A Real Caricature

RattlebySlone

www.theamericandissident.org

Most literary editors, I think, know of G. Tod Slone, though I doubt very many readers do.  He’s the crated dog to our mailman — a constant but ineffectual yapping in our ears from some unknown location (is it Massachusetts?), always tilting at the same windmills with the same catch-phrases (“vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy!” “tenure track literati!”).  The general consensus — and Megan’s opinion, too — is that he’s not worth the paper it takes to reply to his emails.  And that’s mostly true.  But to me he’s a delightful foil — like a tertiary character on some sitcom, a lovable curmudgeon, inconsolable crank that he is.  To me he’s Newman (“Hello Newman!”).

We’ve had some vigorous debates in the past — he strapped a homeless man to a rickshaw, I changed the size tags on my skinny-jeans, you know the drill.  Actually, we published a review where he trashed Best American Poetry, because I wanted to show reviewers that it was okay to go negative, and I figured BAP could take it — but it included a false accusation that I had to retract, and then he took his contributor copy and wrote a negative review of that, which would have been fine, except it included more false accusations, and I decided we couldn’t trust him enough to publish him anymore.  So he got all huffy, and then we had a highly entertaining email exchange.  It’s all recreated here if you care (but why would you?).

You can read any of his articles or reviews or missives to get a sense of his argument, which never changes.  The poetry world is run by a bunch of academic/PC gatekeepers, too comfortable in their cushy jobs to be willing to rock the boat.  There’s a small kernel of truth to it, but also a strange loop involved where I’m never quite sure what boat needs to be rocked, other than the establishment itself.  But it is what it is, and he’s the love-child of Chatty-Cathy and the Energizer Bunny.

Anyway, the best part about G. Tod Slone is that, such a caricature himself, he publishes caricatures in his literary magazine (www.theamericandissident.org).  What artistic layering!  As soon as I saw this cartoon of The Pedestal Magazine’s John Amen, I knew I had to have one of my own.  How would he render my receding hairline and boyish good looks?  In what ridiculous setting would he place me?  The possibilities were endless, and that’s what gave me the energy required for the vigorous debate above.

It took him a year and a half, but yesterday he finally sent me the caricature you see in this post, and I have to say I’m very disappointed, on two fronts.  First of all, I’m not in it.  I assume that’s Thoreau on the mock-cover, and interestingly my high school English teacher used to call me Thoreau, because I sported that awful beard (couldn’t grow the mustache until senior year).  But I’m not going to give Slone the psychic or stalkerly credit to have known that.  So I’m not there.

What’s much worse: I see two ways to read the parody of Rattle, hinging on the “Courage Issue” label.  The “Courage” might be ironic — we think we’re being courageous, but really we’re publishing White American poetry along with a ghettoized sub-genre to justify patting ourselves on the back.  That would be an interesting critique — I don’t think it’s true, but it’s something that I worry about, and try hard not to do.

Unfortunately, that’s not the point Slone is trying to make.  I asked him.  Instead, he’s trying to say that this is what a Courage Issue would really look like:  an article about reverse-racism, a tribute to White Americans, a posthumous interview with Thoreau — and no lesbian sestinas!  Yikes.  Here’s Slone in his own words:

Yes, I thought, how unoriginal can one get with the Tribute to Afro-Amer poets and how thoroughly PC.  America seems to favor anything but raw, risky truth telling.  The scope of diversion from such truth telling is immense!  For me, it gets hackneyed to see on the front cover of every other lit mag the diversity dogma in one shape or another, as in Latina Haiku or Queer Senryu or Asian-American Poet.  So, I thought, original would be the white poet thing, knowing it just would not happen RE an est-order lit journal, which by definition would automatically be PC.  By “courage,” yes I was evidently implying that you would not have the courage to do something un-PC.  So it implies not that you SHOULD but rather that you likely NEVER WOULD.   I’m of course quite aware that the Left knee-jerk balks at the term PC and ad hominizes anyone who dares evoke it or otherwise simply suggests it exists.  And that’s sad because the left cannot grow if it does not confront its weaknesses.  PC is a real phenomenon, serving to muzzle and enforce groupthink, as opposed to individual questioning and challenging.

Rather than knee-jerk balk and ad homenize, I think I’ll just let that statement ad homenize itself.  Apparently Slone’s had this problem in the past.  As always, it looks like Megan was right — this guy isn’t even worth the LOLs he brings with him.  And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

But stick around for the comments, I’m sure Slone will show up.

73 thoughts on “A Real Caricature

  1. This response serves as the most recent American Dissident blog entry: http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com. The satire depicted above was inspired by a post-card ad received from Rattle, featuring, quite unoriginally, given today’s PC-grip on the nation, Afro American poets.

    First, for Tim Green, salaried editor of Rattle, allow me to present myself. I have a doctorate from the Universite de Nantes (France) and have spent much of my adult life teaching college courses in both America and France, sometimes on the tenure track, sometimes off it. Prior to that I did spend a number of years doing other things including welding at a shipyard, monitoring radiation at a sub base, carpentry, bank examining for the FDIC, translating for the 24 Heures du Mans auto race, check proofing for a bank, etc. True, I can’t hold a job. True, I tend to speak where others tend to wear muzzles. True, the others will and have called me names because I tend to speak when they tend to wear muzzles. And since you wondered, I live in Concord, Massachusetts. That’s no secret.
    Second, thanks for manifesting the courage to post criticism of Rattle and you on your site: http://timothy-green.org/blog/2009/06/a-real-caricature. My experience indicates most literary editors would not manifest similar courage and openness to vigorous debate, democracy’s cornerstone. Agni’s editor recently told me he would not. And I told him that was the crux of the problem. If you want proof of that, just ask, though I will soon be doing a blog entry on that exchange.
    ALL of what you write on your blog is ad hominem-type empty rhetoric. Even the title of it is thinly-veiled ad hominem: “A Real Caricature.” If only somehow someday you might actually discover that has been your modus operandi, you could make a giant leap forward intellectually. You manage in that rather long blog entry to produce not one cogent argument against any arguments I put forth anywhere, including in the satirical sketch on Rattle. You rely on name calling and “we” or “the general consensus.” BTW, what is your educational background? How did your teachers and/or professors fail to educate you in the importance of logical argumentation, as opposed to facile ad hominem (name calling) and herd mentality, as in “the general concensus”?
    As previously mentioned, ad hominem does seem to have become a rather common modus operandi adopted by educated people today, that is, when their particular orthodoxies are questioned and challenged. Orthodoxy by nature must run counter to truth. The PC orthodoxy (e.g., the diversity mantra) you seem to espouse runs counter to truth. It is not at all difficult to find fault with any orthodoxy. My satirical sketch on Rattle questions and challenges the PC orthodoxy. Since you did not seem to understand it, I’ll briefly explain it: You and Rattle lack the courage to expose the failings of that orthodoxy, the failings in its logic. In other words, if it’s fine to do an issue on black poets, then why is it NOT fine to do an issue on white poets, using the words WHITE POETS? I thought that would be quite simple, that anyone could understand it… and even agree with it. But logic always fails with the orthodox.
    You call me “tertiary character, “crated dog” with “ineffectual yapping,” and on and on and on. Did you take a course on cutesy ad hominem metaphorical combinations in college? Is that what they’re teaching today? Try raising yourself above such facile, childish rhetoric. It’s nothing but base name calling. It’s shooting the messenger in an effort to dismiss his message or messages. Try thinking instead! It is far too easy to fall into the ad hominem mind trap, which is why I make a conscious effort to try to avoid it. And I’m first to admit that I’m not always successful in that endeavor. However, never have I written an essay so utterly replete with ad hominem as your blog entry! Sadly, parents today do not seem to be teaching their children that “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never harm me.” Instead, they’ve been teaching them to lack spine and cry “offensive!” regarding anything they do not like. This is PC-encouraged behavior. It is your behavior. For more on ad hominem and for more names I’ve been called, see http://www.theamericandissident.org/AdHominem.htm. Henry Miller, whom I’m sure you admire, wrote “He [man] has invented a complete catalogue of vile and scabrous epithets which he is ever ready to sling at those who think and act differently, that is, think and act as he himself would like to, if he had the courage.”
    Do open your mind and take a look at the war PC orthodoxy, your orthodoxy, is currently waging on college campuses across the nation against the First Amendment and vigorous debate. See thefire.org. The evidence is there for you to examine. No ad hominem. Just evidence. BTW and fortunately, the PC orthodoxy has been losing that battle in the nation’s courts of law.
    It is sad that you would dismiss vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy, as a mere “catch phrase.” It is sad because you’ve gone through the entire educational process in America only to end up with that scornful idea of democracy in your head. Why is Megan, whoever she might be, so fearful and/or disdainful of discussion (i.e., vigorous debate, democracy’s cornerstone)? What is the point of debating with someone who agrees with ones opinions? None at all. We need to debate with those possessing different opinions. Even CNN and Fox know that. Wake up, Megan, or is it too late?
    Regarding your “general concensus” comment, Tim, did you have statistics to support it? Far too many educated persons think that if the “general concensus” is what they speak, they are therefore right. But in effect, that is simply a manifestation of the herd mentality. For you, I cite Henrik Ibsen, “The majority never has right on its side. Never, I say! That is one of these social lies against which an independent, intelligent man must wage war.”
    BTW, I cite well-known authors, now and then, here and there, who share my ideas because more often than not those like you will generally never belittle via ad hominem well-known authors.
    What you state regarding my alleged “false accusations” is really nothing short of outright prevarication. Shame on you! You clearly know that those “accusations” were two simple errors, not purposefully made at all, which I did rectify and for which you thanked me. If you want proof of that assertion, let me know, since I’ve saved all of our correspondence. Again, rather than challenging any of the ideas presented in that Best American Poetry review of mine, which you evidently liked at the time, but didn’t have the courage to publish in the print journal, you seek to divert attention from them. It is amazing that you would include this link http://www.theamericandissident.org/Reviews-Rattle.htm, as if it were somehow evidence against me. Yet it serves as clear evidence against you, and you cannot even see it. Wow. “Huffy” you call me. You can’t resist, can you? It’s built into your mind. How sad. Try refuting this blog comment w/o resorting to any ad hominem-type rhetoric. Go on. Just see if you can do it. I bet you can’t… because you wouldn’t have anything to say.
    You state I state that “The poetry world is run by a bunch of academic/PC gatekeepers, too comfortable in their cushy jobs to be willing to rock the boat. There’s a small kernel of truth to it…” In effect, that’s basically right, though not in my words. The poetry world has become largely co-opted by the bourgeois mentality of proper taste and aesthetics. Why are all, or almost all, of the Academy of American Poets chancellors tenured professors living the bourgeois dream of job security and monetary comfort? My arguments must be pretty damn potent to get someone like you to actually admit to a miniscule “kernel of truth” in them! Thank you for the admission. Then you ad more ad hominem, more name calling (e.g., “love-child of Chatty-Cathy and the Energizer Bunny”).
    What matters to me, and evidently not to you, is not the color of the poet’s skin, or the poet’s nationality, or the poet’s sexual orientation, but rather whether or not the poet actually has the guts to stand up as an individual and speak truth to power, as opposed to sitting as a herd member of a protected species kissing power’s ass. For you, just call it Afro-American, and it must inevitably be good.
    Finally, you stated “In any event, I do appreciate debate, and your vigor — although from what I gather you probably want to debate that, haha…” And you are right that I would debate that because this has not been a debate of ideas at all. The only thing you’ve offered is vacuous name calling. In that sense, you behave as a child. I’m sort of surprised.

