU poets if it weren't for the other problems.

But, if you're trying to make a "Best of..." series, I should think you ought to work on broadening your horizons.
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  #22  
Unread 09-22-2019, 10:51 AM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is online now
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I missed which forum this was one and was about ready to offer Andrew some major congratulations. Alas.

Including his own poem is obviously pretty disgusting, though one should keep in mind that "disgusting" here is relative to the fact that the stakes are about as close nil as you can get without being literally zero (for reasons Nemo gave).
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  #23  
Unread 09-22-2019, 04:53 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie Steiner View Post
[My] Best [Friends in] American Poetry
Okay, I concede that I went too far on that one. If good work by good poets gets well-deserved visibility from this, of course I'm happy about that. And yes, it's unfair that poets who had nothing to do with any impropriety might have their own selections by this editor regarded as possibly tainted.

But isn't that the point? Isn't the tarnishing of the integrity of an honor the main reason why the custodians of that honor should have rules to avoid the appearance of impropriety in their selection processes?

I also take a very dim view of the "everybody knows that this kind of favoritism and self-dealing has been going on behind the scenes forever, so who cares whether it takes place in broad daylight?" defense.

When my congressmember, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, was caught soliciting bribes in return for federal contracts, no one who commented on the situation seemed at all surprised to learn that a congressmember had been soliticing bribes for federal contracts. What shocked people was that he was so shameless and open about it that he actually did so on his official House of Representatives stationery.

That's what gets me in the BAP situation, too. I'm not at all shocked to learn that favoritism and self-dealing exist in the poetry world. But I'm also not going to shrug at the fact that this time the editor and publisher aren't even bothering to hide their ethically questionable behavior.

Yes, I know that what Major Johnson [CORRECTED: Johnson! Doh!] has done in honoring his own, his wife's, his boss's, and his friends' work is not illegal, and he probably honestly considered these pieces to be among the the year's most accolade-worthy poetry. I also know very well that poetry editors and judges tend to move in certain circles because they have an affinity for a particular style of expression and craft, that heavy hitters have inevitable professional and personal ties to other heavy hitters and cannot exclude them without damaging the completeness of a book that is supposed to contain the best work, etc., etc.

But the reason I am familiar with those defenses is because I heard them in discussions of Jorie Graham's tar-and-feathering on Foetry.com. Which wasn't so long ago, was it? A decade and a half?

The Best American Poetry publishers aren't stupid, and must have known that these selection decisions would kindle a Foetry.com-reminiscent kerfuffle over favoritism and self-dealing. So I have to conclude that the publicity from the kerfuffle over the 2015 Best American Poetry selections was so salubrious for book sales, they must have decided to create another scandal to make sure the 2019 book would have lots of buzz.

I guess I've played right into their hand by buzzing about it.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 09-23-2019 at 05:03 PM. Reason: wrong link; wrong name
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  #24  
Unread 09-22-2019, 06:51 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
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Don't worry, Julie. I won't buy it despite the buzz you have created.
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  #25  
Unread 09-22-2019, 07:25 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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I might--there's no hope of my local library buying it--and if I love Major Johnson's [CORRECTION: Jackson's! Second time I've done that in this thread!] and his wife's poems after having been on my high horse, I'm going to be thoroughly annoyed.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 09-23-2019 at 05:04 PM. Reason: bad with names
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  #26  
Unread 09-22-2019, 07:59 PM
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Any fool knows that the Best American Poetry is found here.

(And the Best British, Anglo-Scots, Anglo-Irish, Anglo-Welsh, and Anglo-Manx.)
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  #27  
Unread 09-23-2019, 02:02 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Yes, Allen!

Julie, when I edit my bestselling Big Book of the Bestest Awesome Poems I'm definitely putting you in, specifically that amazing poem you wrote set on a train. Unless yer fine principles won't allow it, of course.

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  #28  
Unread 09-23-2019, 05:27 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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But then I'd actually have to finish that poem to my standards, which is impossible, given the rarified air up here on my pinnacle of perfection and virtue.

Today I'm thinking that my making a federal case (like US v. Cunningham) of this yesterday was probably a teensy bit excessive. Particularly since I couldn't even get the main character's name right.
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  #29  
Unread 09-23-2019, 05:52 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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I thought it was a brilliant slip, Julie.
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  #30  
Unread 09-23-2019, 06:01 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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HaHAAA! Yeah, an argument could certainly be made that the guy was acting like a massive dick. Or, indeed, a Major Johnson...*

Julie, nothing you write is ever less than interesting.

*Edit: at least, I think that's what James was getting at. Oh well, I've said it now.
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