FINAL CONTEST OF ROUND ONE: BUKOWSKI TAKES ON MUSKE

Charles Bukowski is one of those poets like Edna Millay or Billy Collins which academia doesn’t know what to do with.  He’s popular.  His books sell.  Readers actually enjoy the poetry.  It speaks to them. The New Critic clique (which included Eliot, Pound and friends, as well as the New Critics proper) was in the right place at the right time and benefited most from the rise of the Creative Writing University which blossomed in the 30s and 40s and is now fully established as a U.S. model.

The difficult poets (really, the impossible poets) reign in the university—the place where difficulty is overcome in order to produce doctors, lawyers, engineers, and poetasters.  Doctors and lawyers fix people, engineers fix things and poetasters are in a fix, because what are they supposed to do?  There’s always more people and things to fix—these kinds of jobs are endless—but there’s no more room in the Canon, even for the most difficult of poets. Demand exists in the real world, but the Canon is not a demand, but a resting place for glory, and resting places for glory can’t fit the hundreds of thousands of poetasters which the University Creative Writing Model has produced. So the poetasters mostly teach English to students who cannot read and write, much less understand a difficult poem: which is the very coin of the university—justifying its existence by saying: Ezra Pound good, Charles Bukowski, bad.

But let the professors in the Creative Writing Industry tell us why Pound is good and Bukowski is bad. Let them point precisely to those virtues of Pound (considered a master) which are far beyond those of Charles Bukowski (a mere people’s poet).  They cannot.   The division between academia and the street is an unspoken one for the professors.  It just is.

The division has been real but unspoken for many years—until Scarriet ripped aside the veil.

The answer is simple, and we’ll speak it.  There’s only so much room in the Canon, and the university makes the Canon, and the current university model which came into existence about 75 years ago was ushered in by a handful of poets with their New Critical/Creative Writing blueprints and hand-picked successors.  Being “in” or “out” is based on personal connections alone (with a willingness to go along with the “difficulty” model.) T.S. Eliot and Pound are the godfathers, of course, with  W.C. Williams the “American” henchman.  Behind Eliot and Pound stand William James and Ford Madox Ford, and flowing out from Pound and Eliot are Allen Tate, Paul Engle, Yvor Winters, John Crowe Ransom, Robert Lowell, and then the Beat/Black Mountain “raw” counter to Lowell’s “cooked,” the Beat/Black Mountain strain merely an off-shoot of the original core of Pound and Williams.  Add the Writing students of Lowell and Winters and Ransom and Tate and you’ve got the next wave of Hall, Justice, Hass, and then, their successors, Jorie Graham, etc. but now the pickings are very thin, indeed; the Canon which now includes Eliot/Pound/Williams/Lowell/Bishop  is ‘full up’ and there’s very little room left.  That’s what happens with pyramid schemes: those who come later find they’ve been defrauded by the “greater.”  The Canon is not an unchanging receptacle, of course. Pound and Williams’ presence there has changed it forever, but then the Canon does have a tendency, over time, to reject poetasters who don’t deserve to be there.  But meanwhile, there’s this numbers problem, with so many difficult poets competing with each other.

But anyway, here’s a poem by a poet who still sells; Charles Bukowski:

not much singing

I have it, looking to my left, the cars of this
night coming down the freeway toward
me, they never stop, it’s a consistency
which is rather miraculous, and now a
night bird unseen in a tree outside
sings to me, he’s up late and I am too.
my mother, poor thing, used to say,
“Henry, you’re a night owl!”
little did she know, poor poor thing,
that I would close 3,000 bars…
“LAST CALL!”
now I drink alone on a second floor,
watching freeway car headlights,
listening to crazy night birds.
I get lucky after midnight, the gods
talk to me then.
they don’t say very much but they
do say enough to take some of the
edge off of the day.
the mail has been bad, dozens of
letters, most of them stating,
“I know you won’t answer this, but…”
they’re right: the answers for myself
must come first
I have suffered and still suffer  many
of the things they complain
of.
there’s only one cure for life.
now the night bird sings no more.
but I still have my freeway
headlights
and these hands
receiving thoughts from my alcohol-
damaged brain.

the pleasure of unseen
company
climbs these walls,
this night of gentle quiet and
a not very good poem
about it.

