Let’s get this winners and losers business out of the way…

Here are the winners:


LISA LEWIS (d. John Ashbery) Responsibility
WILLIAM MATTHEWS (d. James Wright) Good Company
GILLIAN CONOLEY (d. Robert Creeley) Beckon
CAROLYN CREEDON (d. James Tate)  litany
GREGORY CORSO (d. Stanley Kunitz)  30th Year Dream
DORIANNE LAUX (d. A.R. Ammons)  The Lovers
LESLIE SCALAPINO (d. Jack Spicer)  that they were at the beach
BARBARA GUEST (d. Larry Levis) Motion Pictures: 4


KAREN KIPP (d. Robert Lowell)  The Rat
JACK HIRSCHMANN (d. Robert Penn Warren*) The Painting
EILEEN MYLES (d. Frank O’Hara)  Eileen’s Vision
WILLIAM KULIK (d. Czeslaw Milosz)  Fictions
SHARON OLDS (d. Robin Becker)  The Request
TESS GALLAGHER (d. Richard Hugo)  The Hug
STEPHEN DOBYNS (d. Jim Harrison)  Allegorical Matters
AMY GERSTLER (d. Norman Dubie)  Sinking Feeling


JACK MYERS (d. Seamus Heaney)  The Experts
PHILIP LARKIN (d. Joseph Duemer)  Aubade
BILL KNOTT (d. Robert Bly)  Monodrome
EDWARD FIELD (d. Donald Justice)  Whatever Became of Freud
MAURA STANTON (d. Anne Carson)  The Veiled Lady
ALAN DUGAN (d. Hayden Carruth)  Drunken Memories of Anne Sexton
HOWARD NEMEROV (d. David Ignatow)  IFF
MICHAEL PALMER (d. Yusef Komunyakaa)  I Do Not


ALLEN GINSBERG (d. Howard Moss) The Charnel Ground
DONALD HALL (d. Douglas Crase)  To A Waterfowl
RICHARD CECIL (d. Robert Hass)  Apology
JOY HARJO (d. Sylvia Plath)  A Post-Colonial Tale
JAMES SCHUYLER (d. Stephanie Brown)  Red Brick and Brown Stone
REED WHITTEMORE (d. Heather McHugh)  Smiling Through
STEPHEN DUNN (d. Sam Hamill)  What They Wanted
CAROL MUSKE (d. Charles Bukowski)  A Former Lover, A Lover of Form

* Robert Penn Warren resigned from the tourney

MARLA MUSE: Some of the losers I really don’t want to say goodbye to; the Milosz, the Justice, the Dubie, the McHugh…

The Bukowski…there’s something holy about his work, a wry honesty that few poets evince…I was thinking about the qualities that go into writing good poetry, both the New Critical qualities of the poem itself and those qualities the poet as a human being must have…

MARLA MUSE: The poet must say the right thing at the right time.

Or seem to.  Because in real situations in life, that’s a good quality to have: to be able to say the right thing at the right time, but for the poet, “time” can be years as they work on the poem, which distorts the meaning of that ability, the ability to say the right thing at the right time: if someone really has that ability in life, to really say the right thing at the right time, they wouldn’t need to fake it in a poem…

MARLA MUSE: Oh, you’re getting all Plato on me…life is real, poetry is fake

But isn’t it true, Marla, that ‘saying the right thing at the right time’ is not the same thing in life, as it is in poetry…poets can wait for the right time to pass, but in life, you can’t…the room is silent, and life calls for something to be said then, but to be a poet you can slink away and say something later…it doesn’t have to be at the right time

MARLA MUSE: The right time in the poem?

Yes, when you failed to say the right thing at the right time in life…

MARLA MUSE: But if we’re talking about qualities, the person who can say the right thing in a poem is probably the person who can say the right thing in life…

No, because if you can say the right thing at the right time in life, there’s no motivation to do so in a poem, for the poem is a shadow…life doesn’t let us wait years…

MARLA MUSE: But it does.  You are trying to connect life and poetry, you are trying to connect two things, and you can’t, and therefore you are saying nothing…

Am I?  So I shouldn’t have asked my original question: what qualities in life match those qualities in the poet…

MARLA MUSE: What about not fearing to go into an underground mine?  Does that help a poet?  To risk your life for somone else, does that have anything to do with being a poet?  I think we can only look at the poem.  I think the New Critics were right…

But Marla, you are beautiful!  How can you say something like that?

MARLA MUSE: Are we talking about poetry?

Thomas Brady is never talking about poetry, is he?

MARLA MUSE: Well, Tom, sometimes you do…

I’m thinking about that Bukowski poem, the car headlights, the remark by the mother, and the son’s joking, half-shameful, half-boastful response, and all the various parts in that Bukowski poem—isn’t the good poem when all those parts cohere?

MARLA MUSE: Bukowski lost! Why are you talking about him? Ah, you are recalling that debate you had…when you used the word “incoherent”…clever boy…you’re a New Critic, after all…

Yea, but the New Critics themselves were such narrow-minded, creepy—

MARLA MUSE: They hated the Romantics, that’s all, but that’s why you’re here, Tommy boy…

But right now this is not about me…congratulations, poets!


  1. Mark said,

    April 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Were you stoned when you wrote this post, Tom?

    The whole thing smacks of a first year English student trying to sound DEEP and coming up short.
    Do you even read poetry?

    What “debate” did you have, Graves? What you and I had wasn’t a debate – you refused to back up any of your points. Really, it was just another on your long list of miserable failures.
    I can prove the Modernists didn’t hate the Romantics. Can you prove that they did?

    Since you’re too scared to post comments now you should probably stop sounding so condescending.

    You said you had plenty left: where is it?

  2. thomasbrady said,

    April 8, 2011 at 10:44 pm


    Your taunting tone will get you everywhere.

    First Year English students are poetry’s only hope. You don’t put faith in the English professors, do you?

    I’m not a pedant. This must be what you’re hearing, and what so annoys you.

    You (earlier) asked how I could call Silliman an “insecure pedant” when I hadn’t met him, but calling Silliman an “insecure pedant” has nothing to do with me meeting him, or knowing him personally, or not—why would you think this? If I were Silliman’s best friend, I wouldn’t call him an “insecure pedant,” but friendship isn’t truth—friendship protects us from truth. My opinion, as is proper, comes from reading Silliman.

    Yes, let’s look at this more closely, so I can prove you wrong: Did the Moderns hate the Romantics? Absolutely, they did.

    We’ll look at first-hand documents: writings by the major Modernists, both the European wing and the Fugitive/Southern Agrarian/New Critics/ American wing.

    First, we’ll take T.S. Eliot, who called Shelley a “blackguard” and famously wrote of a “dissociation of sensibility” which afflicted literature for two centuries:

    “The sentimental age began early in the eighteenth century, and continued. The poets revolted against the ratiocinative, the descriptive; they thought and felt by fits, unbalanced; they reflected. In one or two passages of Shelley’s Triumph of Life, in the second Hyperion, there are traces of a struggle toward unification of sensibility. But Keats and Shelley died, and Tennyson and Browining, ruminated.” –The Metaphysical Poets

    This is not from private correspondence, mind you, but at the heart of one of Eliot’s most famous essays, essays that stand at the heart of Modernist theory. As a sweeping condemnation of an age, it has no rival; even Pound couldn’t pull it off, Ezra chose to simply ignore the major Romantic era writers.

    In the very first page of his introduction to those famous essays in The Sacred Wood, Eliot quotes Matthew Arnold thusly:

    “It has long seemed to me that the burst of creative activity in our literature, through the first quarter of this century, had about it in fact something premature; and that from this cause its productions are doomed, most of them, in spite of the sanguine hopes which accompanied and do still accompany them, to prove hardly more lasting than the productions of far less splendid epochs. And this prematureness comes from its having proceeded without having its proper data, without sufficient material to work with. In other words, the English poetry of the first quarter of this century, with plenty of energy, plenty of creative force, did not know enough. This makes Byron so empty of matter, Shelley so incoherent, Wordsworth even, profound as he is, yet so wanting in completeness and variety.

    This judgment of the Romantic Generation has not, [Eliot comments] so far as I know, ever been successfully controverted; and it has not, so far as I know, ever made very much impression on popular opinion.”

