EDITORIAL COMMENT: The only ethical reasons that I can think of in regards to calling for her to be fired for her position-the accusations that she may have lied on her resume-have been debunked by her “vanity” publisher and the state board that wrote the press release. She didn’t lie about her credentials. They did.
If the governor censored any of these complaining poets, I’d be the first in line to fight for their behalf. If the Governor cut their funding/axed their poet laureate program, I’d be the first in line to fight for their behalf. But somebody they didn’t like got a fellowship? This is the impetus for them to create a story of national importance?
And the precedent set here-and the Dickens villain rhetoric that drips from the offended poets’ protests-is sort of frightening. The history of Poetry in the 21st century has been plagued by the type of american caste police that the offended poet’s come off as: people who wrote book after book about the traditions of poetry that they were protecting, but could barely communicate a paragraph to a reader as to how a poem worked. These poets have reduced a great deal of the dialogue about “academic poetry” to Robb Report chatter-whether it be schools that spew vague, airy cliches about being a rich New Yorker( Frederick Seidel comes to mind), vague, airless cliches about being a nature buff in the carolinas, vague, airy cliches about being a neo-brat-packer in LA, or the vague airy cliches of northwest nature poets who spend less time writing their stanzas than I do reading them.
Because of my belief in the first amendment, I will fight for their right to believe what they believe and get what they can get from grants and poetry boards. Taste is exasperatingly personal, and no one owes me a goddamn thing in regards to poetry. I have a right not to LIKE it, but my rights in the matter stop at my nose. And when any artist/group goes to boards of government to try to affect the livelihood of another artist who isn’t affecting their lives at all( and worse, attempt to establish rules for acceptable art-in this case, MFA poetry), I start to get scared.
This is not a good moment for poetry. No.
ALSO: FOR PEOPLE BEING SO CONCERNED ABOUT THE DECORATED TRADITIONS OF NORTH CAROLINA POETRY: The offended poets sure forgot about this guy.