1 jun. 2005

"One of the defining peers of my own imagined company of poets."

That's a blurb for Ronald Johnson, written by Creeley. It might seem rather ordinary, as though he could have written it about anybody, but to me it is quite striking. Every word seems to carry a particular weight or emphasis. defining : he is a poet who defines the company itself; without him it would be different. peers : these poets are equals. imagined The company of poets exists in Creeley's imagination. They might not have ever been in the same room together, but they form a group in Creeley's mind. company = cum = panis. People with whom you break bread. Constrast this with "one of our greatest poets." -- H. Bloom. Creeley's is a much more personal statement.


One question missing from those below is how to deal with rejection. That seems inherent in the process of seeking publication. My own feeling, coming back to the process after many years of not seeking publication at all, is that I have to view any editor I submit to as fully competent to judge the needs of his / her own magazine. This does not mean the editor is competent to judge the value of my poetry outside of that context of publication, but simply that "la loca en su casa sabe más que la cuerda en casa ajena." [the madwoman in her own house knows more than the sane woman in someone else's house]. So you can't go back to the editor and say, "Why did you publish HIM instead of me?!" Even when you know you are better than HIM, you have to let the editor make his or her own "mistakes." Your poems simply haven't convinced the editor. I have submitted to some journals I don't anticipate would be that sympathetic to my work, just to see if I have "crossover appeal." (I don't so far, but you never know!)

5 comentarios:

Tony dijo...

Okay Jonathan, my Latin is virtually non-existent, but I'm assuming the break part is implied?


company=(those) with bread.

So the company (the MAN) has the bread, see? And I want the bread because I'm hungry. So the company is the enemy of the starving poet.

Tony dijo...

Also--I'm always a little amazed when people tell me they don't publish because they fear rejection, or they can't deal with rejection, or so on.

I mean--come on. It's just some rejection. Big deal. I know that MOST editors don't like my poems. Some do, though. I think you really nailed it here--the editor is the only person to know what's right for his or her publication. It doesn't mean you suck, it just means that these particular poems don't do it for the editor.

Besides, I've noticed that poets who really DO suck submit A LOT ALL THE TIME.

I read more bad poems in one week than I could write in a year. Seriously.


L dijo...

Re editors: I suspect you're being far too measured and decent. Anyone can find themselves in an editorial position (not least on-line) filtering text to the world - and then, by the thing itself, they're not in their own house, but standing on the pavement/sidewalk handing out flyers.
To continue the loca theme, I would counsel unflagging egomania and megalomania on behalf of the poet - and also keep Swift and his views on dunces in mind at all times. It won't be true for many people, but it will get all further along the road...

Aaron Tieger dijo...

As an editor, I appreciate your perspective, Jonathan.

Jonathan dijo...


Lois: I disagree. If you think the editor is a dunce you shouldn't be submitting "there." If then you're rejected and get mad, you've only yourself to blame. You can't say the editor is genius for accepting you and a dunce for rejecting you. You have to look at the quality of the publication in the first place. Do you respect it? Would you read it yourself? If so, then the editor is doing something right. If not, then what are you doing submitting there?

I assume you're being facetious when you argue in favor of more egomania among poets, so I won't even bother to rebut that part of your comment.

Tony (and Aaron): thanks for the editor's perspective on this. And yes, my Latin is shaky too, but the "one who breaks" part is implicit.