Monday, May 11, 2009

Accountability and Defensiveness

There has been talk all over the e-poetry community lately having to do with the odd defensiveness that older poetry teachers seem to hold against their younger counterparts. I find this to be totally wicked, but not unlike other strains of academe or any other profession, really. Those on top fight tooth and nail to stay there, even if it means having a total disregard for everyone below you. However, where I see these two fork away from each other is accountability.

If you fuck up almost anywhere else, you get sacked. Politics, business, newspapers, military, whatever; the fact is, you are held responsible for the shit that goes down on your watch. However, in poetry, what we have seen is a group that has watched it readership dwindle to almost nil, and yet still expect to hold on to their titles, their prestige and most importantly, their pay checks. They're allowed all this AND feel that they need to squash any and all poetry that deters from their own (thus keeping them the masters of the house).

The most unfortunate aspect is, though, that in order to come even remotely qualified to take their positions, we must first go through their classes...earn their degrees. It occurs to me that the only real way to buck the system is to allow a total collapse, just like the auto industry.

Perhaps only in the rubble of failure can we build a better poetry.

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