    G. Tod Slone, Founding Editor (since 1998)
    The American Dissident: Journal of Literature, Democracy & Dissidence
    A 501 c3 Nonprofit Providing a Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy
    http://www.theamericandissident.org
    1837 Main St.
    Concord, MA 01742

  2. Oh, I can’t help it…

    1) These aren’t ad hominem attacks, because I’m not engaging in an argument with you. This post is full of exactly what it seems to be filled with — facile metaphors to describe who you are to those who don’t already know you.

    2) I’m not arguing with you, because there’s very little to argue with. Could we publish a tribute to White Poets? Yes. Would there be things to learn from such an issue? Yes. More than from an issue featuring Black Poets? No. So Black Poets come first. And we only publish two issues a year; it might take awhile.

    3) In the same paragraph where you claim to have retracted your “simple errors” you repeat one of those erroneous claims. We did not “lack the courage” to publish your review of Best American Poetry in print. Before I even knew you existed, I made the decision to stop running print reviews, and we haven’t done so in over two years. Instead of publishing 12 reviews of 500 words a year, we’re able to publish 70 reviews of any length, in a more timely and accessible fashion. That’s the only reason we didn’t print your review: Because we don’t print reviews anymore.

    Other than that, there’s really nothing left to argue with.

  3. Hi Tim! At the risk of stepping into a debate I don’t really understand, especially on G. Tod Slone’s part (I have to admit that I lost track of his argument halfway through paragraph one), I want to ask: Aren’t you taking a bigger “risk” (whatever that may be) by publishing his review online and keeping it there? Afterall, aren’t more people likely to read it? (I did read your rebuttal about the editorial decisions of Rattle’s reviews)

    Just a thought.

  4. I am not going to get into the Tim & G. Tod Slone debate, if indeed there is an actual debate; however, I will weigh-in (again) on the Tribute to African American Poets issue. Tim posted a thoughtful justification for a issue specializing on black poets; however, in my opinion, he tended to overstate the difference in perspectives of black poets. Just by virtue of being different people everyone has different perspectives. Race can certainly give one a different perspective, but not always. Some poeple have stronger feelings of racial identity than others, for whatever reason. It is natural to assume that this racial identity would appear in their art. But ultimately . . . so what? It’s the art that is the important thing; not the artist. In the final analysis does it really matter if the poet is white, black, or any other race, or multiracial? I would say “no”. Any publication that tends to emphasize racial differences (or racial identity) seems to be a step backwards, socialogically & artistically speaking, however well-intentioned such a publication may be.

  5. Hey Karen! Sorry it took a while to notice your blog moved, but I updated your link on my blogroll thing. And yeah, that’s the main reason why we moved reviews online — not just for G. Tod Slone, of course, but for everyone.

    Cafais — let me try one more time to convince you. You say I “overstate the difference in perspectives of black poets.” And indeed, maybe there’s isn’t a huge difference — that’s why it’s useful to take half of one issue out of thirty and group them together: so we can see that subtle difference for once. And if you think there’s no difference between the black experience and the white experience in America, then you’ve got your head in the sand.

  6. The inanity of Sandee, Megan, and Tim (#2) actually made me LOL. Thanks. I needed it. Are Sandee and Megan real people or actually Tim’s alteregos? I guess we’ll never know. Thus is anonymity. Bravo to Karen for using her real name! That must take real courage.
    Why would “we” learn more from black than from white? What kind of inane PC generalization is that, Tim? How can you miss the point I made vis a vis that caricature of Rattle as unoriginally PC? And why doesn’t Karen understand? Just dismiss it all with a, oh, I don’t understand. Oddly, I agree with Cafais entirely, which must make Cafais “a lovable curmudgeon, inconsolable crank” like me. Welcome to the club, Cafais. Yours is the very point of my sketch, Cafais. If we don’t begin to stop thinking in groups, as in black, lesbian, latino, this country will become increasingly divisive. It is time not to present an incredibly unoriginal black poets tribute, but rather a dissident poets tribute (black, white & latino), a lyric poets tribute (b, w, & l), a free style poets tribute (b,w, &l).
    One of the problems with presenting black as a homogenous block, as it tends always to be presented, is that it is simply false. The black experience is likely as diverse as the white experience, including rich, poor, religious, atheist, Republicans, Democrats, dissidents, nondissidents, etc., etc. A millionaire white male’s experience would likely be more akin to a millionaire black male’s, than to a poor white male’s. A well-remunerated black poet of the established-order will likely have a hell of a lot more in common with a well-remunerated white poet of the established-order, than with a poor black dissident poet. Money and bourgeois mindset, not race, are America’s realities. Of course, that goes against the PC grain, which thrives on racial divide, real or imagined. Tim, you’re the one with your head stuck in the PC sand, not Cafais, whose argument is cogent and clear as a bell. Sorry, Cafais, I know that a horrible man like me on your side is not exactly what you wanted.

    G. Tod Slone, Founding Editor (since 1998)
    The American Dissident: Journal of Literature, Democracy & Dissidence
    A 501 c3 Nonprofit Providing a Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy
    http://www.theamericandissident.org
    1837 Main St.
    Concord, MA 01742

  7. Struggling to deal with people, maybe.

    Let me just point out: We’ve done a tribute to the Underground Press (b,w,l), to Slam Poetry (b,w,l), to Visual Poetry (b,w,l), our next two issues are Sonnets and Humor (both b,w,l), the majority of poems in every single issue is…b,w,l…

  8. Tim: I can assure you my head is not in the sand. I have been out in the working world for over 20 years and I’ve had an excellent chance to see life in all of its detail, diversity, and glory. I can tell by your other posts and your poetry that you are a very intelligent guy; however, I think you are really way off base on this issue. The whole idea that there is a “white experience” and a “black experience” in this country is a complete fiction. Everyone has their own experiences. Some people have a strong racial identity and, accordingly, they tend to label their experiences as “black” or whatever. But, in reality, it is their own personal experiences they are describing – – nothing more. I know racism exists, but this fact does mean that the world is divided into black experiences & white experiences. Even speaking in terms of a “black experience” seems to be a gross generalization that smothers the truth and uniqueness of human experience.

    G. Tod Slone: I have no problem with your support on this matter. Again, you and Tim seem to have an ongoing debate, and I take no side in that. Certainly, as to this issue, we have the same position.

  9. Wow, Cafais, I’m really surprised to hear you say that. Obviously we’re all individuals. Obviously there’s no such thing as a singular “black experience,” but rather a multitude of “black experiences” — which might even be a quote from Meta’s essay. But we still live in a time and place were race often shapes reality, and where African Americans have something more in common than just the pigment in their skin. If you don’t believe me, ASK THEM. Why are so many black poets grateful for Cave Canem? Why are so many who have appeared in or read this issue of Rattle so happy that we did it? I’ve been getting letters thanking us for two months. What gives you the right to say that’s not a valid response?

