A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy

[For the journal (guidelines, focus, etc.), go to www.theamericandissident.org ].
Encouraged censorship and self-censorship seem to have become popular in America today. Those who censor others, not just self, tend to favor the term "moderate," as opposed to "censor" and "moderation" to "censorship." But that doesn't change what they do. They still act as Little Caesars or Big Brother protectors of the thin-skinned. Democracy, however, demands a tough populace, not so easily offended. On this blog, and to buck the trend of censorship, banning, and ostracizing, comments are NEVER "moderated." Rarely (almost NEVER) do the targets of these blog entries respond in an effort to defend themselves with cogent counter-argumentation. This blog is testimony to how little academics, poets, critics, newspaper editors, cartoonists, political hacks, cultural council apparatchiks, librarians et al appreciate VIGOROUS DEBATE, cornerstone of democracy. Clearly, far too many of them could likely prosper just fine in places like communist China and Cuba or Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Russia.

More P. Maudit cartoons (and essays) at Global Free Press: http://www.globalfreepress.org

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Poets House—$11 Million Just for the Interior Decoration

The following is a letter I just wrote to Le Monde (Paris) regarding its article on Poets House in New York. After the letter (sorry, it's en francais) is an email (in English) sent to Poets House to see if it might subscribe to The American Dissident. Poets House collected $11 million in donations to redecorate its interior! So far, no response has been received. Last night I solo protested against Louise Gluck's reading at the Concord Free Public Library. My account of the protest, "Why Don't You Please Go Home," will serve as a future blog entry. The title of the essay was the comment issued by Joah Houlihan, Director of Concord Poetry Center, as she quickly scurried past me like a diminutive troll... and not of the Internet variety. Clearly, Houlihan is not a proponent of democracy, nor of its cornerstones, vigorous debate and virulent protest! She has become a despicable established-order cog... yet another sellout hippie.

Un bon debut de critique sur cette nouvelle Maison (opulente) des Poetes (opulents) qu’on appelle Poets House… mais seulement un debut. Remarque que les poetes bourgeois de notre pays (USA) peuvent gagner des salaires garanties universitaires de plus de $100,000 par an. Il y en a parmi eux qui gagnent encore $500,000 par les bourses (e.g., MacArthur Foundation et Poetry Foundation). Qu’ils sont loin du mythe du poete affame ! Ils ont besoin donc de cette Maison opulente. A propos, les $11 millions ont ete destines pour la redecoration de l’interieur de cette Maison et ne representent donc pas le cout du batiment qui est loue gratis a la Poets House. Imagine ce qu’on aurait pu faire avec ces dollars pour les divers poetes comme moi qui ne reussissent jamais a denicher de bourse. Moi, je publie un journal litteraire depuis 10 ans devoue a la critique dure de la poesie bourgeoise et de sa grosse machine friquee. Les bibliothequaires publiques pour la plupart ne veulent pas s’abonner a ce journal (seulement $20/an) en depit de leur Library Bill of Rights (droits de l’homme a la bibliotheque) qui stipule que les bibliotheques doivent inclure toutes les optiques dans leurs collections. C’est presque certain que la plupart de ces bibliotheques si nombreuses n’obtiennent pas l’optique exprimee dans ma revue. La Maison (i.e., Poet’s House) ne veux pas s’y abonner non plus. Ici, les universitaires et les poetes bourgeois detestent ceux qui osent les critiquer. Comme des enfants, ils n’arrivent pas a encaisser quoi que ce soit. Je sais bien car j’effectue des experiences dans ce milieu depuis plus de 10 ans. En fait, moi je n’arrive plus a me trouver un poste de prof ici car j’ai critique et continue a critiquer ce milieu douteux ouvertement. Et oui, j’ai un doctorat de l’universite de Nantes qui ne vaut pas ni un sou ici dans les States.

