WHO KILLED JOHN KEATS? ‘TWAS ONE OF MY FEATS

Pardon us as we take a fanciful page from the book of George Gordon, Lord Byron.

……………………….WHO KILLED ROBERT CREELEY?

……………………….Who killed Robert Creeley?
……………………….Twas I, Foetry. Yes. Really.
……………………….Now exiled here by the site that bans
……………………….We’ve dealt a mortal blow to Franz.
……………………….You cannot know where your reputation’s laid,
……………………….Or who pays you, at last, and who finally is paid.
……………………….Beware, you swaggerer, with cred and name
……………………….Who comes to quell: first, you lose, then, you swell our fame.

Franz Wright’s recent visit to Scarriet reminded us of the time when Robert Creeley came calling on Foetry.com shortly before he passed away in March of 2005.

John Keats was treated so rudely by the press a rumor began that a harsh criticism had killed him.   The poet is the most vulnerable to criticism since the poet and the critic both use words.   Poetry, by its very nature, has a It is so because I say it is so existence.   Words are cheap, and the poetry world is small.  Poetic reputations are fragile and can disappear overnight.

Longfellow was a wealthy titan whose poems were widely read in expensive and beautiful volumes.  Poe was a poverty-stricken, contentious critic who insulted and berated poets like Longfellow;  Poe was reviled by many literary elites of his day.   Poe, however, now towers over Longfellow and poets who are utterly forgotten.   Those who ‘go about their business’ and who are ‘above’ the sort of battles Poe indulged in usually sink into oblivion.   The trouble-makers survive.

Alan Cordle’s revolutionary Foetry.com turned po-biz on its head almost overnight with his controversial claims.  Controversy is catnip to fame.  Perhaps  Creeley and Wright knew what they were doing when they jumped in the Foetry dirt.

Flowers (and fame) need dirt to grow.

Thomas Brady of Scarriet was obviously out of his mind, temporarily, let’s hope, when he wrote the following as Monday Love on Foetry.com:

And what’s this crap about how a “librarian” [Alan Cordle] can’t express an opinion on poetry or the poetry world?  Jeez, what a lot of snobby rot. Since when did degrees and publishing creds and ‘official poet’ stamped on the forehead decide who can or cannot speak on poetry?  Did Keats have an MFA?  Philip Sidney, one of the world’s most prominent poets, never published a poem.  And what of Harold Bloom and Helen Vendler?  I can’t find any of their poems, but the world bows to their opinion.  If some twit gets an MFA and publishes a few books of obscure poetry scribbles, that twit should then have some kind of authority because of his CV?

No, poetry is naturally fitted for something more democratic and honest. R. Perlman [since discovered to be  Joan Houlihan] disgraces himself [herself] when he [she]indulges in this ‘poetry-cred’ nonsense–99% of the time such a gambit is merely an attempt to paper over stink.  I have never asked what his [her] creds are, nor do I care.  Those who come here trailing the glory of their creds in their wake tend to get slaughtered.  We don’t care who they are.  Robert Creeley came here and was treated like anyone else–in other words, a bit roughly.  We don’t care for that phony ‘respect,’ which the pompous desire.  Only the argument you make here counts.

Poetry was invented so that the learned could speak to the unlearned. Poetry is for the unlearned ear, because it had its origins, as Dante points out in his Vita Nuova, in the following circumstance: the learned fop was mad for some illiterate serving girl and therefore had to remove all that was phony and elevated in his speech to reach her heart.  The opinion which the poet craves is always the simplest and heart-felt one.  The ‘learned’ opinion is not to be trusted, finally.  Every poet in secret knows this.  This does not mean the poet writes simplistic twaddle, for the poet still must impress in a powerful manner, but that manner is not learned fops stroking each other’s learned egos, which only ruins the art.

—Monday Love, Foetry.com  2007

It is not our intent to dance on anybody’s grave.

We salute Mr. Creeley for not going gentle into that good night.

And God bless Franz Wright, too.

10 Comments

  1. Alan Cordle said,

    January 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    The first year of Foetry still exists as an archived file. Creeley and all of his friends will eventually be back online. But right now, I’m finishing up Foetry (the book), so thank you for your patience.

  2. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 20, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Two Poems by Rachel Wetzsteon

    Drinks in the Town Square

    By Rachel Wetzsteon

    No sooner had they carried their martinis
    over to the café’s remotest table
    and huddled close to praise the coming sunset,
    red as a famous letter, than it happened:
    empty when they had entered it, the square now
    quivered with life. What she saw: burly spinsters,
    big books in hand, refusing to be selfless,
    women in white and, lurking in the shadows,
    elegant lady spies. What he saw: strutting
    romeos, hearts for rent, devoted scholars
    for whom high windows could outshine rich widows,
    cynics for whom all cities were the same.
    They had come all this way, by plane, by marriage,
    hoping to pit their love—with all its thriving,
    colorful avenues, unending crops—to
    everything else, but now the square was teeming
    with all the faces they had left behind!
    Visitors from their own obstructed futures
    dazzled their eyes and scarred their hearts much more than
    glamorous strangers they could never have,
    and when the square began to reassemble
    they butted heads and called each other darling,
    as if to cover private crimes with public
    blandishments. But there was no denying
    that each grinning face was a murderer.
    When all the ghosts got up and walked out, they were
    left with a vivid sense of screen doors closing,
    and when they staggered homeward, there were trembling
    fists in their pockets, daggers in their eyes.

