Distribution Automatique

Friday, June 3

The Silence of the Lambs

"The arrogance of critics prospers, even fattens,
on the silence of the poets over whom the critic
means to tyrannize."

Jerome Rothenberg {click here}

thanks to Mappemunde (Tim Peterson) {click here} for the link.


from Gary Sullivan's *Elsewhere*

"Just before leaving, I had a brief
but kind of strange conversation
with Bruce Andrews.
I hadn't seen him in a while,
not since the Coolidge/Gizzi reading,
where I had given him--Bruce--a copy of my comic.
Bruce congratulated me on the comic,
said that while he hadn't read it,
he didn't think it was worth my having
dropped out of the scene for a year
to create. I reminded him
that I had been "missing" really
only for half a year, and he said,
"even so." He said it nicely enough,
so perhaps he simply meant
that he missed me.
But the subtext seemed to be
"What you're doing isn't worth
the time you're spending on it."
Wasn't sure how to respond to that.
I could have, I suppose,
reminded him that my procedure
is different from his own,
that drawing comics physically
takes a lot of time, and
that it is a learned skill--very
different from scribbling on
3x5s while on auto-pilot,
which he's been doing for the
last twenty years or so.
Too, I felt like reminding him
that I had already sold more
copies of my little
self-published comic in
its first month than that
powerhouse Sun & Moon
probably sold of what's
considered his best book,
I Don't Have Any Paper, Or Shut Up,
in its first year in print.
This is hubris, of course,
but if sales continue as they've
been, I'll sell out of the first printing
before a year has gone by, whereas
Shut Up was published
more than a decade ago, and
I don't think it has yet gone
into a second printing.
I can't imagine that more than
1000 copies were made.
I suppose I could have patiently
explained all of that to him, but
I was tired after a long day of working.
Plus, it seemed more intended
as a kind of conversation stopper, not starter.
His comment--and he's famous
for these kinds of comments--
shouldn't have bothered me,
but it did. As a personal slight, sure,
but more as a kind of reminder
of the worst aspects of the poetry
scene, of why it can sometimes
seem a monumental waste of
one's energy and resources to
engage with it. If one's interaction
with the poetry scene leads to
these kinds of banal but hurtful
conversations, why would anyone
in their right mind steal time away
from their creative endeavors to be
available for them?
Of course, I'm overreacting. (
I'm a Leo; we do that.)
The truth is, I had a great time with
everyone else, picked up some
wonderful-looking books,
and look forward to the next event,
which is tonight, I realize:
The Hanging Loose book party
at Teachers & Writers.
New books by Sharon Mesmer
and Jeni Olin! I guess I have to go to the ATM."

rom Gary Sulllivan's

Elsewhere {click here}

for the complete text excerpted from
above scroll down to *Getting Out More*