TRAVIS NICHOLS PLAYS HIS FINAL CARD, AND THE THUMBS ARE DOWN AT LAST!


“…to-day the editor of Harriet holds a show of his own, and wins applause by slaying whomsoever the mob with a turn of the thumb bids him slay…”
……………………………………………loosely adapted from Juvenal, Satires (III.36)

For a beautiful example of everything George Orwell tried to expose in Politics and the English Language, read The Poetry Foundation’s letter just posted on Blog:Harriet [click here]

In the Letter, the Editors try to cover up the appalling mess Travis Nichols made out of what had been one of the most vibrant poetry discussion sites in America.

Today Harriet is at Zero!

Yes, the Like/Dislike thumbs are down at last, having served their purpose — which was simply to remove four figures, Thomas Brady, Alan Cordle, Desmond Swords and Christopher Woodman.

Now with Harriet on her back in the blood soaked dirt, weakly raising her left hand for mercy, Travis’ hysterical fans indicate no mercy — and the stunt becomes a fait accompli. Harriet is dead now for sure.

Of course there’s no mention of any of that in the letter. Just spin, faulty figures, bluff, and bravado — like the last administration on the state of Iraq in the months following the invasion!

Indeed, not one word of this Poetry Foundation letter is truthful. Like the stats in it — foully cooked! Everybody knows you can cut the stats on a blog in a thousand different ways, and not one of them will give you a true figure. Travis has cut the Harriet stats all in his own favor — and just look at him up there in the picture to see where he’s at!

And dear Catherine Halley, the On-Line Editor at The Poetry Foundation, you should be ashamed to add your signature to that letter. You did your best to prevent the debacle, we know that, and are tremendously disappointed in you for capitulating now.

We’d love to post a list of the myriad voices who have vanished from Harriet since the ugly puscht, lending us their support through their silence.  Those of you who know the Blog can trot out their names with ease. Their absence cries shame on you, Travis and Catherine. Shame on your petty vendetta.

And shame is the word.

Thomas Brady,
Alan Cordle,
Desmond Swords,
Christopher Woodman

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14 Comments

  1. thomasbrady said,

    December 19, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Harriet’s post is a hoot:

    “As we’ve noted before, the blog is an on-going experiment”

    In other words, we have no idea what we’re doing.

    “If you find a comment to be off-topic, please use the “report” button and the Harriet staff will be duly notified.”

    “Off-topic!” Oh yes, stamp out the “off-topic” by all means. If a conversation takes a fascinating right-turn, the Harriet staff will move into action. LOL

    And how can minor intellects puff themselves if comments keep going “off-topic?”

    I note that of Harriet’s top 10 most popular posts of 2009, 7 were during the SUMMER during the Brady, Cordle, Swords, Woodman era, and yet the article is spun so that the FALL was popular.

    Nice try, Harriet.

    The other 2 most viewed posts were in January, 2009, before we arrived, when the Obama inaugural was sweeping people up in its excitement.

    Only 1 of the 10 most viewed posts was in the fall.

    Again, nice try, Harriet. FAIL.

    We need a true top 10 list of Harriet’s 2009.

    How about the ‘post that vanished’ during the fall, when John Oliver Simon mocked the idea of curating a poetry reading?

    How about Don Share calling Louis Menand, Luke Menand. I think he was confused because Harriet never got around to discussing ‘The Program Era’ by Mark McGurl, easily the most important book on creative writing published in 2009, if not the decade, reviewed by Menand in the New Yorker, noted on Harriet by Thomas Brady.

    Or Travis Nichols comparing making comments on-line to a person talking in a cafe when someone is trying to read a book at the next table. ????

  2. Christopher Woodman said,

    December 20, 2009 at 1:20 am

    Just a glance at the Posts for December 2009 alone gives the lie to Travis Nichols’ assertion that Harriet has been thriving since the banning of its most active and positive participants on September 1st, 2009, and the consequent exodus of all its best regulars:

    Here’s A List of Posts and Comments on Harriet since the beginning of December 2009 — just look at those comments for enthusiasm!

    ABIGAIL DEUTSCH
    doing time, and rhyme, with “invictus”
    12.19.09………………………………………………….No Comments

    ANSELM BERRIGAN
    A few minor items to add to a clamor
    12.18.09………………………………………………….Comments (3)

    POETRY FOUNDATION
    Dear Readers
    12.18.09………………………………………………….No Comments

    EDWIN TORRES
    Exercise on a color
    12.16.09………………………………………………….Comments (2)

    MELISSA FRIEDLING
    dmitri
    12.16.09………………………………………………….Comments (1)

    ABIGAIL DEUTSCH
    ghosts and anne carson haunt nyu
    12.15.09………………………………………………….Comments (2)