–Charles Bukowski

MARLA MUSE: The honesty and self-deprecation is so refreshing.

Bukowski gives you B.  But with poetry, academia demands one travel from A to B, even if A is a silly idea and B gives us no profit once we reach it.  We can understand the sciences and history wanting to make a journey from A to B, for this is how we understand B.  The pedants confuse poetry with science. For a poem is more profitable when it offers B and skips the necessity of traveling to it from A. Escaping necessity is the very point of poetry.  Carol Muske will demonstrate:

A Former Love, a Lover of Form

When they kiss,
She feels a certain revulsion,
and as they continue to kiss

she enters her own memory
carrying a wicker basket
of laundry: as the wind lifts,

the clothes wrap themselves
around her: damp sleeves
around her neck, stockings

in her hair. Gone her schoolgirl’s
uniform, the pale braids and body
that weren’t anywhere anonymously.

Her glasses f all forward on her nose,
her mouth opens: all around
are objects that desire, suddenly, her.

Not just clothes, but open doorways,
love seats, Mother’s bright red
espadrilles kicked off in the damp grass.

If she puts on lipstick, she’ll lie
forever. But she’s too nearsighted,
you see, she doesn’t spot the wind

approaching in a peach leisure suit—
or the sheer black nightie swaying
from a branch. Is she seducer or seduced?

And which is worse,
a dull lover’s kiss or the embrace
of his terrible laundry?

She’d rather have the book
he wrote than him.

–Carol Muske

MARLA MUSE: Oh, that’s so delightful!

Carol Muske edges Charles Bukowski 59-58.  And with that, we come to the end of Round One.

32 poets remain from the original 64.

26 Comments

  1. Mark said,

    April 5, 2011 at 2:29 am

    “Charles Bukowski” – Wait, are you sure he doesn’t just “replace coherent grammar with linebreaks” (I’m sort of lukewarm on him, fwiw… He’s usually good for a laugh but, like most jokes, he gets less funny every time you hear him… I don’t think he’s aged particularly well, either)

    “The difficult poets (really, the impossible poets)” – They become increasingly possible once you’ve actually read their work, Tom.

    “Demand exists in the real world” – I’m not sure it does and, if so, where is it? The real world demands real examples, Tom. Not just speculation based on your own warped opinions.

    “But let the professors in the Creative Writing Industry tell us why Pound is good and Bukowski is bad.” – who specifically are you talking about here? Do you speak on behalf of the entire Creative Writing Industry? I’ve never done Creative Writing but my English profs have usually liked Bukowski just fine. If Bernstein has to name names so do you, Tom.

    “until Scarriet ripped aside the veil.” – don’t flatter yourself.

    “They cannot” – who are “they”? “The professors”? Isn’t that impossibly vague and far too easy, Tom?

    “The Canon” – are you a time-traveller from the 1920’s, Tom?

    “That’s one happens with pyramid schemes” – Say what?

    “those who come later find they’ve been defrauded by the ‘greater.'” – Yikes.

    “Bukowski gives you B. But with poetry, academia demands one travel from A to B, even if A is a silly idea and B gives us no profit once we reach it. We can understand the sciences and history wanting to make a journey from A to B, for this is how we understand B.” – now you’re not even trying.

    “The pedants confuse poetry with science” – Strawman

    “A poem is more profitable when it offers B and skips the necessity of traveling to it from A” – Profitable to whom, and in what way? (also, this is an outright fallacy).

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 5, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      Mark writes:

      The difficult poets (really, the impossible poets)” – They become increasingly possible once you’ve actually read their work, Tom.

      You are using the oldest debating tricks in the book: “go read the works, Tom.” So there the works sit, unread by Tom, and Mark has read them all. Mark wins. Only cretins use this ploy, Mark, and now I will ask you to please list all the things you’ve read, and then I will quiz you on them. Until that time, you are not allowed to have a point of view or express yourself. I suspect you have not read anything. Where have you shown that you have? Please prove to me you are well-read, Mark. You confuse debating tricks with erudition.