    Let me just stop here, and see if you wish to add anything. We can take this slowly, one Modernist at a time. (And do you notice how Eliot argues? He doesn’t prove his assertions and puts the burden of proof on the other guy…”never successfully controverted…”


  3. Mark said,

    April 8, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    “I’m not a pedant.”

    Let’s go back to good old wiktionary: “pedant. n. A person who is overly concerned with formal rules and trivial points of learning.”

    That’s exactly what you are. Silliman, for all his faults, is far less pedantic.

    Moving on…

    “Yes, let’s look at this more closely, so I can prove you wrong: Did the Moderns hate the Romantics? Absolutely, they did.”

    Now you actually sound stupid. Let’s see why:

    You say: “Ezra chose to simply ignore the major Romantic era writers.” – I guess you think Pound ignored them by ranking Shelley “highest” of the “English ‘trnscendental’ poet[s]” and comparing him to Dante saying: “Certainly few men have honoured Dante more than did Shelley. ‘The Ode to the West Wind’ bears witness to his impressions of the earlier canti… This detracts nothing from Shelley’s glory, for of the tens of thousands who have read these canti, only one has written such an ode.” (Spirit of ROMANCE, 155-156).

    Pound also quotes from Coleridge and clearly had an affinity for him.

    You have very selective reading habits, Tom. Do you ever do more than just skim things? Actually immersing yourself in a text is far more rewarding. I promise. You should try it.

    “And do you notice how Eliot argues? He doesn’t prove his assertions and puts the burden of proof on the other guy…” – Oh, so NOW you know what ‘burden of proof’ means? You argue the exact same way. It’s not something to be proud of.

    With your quotes from Eliot all you’re proving is that Eliot disliked the Romantics. Eliot does not speak for all or most Modernists. The whole business of “movements” is a fairly modern concept – don’t act like it wasn’t perfectly acceptable for someone to dislike one Romantic poet and still like all the others (I do, fwiw). You’ve been brainwashed, Tommy. You’re making poetry Lakers vs Celtics when it’s actually Magic-era Lakers and Kobe-era Lakers. It’s a continuum. This is as much common-sense as it is easily proven.

    The only people making sweeping generalizations are you and Eliot. In the case of the latter, this is precisely the reason the whole second and third generations of modernist writers (hell, many of the first ones too) turned on Eliot and wanted nothing to do with the guy. In your case, it’s the reason Scarriet is the joke of the poetry world.

    If you’re going to make a broad sweeping claim like “the Modernists hated the Romantics” you’re going to have to do better than this. Try again.

  4. Mark said,

    April 9, 2011 at 1:06 am

    The website from which I copy-pasted that Pound quote had two tiny mistakes in the text. Neither amounted to any kind of misunderstanding regarding Pound’s obvious and heart-felt love of the Romantic era and its poets. Someone told me that the Modernists hated the Romantics, I guess Pound wasn’t a Modernist then… Very strange indeed.

    I’ll pull a Nooch and do “Prose Support” here, just so as to maintain the highest level of clarity possible. From Pound’s “Spirit of Romance”:

    “Shelley, I believe, ranks highest as the English “transcendental” poet, whatever that may mean… Certainly few men have honoured Dante more than did Shelley. His finest poem, “The Ode to the West Wind,” bears witness to his impressions of the earlier canti… I detract nothing from Shelley’s glory, for of the tens of thousands who have read these canti, only one has written such an ode.”

  5. thomasbrady said,

    April 9, 2011 at 2:37 am


    I’ll skip your little insults and cut to the chase:

    You wrote:

    “I can prove the Modernists didn’t hate the Romantics. Can you prove that they did?”

    I demonstrated Eliot’s sweeping rejection of the Romantics. (see above)

    In response, you wrote:

    “all you’re proving is that Eliot disliked the Romantics. Eliot does not speak for all or most Modernists.”

    You’re fucking kidding me, right?

    That’s your response?? “all you’re proving is that Eliot disliked the Romantics.” Bingo, pal.

    And then, “Eliot does not speak for all the Modernists.” OK, fine. Ignore that Eliot’s probably the most important modernist. I specifically said above we’d look at one modernist at a time. I lied a little—I mentioned Pound.

    Anyway: T.S. Eliot–I’m clearly ahead 1-0. (more than that, because Eliot’s such an important figure, but never mind…)

    OK, Pound: You seek to refute me, laughably, by finding one reference to Shelley in Pound’s work: an early cut-and-paste mish-mash of a graduate thesis not concerned with the Romantics at all—check the book’s index—published in 1910, before Modernism had evolved into what it was. Pound is not taken seriously as a scholar by scholars; he’s only taken seriously by modern poets, such as Zukovsky, Olson, Robert Lowell, and certain commentators of modern poetry, such as Marjorie Perloff. But leaving that aside, Pound was no advocate of the Romantics, and his silence on them must be seen as a negative influence, unless you count one obscure reference you found from an early work. Pound was far more interested in decadent poets, in Walter Savage Landor and Villon and Arnault Daniel and certain minor French poets (discovered, like Eliot, through the older Arthur Symons), than he was about any of the major Romantic poets—and Eliot and Pound met, by the way, well after Pound wrote his schoolboy “The Spirit of Romance.”

    So, with Pound, I’m up 2-0.

    Shall we continue?


  6. Mark said,

    April 9, 2011 at 3:06 am

    “You’re fucking kidding me, right?”


    Starting to lose your cool, Graves. I love it!

    Eliot being the most well-known means very little. I know you’re only interested in who’s the most famous but Eliot doesn’t speak for the Modernists. Your sad circular logic doesn’t make it so. The facts are that almost every other major Modernist poet hated the guy and even the people he considered friends had radically different viewpoints. Do you and your friends all think the exact same way? What a boring existance that would be.

    I also don’t think much of Pound as a scholar, for what it’s worth. That quote just happens to totally dismantle your whole argument. That’s all. The fact that Pound didn’t spend the rest of his life raving about Shelley doesn’t make it any less true or valid.

    Pound was interested in the Romantics as being in the tradition of Dante, a tradition in which he sought to place himself. Your points about Pound are a joke. He just happened to be more interested in earlier forms. Should we attack Medieval scholars for not writing about the Romantics, too? I guess all Medievalists must hate Shelley! That’s your logic, Tom? Worse than usual. Bad even by Scarriet standards.

    My “one reference” was a resounding commendation of Shelley as one of the best English language poets to take up the pen. As I said, there are also several enthusiastic references to Coleridge. What’s more, Pound is actually much kinder to Wordsworth than Ol’ Willie deserves. Saying Pound hates the Romantics is a fallacious joke. Is this the best you can do?

    The continuum Pound sees is clear and the Romantics are clearly a part of it. This is indisputable. You are incorrect as usual, sir. I hearby revoke the two sad, pathetic little points you’ve given yourself.

    If we’re just going to turn this into a list of poets who did or did not like the Romantics and charting how much or how little they said so, then all we’ll do is prove my point that the Modernist movement is more heterogeneous than you’re allowing with your reductive bullshit. I’m interested in nuance, Tom. Are you?

  7. Mark said,

    April 9, 2011 at 3:12 am

    For every quote you find where a Modernist poet attacks the Romantic movement I’ll find you a quote where a Modernist poet champions the Romantic movement.

    I’ll play along for a while if you want to keep going but, like I said, by doing so we’re just proving me right. Saying “the Modernists hate the Romantics” is untenable and stupid – I know you’ve spent the last few years churning out this reductive nonsense on a daily basis but a part of you must know that the truth is more complex.

    Ultimately, this is what I want to address with you. This hyper-reductive view of literature you present on Scarriet is worthless. That’s why we’re going to help you get better. Even if it takes until the end of the month.

    Don’t worry, Tom. There’s still hope for you.

  8. Mark said,

    April 9, 2011 at 4:29 am

    Oh, and one more quick point for anyone reading (again, just to clarify the remarks upthread)

    Thomas’s dismissal of “Spirit of Romance” as being a “schoolboy” work is, typically for Tom, misleading. By 1910 Pound had already published 4 books of poetry including the major early work Personae (which contained translations of Heine – boy, Pound must have really HATED the Romantics! Working on these pieces inspired Pound to write: “O Harry Heine, curses be / I live too late to sup with thee!” You can really feel Pound’s disdain for Romanticism there!) and had given guest lectures at the University of Westminster (Spirit of Romance was based on his lecture notes).