En tout cas, cette Maison de Poetes bourgeois montre qu’il existe un vrai chasme entre ces poetes tres bien remuneres et nous autres qui n’arrivent pas a obtenir ni un petit sous des diverses fondations publiques et privees qui distribuent les millions de dollars destines aux poetes et a leurs diverses journaux, festivals et institutions. Les poetes plutot politiques et autrement socialement engages contre la grosse machine bourgeoise (de l’ordre etabli, si tu veux) de la poesie sont systematiquement ignores et autrement gardes a l’ecart par les divers festivals et conseils culturels soutenus par les divers chambres de commerce, qui preferent, bien sur, la poesie de diversion a la poesie engagee. En bref, quelle sorte de poesie peut-on vraiment esperer de la part des poetes universitaires archi-remuneres sinon la poesie qui ne risque rien, qui n’offusque personne sauf les rares poetes comme moi qui osent se tenir debout a part du troupeau poeticailleur ? Hier soir, par exemple, j’ai proteste solo devant la bibliotheque publique de Concord, ville historique des patriotes revolutionnaires et ecrivains engages tels Thoreau, Emerson et Alcott, car elle n’invite que les poetes bourgeois pour lire leurs poemes anodins. Le chef du cercle local de la poesie m’a dit: « Why don’t you just go home ! » Quel beau titre ! Oui, je l’utilise pour le compte-rendu de ma proteste. Oui, cette voix declenchee de Robert Frost a la Maison Bourgeoise de la Poesie rappelle le Big Brother d’Orwell.

From: George Slone
To: lee@poetshouse.org
Cc: jane@poetshouse.org; maggie@poetshouse.org; emma@poetshouse.org; molly@poetshouse.org; robert@poetshouse.org; marsha@poetshouse.org; krista@poetshouse.org; jane@poetshouse.org; stephen@poetshouse.org; mike@poetshouse.org; narisara@poetshouse.org; catherine@poetshouse.org; suzanne@poetshouse.org; carlin@poetshouse.org
Sent: Friday, September 25, 2009 9:13:52 AM
Subject: Dissidence, persona non grata in Poetry House?

Dear Lee Briccitti, CEO of Poet’s House:

Today, I read the NY Times article on your house of poetry. $11 million… just for the interior decoration! Wow. Can I ask you to consider subscribing to a rare literary journal, one that criticizes established-order poetry, poets and machinery? The viewpoints it offers are likely not offered in Poet’s House. I’ve been contacting professors for the past decade. Only one, Dan Sklar of Endicott College, has been inviting me to speak to his English classes. The others respond mostly with deafening silence. A one-year subscription costs only $20. Even though I have the 501 3c nonprofit designation, I cannot obtain one penny of public funding, not from the NEA, not from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, not from the Concord Cultural Council. Librarians prefer subscribing to Entertainment Today and Mademoiselle. The Academy of American Poets blatantly censored my comments and banned me from further participation. What is going on in poetry today? How did it get so dainty? Why the fear of non-established-order ideas and comments? Trying to open the doors of the established order to vigo rous debate, cornerstone of democracy, has been a near-impossible endeavor.

Evidently, you form part of that order. Are you too hermetically sealed? On a final note, how not to laugh, though sadly, at all the POETRY MANAGERS in your organization: the Managing Director, Office Manager, Chief Financial Officer, and Community Relations Manager. Sadly, that is indeed poetry in America today... highly managed and safe enough for children and those in power. I copy this to the other managers of poetry in your house in case you decide not to respond and one brave or sufficiently indignant individual amongst you does.

G. Tod Slone, Founding Editor, 1998
The American Dissident, a Journal of Literature, Democracy & Dissidence
A 501 c3 nonprofit organization providing a forum for vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy
1837 Main St.
Concord, MA 01742


mather said...

11 MILLION? Oh, Gordon...

There are people who would say that this kind of money proves that people really care about poetry...when all they really care about are curtains...

G. Tod Slone said...

Good point! It reminds me of Michael Jackson's $one million funeral and gold coffin. How he cared about people! Horseshit! I was out there solo protesting ex poet laureate Louise Gluck Sat. night. "Why don't you just go home!" snapped the director Joan Houlihan of the local poetry society. She really had hatred in her eyes for me.

mather said...

You are disrupting their antiseptic atomosphere...these are the kind of poets who carry around germ-killing wipes in their purses...the last thing they want is conflict or opposing opinion...Again, we are left wondering why it is so abbhorant to them that someone doesn't like it...must everybody love them? Yes, simply, everyong MUST LOVE THEM...Luis Gluck, sure, I'm positive the reading was simply riveting! And I'm sure the carrot cake and lemonade afterwards were simply divine!

mather said...

few typos in that last one...sorry...my gigantic troll hands find can't work the keyboard too good...

G. Tod Slone said...

Thanks for the laugh on the troll hands. Yes, we're not one of them. It really comes down to that. I'm not one of them. You're not one of them. We don't want to be one of them. Even if we wanted to, we couldn't.