      Mark writes:

      “Demand exists in the real world” – I’m not sure it does and, if so, where is it? The real world demands real examples, Tom. Not just speculation based on your own warped opinions.

      “Demand exists in the real world” is a truism! I don’t have to prove that! What are you talking about? I really fear that I’m debating a complete dunce. “I’m not sure it does.” Ha ha ha! Can I quote you on that?

      Mark writes:

      “Who are they?”

      I’m guessing philosophy isn’t your strong point. I’m also guessing you have trouble reading the Zeitgeist. Nothing exists for you unless there’s an exception to the rule that you can hug to your heart like a teddy bear.

      “Say what?” “Strawman” etc etc

      For all your rhetoric, you don’t say much or understand much, do you?

      • Nooch said,

        April 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm

        While you two guys
        Are launching tactical nukes,
        Ignored go the poems
        Of Carol Muske-Dukes!

      • Mark said,

        April 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm

        Every time I criticize the writing on this site you ignore the criticism and make assumptions about me and demand that I answer for my criticism. THAT is the “oldest debating trick in the book.” When you can’t answer for what you’ve said, just attack the other guy. There’s no provocation for this, Tom. Now you’re resorting to childish name-calling. “Cretin,” “dunce” – I guess I must be doing something right.

        However, when you make wild unsupported claims: the burden of proof falls upon you, Thomas. I have never once seen you accept that burden and respond (and I’ve been looking). You constantly shirk it – your whole stance reeks of entitlement. Man up, Thomas.

        On that topic, I do feel like a person should read a work and make an attempt to understand it before they publicly attack it. Is that too stringent a position? It feels pretty reasonable to me. Who are the “difficult/impossible” poets? What makes their work so? You admitted in the other thread that the Olson poem Nooch posted was coherent – so I guess it’s not your poorly defined “Olson-ites”… who then?

        “‘Demand exists in the real world’ is a truism! I don’t have to prove that!” – Apparently you’ve decided you don’t have to prove anything, so I shouldn’t have expected better from you here, Tom. Still, when demand is limited to less than half of a percent of a percent of the population I don’t think it really befits the word “demand”. Maybe it’s true that SOME demand exists among the thousand or so people that read poetry but you just come off sounding like a drama queen.

        “I’m also guessing you have trouble reading the Zeitgeist” – You call it “reading the Zeitgeist” I call it imagining a bunch of bullshit and writing it down. My experience with literary academia has not borne out any of the things you’ve said. The academics I know are an incredibly heterogeneous group. Even if they’re unindicative of academia at large, what you’re saying is demonstrably false.

        More to the point, this has nothing to do with philosophy, Tom, and everything to do with your bitterness as you lash out at these invisible assailants. I’m not even looking for “an exception to the rule” – I’m stating, outright, that this “rule” doesn’t exist except in your imagination. Prove me wrong.

        How is one to know the difference between paranoid rambling and “reading the Zeitgeist”? What position are you in to read the Zeitgeist? Burden of Proof, Tommy (and none of these are rhetorical questions, btw). Maybe all bad arguments should be excused away as “reading the Zeitgeist”.

        By your logic, I guess Bernstein’s “official verse culture” is just him “reading the Zeitgeist” – as such, if you can’t defend your points here then I expect a retraction of every negative thing you said about “official verse culture” in the next main post on Scarriet. If you’re going to resort to such nonsense then surely Bernstein should be let off the hook (his claims are nowhere near as ludicrous as yours).

        Me commenting on your spelling mistakes and poor sentence construction was admittedly sort of a low-blow because I do that stuff too from time to time. I do feel like it’s indicative of how little time you spend on both your writing and the arguments that support your claims (that is to say: none whatsoever).

        That said, “The pedants confuse poetry with science” is obviously a strawman. If Bernstein has to name names, then so do you. Who are “the pedants”?

        Show some backbone and accept the burden of proof.
        I have faith in you, Tom.
        Don’t let me down.