    Black poets appear as individuals in every single issue of Rattle, without a thought or mention of race. This is 50 pages out of 6,000 where they can gather together and share experiences with us that we in a privileged position can’t have. Even if that doesn’t mean anything to you, even if you weren’t able to learn anything from it, can’t you acknowledge that it might mean something to someone else? Of course we all have different experiences — that’s the damn point. That’s why it’s worthwhile to listen to each other.

  10. To G. Tod Slone:

    I’m not Tim. I have bigger boobs (I’m pretty sure), more hair, and no mustache.

    ~Sandee Lyles

  11. I did not like most of the poems by the black authors in the black issue of Rattle and the photography seemed to be out of date and overly artsy. It doesn’t really matter to me that the writers were black except that it was pointed out to me from the beginning. People can talk color all they want but I will still judge them only on their work. All in all it seems like an issue that might have been fresh in 1940.

  12. Cafais, again, you sound reasonable. How not to agree with what you write on this issue? Hopefully, out of curiosity, you might take a look at my website and find just one thing that stinks of LIE, FRAUD, or whatever you wish to call it and bring it to my attention. Personally, I’d hate to have the baggage of being a representative of any particular group: black poet, cowboy poet, latino poet, outlaw poet. No thanks! Individual poet. That’s what I want and that’s what I am. I know PC has become the P-word in leftist circles. Don’t evoke it or be called a right winger! It is impossible to attempt to draw reason and logic from somebody of an orthodoxy, left or right. Tim is clearly of the PC orthodoxy. As mentioned, his job as paid editor probably depends on it. How much are you making, Tim? Who are your bosses? SILENCE. Many professors espouse the PC orthodoxy because their jobs depend on it, though it seems they really become believers. Others who don’t espouse it wear a comfy muzzle with its regard. PC depends on blacks as victims and whites as victimizers. Period. Clearly, as mentioned, Tim would NEVER run an issue with a cover like the one I depicted because it would have to expose the PC mythology. Sure, make fun of the art… that’s a good, though transparent, way to avoid the ISSUE. Shoot the artist, so you don’t have to look at what his art depicts.

  13. Wow. I have no idea why I keep reading the entries on this blog. It’s like staring straight into the sun.

    The bottom line is there are two basic ends of the spectrum on this. On the one end, there are those who believe that there shouldn’t be a tribute to black poets if we want to put everything behind us and call us all equal. This would seem the more forward view for the 21st century but on further inspection we see a much more complex big picture. First of all, we can’t put anything behind us. History is never behind us because it is a part of us and it is a part of who we are and where we’ve been. The best predictor of the future is the past. We can see that today. There are communities that still don’t have the same rights as others in these United States today. Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone’s stories are shaped in some way by their past and present and those of their ancestors. That doesn’t mean that every black poet is going to write a black history poem, but those stories are part of who they are and who they will be. What better venue than the arts to share culture, custom, and varied points of view? Sometimes it is best to be still and listen. It doesn’t go away, like the holocaust doesn’t go away, because it shouldn’t go away. We should never forget the Mattie Greens. If you say it isn’t about that you’re wrong. It is about that. It’s about people thinking everyone is equal when everyone is still not equal. Not as long as there are still people who don’t see everyone as equal. So what if it is a tribute to black poets. Be still and be quiet. Listen.

    Mr. Slone, take your toys and go home. You don’t play nice and you aren’t open to another point of view.

    Tim, fugetaboutit.

  14. Why are you so obsessed with my salary? I work 50-60 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, and could make a hell of a lot more money doing something else, trust me. Lots of people work for non-profits and manage to survive. Is that so surprising?

    The idea that we’re muzzled by some corporation is just laughable, and barely worth responding to, other than to mention that we’ve published Mather Schneider several times, despite the fact that his views are the same as yours, and I think his forthcoming poem (Dec 2009) is even about race relations, if you can believe it. The only thing a poem need to do to be published in Rattle is be decent and interesting.

    I’m getting tired of this argument, though, and depressed by some of the responses here — not yours, Tod, I know what to expect from you, and you always come through.

  15. It’s not so much a question of putting the past behind at all, but rather one of reverse inequality. Two wrongs simply do not make right. Didn’t mama teach you that, Sandee? PC is all about two wrongs. Sandee states: “Mr. Slone, take your toys and go home. You don’t play nice and you aren’t open to another point of view.” Yet that’s precisely what you’re saying about yourself, Sandee, that you’re “not open to another point of view” by telling me to leave this forum! Sandee desperately needs to educate herself regarding the intrinsic needs of democracy, which include an openness to harshly clashing opinions, not only to meow-meow sandee playground points of view! Christ. Shake it up, girl!

    Well, I know, Tim, these are uncomfortable truths for you, which is why you must dismiss them as “laughable” and me as all things you’ve called me. When logic fails, resort to “laughable.” That’s a typical reaction to uncomfortable truth. How can you possibly deny being muzzled? We’re all muzzled in differing degrees. If you can’t even admit being muzzled, then I do feel bad for you, intellectually. Any time I find myself working for someone, I know goddamn well I’m expected to wear a muzzle. How can you actually think it’s different with you? Any time I want to get something published, I know goddamn well I’d better put a muzzle on it. A good writer realizes he’s being asked to wear muzzles, right and left, then identifies those muzzles, then actually dares take the freakin things off now and then! But not you, Tim, you won’t even admit to wearing a muzzle. The Foundation that pays you. Do you think it will keep paying you if you become critical of it? You need to rethink your statement: “The idea that we’re muzzled by some corporation is just laughable.” You’re also intellectually muzzled by PC. And as mentioned any adherence to an orthodoxy ends up working against the mind’s natural tendency towards logic. When logic fails, resort to “laughable.” I’ve seen so many, many times.

    Who determines “decent and interesting.” Well, Tim does! It’s a crock of shit that you imply some sort of objectivity in “decent and interesting.” That’s a hackneyed established-order ploy! What is “decent and interesting”? I ask because I think. Oh, you’ll know it when you read it, says the established-order clone because he doesn’t think; he doesn’t need to think. “Decent” is a bourgeois term. And I know what to expect from you, Tim, the same old non-arguments that bolster the established order (bourgeois, yuppie, gen X, sellout hippie, Beatnik academic) literary machine, which permits no criticism of it. Because Mather and I do share some thoughts in common does not by any means make us identical. He and I have had our disagreements, harsh disagreements, but he and I are man enough not to hold grudges. What about you, Tim? I don’t think so.

    I know, this is all beyond you and for that you will remain stagnant, though well remunerated of course.

    I like this from a recent review in Rain Taxi because it reminds me of you and so many others like you:
    “In decrying the failure of American poets to engage with politics on a deep level, Weinberger pointed to their willingness to work for the very society they accuse: as tenured professors, as grant-accepters, as silent contributors to the status quo. He even goes so far as to call these poets “wards of the state,” and in this regard, ,the “Biographical Notes” in State of the Union confirm that this anthology is really about the illustrious poets it collects rather than the citizens it claims to represent.”

  16. 1) Why on earth would I become critical of a foundation that I love and respect? Just to prove that I can?

    2) Mather Schneider likened reading Rattle to “fucking a styrofoam mannequin,” and 6 months later we accepted another one of his poems. Do you really think I care enough to hold grudges?

    3) Here’s a search through my blog for the word “subjective.” The subjectivity of poetry is one of the main subjects on this blog, and something I mention in almost every rejection letter I write. The entire magazine is subjective. If you don’t like our tastes, don’t read it. Isn’t choice one of the cornerstones of democracy, too?

    Are these arguments yet, Slone, or am I still ad homenizing…what, the truth?

  17. Come on, Tim, I never said that a favorable reaction to the tribute to black poets was an invalid response. However, it is my position that those who react favorably to such a tribute clearly believe that black poets should have a strong sense of racial identity. Obviously, groups like Cave Canem are going to naturally appeal to black poets who have such a sensibility. Is that wrong? Well, no, nothing is really wrong if it doesn’t hurt other people. However, in 2009, it seems to be a very limited way to live a life, artistic or otherwise. Sandee, I am not saying we should forget the past. However, by encouraging racial identity (which the tribute issue does) we are not merely remembering the past, we are keeping it alive and – – in so doing – – deferring the future. I, for one, want to live in the 21st century, not the 20th. We are done with that century. I actually LIKE Rattle, but I find it ironic that a magazine that proclaims to be “Poetry for the 21st Century” is so mired in the 20th.

  18. Cafais, you’re telling me that we shouldn’t have done this issue — yet many others (African American and others) are grateful for it. Invalidating their response is exactly what you’re doing.

    You’re a reasonable person, and I understand where you’re coming from. I would love for the 21st century to be a time beyond race — but neither of us are in the position to say that’s the case. I can’t speak any more on this subject without repeating myself, so instead, I’ll direct you to Barack Obama’s important speech on the subject from a year ago:

    “[R]ace is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. … The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American. Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/hisownwords

    It’s fine that you don’t agree — but that’s all the more reason to sit down and listen to those who you disagree with.

  19. I’m starting to wonder if the people who seem to be so offended by it even read the issue. It is beautifully done and there are many jewels that I am grateful for having had the opportunity to experience. This whole thing just makes me really sad.

