Saturday, April 1, 2006

a non-apology

Well, it looks like I've offended someone by telling the story of the Poetic Acceptance chapbook fiasco. I hate that anyone's offended, but it doesn't change the fact that I think people in my little poetry community deserve to be warned. I haven't lied or exaggerated one word, and the emails I've posted are word for word, with the exception of having removed her email address. I don't regret what I've done, only that someone is upset that I've told the story.

You know, in poetry, especially since the advent of the internet, there have been loads of poetry scams and cons. We've all heard of, and most of us have warned other newer less experienced poets about and its various other names. As a community, we do that for each other, we pass on the nuggets - the legit contests and calls for submissions, we recommend the sites, zines and mags that are above board. We also look out for each other. It's how we're built, poets are overall a compassionate caring group of people, we're artists, and most of us try to foster a safe and productive environment both for our art, and for others who practice it.

I don't see anything different here than if I were making a post about some well known scam site like, which, for the record, I have done, many times, and on various sites. The only difference is that chapbook enterprises isn't a well known publisher, they're young, and don't have a wide-spread reputation per se, and is therefore more able to 'get' someone until stories like mine become known. And I can promise you that my story isn't the only one to be told, I've been contacted more than once about similar (and worse) treatment, but those conversations have been had in confidence. I would never betray those people by mentioning their names.

The difference between me, and them is that I'm not afraid to tell my story, publicly, and deal with whatever the consequences of that may be.

Those that have contacted me have said that they're afraid that she'll sabotage their future attempts at publication by speaking to other publishers - that they'll gain reputations as "trouble makers" and be blackballed. Well, becoming a published poet never meant anything to me until very recently - I have always written for the love of it, for the release and beauty of it, not for money or notoriety. Not many people become rich or famous from poetry, the odds that I ever would have always been tiny so if I'm never published again, I've lost nothing but a silly fleeting dream. And maybe my poetry was purer before I was worried about editors' opinions anyway...

If offending one person and losing $48 is what it costs me to do my part in warning other poets away from an organization that has done business in a less than ethical fashion, so be it. I don't, nor will I, apologize for that.


  1. Bravo. It's thanks to you that others will NOT be taken advantage of. You are a true poet and writer in every sense of the word. I feel as strongly as you when it comes to being wronged and the prevention of being wronged. You're a strong woman and I've always said so. This just goes to prove the strength of your character. Stay true to yourself if to no one else. I'm proud of you!

  2. Erin , I dont do commments often, or not until recently, but I do sometimes , and so my take on publishers, is that a lot of them are like pimps. now has there ever been a good pimp? some might say it's a vulgar idea, but then again commerce is a pretty base thing, its like they take the products of the poet's body, and breath, steal,at a price, the price of paper, say, of ink, and heart, of rhythm, labour's body,its pristine effort to ExPression and they deflate, deny order this way and that, size it price, _ poets and publishers, what a nasty game, . each poet ought to have a S. Beach, the lady who single handedly published Ulysses by Joyce, James, that is and the other ones, the hero publishers, yes, they're out there, for you and your Son Nova, and his heroic struggle and yours, your husband's your family to hold out the acceptance of desire in its heart, of birth life and breath, grief become birth, not dylan thomas' brief grief, but an end to grief where all the lords' people are prophets, poets, and no more shall there be pimppublishers, and no more the lies and swindles of power politics in poesy and its sweet domains yours, your sweet mouth which brings forth a stanza a song a whirl a pavanne in the shape of your work, its tawny friendilessness down thru dawn or the word, its breath, holding , staving, rhyming, cadencing, nuance of image against the beat and accent or the other things and magic word of flower, and its becomings which make it happen, poetry. Yes, Poetry, Poetic Acceptance not primped publishing double crossing money grubbing tawdry cheats, a rogue gallery of wankers, but the poem, like yours, a stoic hammer, a sensual ladder into eternity and its dozen cousins...

    Blessings Blessings Blessings Blessings Blessings Blessings Blessings Blessings Blessings to you and Nova Nova a new child born Bethelehem's birth astride the earth our great mother the sky our father your father your mother mine theirs ours, the acceptance of serenity in the adversity and cheerfulness amidst adversity VerSity Verse.

  3. E, I wouldn't be surprised if the offended party became so after the torrent of comments on your factual, non-catty post. I admit that by hissing and spitting on yout behalf, I have probably taken away from the truly noble message of simple warning. I maintain my thoughts and feelings on the matter, but I do apologize if I in any way compromised the integrity of your intent.

  4. Erin~
    These comments are no different than those I've received on my posts and discussions about other scam sites. Why should you apologize? Because there's no single person at to point a finger directly at? Because this is more personal? or because there IS a single person who's guilty in this case?

    I don't apologize for any of it, and you shouldn't either. I don't think anyone should have to hold their tongue because there's only one guilty party here rather than a corporation.

    That person opened themselves up to this with her own actions and statements, and should have damn well been prepared for the public tongue lashing she's gotten.

    Unfortunately for her, she'd gotten used to getting away with her scam, grown accustomed to other authors' fear and silence, and when faced with the public truth, she reacted in a less than professional manner - and got more of the same in return.

    Thank you dear, for your understanding and support.

    *hug* I try to remain true to myself. Once upon a time I'd have removed the post because someone was offended. I used to care more about someone else's opinion of me. Lately, I've been reminded that life is too damn short to live by someone else's standards, besides, being true to myself is all I can hope to do in a world where so many others will be two-faced and treat me like dirt.