    That the Spirit of Romance doesn’t focus exclusively on the Romantics is of no consequence. Pound took knowledge of Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats and Byron as a given. Pound at the time of the writing was no “schoolboy.” Nice try, Tom.

  9. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 9, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Mark writes:

    Ultimately, this is what I want to address with you. This hyper-reductive view of literature you present on Scarriet is worthless. That’s why we’re going to help you get better. Even if it takes until the end of the month.

    Don’t worry, Tom. There’s still hope for you.

    Good luck to you on that one, Mark — good luck to us all!


    The problem is that there are dirty little secrets in Tom that make such an outcome highly unlikely. One is that the guy really doesn’t care about anything he says, because he debates for the points, not the truth or the coherence of his argument. He’s in the debate for the put-down, to prove he’s the Alpha-male of Chat — and you’d better believe it’s Male too, this Chat. Indeed, have you ever seen a woman on Scarriet?

    In addition, in Tom’s world poems don’t get appreciated but scored. In March Madness, for example, two poems are forced to battle each other in an arena, a court, playing field or cockpit, and one of them always “wins” — even when the combatants are chalk and cheese, or from different planets. Like the gladiatorial games, the gore’s what matters, not the compatibility of the weapons or the fairness of the encounter.

    Another dirty little secret is that Tom doesn’t actually like poetry at all — indeed he “hates” it. He once told me that he was probably the only true Platonist in the world today, and that he was determined to remain true to that calling forever. That’s why he insists every poem is slight in stature, and perfidious, and that only the music of a poem, its pleasure and decorum, counts. Poems are just ditties for him, in other words — Tom even reads Shelley as a dittiest, even John Keats (look at that discussion about the Ode to Psyche for a shock!)

    Serious poetry is for pedants, Tom has vowed, and meaning is for professors and satanists.

    In fact, Tom Brady has no other message but the Chat — which is one of the reasons he always feels he wins. He simply couldn’t care less what he says about anything, because to him none of it matters!

    Except to sound like Socrates, as he tries to do in this article, for example — that means an awful lot to him. The earth, in fact.

    So you might like to work a bit into that one, Mark, the dialectical schtick, the Chat-room Market.


    • noochinator said,

      February 21, 2016 at 2:49 am

      Speaking of “Alpha-male”, here’s a fascinating blog I stumbled upon that deals with Alpha-males, beta-males, and the ongoing changes in the sexual landscape:

  10. Mark said,

    April 9, 2011 at 6:56 am


    You’re obviously right in all this. Look how fast Tom turns my disagreement into a mere game (not to mention how convenient it is that he has declared himself scorekeeper. I think anyone else would be pretty quick to give the game to me 🙂 ). Still, that’s the sort of thing I have little to no interest in, really. Scarriet reduces poetry to top 10 lists and gossip. Poetry deserves better, even if Tom doesn’t think so.

    The last posts in this thread represent another attempt by Tom to, ultimately, avoid answering for the things he’s said. If this is all some ego game and he’s trying to be the alpha then how does he sleep at night knowing that he’s hiding from his own game by lying and cowering? Isn’t he embarrassed to make such a pathetic spectacle of himself? People are literally laughing at him (I sent links to some of his more pathetic moments to some of my friends, they found it hysterical).

    Mr Graves must have been the kid on the playground who ate worms and basked in the attention he got from it. Spending a couple weeks on Scarriet I can see that not much has changed.

    Every other commentator on this site (except Bob) has agreed that Tom has been thoroughly bested over the last couple weeks, one person even accused me of continuing to kick Tom when he’s clearly already been beaten, but that was never my goal. The posts on the main page have been much more tame in the last couple days. Tom is barely posting on the comments anymore. I may have shut him up but what I wanted was for him to answer for his statements. Eventually I’ll leave and Tom will get comfortable again and the reductive, speculative, trolling nonsense will start up again. Is that what people want from Scarriet?

    The confusing part is that there’s a deep anxiety about Tom. He wants to shock and he wants to be an attention whore but he still feels like he ought to be included in a larger dialogue about poetry. In another thread Tom complains that Silliman and Bernstein won’t come and debate him – clearly they can see through his incoherent (often actually contradictory) talking points to the troll inside. This is where the failed poet in Tom comes out. He desperately wants to be a part of the poetry club but he has nothing to say and no reason to be there. Scarriet, for Tom, is the next best thing. That’s why when he posts his own poems they’re never met with any comments but with silent snickering from the people who get a sick thrill out of watching his vulgar display (myself included – this is better than watching Charlie Sheen melt down).

    I am starting to get bored with this, though. How many more times can I kick a guy when he’s already down? I’m not sure.


    Do you or do you not like poetry? If so, and without resorting to the flowery language and cheesy metaphors you’re so fond of, why? Can you put aside the laughably vague polemics and tell us where you see poetry going in the 21st Century and what you would realistically like to see from poetry in 21st Century?

    Also, how do you respond to charges that you’re nothing but a troll? Can you link me to anything on Scarriet where you don’t resort to ad hominem speculation and actually contribute something worthwhile or of substance to the discourse of poetry?

  11. thomasbrady said,

    April 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm


    Patience, grasshopper. You’re moving too fast. Can’t prove a good thesis all at once, so we’re taking it step by step, one writer at a time—or is this too much for you? Does the desire to make silly insults simply overwhelm you? That’s OK; I love this stuff. I’m the pig who loves the mud and loves to wrestle. I’ll build my palace in excrement, if I have to.

    You can try to diminish Eliot all you want—I’m not a big fan of his, either, but influence is influence. Your personal likes and dislikes don’t matter much in a discussion like this, little guy.

    Add in Eliot’s silly abuse of Hamlet, his cutting of MIlton, his raging attack on Poe (see: From Poe to Valery, 1949) and this is pedagogy (in spite of his solemn “Tradition” essay) which verges on poison: the “New” crowd justifies the dreck they write to further their ambitions, academic and otherwise, but in order to do so, they first must attempt to look wise in their appreciation of older works—the Modernists could not have made it to square one without gestures in the way of ‘scholarship’—and so of course Pound and Eliot and every other fraud will have certain credentials decked on their greasy necks; it’s our job to discern the motives and to see what their ambition was really about—if you laze about in a world of trees without seeing the wood, that’s your problem, not mine. Christopher’s right: I don’t fetishize poetry like he does; I’m not a crackpot like Pound and his sycophantic followers. Poetry can be enjoyed by anyone; this crank idea that I “hate” poetry makes me laugh every time I hear it. That’s the best you guys got? LOL

    As for your one (LOL) reference—and it doesn’t even say Shelley is a great poet, only that he admired Dante, and believe me, Dante doesn’t need Pound as an admirer! LOL! Fascist Italy was a nice place to live for guys like Pound and Santayana—the poet who taught Wallace Stevens and Eliot at Harvard and so, sure, some old Italian poets would obviously be fetishized for the fascist cause—so what? You also have to remember that back in Pound and Eliot’s day, there was a lot more respect for poetry among scholars, and being born in the 19th century, Pound and Eliot could not have made it in the front door as literary men without talking about older poets—but that doesn’t therefore demolish my argument, which is interested in influence and outcome, as well as scrutinizing substance…so, no. one reference (LOL LOL) to Shelley in 1910 does not “dismantle my whole argument.”

    Also, nice try with this logical inanity: implying that because a medieval scholar doesn’t write about the romantics, he’s attacking them! I never said that. The Modernists were not medieval scholars, bozo. In fact the Modernists whole game was to replace scholars with creative writing instructors—as you’ll see if you can follow an argument patiently, without first wetting your pants.

    Pound did not write in any substantial manner about any of the major romantics. Please supply more proof, Mark. I’ve given quite a lot of evidence above. This is how you build an argument, Mark. Have you ever done so, in your life? Eliot hated the Romantics, his friend Pound ignored them, and now…we collect more evidence…if you want to continue, but I’m getting the feeling you’re already too rattled to proceed…


  12. Mark said,

    April 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm


    LOL, seriously?

