The Dove/Vendler clash last year shook all of poetry, and the blood lust to know which poems are best and what kind of poetry is best for society has grown to a fever pitch.  We’ve seen poets fighting poets, poets crowding before windows to glimpse the latest judgement on this issue. Like motorcycles, poets are everywhere!  And they’re noisier and more irrascible than ever!

Given the gravity of the accusations and counter-accusations that have ensued, we the Scarriet editors decided that the best way to settle the disputes was by honest, clean sport.

What the irascible editors and critics cannot resolve, basketball will untie.

If the professors cannot agree on the worthiness of these poems, we will help.  What we propose is nothing less than smashing each poem against a glass backboard and hurling it down the length of a parquet floor.  We can hear the objection: ‘But some poems are too delicate for such treatment.’  We beg to differ.  The poem’s EFFECT may be an evocation of delicacy, but no poem of worth is brought to fruition without bruises, sweat, surreptitious eye-gouging and dramatic faked falls in full view of a ref who is schooled in every genre and philosophical nuance of our time.

Shall the poems competing in March Madness come only from the Dove anthology?

Some will, but the tournament will feature contemporary poems from all over.

Our intrepid reporter, Marla Muse, will continue to bring you interviews and analysis all through March Madness.  She will put this whole Rita Dove/Helen Vendler controversy in perspective for you.  She will dig into the lives, and explore the playing ability, of the participating poets.

We will also use a slightly different format this year, based on feedback from our readers.   We will have 64 competing poets this year, rather than 64 competing poems, so different poems by the competing poets will be featured in each elimination round.

Stay tuned for the bracket listings!



  1. Paul said,

    March 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    “What we propose is nothing less than smashing each poem against a glass backboard and hurling it down the length of a parquet floor.”


    We are stoked for your March Madness, Tomas.

  2. julian said,

    March 10, 2012 at 7:19 am

    ariana reines is diseminating harmful propaganda…like pound, but worse…it’s actually worse. \\lots o luck, kids…you’re both “real winners”!!!

  3. julian said,

    March 10, 2012 at 7:42 am

    “Oh, are these emails being sent under a different address? I have my two addresses linked on gmail, and sometimes when I’m on them at the same time, even though I send through one, it says I sent through the other.

    Anyway, I’m not sure what the outburst was all about, but this process of me having to figure out what you’re accusing me of over and over is getting a little frustrating. If you want to actually explain what you’re talking about, that’s cool, if not, I’m really not interested in figuring it out.”

  4. julian said,

    March 10, 2012 at 7:44 am

    “Sure! Whatever works for you. I’m a big fan of chatting with people no matter what.

    I’m glad you enjoy my writing. I’ve had a lot of people talk to me about things like where my writing comes from, and I have difficulty answering it. It comes from thinking and that’s really it. I just see things happen or think about interesting events and try and transform them into something likeable. For me, at least. This is a thing I’ve spent my entire life working on, so it’s something I think about everyday. Coming up with an idea and writing it down comes naturally. Like almost a knee-jerk effect. All I need is a simple prompt and maybe some coffee.

    I guess, thinking about it, maybe my stories come from empathy? Or an attempt to empathize? I’m interested in writing about things I could never imagine actually doing or desire doing as a way to understand why others would want to do it themselves.
    I might be interested in meeting your writing friend. What is his or her name? Is he or she a cool cat?

    I just searched for your book! I am going to buy it! I am not much of a poetry guy, but I will certainly give it a shot!

    I also see there’s a youtube video! Oh snap! Will check it out when I get off work.”

  5. julian said,

    March 10, 2012 at 7:47 am

    “My name’s Lara, and I’m the managing editor for the next issue of Broome Street Review

    I just recently came back from Savannah and as I was picking up the new Houellebecq at the Barnes and Noble, I saw ——- in their shitty ass poetry section. Kind of a surprise, but also a total gift, a dark one at that. I felt like when I was reading it I was sitting in a closet under a swinging lightbulb. I very much enjoyed it and respect its ambitions, and although it is an older work, I am interested in seeing what you’ve been up to, possibly by way of submitting some poems to BSR? It’s a solid journal, but I know it could be better. So, part of my investment in curating the next issue is just to have more talented and smart poets being the priority, as opposed to the last issue of Super Machine (another BK publication) which is like a bunch of weird letters from weird poets to one another all talking about the same stupid shit. It’s kind of an unsavory atmosphere to live in…

    Mostly, BSR a poetry publication, but it contains experimental prose, short essays and fiction, and some photography as well.

    Let me know how that sounds to you? The deadline would be Feb 1st, but that’s also flexible.

    I understand you are mostly on the west coast end of things, but all the more reason to invite you to submit for an east coast publication (I don’t even know if you can find hardcopies of BSR outside of St. Marks Bookstore and McNally Jackson). Looking forward to hearing from you.”

  6. julian said,

    March 10, 2012 at 8:03 am

    ““I’ll say this once. I hope it will be useful to you. It is
    purely factual.

    As best i can deduce, the person to whom you keep referring is Ariana
    Reines, a person I have literally never met. The simple meaning of
    this is: you are not processing data accurately, or even
    semi-accurately. I find this worrisome, for you, and honestly hope you
    are ok. But I just want to present this as information. There is no
    way to engage any of these letters as there is no purchase in reality.


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