    Slone, I don’t like to “shake it up” as you say at the expense of others.

    Cafais, I think the fact that we just elected the first black president EVER makes it a very timely and important and relevant issue. Think of it as a “look how far we’ve come issue”

    That’s not “reverse inequality” Slone. That’s just a peek at where we’ve been.

  20. I don’t know what you’re so upset about anyway. It wasn’t an exlusively black poet issue. It had a tribute to black poets in it but there are many talented non-black poets in there as well. Are we not allowed to acknowledge people? Are you saying whites are discrimitating against themselves if they acknowledge blacks? Or are you saying we are segregating by doing that? If so, how would you feel about a tribute to American Indian poets? Would that get you as upset? My ancestors are Cherokee and Choctaw but I don’t feel we would be taking a step backward by a tribute to the culture and the history of the American Indian. I don’t feel like I would be any less of an American than you or that you would be any less of an American than me. I just don’t understand the problem. I don’t think you understand yourself why you are so uncomfortable with this. And maybe that’s why it is so pertinent to the 21st century. Only when we can take a look at the past for what it was and instead of feeling ashamed, feel proud of how far we’ve come, will we truly be free.

  21. Okay, Tim, argument #1 is a hollow argument because it skirts the issue that we all wear muzzles. Where are yours, Tim? That was the question. You don’t seem able to admit wearing any at all. At least, I can make the admission. Since you don’t know, I’ll help you: one of your muzzles is PC.

    As for argument #2, it’s a good one. In fact, you could certainly use it against me any time I send you something for publication consideration. “Tod, now why would anyone want to send to a mag that’s like fucking a styro mannequin?” I guess, I wouldn’t be able to come up with a response. Still, you hold a grudge against me and stated you’d NEVER publish anything by me because of that grudge. So #2 is only partially valid.

    Arg. #3 sounds good, though I’m not sure where “subjectivity” comes from. I’m sure I wrote it somewhere, I just don’t recall. So please don’t declare I’m denying. You’re on target with the ‘catch phrase” though.

    Again, I’m quite content that I’ve actually managed to sensitize you, Tim, regarding your initial use of hollow non-argument ad hominem against me. Would you admit that I sensitized you? That would be nice.

    Reverse inequality IS Affirmative Action. Any thinking person, Sandee, would HAVE to agree. The logic is there. Period. It’s irrefutable. The reasoning, however, for the institution of legalized reverse inequality may be debated.

    The inculcation of double standards—PC demands it!—lays a clear impediment to reason. In other words, it’s okay to be proud of ones race if one is black, but not okay if one is white. This thought was inspired by an inane New York Times headline: “Concerns that Michael Jackson was not as proud of his race as his race was of him seem to have diminished.” White people who declare their pride regarding their race are automatically dismissed as racist and white supremacists. In any case, I think it’s ridiculous to be proud of ones race. After all, where’s the fucking accomplishment? What did you do that took so much work to achieve being black or whatever? I know I’m likely talking to the PC brickwall here, but often I obtain creative inspiration and material from doing so.

    Sandee, you’re simply wrong on a number of counts. You’ll have to ask your teachers how they managed to educate you without inculcating logic as a prime goal. I am not at all “offended” by Rattle’s hackneyed theme of the month. “Offended” and “offensive” are PC terms devised to dismiss cogent argments. I simply chose to underscore that Rattle’s was a hackneyed theme and that presenting a white poets issue would be one of Tim’s PC-taboo areas. In fact, if he did present such an issue it would be taken in one of two ways: 1. white supremacist or 2. satirical. Of course, a mix could be possible. Again, we’re dealing with inculcated double standards. You’re inculcated, Sandee. Of course, you cannot understand the self-evident truth and logic. In fact, you’re the one who seems very “uncomfortable” even discussing the issue! Sorry, Sandee, no cookies for me! Because of my constant combat with the powers that be, I need to stay in tip-top shape.
    PS: I’ve enjoyed this discussion, Tim. Thanks.

  22. I’d rather be inculcated with truth than the junk you’re peddling. You have an inflated sense of self. You will never hear anyone else so why anybody ever tries to reason with you is beyond me.

  23. Just one note, Tod: I didn’t say I wouldn’t publish anything by you, I was only talking about reviews. If you sent a good poem, I wouldn’t hesitate to publish it. And even with the reviews, that statement was a bit of hyperbole — all your reviews make the same argument, and are full of accusations I’d have to fact-check. If you sent a review that was any different, I’d publish that, too.

  24. I’ll probably regret doing this, since Megan is right and there’s no hope for some, but I’m going to do it anyway.

    It seems to me that buried deep inside Slone’s bile and rancor is a point. Just as identity politics can be bad for the nation, so too can identity poetics stifle in a lot of ways what many of us feel is the prime purpose of poetry, and all literature, to show our common humanity. Anything that divides into groups by definition is divisive. So there is merit in this idea, I think, and it’s one that might lead to an interesting discusion coming from someone other than Slone.

    Unfortunately, it does come from Slone and therefore the point, whatever merits it may or may not have, must take a back seat always to his vitriol and bad form. The point itself is nothing more than a mallet with which he can batter someone– preferably an editor or another artist– over the head. He’s no more trying to win anyone over to his side than is an army marching through Main Street. It’s not vigorous debate he champions, but bile for the sake of bile. It’s not the cornerstone of Democracy he’s high on, it’s himself and his own importance he’s high on.

    There is no way to read anything he writes as anything but sour grapes. Some years ago, my then girlfried and now wife recieved a Pushcart nomination and I wrote a little something about it in my blog to congratulate her. For this heinous crime, this assault on the very face of Democracy, he ridiculed me, my wife, and the Pushcart Prize mercilessly.

    http://www.theamericandissident.org/Pushcart.htm

    The irony here is that I’m the very kind of artist that Slone is supposedly standing up for. I have no MFA. I’ve never taught a single writing class, let alone won tenure. For twenty years I have labored in the small presses, seeing more rejections than he will ever know, and remain to this day almost completely unknown. At the time I wrote the congratulations, I never received a single nomination, (though I have several times since), and said so right in the quote. Yet consider the bile directed toward me and mine for the mere mention of an award.

    There are, of course, biases and injustices in the small press, as there are anywhere else, with editors choosing credentials over talent, name recognition over better poetry by no-names. But it has been my experience as well that editors take joy in finding and cultivating new talent.

    In any case, it is their magazine to do with as they please. If you want to put in the tons of hours reading through endless reams of garbage, if you want to shell out money from your own pocket when finances come up short, if you want to have people scream at you because you sent them a form rejection? Fine. Knock yourself out. I tried it once, went mad, and quickly gave it up.

    But if you want to have an ALL WHITE issue, start your own damn magazine and have one. No one is stopping you. See how many poets show up for it. You can count me out, for one.

    This whole thing stinks of bitterness. Somebody somewhere recognized someone else, rather than Slone, vigorous debater, the cornerstone of Democracy, and so he has to make sure somebody shits on their parade. Might as well be him. It’s not like he’s going anywhere anyway as an artist.

    For the record, I have never been published in Rattle, do not know Tim Green personally, and certainly am not him, unless you think Tim was writing journal entries years ago just to decieve people now.

    If I am ever so privilaged to appear in Rattle, however, I hope I will not return the favor with this kind of ignorant ingratitude, not the disagreement that the nastiness of the tone. Frankly, Tim, I think you have been overly generous. When someone is this unprofessional, you’re under no obligation to put up with it.

    I certainly wouldn’t.

  25. Hi Jim–Interesting to hear your Slone story, which sounds like so many Slone stories. Particular the part about how Slone should be on our side — Rattle has three editors, and none of us are part of the poetry establishment. Alan and I both have MFAs, but only AFTER we got into the po-biz, as an afterthought. And Megan doesn’t have one. Alan has spent his whole life in real estate, I was a mental health counselor, and Megan is fresh out of college with a BA in Liberal Arts. We’re not part of the establishment, and I think we suffer for it — we’ve only been in BAP twice and the Pushcart once, despite being one of the most read lit mags in the country, and we never get any press. We feature things like slam poetry that the academics hate, essays railing against the contest industry and so on. Seems like we’d be right up his alley — but no one is.

    And thank god for that. He’s worse than someone who ruins a decent point with vitriol. I’m not going to make ad hominem attacks, because he’d enjoy that too much, but I’ve read more of his blog since writing this post, and frankly I’m embarrassed now to have given him an inch of platform to spread his hate. Race comes up again and again in his writings for no apparent reason. Here’s just one sample, an exchange he posted:

    Prof. Pseudo, PhD—Folks, you gotta go to Mr. Slone’s website and follow the “censorship” thread! It be a hoot! The guy has a real negative jones for any published poet (Mr. Slone can’t seem to get published much) who has a college teaching job (Mr. Slone can’t seem to get or hold one).

    The Editor [i.e. Slone]—Note Prof. Pseudo’s black hip-hop jive jargon. Is he a cutesy black wannabee in black regalia or simply a black professor? Anonymity will protect him and keep that unknown.

    That’s Slone’s reaction to an anonymous person using the word “jones.” And his blog is full of this stuff. To me he’s no longer just someone who’s amusingly petulant.