    Most poets were influenced by Eliot in that they wanted to be nothing like him. People truly hated the guy (still do – though I like some select pieces).

    “doesn’t even say Shelley is a great poet” – right, he only refers to Ode to the West Wind as glorious. That’s so ambiguous.

    Just because someone is more interested in Dante doesn’t mean they “hate” Shelley. I win… but then, I already won like a week ago. You’re like the black knight with all his limbs cut off desperately trying to continue.

    “This is how you build an argument” – You’ve had literally years to “build” this argument and you haven’t done anything substantial anywhere. Send me a link, Tom. Where have you done anything substantial on Scarriet? For this reason, I already feel like I’ve won this argument and want to move on to larger issues. Eliot called Shelley a blackguard, Pound (along with Yeats, HD, WCW, Stevens, Olson, really all the major modernists that people still bother to read) thought Shelley was glorious – ergo, the Modernists were more heterogeneous than your simple-minded rhetoric allows. Who cares?

    This is not the debate I’m interested in having. These are all little points. We need to get the big stuff out of the way first, Thomas. Why would I have a debate about nuance with someone who won’t even answer for what he says?

    Mark said:

    “Ultimately, this is what I want to address with you. This hyper-reductive view of literature you present on Scarriet is worthless. That’s why we’re going to help you get better. Even if it takes until the end of the month.”

    Mark said:

    “Do you or do you not like poetry? If so, and without resorting to the flowery language and cheesy metaphors you’re so fond of, why? Can you put aside the laughably vague polemics and tell us where you see poetry going in the 21st Century and what you would realistically like to see from poetry in 21st Century?

    Also, how do you respond to charges that you’re nothing but a troll? Can you link me to anything on Scarriet where you don’t resort to ad hominem speculation and actually contribute something worthwhile or of substance to the discourse of poetry?”


    If you love to wrestle why are you insisting on turning this into a sissy slapfight? Why are you so scared of a real debate about the real issues that affect Scarriet? Back up what you’re saying or go back to the excrement castle with the other lying cowards.

    (Oh, and me calling you a “lying coward” is not in any way reductive, simplistic or incorrect, it’s a simple fact actually. You lied on the Bernstein thread and you won’t engage in an actual debate without knowingly employing this sissy subterfuge. So yeah, “lying coward”. If you want to claim otherwise, then that’s an argument I’d be willing to have. 😀 )

  13. Mark said,

    April 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    I also said this:

    “The last posts in this thread represent another attempt by Tom to, ultimately, avoid answering for the things he’s said.”

    You’re just trying to wait me out, Tom. This cowardly tactic of yours will eventually work – but all you’re really saying is that you’re too scared to really debate me. Everyone can see it.

  14. Briggs Seekins said,

    April 9, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Nobody is really winning any debates here. College wrestling is my favorite sport, so I should know. Let me tell you, every match I’ve ever had, and it’s many hundreds at this point, I always knew for sure if I won or lost. You never see two wrestlers walk off the mat arguing over who won. We can see here why rhetoric is disheartening for all involved.

  15. Mark said,

    April 9, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    I was captain of my high school wrestling team.

    I think when Tom refuses to step onto the mat he forfeits… I think that counts as a win for me.

  16. Mark said,

    April 9, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Plus, to this point:

    “You never see two wrestlers walk off the mat arguing over who won”

    I remember hearing lots of sore losers saying “that point didn’t count” or some such nonsense. It was always just bullshit designed to save face, that’s what Tom’s been doing for the last week and a half.

    • April 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm

      That’s a valid analogy in a sense, but most matches that could conceivably have been decided by a bad ref’s call are very close matches. You are each claiming to have verbally manhandled the other. I’m sure you never saw anybody debating whether or not they got tech falled. Or loosing by tech fall but sincerely believing he really won by major decision. I do on occasion see Russian fans make excuses for Gardener’s victory over Karelin. But nobody ever argues about whether or not Karelin actually walked through international competition for over a decade, or that Danny Gable did not actually dominate the Olympic bracket in 1972. In Pobiz and related criticism you might have a particular prize given out named for a writer that a bunch of academically appointed experts have all agreed is brilliant, while you, or I, or Tom Brady, might have elaborately conceived opinions to the contrary. In college wrestling they give the Danny Hodges trophy, because was Hodges was the greatest college wrestler in history, at least until Sanderson came along.

      • Mark said,

        April 11, 2011 at 1:55 am


        These are all fair points. Like I said, I was being over-the-top on purpose. I still maintain that Tom is not willing to have a real debate with me and that ought to count as a forfeit…

        but it doesn’t really matter to me too much.


  17. thomasbrady said,

    April 10, 2011 at 1:05 am


    This is your learned opinon on T.S. Eliot; “People truly hated the guy”

    People?? LOL People hated the guy? And they love Pound? LOL

    You’re still losing 2-0. Eliot, you’ve conceded. That’s 1-0. And the most important modernist of them all doesn’t matter to you because “people truly hated the guy.” LOL

    So far you’ve found one passing reference to Shelley by Pound in 1910, before Modernism as we know it existed. “Ode to the West Wind” was and is an unquestioned masterpiece, Shelley fixed in the canon; a young Pound making such a remark is pedestrian and without merit. This is like pointing out a 50 year old known bank robber once gave correct change when he was 20. And that’s all you’ve got. I’m just getting warmed up and you’re sputtering; you’ve got nothing but the occasional insult.

    This is funny, too:

    “Yeats, HD, WCW, Stevens, Olson, really all the major modernists that people still bother to read) thought Shelley was glorious…”

    He was glorious. And they were not. That’s the point, my good sir.

    People still read HD and Olson???—more than Eliot??? Olson??? LOL If Shelley influenced HD. WCW, and Olson…well then, Shelley influenced every poet who came after him…how does that aid your argument? Prove these writers truly reflect the glory of Shelley. Prove it.

    You’re running from the real debate here. We need proof, remember? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

    I suggest we take one writer at a time: Eliot meets my criteria, as does Pound.

    Who shall we look at next? With evidence?…


  18. Mark said,

    April 10, 2011 at 1:14 am

    But just so we’re all clear, I’m not really interested in winning or losing (though by any definition of the terms, I’ve clearly won). I’d be much more inclined to have a discussion than a debate. I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind, just pointing out how poorly constructed the arguments on Scarriet are and how cowardly Tom is for refusing to discuss these issues.

    I honestly can’t imagine anything more absurd than applying the rhetoric of wrestling or fighting to something so impossibly fey and limpwristed as arguing about poetry on the internet… So I’m going to stop doing that now, even though I think it’s really funny and get an ironic kick out of it.

    This limpwristedness is Tom’s bread and butter – it’s all he’s got and he’s devoted literally YEARS of his adult life to it. I just have too much free time on my hands for the next little bit. When this is over I’ll walk away the champion and Tom will continue to be a bitter failure of a poet lashing out at the poetry establishment on a website that most people think to be a joke or a vulgar guilty pleasure.

    Tom is reality TV, I’m just guest starring for couple episodes.

  19. Mark said,

    April 10, 2011 at 1:25 am

    “This is your learned opinon on T.S. Eliot; “People truly hated the guy”

    People?? LOL People hated the guy? And they love Pound? LOL”

    I don’t see how one is contingent upon the other. I never said anyone loves Pound. Nor is the fact that people didn’t like Eliot a slam on his work as a poet necessarily. Stop trying to put words in my mouth when the words are all there for you to see.

    “And the most important modernist of them all doesn’t matter to you because “people truly hated the guy.”

    I never said this either. Most major poets since Eliot are on record as not liking him, though.

    “He was glorious. And they were not. That’s the point, my good sir.”

    Nice try, Tom. We’re not arguing about who’s glorious – you don’t have to like the Modernists. You said the Modernists hated the Romantics. I’ve proved they don’t. Stop trying to change your position midway through the debate. We all know what you said.

    “Prove these writers truly reflect the glory of Shelley. Prove it” – Again, this is not what we’re discussing. We’re discussing whether they hated him or not. They didn’t. I win.

