S t e v e   D u f f y


Epilogue from the subsubpoetics List

on Thu, 22 Mar 2001 19:03:20 +0000
mp25@st-andrews.ac.uk (Malcolm Phillips) wrote:

>> I've only been posting to brit-po for about a year so no special
>> cred there, and I've found no evidence of any hierarchy of list-members.
>> Those who want to speak, speak.

mailing lists do tend to be dominated by consensus. so do realms such
as "poetry". british-poets is a place where the two come together in a
very powerful way. britain is a small place and not surprisingly many
brit-po list-members have experience of the same networks - print mags,
venues, etc, etc. [i opted out of that system in the late 60's.]

as malcolm says, those who want to speak, speak. and if they say the
right things they are welcome and may post as much or as little as they
wish, and if they say the wrong things they are ignored, or attacked.
that's just opinion, i hear you say, sour grapes, something like that.
what would constitute proof?

as kent says, read the archives.

when i discovered british-poets list the first thing which came to mind
was a gathering of people who would welcome another poet as a brother.
how stupid of me. i soon realized that consensus policed the list in an
ugly, snobbish manner. my experience of "british"-poets [and the name is
significant] is that the agenda of the consensus is to promote certain
poetries and suppress others. read the archives.

generally, i feel that we are experiencing something which is a natural
consequence of global networking/communication. people whose elitism is
based on control of "local" networks, hierarchies, suddenly find
themselves on a mailing list with international subscribers - do they
ever stop to think that their actions may be transparent? one would
imagine that the presence of "the archives" would make them think more
carefully but for some reason it doesn't happen.

kent will be one of the few to emerge from these "affairs" with any
dignity, i believe.

>> In addition, these high-up-in-the-hierarchy subscribers come from
>> Australia, Canada and America (Alison Croggon, Nate Dorward, Candice
>> Ward and Mark Weiss spring to mind). Mark Weiss may HUMOROUSLY refer
>> to himself as a savage but he's a regular and respected list-member
>> who knows more about some aspects of Brit-po than a native like
>> myself, and I've never heard anyone express anything other than
>> appreciation for his posts.

you missed a few "high-up-in-the-hierarchy subscribers". some of those
same people are high-up-in-the-hierarchy subscribers on poetryetc too. i
guess they are just high-up-in-the-hierarchy sort of folk. they are
certainly very good at "public" opinion management.

but the reason you rarely [but not "never"] hear anyone express anything
other than appreciation for the posts of the high and mighty is because
challenging the group at the centre means distancing [disgracing]
oneself, defining onself as an outsider, an "extremist".

if it were not kent then eventually someone else would be incensed by
the lack of fairness evident on british-poets and would point out that
unfairness in ways which cannot be denied.

in the past i've had people backchannel me, thanking me for speaking out!
i've also had the high-up-in-the-hierarchy nate dorward backchannel me
with serious allegations with regard to other list members! no prizes
for guessing who the stuff was aimed at ...

like kent, i'm angry that people should be so blatantly self-serving -
hiding behind a "benign authority" which _seems_ to derive from a love
of, an intimacy with, british and irish poetry but which turns out to
be, just as much, the arrogance of an elite.

regards, steve