        Mark

  2. Poem support said,

    April 5, 2011 at 10:49 am

    not much singing

    I have it, looking to my left, the cars of this
    night coming down the freeway toward
    me, they never stop, it’s a consistency
    which is rather miraculous, and now a
    night bird unseen in a tree outside
    sings to me, he’s up late and I am too.
    my mother, poor thing, used to say,
    “Henry, you’re a night owl!”
    little did she know, poor poor thing,
    that I would close 3,000 bars…
    “LAST CALL!”
    now I drink alone on a second floor,
    watching freeway car headlights,
    listening to crazy night birds.
    I get lucky after midnight, the gods
    talk to me then.
    they don’t say very much but they
    do say enough to take some of the
    edge off of the day.
    the mail has been bad, dozens of
    letters, most of them stating,
    “I know you won’t answer this, but…”
    they’re right: the answers for myself
    must come first
    I have suffered and still suffer many
    of the things they complain
    of.
    there’s only one cure for life.
    now the night bird sings no more.
    but I still have my freeway
    headlights
    and these hands
    these same hands
    receiving thoughts from my alcohol-
    damaged brain.

    the pleasure of unseen
    company
    climbs these walls,
    this night of gentle quiet and
    a not very good poem
    about it.

    Charles Bukowski

  3. Poem support said,

    April 5, 2011 at 10:59 am

    A Former Love, a Lover of Form

    When they kiss,
    She feels a certain revulsion,
    and as they continue to kiss

    she enters her own memory
    carrying a wicker basket
    of laundry. As the wind lifts,

    the clothes wrap themselves
    around her: damp sleeves
    around her neck, stockings

    in her hair. Gone her schoolgirl’s
    uniform, the pale braids and body
    that weren’t anywhere anonymously.

    Her glasses fall forward on her nose,
    her mouth opens: all around
    are objects that desire, suddenly, her.

    Not just clothes, but open doorways,
    love seats, Mother’s bright red
    espadrilles kicked off in the damp grass.

    If she puts on lipstick, she’ll lie
    forever. But she’s too nearsighted,
    you see, she doesn’t spot the wind

    approaching in a peach leisure suit—
    or the sheer black nightie swaying
    from a branch. Is she seducer or seduced?

    And which is worse,
    a dull lover’s kiss or the embrace
    of his terrible laundry?

    She’d rather have the book
    he wrote than him.

    Carol Muske-Dukes

  4. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 6, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Dear Bob,
    By requoting in their entirety the two poems just posted above in the original article you seem to be suggesting that the Commentary gets in the way of the Poetry.

    Nooch [Bob Tonucci] said,
    April 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    While you two guys
    Are launching tactical nukes,
    Ignored go the poems
    Of Carol Muske-Dukes!

    Then, taking up yet another place in the Recent Comments list, your 8th out of the current 15, there’s this little glorification — as if visitors to Scarriet might need help on how to use the internet:

    Link support [Bob Tonucci] said,
    April 5, 2011 at 11:05 am

    http://www.carolmuskedukes.com/

    As if this is what Scarriet were really about:

    Nooch [Bob Tonucci] said,
    April 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I will fight no more forever—
    I can no longer carry it—
    It’s distracting me from glorifying
    Poems and poets at Scarriet!

    Well, Scarriet glorifies poems and poets like Playboy glorifies breast-feeding — no visitor to this site is here for your Scarriet family values, Bob, or to read your English 101 anthology.

    What you’re doing, in fact, Bob, is quite deliberately undermining Mark’s efforts to discuss Tom’s views about poems and poets, flushing the former’s cogency right down the site’s passive-aggressive tubes.

    Christopher

    • Nooch said,

      April 6, 2011 at 8:36 am

      I will fight no more forever—
      I can no longer carry it—
      It’s distracting me from glorifying
      Poems and poets at Scarriet

  5. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 6, 2011 at 5:25 am

    Resisting the temptation to rhyme in that last word, by the way, makes it more likely a visitor will hear what I say and not just chuckle at my choices.

  6. Mark said,

    April 6, 2011 at 5:28 am

    “What you’re doing, in fact, Bob, is quite deliberately undermining Mark’s efforts to discuss Tom’s views about poems and poets, flushing the former’s cogency right down the site’s passive-aggressive tubes.”

    This thought had occurred to me too, Christopher – but don’t worry, I’m as cogent as ever and I’m not deterred in the least.