    A Rival

    By Rachel Wetzsteon

    Names flow from her mouth as so many hearty allies;
    she’s breezy host to a horde of stars
    she keeps and scatters to her liking, Mr. A
    of the flawless phrasing, Madame B, who has won
    many prizes, astonishing Miss C (recently up
    to no good), and sweet Sir X, of whom I may have heard.

    Pert, able and a born joiner, she has done well
    by a ruthless study of the golden room where
    everyone matters, peering through curtains to catch
    the unsurpassable swirl of a skirt,
    straining to hear the guests’ after-dinner laughter
    and dancing their measures again and again until
    she knew the password and strode grandly in
    while outside, bard of the usual, I haggled with the bouncer.

    Now, dazzling comes so easily that she seems
    always to have been there. Robust with nurture
    she inhabits the room in gowns of dreamiest satin
    and often, as parties reach their pitch,
    can be seen enchanting kings.
    Annoying exile, I scud into snows whose
    elegant steeps and hollows I find no voice for,
    sit under frail skeletons of trees
    whose leafless tops show the sky at its darkest
    and whose root, drowned in soil, can’t touch me.

    If life’s a pose, no one can fairly blame her;
    if, seeing me at the window late one night,
    cold from the crazy paths of alien towns,
    she shuts it and so forgets me (the distant tyranny
    of shadows, the hot gnashing teeth of doubt),
    it is ample recompense when in fragrant flavorful air,
    warmed by a fire that has blazed for centuries,
    she dips her pen in a lake of ink, and the pen flies.

  3. Bob Tonucci said,

    May 15, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Lines Written in an Ovid

    Ovid is the surest guide,
    You can name, to show the way
    To any woman, maid, or bride,
    Who resolves to go astray.

    — Matthew Prior

  4. Marcus Bales said,

    May 16, 2010 at 12:18 am

    How elegantly Matthew Prior
    Seeks to eloquently gull us
    When he knows such women’s fire
    Is best ignited by Catullus.

  5. Bob Tonucci said,

    May 16, 2010 at 9:31 am

    From a Letter from Lesbia

    … So, praise the gods, Catullus is away!
    And let me tend you this advice, my dear:
    Take any lover that you will, or may,
    Except a poet. All of them are queer.

    It’s just the same—a quarrel or a kiss
    Is but a tune to play upon his pipe.
    He’s always hymning that or wailing this;
    Myself, I much prefer the business type.

    That thing he wrote, the time the sparrow died—
    (Oh, most unpleasant—gloomy, tedious words!)
    I called it sweet, and made believe I cried;
    The stupid fool! I’ve always hated birds …

    —Dorothy Parker

  6. Bob Tonucci said,

    May 16, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Senex to Matt. Prior

    Ah! Matt.: old age has brought to me
    Thy wisdom, less thy certainty:
    The world’s a jest, and joy’s a trinket:
    I knew that once: but now—I think it.

    — J.K. Stephen

  7. Marcus Bales said,

    May 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    The Jolly Beggars
    Robert Burns

    See! the smoking bowl before us,
    Mark our jovial ragged ring!
    Round and round take up the chorus
    And in raptures let us sing:

    A fig for those by law protected!
    Liberty’s a glorious feast!
    Courts for cowards were erected,
    Churches built to please the priest.

    What is title? what is treasure?
    What is reputation’s care?
    If we lead a life of pleasure,
    ‘Tis no matter when or where.

    Life is all a variorum,
    We regard not how it goes
    Let them cant about decorum
    Who have characters to lose.

  8. The Noochie-Coochie Man said,

    September 2, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    “The End Of The World” (sung by Nina Gordon)

    Why does the sun go on shining
    Why does the sea rush to shore
    Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
    ‘Cause you don’t love me any more

    Why do the birds go on singing
    Why do the stars glow above
    Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
    It ended when I lost your love

    I wake up in the morning and I wonder
    Why everything’s the same as it was
    I can’t understand, no, I can’t understand
    How life goes on the way it does

    Why does my heart go on beating
    Why do these eyes of mine cry
    Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
    It ended when you said goodbye

    Why does my heart go on beating
    Why do these eyes of mine cry
    Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
    It ended when you said goodbye

  9. thomasbrady said,

    September 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    LOVE THIS SONG but I only know the Skeeter Davis version…

  10. Noochness said,

    December 7, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I’m Not Mad

    Am I mad at you?
    Of course I’m not mad, what ever gave you that idea?
    Just because I’m sitting here pushing pins
    into a wax doll
    with a lock of your hair in it?
    Just because I burned the panties you left here
    and buried the ashes
    at the crossroads at midnight?
    Just because I sent the nude pictures we took of you
    to Cattle Breeders Digest ?
    Just because I welded the doors of your car shut?
    I’m not mad, whatever gave you that idea?
    Just because I wrote your name and address
    on the men’s room wall
    of every biker’s bar from here to Bakersfield?
    Just because I made three hundred copies
    of your apartment key
    and handed them out
    to every junkie and wino in the Tenderloin?
    Just because I switched your birth-control pills for Ex-Lax,
    spiked your shampoo with Nair,
    and hid an electric cattle prod inside your favorite dildo?
    Just because I pitchforked your mother,
    and strung out your cat on speed?
    No, I’m not mad.
    And, by the way,
    Have you got a dollar?

    Vampyre Mike Kassel


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