    Your “evidence” of Pound is that he didn’t write about the Romantics as often as he should have? Specious, even by the lax standards of Scarriet. You’re pathetic, Tom.

    Again though, I’ll copy-paste what I wrote that you’re desperately trying to ignore:

    Mark said:

    Mark said:

    “Ultimately, this is what I want to address with you. This hyper-reductive view of literature you present on Scarriet is worthless. That’s why we’re going to help you get better. Even if it takes until the end of the month.”

    Mark said:

    “Do you or do you not like poetry? If so, and without resorting to the flowery language and cheesy metaphors you’re so fond of, why? Can you put aside the laughably vague polemics and tell us where you see poetry going in the 21st Century and what you would realistically like to see from poetry in 21st Century?

    Also, how do you respond to charges that you’re nothing but a troll? Can you link me to anything on Scarriet where you don’t resort to ad hominem speculation and actually contribute something worthwhile or of substance to the discourse of poetry?””


    Nitpicking about modernists is a slap-fight. You want to act tough on the internetz and say you love to wrestle then we need a real debate and these are the things that need to be discussed before we address the finer points.

    You’re floundering, Tom. Need to catch your breath? We can take a little break if you can’t hack it.

  20. Mark said,

    April 10, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Remember Tommy, the debate was: “I can prove the Modernists didn’t hate the Romantics. Can you prove that they did?”

    Not who reflects the glory of the Romantics which is so subjective as to not warrant a debate in the first place. What we’re talking about is concrete. You’re not used to dealing with facts so maybe that’s why you’re failing so miserably to come up with anything.

    Let’s put this aside though. It’s clear that the “Modernists” didn’t “hate” the “Romantics”. The larger questions are of greater importance here. I copy-pasted some of them for you. Why don’t you answer them?

  21. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 10, 2011 at 5:53 am

    You repeatedly ask Tom to draw your attention to some piece of writing on Scarriet, any piece of writing on Scarriet at all, that he feels has made a positive and coherent contribution to the understanding of poetry. Well, I know the site pretty well, and went through it carefully trying to find an article that Tom might want to stand behind as a.) a good piece of writing AND b.) a cogent argument that could be used in his wrestling match with you on poets and poetry today.

    And I couldn’t find anything that takes poets or poetry seriously at all, or shows any appreciation of or sensitivity toward the art. Every word Tom has written has been a put down of something or other poetic — a send up, belittlement, demolition, water balloon, stink bomb, or reductio ad absurdum.

    Which is the dirtiest little secret of all behind the screen in Tom Brady’s Oz — not only that the Man doesn’t like poetry but that poets make him feel uncomfortable, that they irk him, that he feels they’re inferior and nuts!

    Because poets not only lie, he feels, but they pretend their lies are accessible and coherent when they’re not. For poets actually believe in what they say, he rails, and expect others to join in celebrating the corruption and fraud.

    As stark as that!

    Sometime ago Tom wrote this (a nice piece of writing, but…):

    There is only one reason why I would clothe any argument in an additional argument, or ‘poetize’ any argument to you right now, and this reason is not a positive one, but a negative one; it is a reason entirely based on human fallibility. That is, if I feared you, or if I longed to deceive you in some way, or I felt that you would never understand or comprehend the essence of what I am saying, or if I wanted something from you, or felt overwhelmed by some emotion, or I was trying to impress you with word-play or rhetorical ability, only then, would I add to my writing any feature at all which could be termed ‘poetic.’

    And I replied:

    What I’ve never seen you do is listen to what a poem actually says that might be of value to you personally. You read with such disdain and critical detachment, almost as if you were judging a small town dog show that neglected to shovel up its poop. But even a tiny little poem can speak to you, you know–it mustn’t be asked just to stand up on its hind legs and rhumba, or jump through some literary-historical hoop to please you.

    There’s so much any little poem can tell you tell you if you just let it – but like the poorly educated scientist you restrict yourself to the empirical evidence before you, as if the universe could tango without the human value that gives meaning to it!


  22. Mark said,

    April 10, 2011 at 7:07 am


    I’ve been looking too and also coming up short.

    I think you’ve once again hit the nail on the head but for one point. You say Tom “he feels [poets are] inferior and nuts!” – my inclination is that Tom is the one with the inferiority complex.

    What do we know about Tom? (like I said, I’ve been reading Scarriet a lot in the last two weeks).

    Tom is middle-aged (probably 40 or 50) has been writing poetry since age 18 and is a complete failure at it. That’s 25 or so years of constant failure. That’s enough to make someone pretty damn bitter.

    Tom teaches English, I suspect, at the college level. He makes reference to teaching freshman English comp which means he’s probably a sessional prof because 1) the real profs don’t want to bother with that crap and 2) tenure is usually only given to people who (for good or ill) have had some success – Tom has had none, of course. This means that Tom is a cog (the smallest cog imaginable but a cog nonetheless) in the machine he blames for ruining poetry. It also means he probably has an MFA from one of the programs he so stridently campaigns against. Cue self-loathing. Tom blames the program for his failure when it’s really his utter lack of talent that holds him back. He ascribes no value to poetry as a defence mechanism – so few see any value in Tom.

    Tom obviously hates poetry but has spent a couple hours a day (average) for the last 3+ years on a website about poetry. Why? Because it’s the only way for him to have an audience and that’s why he’s willing to say shocking things. Anything for attention. He’s like the paparrazo who starts thinking that he himself is famous. During his time on this site he has contributed nothing of value, using it instead as a soapbox with which to lash out against the establishment that shunned him. What he doesn’t realize is that there’s a good reason for them to have shunned him: he’s not very good and the couple good ideas he has are so vague and unrefined as to be completely unrealistic. I guess if he bothered to hone his ideas and then still failed he wouldn’t be able to blame everyone else for the sad state of poetry today.

    From these three simple facts I would say that Tom’s trolling and inferiority complex are pretty easy to diagnose. He can’t turn his gaze inward so he lashes out against the outside world. This is why his attacks are so impossibly vague – he has no realistic way forward for poetry just a bunch of bitching and moaning. All ad hominem attacks and reductio ad absurdum. If any of the Romantics ever met Tom they would slap him for being such a little crybaby.


    We’re here to help you. It’s not too late to get better. Will you accept our help?

    It all starts by answering those questions that you’re too afraid to answer. You haven’t answered them because you don’t actually like to wrestle, you just want a hug. Come here, big guy. We’ll get you through this.


  23. Mark said,

    April 10, 2011 at 7:25 am

    This is also why Tom hides behind Plato. Every major thinker since Keats has been opposed to Platonism to some degree.

    For Tom it’s not about Plato having it all sorted out – it’s a defence mechanism.

  24. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I don’t think your hug will get him out of this, Mark — any more than my friendship and encouragement did either. I hung in there and wrestled with him for months on end but Tom never metamorphosed beyond the angel of death he is now.

    The closest he came to his humanity, I think, was in this poem he posted on Blog:Harriet in June 2009:

    On June 24, 2009 at 3:06 pm thomas brady wrote:

    The Fish

    As a boy I learned to accept the fishes’ death.
    On fishing trips with my grandfather I silently hoped the fish
    Would somehow live. After a long drive from the lake,
    When the trunk of the car was opened,
    The pickerels would still be breathing,
    Their gills quivering in the murderous air.
    I sensed my grandfather’s indifference;
    Sorrow brooded without sound on my lips
    As I watched the straight, wet creatures staring,
    Their fins, nor their scales, able to help them.
    What pity I felt for stern fish who solemnly lazed in streams,
    Inscrutable monsters who lived in the flood!
    And now a sad excitement comes on me like a flood,
    Weakening everything in me but memory,
    Death disguised in dreams,
    Dreams of dream lakes, peering within.
    Fishing in dreams, the fish
    Of strange dimensions brushing by each other, writhing,
    Beautiful, mysterious, hidden partially by the dark.
    Before I hooked a worm or caught a fish, and sex
    Was only something I knew disguised,
    I dreamed of two creatures,
    One fat, one long, struggling to the death
    In a wooden tub of water, barely large enough to hold them,
    A scene which changed my innocence innocently.
    I founded my religion in a pond.
    You could see me hunched over on summer days
    In the slime where salamanders were hiding.
    I feared for the safety of worms
    We used for bait. Because fish devoured worms, I felt
    Less pity for fish and gradually I felt less pity
    And sorrow for all.
    I cannot describe what I felt in my heart when I saw a minnow
    In the mouth of a snake.
    Does anyone know what death is just before it happens?
    Some say we long to know it all the time.
    Poetry hints at it, with sounds of words
    Saying what is underlying, when snakes
    Sense what the child knows when unkindness is by.
    Here’s the brook, the forest, the hungry trout,
    The dream of sex which is not sex,
    The hungry sweetness of it all,
    The sunlight, the mist, the mad-life child.
    You returned from the woods with your books,
    After reading against a tree,
    Nature and flies annoyed you,
    You brought your books back; poetry failed you;
    Poetry in books was too full of silences,
    The wood too full of noises.
    And when sex, the adolescent feeling sex,
    Suddenly comes for the first time
    While just lying on your bedroom floor, alone;
    You live with it, you marry it,
    It keeps you company,
    Through the years,
    And poetry, lying in open secret,
    Becomes your companion too.
    If only we could get back
    To the dream of sex which is not sex,
    The prince, the arms, the tan face,
    The castle, the explanations, mother, father,
    Brother, sister, the conquering, the sand,
    The waters, the coughing, the poetry,
    The light just above you as you look up,
    You’re a fish, swimming towards the boy,
    The boy in the boat with his grandfather,
    The boy is listening to his grandfather tell a joke;
    You will interrupt, you will startle the boy’s line;
    You will be pulled up on the boat,
    You will be kept, to die, slowly,
    And the boy will no longer know what to think.
    But the idea was to die for him.
    The idea was to save his life.
    …………………………………..Thomas Graves

    I immediately replied to the poem in a Comment as follows:

    Such a rich poem, Tom, and so much from the inside of childhood, sex and fishing. The most secret inside of it, the water under the little bank, the bare hands around it.

    In Scotland the salmon mount all the great rivers to spawn, and everybody knows the photograph of the fly fisherman with his waders, tweed hat and jacket casting for the trophy in the late afternoon water. But grown-up fishermen never get them all, now or ever, and the kings of the river continue up and up their dwindling domain over falls and rapids until, thin and pale and desperate, they slow to a standstill under the bank of a small rivulet way up in the Dumfries hills not far from the shepherd’s cottage. Tommy MacTaggart, tough but small for his age, knows that, and when no one’s looking he creeps out to the edge of the brook on all fours and reaches a long, thin arm down into the water as far as it can go under the bank until there’s a body moving between his fingers. And he grabs, with both hands now, and has the whole Atlantic in his hands!

    That’s called in the local Scot’s dialect “guddling,” and it’s illegal–but I never saw that deter a boy, or a poet.

    Thanks so much for that, Tom–I think you’d be surprised how many times I’ll read it.

    And the other poem I have of course in mind is Stanley Kunitz’s “King of the River.””


    In an e-mail Tom said it was a very old poem he’d never finished — that in fact he felt it was adolescent and was embarrassed by it.

    I kept it in the back of my mind, and it sustained me sometimes when I wanted to give up on him.

    When he took over Scarriet in March 2010 his relationship to that side of himself seems to have snapped.

    I wonder what he’d say now.


    • April 11, 2011 at 3:25 am

      Here’s what I just said all over again:

      In an e-mail Tom said it was a very old poem he’d never finished — that in fact he felt it was adolescent and was embarrassed by it.

      I kept it in the back of my mind, and it sustained me sometimes when I wanted to give up on him.

      When he took over Scarriet in March 2010 his relationship to that side of himself seems to have snapped.

      I wonder what he’d say now.


      Read on to see what Tom says next, and then ask yourself if you feel sorry for him.

  25. thomasbrady said,

    April 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm


    You’re just repeating yourself. You’ve become a time-suck.

    Let me know if you have anything more to add re: Eliot and Pound hated the Romantics. Eliot did hate them; Pound, his friend, ignored them. I was going to move onto John Crowe Ransom next, but I don’t think you’re worth it. You’re just jumping around saying, “I won1 I won!”



  26. April 10, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I apologize if I sound a little too aggressive here (I tend to get that way when I drink too much…Irish, y’know), but this gang rape of Thomas Brady is getting a little sickening. It is analogous to going into someone’s home and pissing on the living room carpet. Gentlemen, you are shittin’ in the kitchen and it does more to shame and indict you than it does Tom.

    If you don’t like the site, or the host, one wonders why you don’t just get the fuck out! Unless, of course, you are basically just bullies. If I don’t like the food at a given restaurant, I go to another one. I don’t beat up the cook.

  27. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 11, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Perhaps I missed something, Gary, but I thought this was a discussion site, not a restaurant.

    I’ve also not seen any sign that Tom Brady is put off by the discussion with Mark, that on the contrary, Tom is encouraging Mark to stay in the ring and take more of his punishment.

    Scarriet is a greasy-spoon/chop-shop/cockpit by design, after all, and it only fails when there’s no shit/body-parts/blood-and-guts on the floor. For many months now there’s been no action to speak of (ha ha), and mayhem’s been sorely missing. Now the numbers are up once more and it’s jumping, and even you’re here — as you like to say yourself, go figure!

    And do take note, Gary. Not a single person has come in on Tom’s side to help him in his argument, and all his old colleagues and friends are here too. I mean, is there anyone out there who agrees with Tom, or is the crowd just into the crunch and the gore like those frantic green men Tom sets up in his posts to roar?

    Blood looks best on green too, you know, Gary, and it’s Tom chooses the colors.


    If you’re so outraged by what’s happening to Tom, why don’t you help him? Do you think he likes it when people just feel sorry for him? When they don’t stand up on his side?

    Or is it “The Fish” that so set you off? Is it the spectacle of your friend Tom Brady as vulnerable that’s so unacceptable? Is that it?

    Or his vulnerability vis à vis mine?


  28. April 11, 2011 at 1:57 am

    If you review the thread you will see that the ‘debate’ has devolved into rude personal and ad hominem attacks. That is not a debate, it’s a street fight.

    I can’t ‘help’ Tom because I don’t agree with his position, but he doesn’t need to be subjected to public abuse for his opinions.

    • Anonymous said,

      April 11, 2011 at 2:39 am

      Link Support, where are you?

      I’m here for the street fight, and so far the only really good shit I can find is in Gary B. Fitzgerald’s post just above.

      Could you please give me the URLs for the following:

      1.) rude words………………………………………………………

      2.) low blows…………………………………………………….

      3.) dirt talk…………………………………………………….

      4.) people subjected to public abuse for their opinions…………………………………………………….


      • Mark said,

        April 11, 2011 at 2:46 am

        Tom called me “bozo” and I called him a failure who can’t write poetry worth a damn…

        That’s pretty much it as far as dirt goes.

        Sorry to disappoint.


      • Nooch said,

        April 11, 2011 at 8:16 am

        Hey, Anonymous,
        I’m raht cheer—
        The mortgage is paid
        And the coast looks clear.

  29. Mark said,

    April 11, 2011 at 2:01 am


    Christopher already said so, but let’s not be melodramatic. Two people hardly constitutes a “gang-rape”.

    In fact, given what a dick Tom was to him, Christopher is being downright cordial. Stop letting Ol’ Gravesy play the victim. This is a long time coming. I grew up playing hockey – if one player is running his mouth and dishing out cheap shots behind the ref’s back you’d better believe he’s going to get checked HARD and possibly beat down until he learns to shut his mouth.

    You say: “If I don’t like the food at a given restaurant, I go to another one. I don’t beat up the cook.”

    I say that when I hear the restaurant down the street is serving dogs, and then my beagle goes missing, I kick in the door and when I see Ol’ Rex in a cage under the sink I let him out and I tell people what’s going on. If the chef tries to stop me I sock him in the fucking nose.

    Scarriet is bad for poetry.

    Perhaps you take umbrage with me bringing up Tom’s education and his motives for writing? I don’t see any difference between me doing that to Tom and Tom doing that on a regular basis to Ron Silliman. Is it somehow more objectionable because you know Tom and you don’t know Ron Silliman? Or because Silliman has had some success and is more in the public eye? If the last two weeks have been a gang-rape then Tom is at least guilty of sexual harrassment. There are literally years of evidence to prove it.