    I think when “Nooch” acts as Poem Support he still signs the posts (I’m sure I’ve seen “Poem Support [Nooch]” or something like that on this site) so I’m inclined to believe that these nothing-posts are from Tom.

    That said, I don’t want to make too much of it – paranoiac supposition is Tom’s game but it surely isn’t mine. Since I can’t prove anything I’m just going to stay focused on the message I came in with, which is, in no uncertain terms: stand behind what you say or kindly shut the hell up.

    Tom clearly can’t hack it.

    • Nooch said,

      April 6, 2011 at 8:40 am

      If I sign it as Nooch, it’s a comment from me,
      “Poem support” is others’ poetry;
      “Link support” links to a page,
      Etc. — all this for no wage!

      Scarriet isn’t a one-track site,
      It’s a multi-lane highway into the night.

  7. Anonymous said,

    April 6, 2011 at 6:40 am

    For what it’s worth, you can click on a WordPress ‘Gravatar,’ the little abstract patch that accompanies a post if an author has no public ‘Avatar,’ to find the on-line profile of the poster. In the case of Bob Tonucci/Noochie/Nooch/Noochinator/Poem Support/Poem Link etc. etc. it’s always the same — “noochiecoochieman” — so there’s no doubt it’s a distinct on-line entity.

    As to the instance you were referring to specifically, you can find it here: https://scarriet.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/before-there-was-billy-collins-ted-kooser-there-was-edgar-guest-ron-silliman/#comment-5277

    Finally, many have speculated about the identity and role of “noochicoochieman” on this very private, one-man/one-note site. If “Nooch” really exists as a separate entity from Tom, what’s in it for him?

    Why would anyone do it?

  8. thomasbrady said,

    April 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Mark,

    Why is the burden of proof on me?

    Proof—of what? That po-biz is one incestuous little ball? The facts are there, laid out in numerous Scarriet articles. Why did the Bauhaus go on to head departments in the Ivy League? Why were the Modernists right-wingers? Why did the Modernists hate Poe and the Romantics? The story of Modernism is so interesting. Are you curious? All you do is quip “Strawman,” etc. You’re starting to sound very boring, Mark. Say something of substance, like that Dugan book on H.D. you mentioned. Don’t keep repeating ‘the burden of proof is on you.’ No one knows what you’re talking about.

    I know I’m ruffling feathers, and I can tell when the ruffled feathers are talking and nothing of substance is being said. I can tell, Mark.

    You don’t want to stop and admire the poems in the post above; what gets your rocks off is trying to knock me out. You can’t. It won’t work. I’m not servile, I’m curious—that’s the secret. You have to have what Plato described as a never-ending desire to learn. Don’t be a cynic, Mark. It leads to nothing.

    Tom

  9. Anonymous said,

    April 6, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    “Why is the burden of proof on me?” – From Wikipedia: “When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim.” for which they cite the book Principles of Logic where it is stated: “one who makes an assertion must assume the responsibility of defending it”

    I know you’re unfamiliar with logic but you ARE purporting to assert claims, are you not? Everyone knows what I’m talking about. Stop demeaning your readership by assuming they don’t and stop trying to wriggle out of answering for what you’ve said.

    “The facts are there, laid out in numerous Scarriet articles.” – Links? I’ve been looking and I haven’t found anything resembling a fact. Only your shoddy guesswork, Thomas. You guessing at what might be true is not the same as you presenting “facts.” Maybe you’re unsure what the word “fact” means? I can look it up for you if you don’t have a dictionary on hand… oh, who am I kidding. I’ve read the site – of course you don’t have a dictionary on hand!

    “Why were the Modernists right-wingers?” – They weren’t, only some of them were. Charles Olson worked in the Roosevelt administration and WCW was practically a Bolshevik. These aren’t “exceptions to the rule” – your rule is just imaginary bullshit which ultimately signifies nothing in an actual discussion. Are you just realizing that now? Why are you so desperate to make things homogeneous when real life isn’t?

    “Why did the Modernists hate Poe and the Romantics?” – They didn’t, only some of them did. There are more connections TO the Romantics in Modernism than there are AWAY from them. This isn’t the Lakers and the Celtics. It’s a clear and obvious continuum. Modernism hasn’t lost or won – you on the other hand have CLEARLY lost… Unless, that is, you can prove me wrong without resorting to “well, this one guy who was associated with the Modernists didn’t like this one other guy who was associated with the Romantics.” Can you do that?