    ANSELM BERRIGAN
    Nothing in that spam queue
    12.14.09………………………………………………….Comments (4)

    EDWIN TORRES
    Found text #2: Because I can…
    12.14.09………………………………………………….Comments (6)

    JOHN S. O’CONNOR
    True/False
    12.12.09………………………………………………….Comments (4)

    POETRY FOUNDATION
    The Best Poetry of the Year
    12.11.09………………………………………………….Comments (51)

    KENNETH GOLDSMITH
    Women of the Avant-Garde
    12.10.09………………………………………………….Comments (7)

    EDWIN TORRES
    Found text #1: Life just got life-ier…
    12.09.09………………………………………………….Comments (4)

    AMBER TAMBLYN
    Last Night, A Dream.
    12.08.09………………………………………………….Comments (6)

    MELISSA FRIEDLING
    Mohammed, Abdel, Hassan, and Faisal
    12.08.09………………………………………………….No Comments

    ANSELM BERRIGAN
    New Blank Document
    12.07.09………………………………………………….Comments (2)

    JOHN S. O’CONNOR
    Learning to Teach/Teaching to Learn
    12.06.09………………………………………………….No Comments

    KENNETH GOLDSMITH
    Poets: Really, they’re the laziest, stupidest people I know.
    12.04.09………………………………………………….Comments (67)

    ANSELM BERRIGAN
    Reading habits, part III
    12.04.09………………………………………………….No Comments

    TRAVIS NICHOLS
    Can “Experimental” Poetry Save the Earth?
    12.02.09………………………………………………….Comments (49)

    ABIGAIL DEUTSCH
    Marianne Moore in the Village Voice
    12.02.09………………………………………………….Comments (7)

    MELISSA FRIEDLING
    Jerome
    12.01.09………………………………………………….No Comments

    There were 21 Posts from Dec 1st to the 19th.
    There were a total of 215 comments in all during those 19 days.
    There were an average of 11 comments per day during that period.
    10 was the average number of comments per post.
    There were 6 Posts with No Comments at all (29%)
    There were 16 Posts with 4 comments or less (76%)
    The most popular Post got 67 comments — click here for an in depth analysis of the emptiness of that one!

    COMING UP NEXT: Statistics for the 1st 19 days in July and August.

  3. Christopher Woodman said,

    December 20, 2009 at 2:30 am

    JULY 1st to 19th, 2009

    There were also 21 Posts during the same period in July.

    On the other hand, there were a total of 864 Comments during the period in July as opposed to only 215 in December.

    There were an average of 45 Comments per day in July (only 11 in December).

    41 Comments was the average per post in July (only 10 in December).

    There were no posts in July with “No Comments” (there were 6, or 29%, in December)

    There were only 3 Posts in July with 4 comments or less (16, a whopping 76% no-shows, in December!)

    The most popular Post in July got 255 Comments (in December 67 Comments was the maximum , and that was fluff — click here if you’ve forgotten).

    ~

    Do take note that during this period Thomas Brady, Desmond Swords and Christopher Woodman all received strict warnings about frequency and length limits [click here], which they abided by until they were banned anyway without further warning or explanation on September 1st.

    Also note that Christopher Woodman was placed “on moderation” on July 14th, seriously restricting his ability to join the Harriet discussions at all.

    Finally, Travis Nichols posted his LIKE/DISLIKE Announcement [click here] on July 16th, and from that point onward almost all of Thomas Brady’s posts were immediately closed down with Red Votes.

    ~

    There are many articles on Scarriet that present the facts as well as discuss the implications for Blog:Harriet and American poetry in general. Click here for an article that gathers together some more statistics, for example, and also quotes posts that were deemed offensive by the Harriet community (i.e. got closed down with RED!).

    ~

    Footnote for Researchers
    What you’re seeing here is important as The Poetry Foundation of America is lying — and what’s important, of course, is WHY IS THE PFoA LYING ??? (more anon on that on Scarriet, needless to say!)

    Here’s how it actually looked day by day in July 2009, and were talking about the number and frequency of comments.

    EILEEN MYLES
    Tortillas Yay or Nay
    07.19.09………………………………………………….Comments (31)

    REBECCA WOLFF
    Transparency
    07.17.09………………………………………………….Comments (11)

    JOEL BROUWER
    Hayden Carruth (1921-2008)
    07.17.09………………………………………………….Comments (255)

    TRAVIS NICHOLS
    Like and Dislike
    07.16.09………………………………………………….Comments (77)

    REBECCA WOLFF
    Dirk Does Dallas
    07.16.09………………………………………………….Comments (11)

    JOEL BROUWER
    Overheard in the hallway
    07.14.09………………………………………………….Comments (9)

    REBECCA WOLFF
    This is about Jane Austen
    07.14.09………………………………………………….Comments (32)