    You’re a Scarriet regular, Gary, so I’ll ask you: what do you like about Scarriet? Are you happy with the level of discourse Tom engenders/allows?

    Maybe you don’t want to get involved, and that’s cool if you don’t, but I’m maintaining that Tom is doling out cheap shots and nonarguments under the guise of facts: do you disagree?


  30. Mark said,

    April 11, 2011 at 2:05 am


    You posted while I was posting and said: “[Tom] doesn’t need to be subjected to public abuse for his opinions”

    I would suggest that Tom has been subjecting people to public abuse for their opinions for years. I thought Scarriet was a place where the gloves could come off. I don’t see how what I’m doing to Tom is any worse than what Tom does to Ron Silliman et al.


  31. Mark said,

    April 11, 2011 at 2:13 am


    You want to move on to John Crowe Ransom?!?!

    That’s pathetic. NO ONE reads John Crowe Ransom. You want to disregard HD and Olson because no one reads them but my Collected HD is on its 9th printing and my Maximus Poems is on its 3rd (which is not necessarily a statement of quality but a mere economic fact – someone must be buying them to warrant them being printed in any significant quantity). Ransom’s books aren’t even in print. You are literally the only person I’ve ever heard talk about him. The battle you’re fighting here is long over. Time to move on, sir.

    Let’s level with one another. The three major English language modernists are Eliot, Pound and Yeats (am I forgetting anyone really big here?).

    Eliot hated the Romantics

    Yeats loved them passionately (I actually don’t care for much of Yeats – his poetic methodology and agenda are off-putting – but his lineage from Blake and Shelley is clear. Duncan talks about it in the HD Book and uses quotes from Yeats. I’m sure you’re already aware of it but I can quote it if you’d like)

    If Pound calling Shelley the greatest transcendental poet of the English Language, calling Ode to the West Wind glorious, calling Coleridge wise and having mad love for Heine isn’t good enough (it is, you’re just trying to wriggle free now) then the point remains: ambivalence isn’t hate. I don’t listen to the bands I listened to when I was 13 anymore but to accuse me of hating them is ludicrous and untenable. You said Pound “hated” the Romantics. That’s just not true. It makes for a flashy title but it has no merit.

    If you wanted to show that you had the capacity for reasoned debate (rather than just jumping to crazy conclusions based on no facts or evidence) I would be happy to discuss how Pound’s later work continued to show the influence of the Romantic poets (in terms of formal construction and content – i.e. his use of mythological referents, etc). It should be said, though, that I’m not much of a Pound guy. I’m not sure how you’ve put the mantle of Pound on me here. I’m not trying to defend him, per se, I’m just trying to clear away some of your subtle mistruths and outright lies.

    Anyway, “growing somewhat ambivalent as he aged and moved on to other works” is not the same as “hating” – the burden of proof was on you and you dropped it. Pound was an opinionated prick. If he “hated” the Romantics as you keep claiming, he DEFINITELY would have said so.

    We can bring minor figures out of the woodword (though by ANYONE’s estimation HD, WCW, Crane, Olson and Stevens are more important figures than Ransom and Warren) but, within the three most prominent figures in the Modernist movement, we see a huge amount of variance in their feelings towards the Romantics. From hatred to modest enjoyment to absolute love.

    Saying Modernists hate Romantics won’t do anymore, Tom. It’s too reductive to be worth a damn and that’s just not good enough.

    The sick thing is that I think you already know this. Saying “Modernists hate Romantics” is a attention-grabber but if you have to bring up John Crowe Ransom to make your case you’ve already pretty much lost as far as I can see.


  32. Mark said,

    April 11, 2011 at 2:33 am

    The stuff about the Modernists is just a minor beef, though. It’s an example of the low standards of discourse you allow/encourage on Scarriet. Here are the important questions as I see them:

    1) You have been accused of not finding any value in poetry, how do you respond? Has your life been enriched in any way by your familiarity with poetry or is it just something to pass the time for you?

    2) What, in your mind, is the point of Scarriet? Is it to improve poetry or to wallow in its failings? Is it something else entirely? Can you link to anything you’ve written that is indicative of the spirit of Scarriet as well as being substantial, based on concrete points and in some way worthwhile?

    3) How do you respond to charges that you are nothing but a common internet troll? Is such an assessment fair or unfair and why?

    4) How do you justify the hyper-reductive view of literature you present here (that literature be purely sentimental and that your reviews need not be based on facts or even on having finished reading the work you are purporting to review)? Are you content merely to pass off your crude speculations as facts? Why or why not?

    5) You’ve repeatedly attacked Bernstein’s “Official Verse Culture” and Silliman’s “School of Quietude” for being too vague but your own attacks on “incoherent” poetry are just as vague (perhaps more so). What do you think about this seeming hypocrisy?

    6) Where do you realistically see poetry going in the 21st century? Where would you ideally like to see poetry going in the 21st century? What have you done to help facilitate any forward movement?

    What say you, Tom? There are no right or wrong answers here. Answer as many as you can (the first one is probably less important to me personally but I think it DOES warrant being asked).


  33. Wfkammann said,

    April 11, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Not to pile on, but Tom is a bit like Rush Limbaugh who loves to turn the volume down on the opponent’s mike and scream idiocies at them in a loud voice. Then, of course, he can always Nooch you to death with poem after not-to-the-point poem. Yes, all alone but hardly in a class by yourself. When the French ladies ran a Salon they didn’t think they were the brightest bulb. Try that on Thom.

  34. April 11, 2011 at 4:02 am

    Mark said:

    “Perhaps you take umbrage with me bringing up Tom’s education and his motives for writing? I don’t see any difference between me doing that to Tom and Tom doing that on a regular basis to Ron Silliman. Is it somehow more objectionable because you know Tom and you don’t know Ron Silliman?”

    I have actually exchanged more personal e-mails with Mr. Silliman, and others of greater note, than I have with Mr. Graves. I consider many people to be my friend (and, no…I don’t do Facebook). 🙂

    Mark said:

    “You’re a Scarriet regular, Gary, so I’ll ask you: what do you like about Scarriet? Are you happy with the level of discourse Tom engenders/allows?”

    Well, I’m not a “Scarriet regular” and have not commented here for a long time. I comment on many different blogs. As with all of them, some posts are of interest and worth responding to, others are not. In any case, I don’t judge the “level of discourse” at any given site. I find both jewels and dull rocks in every mine.

    Besides, I’m only into poetry for the money.

    • Mark said,

      April 11, 2011 at 4:33 am

      “Besides, I’m only into poetry for the money.”

      You and me both, brother.

      The problem I have with Scarriet is that the jewels are tossed away in favour of the dull rocks.

      I tried to have a genuine discussion with Tom that could have been fruitful and interesting but he immediately began trying to change the terms of the debate. When I persisted he moved on to personal attacks (“bozo” and the like). When I continued to persist he started lying as a way of misrepresenting my position. It was only then that I began taking things personally.

      That said, I feel like maybe you’re reading more bad blood into this then is actually present. Tom loves this stuff. He’s just not used to people calling him on his bullshit.

      If I was a tad more mobile and didn’t have a doctor telling me to stay in bed 20 hours a day I probably would have stopped caring and moved on long ago as you suggest. I’m not, by nature, a particularly stubborn person and I have no real stake in Scarriet as such. Tom certainly wouldn’t normally be worth this much effort but sometimes a troll has to get squashed. I’ve got some free time. I figure, why not?

  35. April 11, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Tom is a strange bird, Mark. He has, over the years, acknowledged the value of four of my heroes: Blake, Keats, Shelley and Poe. Yet he has disparaged four of my other heroes: E.E. Cummings, Dylan Thomas, W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot. Go figure.

    I suggest that you write a short essay that expresses your point of view (contradicting Tom’s arguments) and propose it as a guest post. He would probably agree. After all, the controversy is the thing here, right?

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm


      And Yeats abused Keats, and Eliot abused Poe.

      But Scarriet is not satisfied with ‘go figure.’ We give you answers.