  26. Tim, I am well aware of Slone’s vitriol and also of the danger of appearing to be Slone’s only friend, but I’ve got to say something more. I haven’t talked to Slone about this but it seems clear to me that the reaction/statement Slone makes in your quote above is not because the guy said the word “jones”, it is because he said: “It be a hoot!” This kind of black/mtv/gangsta talk has become almost ubiquitous in the small press poetry world. For some reason the white kids (and now adults too) love to say things like: “He’s in the HOUSE, ya’ll” and “Look the HATAH” and “S’UP” etc. I find it annoying (and I think Slone would agree) not because black people started it but because it is now simply a huge trend that people grab onto, and like all trends it is indicative of a herd mentality and a desperate desire to seem cool. It’s PATHETIC. That’s the only point he was making there. He is not racist and I am not a racist. As you yourself say above, no one is up Slone’s alley, (myself included) and skin color is not the deciding factor: behavior is.

    As far as the Varvis thing, I followed the link to Slone’s page where Slone supposedly “ridiculed” Varvis and his wife “mercilessly”. All I found was Varvis’s own quote, and then a personal opinion about the prize and prizes in general. Nothing wrong with that.

  27. Sorry, one more thing: the idea that it is “ironic” that Slone doesn’t like Varvis when in actuality he should like him because he doesn’t have an MFA is absurd. Slone is at war with a certain mentality, which manifests itself in the MFA programs certainly, but also manifests itself pretty much everywhere else. You made a statement about prizes that runs contrary to Slone’s way of thinking. He didn’t like the statement or the attitude. Nothing ironic about it.

  28. Re:Slone’s criticism of Jim Valvis, well he JV, sounded like Halle Berry getting all emotional at the Oscar’s because his girlfriend Katya, got nominated for some Pushcarts, I think some ridicule was in order.

    David Ochs

  29. And then JV had to tell us in his comment that he has been nominated for the Pushcart several times too. Well, super! Getting nominated for the Pushcart Prize is like getting an envelope in the mail that says: YOU HAVE JUST WON A MILLION DOLLARS!

  30. I can’t believe I have to argue this point, but phrases like “it be” aren’t “black,” they’re urban — plenty of black people speak the Queen’s English, and plenty of white people speak in urban dialects. Moreover, “hoot” strikes me as more rural than urban, so that one sentence is a little buffet of lexicologies.

    But the real point isn’t in any of that, it’s in the way he latches onto race so immediately and consistently. If the anonymous professor had used a southern “y’all” or an Irish brogue, or a Canadian turn of speech, would Slone have mentioned it? No. Because he doesn’t use Southerner or Irish or Canadian as an epithet.

    What’s more, even if there were a valid explanation for this one example, there still would be no justification for the obsession with race demonstrated on his blog. For someone who writes about free speech and the literary community, race sure comes up an awful lot.

    The other topics aren’t really worth discussing. We have no idea what Slone said to Valvis in his emails or comment exchanges, but being privy to a few of them myself, I find the claim believable, if not evidentiary. Slone doesn’t like the Pushcart anthology, but I like reading it, so who cares? Especially when there’s nothing Slone DOES like.

  31. And I can’t believe I’m defending G. Tod Slone. But, here I am. The phrase “it be” is and has been associated with American black speech for a long time now. Of course not all American blacks talk like this, that’s why I said gangsta blacks, which implies “urban”. But by simply calling it an “urban” phenomenon you’ve replaced my generalization with an even broader one. You are so pc that instead of running the risk of insulting blacks you insult everyone who lives in an “urban” environment. You sound like you would deny that there is such a thing as an urban American black lexicon at all, or any less-than-stellar side to the current American black culture (any less-than-stellar side, I mean, that isn’t the direct fault of the whites).

    You claim Slone “latches” onto race for no reason. Well, you are the one who put out a special Black Rattle, and while I know you only did it to increase black subscriptions, it could be interpreted that you are the one “obsessed” with race. Slone bashes EVERYBODY, you’ve said it yourself, he doesn’t attack color for the sake of color, he doesn’t think blacks are naturally inferior and he certainly doesn’t think whites are naturally superior. If Canadian or Irish phrasing was becoming a ridiculous trend in the states just as gangsta-talk (gangsta thought) is becoming, I have no doubt that Slone would have said something about that too, but that is not the reality. Race comes up on his blog because it is tied up in American pc thinking and this pc thinking inhibits free speech. It happens all the time. You can’t criticize anyone who is black for any reason at all without being accused of racism.

    Besides all this, it seems to me that the anonymous professor who Slone was talking with was the one poking fun of blacks by talking that way in the first place. But, nobody cares that the guy is a college professor and can’t speak English (or that he thinks it’s funny to pretend he can’t), or that he can’t use logic, or that he won’t use his real name… The only thing that matters it that Slone called him a “black wannabe”. The only thing that matters is that Slone stepped outside of pc orthodoxy and that he makes a habit of doing so, without apology.

  32. I can believe you’re defending Slone. Maybe I’ve browsed his blog more than you realize — you’re his choir of one. If I’m criticizing him, I’m critizing you by proxy, because you’re there cheering him on 90% of the time.

    The accusation the we published a tribute to African American poets in order to bolster black subscriptions is as insulting as it is erroneous. You really don’t know what you’re talking about.

    As for Slone, I’ll only reiterate — I gave one example, the anonymous professor, but I’m referring to a pattern of behavior that he demonstrates time and again throughout his writings.

  33. After all that I just received two copies of Rattle in the mail. Did I order these? Anyway, thanks…I’ll give em a look…

  34. I think by now we can stop with the “I can’t believe I’m defending Slone” nonsense. You’ve done nothing but, Mather, and so it’s pretty obvious that while you can’t take the time to spell my name correctly, you have all day to sit around defending this turkey and his angry diatribes.

    Anyway, part of the irony is that I was writing a note in a journal about the Pushcart for my roughly 20 readers, mostly family. The quote is taken out of proportion to the rest of my work. I wasn’t writing an essay for publication. I wasn’t making a big production about it. It was a little postscript in a long journal entry in a journal with hundreds of entries. Oh the horror! Oh my poor blighted soul! What a slave I am to the whole machine!

    What a bunch of garbage.

    I wasn’t saying awards are the be-all and end-all. In fact, I made a point in the journal quote to say that I didn’t think much about awards as a rule and that really only the Pushcart had any attraction to me. This is hardly someone who’s a slave to an award-mentality.

    What was I supposed to say? Gee, Katja, my wife-to-be, great job busting your ass as a writer, but your successes are meaningless and stupid?

    If I should say that about her, what should I say about your writing, Mather?

    Further, I know what a Pushcart nomination means, and how they are sometimes given out like candy. I mentioned mine only for full disclosure, not to impress people who have already said they aren’t impressed by them.

    But neither am I ashamed of them. Some editors have taken the time to nominate me for an award when they didn’t have to, and I appreciate it. It doesn’t mean nothing.
    It means something. Only an ungrateful fuckhead, or some talentless jerk who never got nominated, would claim otherwise.

    If it does mean nothing, then why are you sending out your poetry, Mather? If publication can be seen as a kind of award, and it is, why are you seeking the approval of others on a constant basis? If anyone at all can start a liteerary magazine, and do all the time, what’s the big accomplishment in getting work published and why are you participating in the big joke?

    Your own actions expose the lie of your own absolutist philosophy. One kind of outside approval is acceptable to you, and another kind is not.

    Well, who died and made you the judge of what’s an acceptable accomplishment and also the judge of who deserves ridicule?

    Frankly, I’m sorry this is happening. You’re a decent writer, Mather, a poet I had just complimented to Michael Hathaway (go ahead and ask him if you want), and I hate knocking fellow artists, who get enough grief in life as it is.

    But a little reality check is in order here, too. Because you’re not nearly as good as you think you are and, frankly, not nearly as good as Tim is or any number of poets I could name. If the proof is in the pudding, not the MFA, not the skin color, then pay some more attention to your poetry and a little less to mine and other poets.

    Or go ahead and keep weeping bitterly about how the big bad world is unfairly helping the MFA graduate and the black man and hasn’t yet recognized your cab-driving brilliance. See how far it gets you.

    I’m betting it gets you exactly as far as it has gotten you to date.

  35. Boy, Jim, you really want to get into Rattle something fierce.

    Tim, thanks for the copies but I’ve already read them.

  36. Yes, it’s all a big conspiracy. Everyone but you is playing the publishing game. Nobody but you is being honest or has integrity. Everyone’s a phoney but the great Mather.

    Rattle is a fine publication. Is it better than the New York Quarterly? Slipstream? Chiron Review? Places you must respect sionce you have also published there…

    And that’s to name just a few I’ve had or will have work in, both poems and fiction, as well as scores of others.

    I don’t need to kiss ass to get published– in Rattle or anywhere else. Nor do I think it would do much good.

    That’s just a defense mechanism you and Slone and your ilk use so you don’t have to deal with the points I made and you don’t have to answer to your own rather ordinary accomplishments in verse.

    Before I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, but now I realize you’re just a more talented version of Slone.

    Whatever. I have no intention in getting in a pissing match with a dick. In this one thing, you have me at a disadvantage.

