10 mar. 2004

fait accompli:

"Once again- over at Ron Silliman's blog-
poets have been drawn into rating peers.
Why is judging, rating and comparison
the activity most poets are drawn to
most of all? It seems most people get
bored without making a competitive game
out of poetry. I don't deny my own competitive
feelings, however, the activity of poets rating
other poets is the one I like least in
this field. Sure I make comparisons like
everybody else, but making a public
spectacle out of it this is the American obsession
I like least. It is the essence of the Society
of the Spectacle, the poetic equivalent
of a beauty contest. Sure I'm jealous of
all the attention Ron's blog is getting, but Ron
is a very generous friend and I applaud his
success. But this 'best of' and
classification drive makes
me sick. How did I ever fall for
joining in? I guess I was in a great mood
that day because a blogger friend had
highly complimented me. Well, I should
be more wary about what I say
when I get so excited and happy."

I've always (for the past year or so I mean) admired the way Nick refrains from putting down other people. The ranking game is a trap, of course. It can be fun, though, if taken in the right spirit. It can be a game, somewhat lighthearted in tone. Especially if you use very narrow criteria, like, "who's the best poet with initials JM?" Don't be afraid of your own enthusiasm, Nick! As long as you retain that basic sense that these rankings have no real "weight" you should be ok.