December 10th, 2011

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Writing Hot Topics

This article covers the risks and benefits of writing about controversial issues.

You know what?  If people can't handle my stance on an issue, or me walking around an issue through several stories or poems, or me even broaching a touchy topic -- they should run away now while they still can.  Because if they hang around me, sooner or later they're going to suffer a very painful reality rupture.  I don't preach in my writing, whether nonfiction or otherwise; but I don't pull any punches either.  I can wield symbols as a percussion instrument.  It's better to get incompatible people safely out of the way before they get hurt.  And then I am left with an audience of people who are open-minded and like reading stuff that is more than just literary navel-gazing or preaching to a choir.

I love you all.  You make my life, and my writing, so much richer by being a part of all this.
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How Not to Become a Famous Poet

There's an article on "Poetry and Ruthless Careerism."  It's full of some horrible misconceptions that damage poetry and people.  I'm going to lay them out here and stab them with pencils until they bleed and die on the page.


"There are probably 800 or so active writing programs in the United States alone. I could have looked up the actual number, but facts don't actually matter."

Facts DO matter.  They matter in poetry as much as nonfiction.  You can make up a fantasy world, but if you get the Earth's diameter wrong people will laugh at you and well they should.  If you don't know the answer, look it up, don't make it up!

"Even within the elite enclaves of poetic communities--like this New York City Poetry Project Scene--there is a constant battle to stay afloat while pushing others beneath the bubbling surf. Because there is so little at stake, all battles must be fought to the death."

You do not get to be a better person, let alone a better poet, by advancing yourself at someone else's direct expense. If you want to kill people, go into the military. If you want to get rich and famous by hurting people, go into business. Don't go into poetry. Because you get to be a better poet by learning about people and interacting with them. That is so not going to happen if you're all busy stabbing each other in the back.
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Generally Sponsored Poetry Poll for December 2011

It's time to pick poetry for sponsoring.  The general fund currently contains $32.  There are two $5 poems left: "The Leaning of Life" and "Sundrops."  There are two $10 poems left: "The Evolution of Perception" and "Haunted Gatherers."  There are three $15 poems left: "The Curse of Titania's Table," "The Fountainhead of the Wisdom of Food," and "The Luckpot." 

There are two epics from this session: "Chamomile and Honeycrack" (Path of the Paladins, $62) and "This Bittersweet Weed" ($37).  You can read thumbnails for these in the unsold poetry list.  If "Chamomile and Honeycrack" gets $13, that will reveal six verses; if it gets all $32, that will reveal 16 verses (out of 28).  If "This Bittersweet Weed" gets $13, that will reveal seven verses; if it gets all $32, that will reveal 13 verses (out of 16).  There is also one open poem, "The Inescapable Agony of Being."  If "The Inescapable Agony of Being" gets $2, it won't reveal another verse yet; next verse is $4, so that would bring the level down to $2.

Everyone is eligible to vote in this poll.  The first question in the poll deals with distribution of funds into price categories.  Later questions select specific poems, based on which way the first question falls.  Please answer all the questions.  I will check this poll Sunday evening.  If there is a clear winner then, I'll close it and post the poetry.  Otherwise I may leave it open a little longer.

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