    EILEEN MYLES
    PMD
    07.14.09………………………………………………….Comments (2)

    TRAVIS NICHOLS
    A Braille Hoax and Some Rockabilly Cancer
    07.14.09………………………………………………….Comments (4)

    MARTIN EARL
    The Mulch Shoveler
    07.12.09………………………………………………….Comments (143)

    REBECCA WOLFF
    Paid to Blog
    07.10.09………………………………………………….Comments (14)

    JOEL BROUWER
    The Possibility of a Poetic Drama
    07.9.09………………………………………………….Comments (55)

    KENNETH GOLDSMITH
    Conceptualism, Identity Politics & Globalization: A Response
    07.9.09………………………………………………….Comments (47)

    CATHERINE HALLEY
    Poem I Love: “For Julia, In the Deep Water” by John N. Morris
    07.9.09………………………………………………….Comments (5)

    EILEEN MYLES
    DEAR HARRIET
    07.8.09………………………………………………….Comments (22)

    TRAVIS NICHOLS
    Please Welcome Joel, Rebecca, and Tonya
    07.8.09………………………………………………….Comments (7)

    DON SHARE
    We do things funny over here…
    07.8.09………………………………………………….Comments (9)

    JOEL BROUWER
    Keep the spot sore!
    07.4.09………………………………………………….Comments (103)

    EILEEN MYLES
    Welcome Aboard
    07.4.09………………………………………………….Comments (4)

    KATIE HARTSOCK
    A Glass Glass Factory
    07.1.09………………………………………………….Comments (5)

    KENNETH GOLDSMITH
    Flarf and Conceptual Writing in Poetry Magazine
    07.1.09………………………………………………….Comments (18)

    STAY TUNED FOR AUGUST — AND MORE SHOCKING STATISTICS.

    AND GO TO BED, TRAVIS!

  4. Christopher Woodman said,

    December 20, 2009 at 4:38 am

    July is supposed to be a slow month compared to the autumn, but July out-performed December in every area of popularity to the tune of 400%

    August is usually the slowest month of all for blogging and, even so, on Harriet August out-performed December by 330% — and achieved that with only 19 posts in the first 19 days as opposed to December’s 21!

    Not very healthy for Travis!

    ………………………….July 1- 19………Aug, 1-19………….Dec. 1-19
    Total Posts…………………..21…………………19……………………..21
    Total Comments………..864……………….706……………………215
    Average per post…………45………………….37……………………..11
    No Comments………………..0……………………3………………………..6
    4 Comments or less……….3……………………4………………………16
    Most Comments…………255………………..227……………………..67

  5. Christopher Woodman said,

    December 20, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Where Travis really gives away his game is in his list of The 10 Most Viewed Articles and Posts.

    In fact, “views” are the most ambiguous of all statistics on blogs because they involve technical criteria that are extremely difficult to assess. If a reader just reads a post or article in passing along to the next, it is not credited with a specific “view” — and even if a reader spends 2 hours reading over all the 255 Comments on Joel Brouwer’s wonderful “Hayden Carruth” Article/Post (and for God’s sake, what’s the difference!), for example, there may still be no “view” at all.

    “Views” are like “clicks,” and they may mean I’m just passing.

    But here’s the bottom line. Blog:Harriet is a meeting place where poets talk to each other, so discussion is the only criterion that matters. It’s true, there are some excellent articles that don’t generate much discussion because they are visual or ineffable, Katie Hartsock’s post on Glass (!), for example, which really struck me, or Melissa Friedling’s poignant little videos, but if we are to determine what works on Harriet it’s got to be the number of comments PLUS the quality of the comments that matter.

    By that criterion, June, July and August were by far the most successful months in 2009, and September, October and November were the failures, both in numbers and in quality.

    Barren, the latter might even be called. Harriet deserted.

    Travis’ minders, please take note, and you especially, Catherine Halley. Lots of people are listening, and this really does matter. The Poetry Foundation has got egg all over its face!

  6. thomasbrady said,

    December 20, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Comments are bad, you see.

    People are trying to read—and then you’ve got, well, all these comments. How can someone read when a comment is being made on Harriet? How disturbing!

    Travis made sure nothing like the summer of 2009 will ever happen on the Poetry Foundation Blog Harriet again. How terrible for poetry! All those…those….those…comments!

    Those courageous people like Nick who spoke up, fearlessly raising their concerns…are free! Free from comments! Free at last, free at last! Nick, the…poet…is free at last!

    John Oliver Simon can now read Harriet in peace without…all those comments…which…disturbed his peace of mind…Go in peace with your beautiful comments, John Oliver Simon! You are free, too. Free!

    Harriet is like a beautiful glen…chuckling brooks….deep green…and so quiet…so lovely…Harriet has carved a space…of…peace…mmmmm….