      I think “a short essay that expresses his point of view,” is beyond Mark’s reach. (Just kidding—I think)


      • Mark said,

        April 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm

        What answers have you given, Tom? Could you link me to something on Scarriet where you’ve given an answer that didn’t resort of ad hominem bullshit or pure speculation?

        You guessing is not the same as you giving answers. Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out eventually.

      • thomasbrady said,

        April 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm


        What answers have we given?

        Read Scarriet.

        And If you come up with an essay—you’ll be reading yourself.


    • Mark said,

      April 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      I’ve been reading Scarriet, Tom. Haven’t found anything. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places? Could you link me to something?

  36. April 11, 2011 at 5:45 am

    Here’s a poetic exchange I remember in which Gary B. Fitzgerald wrote a poem about Thomas Brady with a bit of me mashed in between — and boy was I made to suffer for it!

    It’s from the bad old Blog:Harriet days before anyone had even thought of Scarriet.

    On July 7, 2009 at 7:42 pm Gary B. Fitzgerald wrote:

    The Pedant

    So many verses read, references compiled,
    so many titles quoted and remembered;
    a wealth of prosodic structure understood.
    You have studied every poet from Petrarch
    to Poe to Plath and none of it
    has done you any good.
    You have never quite experienced exactly
    what the poet’s count and meter said you should,
    done that of which all these poems speak.
    Vicariously you lived, your chips untendered,
    your connection weak and for all intents
    and purposes almost dead and past your peak.
    For you have traded all your living, the edge and energy,
    the color of the life that set you on this path
    for the lives of all the others you have studied,
    dissected and dismembered, and never found
    that truth of which you seek, the epiphany
    you always thought you would that now,
    you finally realize, you never really could.
    …………………Copyright 2009 – Ponds and Lawns, Gary B. Fitzgerald

    On July 7, 2009 at 10:35 pm Christopher Woodman wrote:

    That’s a good one, Gary, that’s right spot on.

    That really keeps the spot sore! [that was the name of Joel Brouwer’s thread on Harriet, “Keep the Spot Sore.”]

    I like in particular the first stanza. I like the diction a lot, I like the way you transform non-poetic phrases like “references compiled,” “titles quoted,” and “poetic references” into mature, resonate poetry. Ironically, my only reservation is that the stanza might move even better if you deleted the phrase “to Poe,” both for the rhythm and the sense. Indeed, a point is always better taken if the nail you’re hammering remains firmly out of sight.

    I’m also surprised you assume later in the poem that Thomas Brady is old. I thought that too in the beginning—indeed after something he said I had the picture of him as an old man in a wheelchair!

    I have no idea who Thomas Brady is or what he does, but I now think he’s very young for a critic with such an armory and, yes, such a big mouth. So I don’t think you’re right at all to suggest he lives “vicariously” or that he’s “passed [his] peak,” what’s more that he “never found that truth of which you speak, the epiphany.” I read him as a young man in disguise, probably not even in an academic position, who is just starting out and is willing to wait. I think that this is a man who knows that in the end he will emerge whole and radiant from his anonymous cocoon not as a critic but as a poet. What I see as remarkable about Thomas Brady is that he’s so patient!

    I mean, look what he says on this thread, and then compare his tone with that of his detractors. Thank God it’s more Thomas Brady who defines the tenor of this discussion than the wasps, otherwise Harriet would sound just like the others!

    So it’s a very good poem indeed, Gary, witty, profound, and very positive. Indeed, the biggest compliment I can give it is to say it doesn’t need to rub shoulders with Thomas Brady either.

    It’s a success all on it’s own!


    On July 9, 2009 at 10:42 am thomas brady wrote:

    Don’t Say Anything About This Poem

    Don’t say anything about this poem.
    Look! this poem is published elsewhere
    In a finely bound book, happily selling
    And being purchased even as I copy
    This poem as a favor to you.
    Even now, as you open your mouth
    To say something about this poem,
    Someone more beautiful than you,
    Wearing a silk jacket featuring a landscape
    Middle eastern, is admiring my book
    And caressing its pages, the book ($9.99 plus tax)
    Which has my poem and many others, equally good.
    It is pointless to say anything about this poem
    For it lives somewhere else,
    Even as the words march into your eyes.

    ………………………………………………Thomas Brady


  37. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 11, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I suspect I left out a stroke in the HTML code in that last post as the “blockquote” did not close after the credit following Gary B. Fitzgerald’s poem.

    I’m trying to remedy it here so it doesn’t bleed over into the next comment. If it’s still visible after the word “poem,” the Scarriet editor will have to enter the HTML for blockquote closure in the Edit Mode.

    Very sorry, Christopher

  38. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 11, 2011 at 11:32 am

    And a further apology — I inadvertently left out the stanza breaks in the three poems, two by Tom and one by Gary, I just posted. I went into the Blog:Harriet archives to copy all three, and this is, I’m afraid, how they actually appear in the new Poetry Foundation formatting.

    Complain bitterly please, everybody — what a shocker!

    Fortunately, Tom can go in easily and insert the stanza breaks in Edit mode, which are obvious.

    As to me, I’m ashamed I didn’t notice, and apologize profusely to both poets.


    • April 13, 2011 at 4:09 am

      I’ve waited 2 days now and the editor has not yet responded to my request to insert the stanza breaks in the 3 poems I copied from Blog:Harriet and then pasted directly into Scarriet.

      Two of those poems were by Thomas Brady, so obviously the editor doesn’t care about his own work. On the other hand, out of respect for Gary B. Fitzgerald, a poet the editor likes and has edited, I would have thought he would have attended to “The Pedant.”

      Meanwhile I apologize to you yet again. Gary — I was so stupid not to have noticed. I do have an accurate copy of “The Fish” so could easily repair it. On the other hand, I’m not completely sure where the stanza breaks come in your poem, and don’t want to risk making a bad situation even worse.

      Honte, honte, honte.


      • thomasbrady said,

        April 13, 2011 at 1:50 pm


        Palmam qui meruit ferat.


  39. April 13, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I wouldn’t worry about it, Christopher. The poem works either way. I don’t consider it to be a very important poem.

  40. April 13, 2011 at 11:41 pm


    Christopher said:

    “On the other hand, out of respect for Gary B. Fitzgerald, a poet the editor likes and has edited, I would have thought he would have attended to ‘The Pedant.'”

    This is just a flat out lie! No human on Earth has ever, nor would I ever allow one to, “edit” one of my poems! Why the hell do you think I have self-published all six of my books. I would commit suicide before I would allow another (non-poet…or else they wouldn’t be an EDITOR, would they?) to edit one of my poems. God forbid!

  41. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 14, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Very sorry about that, Gary — I should have been more sensitive.

    What I was referring to was Tom’s article on January 11th, 2011, HAPPY NEW YEAR! 11 BIRD POEMS BY GARY B. FITZGERALD in which, as editor, he posted a number of your poems. I personally found the formatting of the whole page lackadaisical, and would not have been happy at all if he had edited my poems in such a careless way.

    But I do understand what you mean about the e-word, and will be more careful.


  42. April 14, 2011 at 2:55 am

    Thou art forgiven, Mr. Woodman. Yes, he pretty much screwed it up.

    Did you like the poems, though?

  43. April 14, 2011 at 2:57 am

    P.S.: It was on January 1, 2011…thus:


  44. thomasbrady said,

    April 14, 2011 at 10:47 am

    memo for a post: the top 100 bird poems of all time…

    will gary b. fitzgerald make the cut?

    stay tuned…

  45. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 14, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    The Scarriet Trap Shoot — 100 Clay Pigeons, bang, bang, bang.

    Going to sign up to be shot down, Gary? So that Tom can keep score?

    Like your asking me, “Did you like the poems?” Do you think I’d answer staring down the double barrels of your Purdy, 12 gauge?

    Why, you turned your gun on me every time as if I were a fat pheasant thrown up by a Keeper, whereas I was your friend in matching Harris tweed and gaiters.


  46. Doing the Nooch said,

    April 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    What I’m doing here, distracting attention from Tom’s failure to answer the questions.

    In rhyme.

  47. Thomas Brady said,

    April 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm


  48. Anonymous said,

    June 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    ur all losers

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