    Now, some individual poets associated with Modernism obviously disliked some individual poets associated with Romanticism – but that isn’t grounds for your fallacious attempt at a “fact.” I love Keats, Shelley and Coleridge but I’m not so hot on Wordsworth – does that mean I hate the Romantics? (the answer is that I don’t)

    What I’m saying is that we need you to cite facts to support your arguments, Tom. Quotes, facts, incontrovertible evidence in other words: PROOF. Where is it? And why would I believe the slapdash collection of untenable connections you’re making without it? (I know you don’t like to answer questions – that you’d rather just have people believe you without investigating your points in any way – but this last question is an important one. How are you going to convince people you know what you’re talking about if all you’ve got is a tired narrative that everyone except you knows is seriously flawed? Facts are king, Tom. I haven’t seen anything on Scarriet that resembles a fact. Help me out here, man…)

    “The story of Modernism is so interesting.” – The reality of it is far more interesting and far less simple. You’re reducing something complex into a weak polemic with your deeply flawed logic.

    “Are you curious?” – Yes. That’s why I’m asking all these questions which you’re refusing to answer out of cowardice.

    “Don’t keep repeating ‘the burden of proof is on you.’ No one knows what you’re talking about.” – sigh…

    “You have to have what Plato described as a never-ending desire to learn.” – You’ve never met me. How do you know what I do or do not have? Are you saying I don’t have it because I disagree with you? You can’t write me off so easily. Eventually you’re going to have to answer for what you’re writing. You still haven’t. Stop being a coward.

    “You don’t want to stop and admire the poems in the post above” – I did. I thought it was fine but it didn’t blow me away. I have a selected early Bukowski which is good that I haven’t really returned to very much. C’est la vie.

    “I’m not servile” – No. You’re just full of pride, Tommy. I’m not asking you to admit when you’re wrong – I don’t care who’s right and who’s wrong – I’m asking you to answer for what you’ve said. The questions I asked were NOT rhetoric, they were actual questions that you’re too scared to answer. There are a bunch in this thread and a bunch in the other. Why won’t you answer them? Defending your argument is not the same as being “servile” – even with your tenuous grasp of logic you must know that. Stop finding excuses to shirk the burden of proof.

    “Don’t be a cynic” – I would suggest that you are far more cynical than I. You have a whole website devoted to your cynicism. I’m just a guy with a broken leg and too much time on his hands.

  10. Mark said,

    April 6, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Oops, sorry… that last post was me again. Forgot to type in my name.

    Also: thanks to the first Anonymous – I’m not terribly familiar with wordpress.

    and to the Big Nooch-ola:

    Can I ask about the logic of posting a poem in it’s entirety when it was already posted in full in the main post. The link stuff makes sense to me and I’m always happy to read extra poems when you post them – but the two Poem Support posts in this thread seem unnecessary. Is there any danger of someone reading the comments without having read the initial post?
    (and in your response, just to give you a challenge, can you end one of the lines with the word orange? 😀 )

    • Nooch & Lyrics/Link support said,

      April 6, 2011 at 7:56 pm

      Sir, yes, Sir, I’m so glad you asked!

      Brady’s at heart an ink-stained wretch,
      Setting up the galleys under deadline—
      Mistakes get made, about which I kvetch,
      Because fine arts like poetry should stay fine.

      I remember a charming ditty
      Back when days were rough,
      From the television program
      H.R. Pufnstuf.
      The lyrics are printed below for you,
      They were sung by the character Witchy-Poo:

      Oranges Smoranges!
      Oranges smoranges who said,
      Oranges smoranges who said,
      Oranges smoranges who said,
      There ain’t no rhyme for oranges!

      Oranges poranges, there’s another one,
      Oranges poranges, there’s another one,
      Oranges poranges, there’s another one,
      Another rhyme for oranges.

      People keep on saying that
      The one word that’s a gem
      It’s oranges called that’s got no rhyme
      But we got news for them.