  37. I am not G. Tod Slone, I am Mather Schneider. I support Slone sometimes on his blog but he has refused to publish me anymore and we have had several long and ugly fights in the past. I don’t know why he isn’t arguing his own case here, and that’s all I meant by saying I’m surprised I’m defending him.

    “If the proof is in the pudding, not the MFA, not the skin color, then pay some more attention to your poetry and a little less to mine and other poets.”

    I didn’t even know who you were until you wrote the comment on this blog and I googled you. I guess I might have seen your name on Slone’s website but if I had I’d forgotten it.

    Sorry you wasted a compliment about me to Hathaway. I guess you’ll have to call him and retract.

    I don’t know why I submit to magazines, I really don’t. I gave up contests, but you’re right, it’s the same thing. I want other peoples’ respect, even if I don’t respect those people. It’s stupid.

    I am not “weeping bitterly” about anything Jim. I am happy with where my poetry is going, and am not afraid to speak my mind. It is possible to like my poetry without liking me. And even if that can’t be done, I don’t really care.

  38. If you’re not weeping bitterly, then why do you even care that one magazine dedicated some space to black poets?

    There are hundreds of literary zines, millions of injustices in the world, people are getting gunned down in ther streets, and this is what consumes your attention?

    I didn’t waste a compliment and I won’t be retracting anything. A good poem is a good poem. Period. But there are lots of good poems in the world, Mather, and lots of good poets. You’re not nearly good enough to be crapping on anyone else for the terrible crime of trying to succeed a little in the world of print. Especially when you’re hypocritically doing the same thing.

    Finally, I don’t buy all this “I don’t care” business. Stinks to me of denial. You do care. You wouldn’t be doing any of this if you didn’t. To thine own self… and all that.

    And you know, there’s nothing wrong with caring. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to see your work get a little recognition. There’s nothing wrong with getting an MFA either. Or driving a cab.

    Speaking your mind is fine, but… Jeez, all the crap in the world, and I’m here defending saying some nice things about my wife a few years back.

    That’s just absurd.

  39. Pushcart
    There’s some kind
    of poetry award
    called a Pushcart
    which must be
    the equivalent to an
    Oscar, Emmy or Grammy

    It seems to carry some prestige
    because some poets book
    will run a blurb,
    winner of the Pushcart
    or even mention
    being nominated for a Pushcart

    However as far as I know
    there’s no Pushcart Night
    like Oscar Night
    imagine the poet’s
    pulling up in limo’s
    walking on the red carpet
    in tuxes and glitter
    as the paparazzi
    snap pictures

    With some elder poet MC
    like Gary Synder or Ferlinghetti
    reading the list of nominee’s

    And the winner is…

    And some poet
    that goes by a single name only
    takes the stage decked out
    in silk scarf and designer beret
    to accept his Pushcart
    he gives his acceptance speech
    all teary eyed
    thanking his editor, publisher
    word coach, publicist , secretary and
    blurbers
    for making it all possible

  40. Valvis, all I said was I don’t like the black issue, I didn’t like most of the poetry itself. I don’t judge poetry by the skin color of the writer and I don’t think anybody else should either. This is weeping bitterly? This is “crapping” on people? Criticism is simply not allowed without this kind of kickback, I know this by now. You seem to be so upset because Slone put a quote of yours on his blog to illustrate a point. I’m sorry if you think you’ve been misunderstood, but if you write something and somebody quotes it and you look like an idiot, that’s not my fault. Be more careful of what you say if you’re so sensitive.

    But, at least you’ve let me know that it’s ok to drive a cab…well, thanks.

  41. Wow… this is so entertaining in such a disturbing way…
    Change of subject (sort of) funny story:
    When Jack was in Jr. High, the class was reading their stories one by one. A black girl was reading and she said, “We be going to the store…” and the entire class started to laugh. (This was in ’69 or ’70 in rural North Carolina). The teacher stopped the girl from reading and told the class she had used “be” correctly. It wasn’t urban, just correct English. Not that it matters. Just a story I thought of while reading these posts.
    There are so many different arguments going on here, I am kind of interested to see what will happen next. And for a guy that isn’t really worth the time it takes to read his blog, it’s funny that Slone is still being blogged about when he left the discussion about 15 posts ago. I’m sure he’s getting a kick out of all that he has stirred up here. Now he’s probably just sitting back and watching the show. I’m imagining him with his feet propped up, eating popcorn.

  42. Yeah, and nobody is ever quoted out of context.

    I’m sure I could piece together enough quotes to make Slone seem like a screaming racist and you the most devout Slone sychophant in the world.

    And yet you would call those things a mischaracterization of the truth. In fact, several times you protested against this very thing.

    Oh, well. Don’t like the insinuation that Slone is a racist or that you’re a mindless follower?

    Too bad. You and Slone need to learn to watch what you say if you’re so sensitive.

  43. And I could make another list of quotes that would make it seem like I hate G. Tod Slone’s guts. All quotes are out of context, that’s what a quote is. I think the quote by you on Slone’s blog is long enough to stand on its own. It’s seventeen sentences for Christ sake! I think you’re just embarrassed, and you know what, Jim? That’s ok…

    At least Sandee’s enjoying herself.

  44. Well this got interesting. No need to chime in, but Mather, you sent me 10 bucks with your proof for the winter issue and asked that I send you “something you haven’t read.” So I looked at our records and gave it my best shot — sorry I didn’t guess right.

  45. And I can find a bunch of quotes by me talking about the futility of chasing down public recognition.

    Your point is, Mather?

    Embarrassed? Why? Because I said congrats to my wife about her Pushcart nominations almost a decade ago? Hardly. I’m as proud of her as ever. I also said I’m not ashamed of my nominations. I’m not embarrassed because I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what I’m doing or what I said.

    What I am bothered by is the micharacterization of who I am as a writer by people who don’t even know enough about me to spell my name correctly and need to Google me just to learn a little something about me. If you don’t know anything about what you’re talking about, probably best to just shut the hell up.

    However, I am a little embarrassed for you. You’re clearly a poet with some talent, but you have all the social skills of homeless person mumbling to himself paranoid rants.

    My grandmother used to have a saying. Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are. So we know who your friends are. But more important we know who you are by what you do.

    For instance, like any other attention-greedy poet, you continue to promote yourself in places like here:

    http://www.nyqpoets.net/otherpub.php?pid=1759

    You send work out, apparently everywhere, and have been for over a decade.

    To this end you’re no better than anyone else who’s playing the game, and maybe a little worse than most, if by “worse” one means trying to win outside approval.

    You long to be loved and hate yourself for the longing. At least that’s the impression. And better that impression, I suppose, than you’re either too stupid to see the contradiction or too hypocritical to care.

    It’s a pretty human failing, but don’t expect me or anyone else to respect you for it, not while you’re condemning others who have the same desire without any of the self-deception or chest-pounding.

    Or more to the point, don’t ask anyone to sit here and stomach your inane proclamations that you and Slone are the only people capable of free thinking and that you’re a hero standing up against the big bad machine. That’s a joke.

    Disagreeing nastily with an editor (while worrying he won’t publish you anymore) or another poet on a minor point doesn’t make you Ghandi. In this case, it just makes you rude.

    I apologize, Tim, for this conversation becoming so acrimonious. I’m going to bow out here and let Mather have the last word. And he’ll take it too, because, as he’s assured us a number of times, he doesn’t care at all.

  46. lol… I really was enjoying myself but I think y’all better take a blood pressure pill before you say anything else to each other. It’s great to have a forum where you can speak your mind. I’m sorry I was joking around but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I suffer from an impulse control disorder. I just wanted to add that I’m not stupid. The girl said, “If she be going to the store…,” which is proper use of the conditional tense. The thing I said, was just wrong. lol And, you’re probably thinking who cares? And, I don’t know but my posts have made about as much sense as some of y’alls. XO

  47. Ok, last word, sure…

    With Ochs’ mention of Scalzi I googled you Jim and found the argument you had with John Scalzi…is that what you think I am, another Scalzi? Because of the page that Hammond put up for me on the NYQ web site? It’s hard to argue with you because I’m not sure where you’re coming from. Where exactly is my “mischaracterization” of you? I can’t find it, but since you brought it up, this is how you’ve characterized me in this short time here: “ungrateful fuck-head”, “talentless jerk who never got nominated (for Pushcart)”, “absolutist”, “more talented version of Slone”, “dick”, “hypocrite”, “mindless follower”, “homeless person”, “attention-greedy poet”…I realize there were a couple of back-handed compliments in there too.

    I do care about some things, yes. But there are many things I don’t care about. One of the things I don’t care about is your grandma and her habit of claiming things she reads on fortune cookies as her own. Yes, you can tell a lot about a person from their friends, and you can also tell a lot about a person from their poetry and their manner of argument. Why don’t we just keep your grandmother out of this? I’m afraid next you’re going to start talking about church!

    I don’t know Jim, maybe you bumped your head? You actually remind me of Slone in a way (especially with Scalzi) and now I see why you thought it ironic that Slone chose you of all people to quote. Well, strangely he did find the quote, and the quote is real. And then in your very first comment here you tell everyone that you have since been nominated for the Pushcart. Well, thank God! You say you told us that only for clarification. Well I’m glad you clarified it because I for one was mystified and couldn’t stop wondering.

