THE TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTION KILLS HARRIET

Harriet has shut down comments to its blog. 

What follows is Harriet’s explanation, with comments from Scarriet:

What’s New at Harriet

First of all, we’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who made National Poetry Month on Harriet such a great experience.  [No…Thank YOU...]

We had some of the most lively and engaging discussions over the past thirty one days, as well as profound stand-alone pieces.  True, it was a lot to take in over a quick month, but we’re confident the posts will remain touchstones for future conversations.  Thank you, writers and readers, for all your efforts.  [No…REALLY…Thank YOU.]

And now, we’d like to lay out what’s in store for Harriet[‘lay out what’s in store’  What ugly terminology.  Don’t like the sound of this…]

Asked to describe how poetry has changed over the past ten years, Ron Silliman wrote on our site that the ongoing revolution in communications technology has upended the power dynamics of the community as well as the way poets interact.  [Whatever that means…ALL BOW DOWN TO THE NEW GOD OF C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N-S  T-E-C-H-N-O-L-O-G-Y! ]

 “Poets blogging,” Silliman wrote, “is just a symptom.”  [just a symptom.  ... a symptom’ of what?]

Over the past four years we’ve been privileged to be a part of this revolution.  [ahh, the privilege of revolution!]   

From the early long-form journals on Harriet to the group blog, the style and format have evolved to match the moment, and we’re grateful for everyone who has participated, posters and commenters alike.  [yes...eternally grateful, no doubt...]

Recently, though, we’ve noticed that the symptoms of this revolution have changed.  The blog as a form has begun to be overtaken by social media like Twitter and Facebook.  [Twitter and Facebook???  LOL]

News of the poetry world now travels fastest and furthest through Twitter (as the thousands of followers of @poetryfound, @poetrymagazine, and @poetrynews can attest), with the information often picked up from news aggregator sites rather than discursive blogs.  [“News of the poetry world:" Damn those discursive blogs!]

Also, anyone involved in the more dynamic discussions of poetry, poetics, or politics in the past year knows that more and more of the most vibrant interactions have been found on Facebook.  [Facebook.  LOL]

We saw this happening last month as our National Poetry Month posts traveled far and wide through various status updates, wall postings, and links.  [FAR AND WIDE?? golly!]

 Setting aside the troubling issues of privacy and coterie this brings up, it would be foolish to deny it as a fact of the revolution.  [The “revolution” of “coterie.”]

As Craig Santos Perez recently joked, “it’s true, facebook killed the blogger star.”  And while that’s obviously not completely true (check out our new blogroll for evidence to the contrary), we feel that the new terrain calls for a new Harriet.  [Harriet jumps into Facebook river.  See ya…]

Starting this week, then, Harriet will transition into a space we hope will better serve the various poetry communities we’ve come to know over the past four years.  [Harriet wants to “better serve” Facebook and Twiiter.  LOL]

This new version of Harriet will feature on the main page a daily news feed with links and excerpts from other outlets around the world.  [Harriet evolves into a nothing which exists only to link to something else.  Vive la Revolution!]

We hope to point to the vibrant discussions happening online, as well as vital literary journalism, essays, and criticism.  [“We hope to point to…LOL]

In addition to this news aggregation, we will spotlight poetry communities and events.  [Harriet, the Community Calendar.  Yawn]

These features, which will appear under the name “Open Door,” will use multimedia journalism to showcase unique interactions between poets and poetry readers around the world. [Multimedia journalism!  You don’t say!]

 Look for “Open Door” features on the The Interrupture performances in Seattle, poetry night in Iraq, and circle dancing in Iceland in the coming months.  Click on the side bar link for a more in-depth description of this new feature.  [Harriet's got discount plane tickets, too!]

In addition to news and these Open Door features, Harriet will begin a new life on Twitter.  Each month a new poet will take over the Harriet Twitter feed and provide daily posts about his or her life, work, and interests.  Sign up to follow this month’s writer, D.A. Powell, at @harriet_poetry. [Celeb Twitter!]

The posts and discussions of the past will all remain archived on the site, but in this new stage Harriet itself will no longer feature comments. [yea, who needs ‘em?]

This isn’t a decision we’ve come to lightly, but it has become clear over the past few months that it is time for Harriet to move on from this discussion model.  [Twitter is calling!  LOL]

The space was designed to be forward thinking and experimental, and so we look forward to continuing along that path.  [to Twitter.  LOL]

We’re grateful for everyone who has participated over the past few years, and we hope that the energy and thought that went into the best comments can be put into the wide range of other available and worthy outlets in the poetry world.  [for we, Harriet, are no longer worthy!]

We’re excited to follow Harriet on this new adventure, and we hope you are too.  [What is this ”adventure” again?  Kill discursiveness and embrace Twitter?  Gosh…thanks.]

Together we believe we can continue to highlight the new voices Harriet Monroe set out to find when she began Poetry back in 1912.  [“Together we believe…”  This never bodes well…]

Sincerely,

Catherine Halley and Travis Nichols

So here’s the question:  What happened to Harriet?