    Shhh. You’ll scare the deer…

    Look there’s one now…dancing with Nick…

  7. poetryandporse said,

    December 20, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Nichols’ strategy is now wholly transparent, and the claim that Harriet is going from strength to strength, when the majority of posts he mentions as most viewed, occured during the summer, is clearly iffy.

    What that board is turning into is another space for the middle-aged nerdy clique of Gould, Johnson and Share, to spool out their boring opinions. Share doesn’t even have any himself, only second-hand quotes he fills his blog up with, and I think it is clear that for all his claims that his hands were tied in relation to Harriet, he was in with Nichols and hasn’t got the bottle to admit it.

    • Christopher Woodman said,

      December 21, 2009 at 1:32 am

      Good word, Des — “nerdy.” First time I’ve ever heard it used in relation to art.

      Yes, they pride themselves on knowing all the nuts and bolts and, of course, the people, but don’t know anything whatever about the poetry!

      Or have any feeling for it, just technical opinions.

      That’s why they’re so boring!

  8. poetryandporse said,

    December 20, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    The people who run that blog where Johnson and Robbins talk, are also full of shit, going on about freedom of speech and yet immediately banning you three from the word go.

    This is the rub, empty waffle about the rights of human beings, but only in the abstract, because as soon as someone comes and says something these bores don’t want to hear, they don’t even have the decency to tell you to your face, but engage in the sort of subterfuge Nichols does and prove they are all talking nonsense.

  9. Christopher Woodmanlich back said,

    December 21, 2009 at 2:24 am

    SEPTEMBER on BLOG:HARRIET — the dawn of Travis’ Brave New World!

    In the month of September 2009 there were 37 Posts with a total of 322 Comments at an average of 8 Comments per post.

    There were also 37 articles in the month just before Travis Nichols introduced the disastrous Like/Dislike scheme, i.e. June 20th to July 20th, 2009, with a total of 1,399 Comments at an average of 38 comments each. The most popular received 255 Comments (Joel Brouwer), and there were four others with well over 100. In September the most successful Post was also by Joel Brouwer but attracted only 29 Comments.

    So it’s very important to observe that it was decidedly NOT the quality of the articles in September that generated so little interest — as our shadow-commentaries on Scarriet have shown so clearly (we loved them — click here to read Scarriet’s response to them!). No, it was the bad atmosphere Travis’ management created on Harriet that was the problem: everybody was paranoid, tongue-tied and afraid!

    Just look at the comments his new article has elicited [click here]. Are these happy campers?

    • Christopher Woodman said,

      December 22, 2009 at 5:23 am

      12/22/2009
      We were hacked, and the user-name on the above comment was defaced. A number of editorial structures were also tampered with and passwords changed. We’re still a bit handicapped after the attack but functioning anyway.

      Click here to read a general comment on the intrusion — the event belongs even more to the concerns we raise in the new article about “Bright Star,” the Keats film, just above than it does with the rough and tumble of Travis’ “Final Card.”

      One of the major concerns of Foetics is influence, and of course harrassment goes along with all that. Prizes are just the icing on the cake — banning, black-balling, anonymous calls to one’s work place, threats of law suits, and of course not getting read are all normal in the fast-moving world of American poetry-influence.

      Hacking is a new one for us.

      Christopher

      P.S. If anyone has any idea as to what the defacement means, “Christopher Woodmanlich back,” we’d love to know. Perhaps it’s just to show us we have no feeling for Flarf or The New Thing!

  10. thomasbrady said,

    December 21, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    I’ve never met her, but my guess is that Catherine Halley is the only sane person over there.

    Don Share and Travis Nichols both feature an ugly combination of testosterone and twit.

    If you want to be pretentiously obtuse off on your own, OK, but when you turn into a bully, that’s crossing a line.

    But, really we have to thank these guys; if they hadn’t been creeps, perhaps Scarriet wouldn’t exist.

    So right here I want to go on public record and say, Travis and Don, you’re the best!

  11. December 31, 2009 at 4:59 am

    [...] December 31, 2009 at 4:46 am (Abigail Deutsch, Alan Cordle, Desmond Swords, Harriet, Poetry Foundation, Scarriet, Thomas Brady, christopher woodman) As everybody who’s interested in poetry  knows, The Poetry Foundation has banned me, Alan Cordle, along with Christopher Woodman, Thomas Brady, Desmond Swords, and who knows how many others.  So it seems odd that staffers there incessantly and obsessively read this blog and our side projects. [click here and here] [...]

  12. January 30, 2010 at 8:25 am

    [...] Congratulations, Harriet.  You’ve managed your first 100 comment thread since you banned the demons who edit Scarriet. And anyone who forgets just how much better it was before the September 1st massacre should have a  look at the raw statistics. [...]


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