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Friday, April 9, 2004


Via Jordan via Laurel.

Remarks I tried to write in Laurel's comment box that were too long:


I worry about this kind of crap all the time, but like Jordan says, I should get building. Oh wait. I did that by editing first poetry books at Soft Skull.

But I've still signed books by people I know and consider friends (and I've had to REJECT many friends too, to accept manuscripts by people I don't know personally that are a better fit.) But how do I know them, and how did I get to be friends with them? Through their poems, of course. So now what?

And in LIT you'll find a healthy dose of people I'm "friends" with and Soft Skull authors (or future authors) too. But again, if I'm editing for both outlets, trends of appreciation for certain kinds of work will become apparent, right, that's natural, and if I like somebody for one thing, I might also like them for another thing, right?

And as far as submitting my own stuff, what constitutes "close friends" as in "entrants who are close friends of the judges are ineligible"? How much time do I have to spend with another small press editor at a conference or reading series or lit mag party to consider him a "close friend"? We've never made out. Does that cover me?

And what about contests that DON'T have these restrictions in their rules, like Barrow Street? I opted not to enter when my former teacher was judging out of a sense of personal ethics. What a maroon! Somebody else (who deserves a prize and many accolades!) from my program won.

When you live in NYC, work for a small press, edit a lit journal, attend an MFA program, run a reading series, and maintain a well-linked poetry blog, this is bound to become a problem eventually. I don't think there are many poets, poetry editors, or publishers left in this city (and beyond) that I haven't met or corresponded with at least once!

This is the point where my head usually explodes.

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