    I never told you not to submit your poems and I never said I don’t submit mine. I’m lost, Jim. Help me out. I never told you anything. The only time I ever said your name was in the comments above, and I certainly didn’t ask you “to sit here and stomach (my) inane proclamations that (me) and Slone are the only people capable of free thinking and that (I’m) a hero standing up against the big bad machine.” The subject was the black Rattle, until you came in and made it about you.

    Why would you think I should know you without the help of Google? Even WITH Google there isn’t much there.

    I noticed on the thing with Scalzi you were bragging about your Pushcart nominations then like you’re doing now. It was seven nominations at that time, shit, it’s probably fourteen or fifteen by now, eh? Any of those nominations from the same person?

    Giving me the last word, apologizing to Tim, nothing but high road posturing, made me laugh. Also nice how you slipped in a little thesaurus candy too, the ultimate proof that you are the superior writer AS WELL AS the superior person.

    Not sure if you realize it or not but, whatever Scalzi is (I never read his books or heard of him until now) he wiped the floor with you.

  48. Well, well, well. I know I said I would give you the last word, Mather, but this attack is so mean-spitirted I thought I’d chime in, just to clear my name.

    Scalzi is kind of like the Godwin Law of any Valvis argument, which are very few and far between, when the other person reaches for it, I know they lost the day.

    How long ago did the Scalzi nonsense happen? 5? 6 years ago? I don’t regularly get into such affairs. I don’t make it part of my life’s work.

    Even with you, Mather, you came after me first. I said nothing at all about you, while you insisted I fit a “certain mentality, which manifests itself in the MFA programs.”

    This was your assessment of my entire artistic life’s work after having read one blog post and 17 sentences from a decade ago.

    All other arguments proceed from that initial shot. But you didn’t stop there. You went on to insinuate I was bragging about my Pushcart nominations when I wasn’t, while your American Dissident compatriot was calling me as hysterical as Halle Berry.

    And even those are preceeded by Slone’s nasty remarks, which– because I’m so intemperate– it’s taken me a decade to even respond to.

    And now you’re going to come here and try to play the victim. Oh, poor Mather, who was just here with his buddy Slone to talk in moderate tones when along comes this big meenie looking for a fight…

    Several times I’ve complimented you on your poetry. I’ve seen you do no such thing to anyone. Anywhere. In your world, everyone everywhere is shit. Fine. Then why shouldn’t I be as well. I fit in with the crowd.

    And of course Scalzi wiped the floor with me. But it never was much of a fair fight, since he had thousands upon thousands of followers, and it was just little old me against all of them.

    But hey, isn’t it a big part of your argument here and Slone’s argument all those years ago– that I live for success alone and never take on the establishment? Well, Scalzi has an audience of thousands and is friends with some pretty powerful people. Going up against someone as big as him isn’t for the weak. It takes courage to put yourself out against that kind of onslaught, knowing that even years from now people will use it against you on completely unrelated matters.

    I thought you guys liked vigorous debate? Or is that only when you happen to be doing the vigorous debating? I thought you liked honest criticism. Or is that only when you get to do the criticizing?

    Finally, let’s get something straight. This thread was not just about “black Rattle.” It was also about Slone’s general nasty tone. It is this tone that that you have been championing here, and I can well see why. You’re every bit as mean-spirited as he is. Anf frankly, maybe even a little more.

    Oh well. I started off this thread saying I would regret saying anything. And if nothing else, I was right about that.

  49. So, the “initial shot” of all this is because I looked at your quote and called a spade a spade. I was commenting on the quote, not your whole life’s work. Unfortunately, that particular quote demonstrates a disgusting reverence for the Pushcart Prize. Then you proved that you haven’t changed in ten years by immediately mentioning your nominations here. What do you want me to say? If you want me to admit that you are indeed a much deeper human being than was initially estimated, and a great poet too, that’s not going to happen.

    You called me “mean-spirited”. I refer you to your grade-school insults posted above.

  50. Well, you got me, Mather. I plead guilty to being proud of my wife and not at all ashamed of my own work and accomplishments.

    You really nailed me to the wall on that.

  51. Mather, is there anything you do like? Seriously. You don’t like most other poets or their poems. You don’t like awards. You don’t even like your own poems unless they’re angry or about sex, if I’m reading you right. You don’t like chivalry, nobility, or religion.

    Why are you so angry?

    What attracts you so much to anger?

    Anger is not a noble emotion. Anyone can be angry. It’s not more “real” than, say, fear or envy or pride.

    Listen, I know you won’t call me a great poet. You and Slone don’t say anything nice about anything, near as I can tell. I wouldn’t expect you to go completely out of character on my account. But you have been pretty mean-spirited here, and you know as well as I do that I never called you most of those things you said I did, but was merely using metaphor (you’re a poet, no?) or wasn’t applying it to you at all but in general. In one case, I claimed someone who didn’t appreciate an editor taking the time to nominate someone for a Pushcart was either an “ungrateful fuck-head” or a “talentless jerk who never got nominated (for Pushcart)” and you claimed I was calling you both! Well, that’s just not possible because the conjunction “or” means one can be only one or the other. See?

    I do in retrospect wish I hadn’t called you a dick, but you have done your best since to live up to the title.

    If what I said about you is mean-spirited and grade-schoolish, then you must think Tim’s insinuation that Slone is a racist and you’re his devotee (which you attributed to me, but is really Tim’s) to be very much worse. And yet, you have not called him mean-spirited. Although I do realize he edits a magazine you might once again like to be in. Probably best you argue by proxy through me. Less damaging to your future prospects that way.

    Listen, you don’t know me from a hole in the wall. And I hardly know you. None of my compliments were backhanded. You’re a good writer, and I can say that because I’m not lashing out just to lash out, but you’re angry at the world for some reason and you keep bad company.

    I don’t really wish you any ill, but it’ll come to you anyway because you can’t be that angry and lashing out at people and burning bridges like this without ill coming to you.

    Now it’s best we let this die. It hasn’t shown either of us in the best light.

  52. “…you know as well as I do that I never called you most of those things you said I did, but was merely using metaphor (you’re a poet, no?) or wasn’t applying it to you at all but in general. In one case, I claimed someone who didn’t appreciate an editor taking the time to nominate someone for a Pushcart was either an “ungrateful fuck-head” or a “talentless jerk who never got nominated (for Pushcart)” and you claimed I was calling you both!”

    So which is it then?

  53. “If what I said about you is mean-spirited and grade-schoolish, then you must think Tim’s insinuation that Slone is a racist and you’re his devotee (which you attributed to me, but is really Tim’s) to be very much worse. And yet, you have not called him mean-spirited. Although I do realize he edits a magazine you might once again like to be in. Probably best you argue by proxy through me. Less damaging to your future prospects that way.”

    This is lame, Jim. Tim said what he had to say to me, I said what I had to say to him, and now you’re trying to bring him back into the conversation, either to enforce your side or to make me seem like I’m hiding something. I think it is clear to whoever reads this that my main concern is not to prep Tim Green for future acceptance of my poetry.

  54. Lame? Any more lame than when you accused me of basically the same thing.

    No, you’re not prepping him for accepting your poetry. You’re just in damage control, being careful not to accuse Tim of the same thing you accuse me of doing, regardless of the fact that he has done the same thing. In fact, he accused Slone of being a racist. I never did. All I said was that if he doesn’t like being called a tracist, or you a follower, than you should watch what you say, echoing what you said about me not liking being mischaracterized as an awards junkie. Which I’m sure we can agree is not the same thing as me calling you or Slone a racist.

    Despite your chest-pounding about being a lone voice of dissent in a conforming world, you have a very careful way of going about your business so as not to rock the boat too much. Even now you desperately want to keep Tim out of it.

    I think it’s clear as to why.

    And this will now be my last post on the subject. You can say whatever you please now because I will not be here to read it.

    You’ve wasted enough of my time.

  55. The more I Google you the more blocked or vacant pages I find…wonder what secrets you got lurking in your closet there, bible boy…

  56. You guys are just being mean now and not at all constructive. You aren’t going to convince one another of anything and you both are going to end up looking ridiculous if you don’t stop right now. If you think for one minute about being mean to me now, I got no skeletons in my closet. Except for Spring Break ’79 but I was cleared of all charges so…
    Seriously, let it go…
    Nobody will even remember what it was, just that you acted like that.