It seems Harriet is like an investor in clover leaf highways in the 1950s. 

Unable to bring substance, they are now latching onto mere technology as the answer.

The patient, poetry, has long been sick, the illness due to the obscurantism of the modernists, and Harriet believes the best cure for the patient is to block discursiveness.  Well done, Doctor!   

My hunch is that Harriet’s April (the ‘no comments’ experiment) saw hits go way down, and, disturbed, perplexed, perhaps even angered at this turn of events, Harriet decided poetry must really be dead…after all, Harriet offered all these articles from all these interesting poets…but interest was minimal and Harriet’s experiment was a failure, precisely because readers were not allowed to comment.  Harriet realized in horror that readers were not really interested in Harriet’s offerings—they just wanted to hear themselves talk.  

“We’ll show you…” has been Harriet’s reaction.  No one read Harriet in April because everyone was on Twitter!   That’s what Harriet told itself.   Blame it on the technology.  

The problem isn’t with Harriet or po-biz.  The problem is that damn ‘technology revolution.’  It’s all Twitter’s fault.

Nope. 

Everyone was reading Scarriet.

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

THE DIGERATI SHOVEL BACK: Shoveling and Shoveling on Blog:Harriet..

Shovel Grab 0 copy

Today on Blog:Harriet, November 1st, 2009, marks The 60th day After the Banning of Thomas Brady, Desmond Swords, Alan Cordle and Christopher Woodman. To commemorate the occasion, we take the opportunity to examine the only thread in that period that has attracted more than a handful of desultory comments, and that is Kenneth Goldsmith’s rip-roaring, The Digerati Strike Back with a staggering 55 Comments!

To read the most recent of those comments and some even more staggering statistics, click here.

But don’t expect much about poetry, as even the posters themselves acknowledge it’s just shoveling, and because they are Travis Nichols‘ friends and colleagues, they’re obviously proud just to snip, snap and snuggle. Because that’s how you comment if you’re really on the  ‘in’ in the poetry establishment, unlike Thomas Brady, Desmond Swords or Christopher Woodman who actually read and write it, or Alan Cordle, so passionate and well-informed on the ethical and social issues, and a well-trained librarian.

But no passion please, we’re Blog:Harriet — no risk, no commitment, no challenge, no outrage or devotion, no Annie Finches, no Martin Earls, no Eileen Myles, no one who posts poems because they actually love them like Catherine Halley, or poets they would like to understand better like Joel Brouwer, and who give others both the space and the encouragement to explore difficult subjects in depth. Excellent Contributing Writers, and there are still some of those left, deserve better respondents — not just cynics and academics and a handful of groupies, insiders and glad-handers.

How sad, and nobody at The Foundation seems to care that Harriet is vacant. I guess that’s the way the Management  likes it, though how that serves Ruth B. Lilly’s larger mission remains to be seen!

WE WERE THERE TOO: But We’re Banned from Blog:Harriet now. And WHY? Did Martin Earl find us troublesome? Or what about you, Annie Finch, or you Camille Dungy? Don Share? Cathy Halley? You were all there along with Gary Fitzgerald and Michael Robbins? Who in the light of the International Poetry Incarnation of 1965 could possibly have allowed this to happen in 2009, and at The Poetry Foundation of all places???

International Poetry Incarnation,
The Original Program,
The Royal Albert Hall, June 11th, 1965,
Smoking Permitted.

Albert Hall 1aAlbert Hall 2

FISH II GRAB

Thomas, Gary, Christopher, Camille, Annie, Michael, Don, Cathy, others…

I certainly don’t see a problem, and I second Thomas’s drift in this comment. The thread is about open space, cornfield, Nebraska style space. Thomas has a point. You read what you want to read. Volume can only be stimulating, especially when the discourse is conducted at such a high level. I’m sure this is exactly what Ms. Lilly had in mind, free and open forums which grow organically. Any given post can sustain pointed commentary for only so long before drift, meta-commentary, opinion, personal ideology and the gifts of individual experience begin to take hold. I, for one, feel extremely lucky, as one of the hired perpetrators these last few months that the threads unfold the way they do. Maybe Gary has a point – some people could be scared away by the clobbering breadth of the most enthusiastic threaders. But perhaps not. I suspect a lot of people are reading just for the fun of it, for the spectacle, without necessarily feeling the need to contribute. And I’ve seen enough examples of people, late in the day, breaking in without any trepidation. Thomas has brought up a lot of good points here about the way things are supposed to work. And I would say, having observed this process over the last six months, that, given the lawlessness, there has always been a sense of decorum, even decorum threaded into the syntax of insult (a wonderful thing to see). We are all at a very lucky moment in the progress of letters. A kind of 18th century vibrancy is again the order of the day. We should all thank the circumstances that have led to this moment. We should drink a lot of coffee and get to work.

Martin
POSTED BY: MEARL ON JULY 6, 2009 AT 12:02 AM

Honestly, you all, go and read such passionate and well-informed commentary, and BLUSH! Go and read it right here, and then look at Harriet today!

Christopher

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