      Ain’t they never heard of oranges smoranges, who said,
      Oranges smoranges, who said,
      Oranges smoranges, who said,
      There ain’t no rhyme for oranges.

      Ain’t they never heard of oranges, poranges, smoranges, koranges…or kumquat!

    • Nooch said,

      April 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      On why I post the March Madness poems in the comments

      Brady pens the very first draft
      Of history, for review by the hordes—
      I’m the guy with the big wide broom
      Following behind afterwards.

  11. Mark said,

    April 6, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    El Nooch-O,

    That HR Pufnstuf video rules…
    Ok, you’re off the hook!

    😛
    Mark

  12. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 7, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Dear Bob,
    You are lucky to have a critic who is as kind as Mark. I would say the same thing about myself as well, as I’ve never tried to humiliate you personally or mocked your own verse, which I too enjoy. And I know far more about you than you might imagine as Tom talked about you so often in his e-mails when we were running the site together. Admiringly.

    I’ve never used any of that inside knowledge against you.

    ~

    But you’ve never changed your habits, Bob, despite all the protests. Too many of your posts are too often and way, way off target, and that has irritated many commentators. As those commentators have almost always been attempting, like Mark, to debate with Tom his intricate conspiracy theory on the malaise of modern poetry, and Tom’s so slippery, your intrusions have felt like you were running illegal interference for him — Tom is the quarterback of your team while at the same time officiating the match, so your activities are obviously part of his game. Illegal interference, extra man on the field, wasting time, off-sides, all of that.

    Tom always told me what a faithful friend you were, and I admire that. But there’s also a big moral hazard in being someone who will do anything a leader says, and from his account of you you would certainly fill that bill.

    And now you’re suggesting that it was Tom’s habits that led to those two poems being posted twice on this thread — “Setting up the galleys under deadline—mistakes get made,” as you put it. Well, Tom sets up the galleys not you, as your not an editor. So was it Tom who stage-managed the latest smokescreen? Is that what you meant?

    Does Tom post your comments?

    Christopher

  13. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 7, 2011 at 2:26 am

    The comment I posted 10 minutes ago went up, and I saved a copy as I always do after bitter experiences elsewhere. So there’s no doubt it was there.

    It began “Dear Bob,” and followed Mark’s little smiley.

    It’s now gone.

    Anybody got any ideas where?

    • Christopher Woodman said,

      April 7, 2011 at 2:31 am

      My sincerest apologies — it’s back!

      Before I complained I turned my Browser on and off twice, and even did a Restart to be sure the problem was not in my own cache.

      But still I’m sorry, Tom and Bob — and do feel free to erase the complaint. Indeed, I’d prefer that.

      C.

  14. Mark said,

    April 7, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Bump

    Tom, you forgot to respond to my comments about the Burden of Proof. Do you understand what I’m talking about now? Do you understand now that when you say things in a debate you have to prove them? I know you pretended like you didn’t know that but now that I’ve defined it for you it should be no problem. Right?

    Now that I think of it, you actually forgot to respond to any of my comments! What a shocker! Is this how discourse works at Scarriet? Quel dommage. What a sad, pathetic state of affairs.

    Best,
    Mark

  15. thomasbrady said,

    April 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Mark,

    I’m not going to map out the whole landscape for you. When I have more time, I’ll try and write a summing-up essay on this subject.

    Personal ambition shapes a great deal of literary history; obviously when I use “right-wing” to describe Modernism, there’s going to be all sorts of twists, turns, exceptions, different angles to the picture and no term like “right-wing” is sufficient. A certain ‘short-hand’ rhetoric is necessary in a forum like this. Your “facts” that WC Williams “was practically a Bolshevik” and Olson “worked in the Roosevelt administration,” by the standard you are setting for me, need “back-up.” PROVE to me Williams was “practically a Bolshevik” or that Olson didn’t just need a job. Come on, Mark, PROVE these assertions! And if you don’t, you’re a “sniveling coward!” See how easy that is?

    Travel back in time at Scarriet, and you’ll find numerous articles backing up what I’m saying. You could also read Eliot and Pound’s essays, the essays of the New Critics, but again, if you are pre-disposed to disagree, nothing will convince you.

    Tom


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