  57. Pingback: A Struggling Poet | Timothy Green

  58. Well, I’ve been out of town for a month. So, Sandee, if you can’t counterargue with anything intelligent, just call me an ass… whoopee! How easy it is to be an elementary school kid, eh? Actually, Tim, you did write you’d never publish anything by me. If you like, I’ll prove it. No matter. We can all forget now and then. Well, we’re back to this “full of accusations” nonsense again. It’s true that I do have a particular perspective… just like everyone else. So my reviews stem from that perspective. Thanks, though, for your pronounced ouverture. The problem with “good” poem however is that it must be good through your particular perspective… and I doubt I could ever produce one of those. Jim, I think you can do better than label me “bile and rancor.” It’s all back to ad hominem! When you have no counterargument, just call him or what he writes “bile and rancor.” How facile! Oh, my, I’ve got “vitriol and bad form” too! How might I tone down to acceptable literary bourgeois taste and style and form? Perhaps there’s a Pushcart course I could take? Of course I’m not “trying to win anyone over.” That has never been my purpose, nor has acceptable form. Truth, nothing but the truth. Oh, my, “sour grapes” also! I suppose I could call you smarmy sweet grapes… but I’ll resist. Ah, such a small world! So, yes, I vaguely recall your BOASTING about Pushcart. This is actually funny, though sadly so: “Some years ago, my then girlfried and now wife recieved a Pushcart nomination and I wrote a little something about it in my blog to congratulate her. For this heinous crime, this assault on the very face of Democracy, he ridiculed me, my wife, and the Pushcart Prize mercilessly.”
    I am not standing up for any particular kind of “artist,” Jim. I’m standing up for truth. “For twenty years I have labored in the small presses, seeing more rejections than he will ever know, and remain to this day almost completely unknown.” I guess I could shed a tear here! Jim, what sickens me about you and the poet mob is that nary a one of you has the brains and intellectual courage to even question the nominating process. Who da judges? Who da friends of da judges? Get it? Sadly, you do not. Open wide: Say Pushthecart, then whoopee, I’ve been nominated! “Talent,” Jim, is not an objective phenomenon. It is highly subjective in poetry… just as form and taste and all the other terms used by your ilk to crush valid criticism.
    This, Jim, is as ignorant as it gets: “But if you want to have an ALL WHITE issue, start your own damn magazine and have one. No one is stopping you. See how many poets show up for it. You can count me out, for one.” Can you not even see the blatantly evident satire in that cartoon cover? Wow. Have they simply soddered PC blinders on to your skull? This too is laden with ignorance, Jim: “Somebody somewhere recognized someone else, rather than Slone, vigorous debater, the cornerstone of Democracy, and so he has to make sure somebody shits on their parade.” If you want to see bitterness: look in the fuckin mirror! I’m not bitter. I’m not even angry. I enjoy what I do, which is why I do it. I am compelled to do it. It’s intellectually stimulating to tear down the vacuous arguments of your ilk.
    You can’t even understand my take on vigorous debate. All I seek is open doors to all opinions… happy face ones and bitter/angry/pissed off ones too. But you think democracy is only happy-face opinions. So many there are like you! An army of happy face clones seeking happy face recognition with happy face verse. Ugh. Democracy is already dead in America.
    Jim, your thinking processes are rotten to the core. Is there any hope? Likely not. “It’s not like he’s going anywhere anyway as an artist.” Where the fuck am I supposed to be going? Up on to the Pushthecart stage of happy-face applause. I’m going under the freakin ground like everyone else in due time. That’s all. Dead. Fucking dead. Thus, since we only live once, I prefer to live in the truth as opposed to living in published, prize-winning happy-face fraudulence. That’s the diff between you and me and your wifey.
    “Unprofessional” also! Whoopee me! But what the hell is professional. Why can’t you question and challenge all of these things you open wide and swallow? Professional means careerism and careerism means not living in the truth. Period.
    Ah, Tim, nothing like a lifer real estate poet!
    “Seems like we’d be right up his alley — but no one is,” you state about me. But why make such an asinine unfounded and untrue statement. Contrary to your mindsetted belief, I do have friends and supporters. “I’m not going to make ad hominem attacks, because he’d enjoy that too much,” you state. Should I laugh? You already did and have and cannot seem to do otherwise. Your whole argument is nothingness coated in names. Both of you fellows do not even counter my arguments. All you can focus in on is perceived wrong tone. Sad for you because you cannot think clearly. You’ve likely been taught not to think clearly and honestly. Your careers depend on it!
    What’s your salary as editor, Tim? You still haven’t responded to that one!
    This is really laughable: “Race comes up again and again in his writings for no apparent reason.” Mather’s damn right! If anything, race does not come up often in my writings… and that can easily be proven by simply checking the 1500 pages of essays I’ve produced. Want to try, Tim? I don’t even like the subject… it is tedious… thanks to PC.
    Tim, that’s a good quote, but there’s more to it than “jones.” Look harder. The whole thing is written in black stereotypical jargon. How can you possibly deny it or not even see it? Wow. Mather’s on target and usually is… except of course when he’s lost his cool and battling with me (hahaha). And he’s a lot more in line with my thinking than he stipulates on your site. Or view it as I being a lot more in line with his thinking. Either way. Mather and I both know that we can never convince a PC mindsetted person of anything… and that means you, Tim. Call it “urban,” but heaven fucking forbid you called it BLACK. Christ, what did they do to you out there in California in the schools, man?
    Tim, you need to lift yourself above the kinds of inane statements you make, as in: “But the real point isn’t in any of that, it’s in the way he latches onto race so immediately and consistently. If the anonymous professor had used a southern “y’all” or an Irish brogue, or a Canadian turn of speech, would Slone have mentioned it? No. Because he doesn’t use Southerner or Irish or Canadian as an epithet.” Again, I tend to avoid the racism issue because I find it a tedious, hackneyed one. “Obsession with race” on my blog? Well, why don’t you count the entries and determine how many of them deal with race. Go ahead, instead of talking horseshit. Do the stats. But you won’t because it’s a hell of a lot easier and lazier to call me names et al. Again, this is sheer horseshit: “Slone doesn’t like the Pushcart anthology, but I like reading it, so who cares? Especially when there’s nothing Slone DOES like.” I like plenty of things and authors and they’re up on my website. How did you get so proficient at saying nothing?
    It just doesn’t get any more PC and archi-banal than publishing a tribute to African American poets!
    “Pattern of behavior” my ass, Tim! Prove it. Do the stats! Out of 34 blogs, perhaps two dealt with racism. Is that a pattern? Oh, yeah, I forgot that in the PC mind, one constitutes a pattern!
    Mather is not defending Slone—horror of horrors!—, he’s defending ideas I’ve put forth.
    What you should have said, Jim, was Katja, why don’t you question and challenge the hands that feed you, the hands that bind your mouth, ears, and eyes? The stupidity is in your objectifying what must inevitably be subjective: being a good poet. You’ve got a list. Mather comes somewhere after Tim but way ahead of Slone. What nonsense! And by dissing cab drivers, you show yourself to be a bourgeois elitist. I’d take Mather any day over 500 college professors with PhDs. You have virtually made no “points” at all, Jim. What on earth are you talking about?
    Mather, this is either a blatant lie or an error on your part: “I support Slone sometimes on his blog but he has refused to publish me anymore and we have had several long and ugly fights in the past.” And I can easily prove it. I have not refused to publish you and recently asked you to send something, but you said you hadn’t been writing much. Let’s get the facts straight, fellows!
    Good poem on the Pushthecart nonsense, Dave! Uh, I heard you’re up to your old censoring impulses, Tim! Do try harder to quell them!
    Perfectly stated, Mather: “You seem to be so upset because Slone put a quote of yours on his blog to illustrate a point. I’m sorry if you think you’ve been misunderstood, but if you write something and somebody quotes it and you look like an idiot, that’s not my fault. Be more careful of what you say if you’re so sensitive.”
    Too bad, Sandee, doesn’t seem to have a brain. Perhaps, she has a body? Does she have any ideas at all?
    Bull-s eye once again, Mather: “I think the quote by you on Slone’s blog is long enough to stand on its own. It’s seventeen sentences for Christ sake! I think you’re just embarrassed, and you know what, Jim? That’s ok…”
    Mather, why are you sending Rattle $10? It is supported by bourgeois wealth, a foundation paying Tim a secret salary!
    Now, I’m jealous, Mather! Why didn’t Jim say this about me: “you have all the social skills of homeless person mumbling to himself paranoid rants.” One really has to wonder what the educational system in America has been doing to produce the likes of Tim and Jim: “Or more to the point, don’t ask anyone to sit here and stomach your inane proclamations that you and Slone are the only people capable of free thinking and that you’re a hero standing up against the big bad machine.” Now, when did you and I ever make such a proclamation? These guys just say anything and don’t feel at all obliged to back up their vacuous assertions. They’d be crushed like gnats in a court of law.
    Sorry, I never heard of Scalzi. Thanks for letting me in on who Hammond is.
    Jim, get the freakin fact right! I never stated anything RE HB: “You went on to insinuate I was bragging about my Pushcart nominations when I wasn’t, while your American Dissident compatriot was calling me as hysterical as Halle Berry.” Christ. You and Tim would make wonderful scientists! This whole labeling of individuals as racist or non racist is all diversionary… away from truth seeking. Mather’s quite right with that regard. Just call him a racist and that anuls anything he says. How childishly facile. Best to you all.

  59. Democracy: Lesson 149.
    I’ll have to add your wonderfully creative euphemistic phrase for CENSORSHIP: “I turned off the commenting on this post [the Buk post], and deleted the last round of comments. I wanted to let valid objections to my opinion stand, but I was tired of the shouting match, where nothing new was being added.” TIM, democracy was meant to be a SHOUTING MATCH, not the arbitrary determination of what are and what are not valid objections.

  60. lameness uber. sorry, that’s the reason why us real artisan are accused of being a waste of taxpayer dollars.

    and those you represent, some can’t even go to the bathroom without propaganda they are so peter panned out onto themselves.

    real artists have lives that is why no one listens because they can’t make attention whores out of themselves.

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