Hooray for BlazeVox!

last night I couldn't sleep after I read the shit that some guy named Brett was writing about BlazeVox books and its editor Geoffrey Gatza at a blog called Bark: http://thebarking.com/2011/09/the-half-hearted-acceptance-letter/

This kind of delusional, spoiled, ignorant MFA thinking makes me sick. So I wrote a short response. Much of the more productive thinking on the subject has transpired don Facebook in the last 24 hours with overwhelming support from poetrys greatest advocates. I hope that we can do a longer, more sustained article in Mimeo Mimeo in the future. KS

It is clear from reading this post that the author hasn’t done his research–research about this press in particular or the publishing industry at large. While I can appreciate the fragility of the ego that the mfa is paid, by the poet to produce, I can’t accept this as a valid intellectual or historical charge against BlazeVox. Dreams of prizes, publication, validation and celebration of your poems and ideas are what you, or your parents, paid your poetry professors to fill you with. The prizes and publications are, quite often, rigged, and prey on the poets’ deepest insecurities, insecurities that are part of the mfa pedagogy at the core, and at it’s most deceptive and profitable state. BlazeVox is transparent, and rises in stark contrast to the predatory mainstream, by making their selection process, finances, politics, etc., clear as can be. If you’ve read their books, followed their presence online, listened to interviews with the publisher, etc., readers of this blog would realize the BlazeVox is the mimeo revolution of the new media era. Gatza’s politics run parallel to Ed Sanders, Paul Blackburn, Amiri Baraka, and the other bold publishers of new American poetry that got the word out when commercial presses flinched (or simply didn’t care enough to notice). BlazeVox is what the independent press is all about, and if it needs money to float (as most presses do) there’s nothing wrong with asking author’s to pitch in. I pay for my six year old son to play on the soccer team, and the coach donates his time. My money helps cover the cost of oranges, balls, water, and other essentials. As Robert Creeley said, “poetry is a team sport.” Gatza has done a lot to change the game, more than most, and I’m extremely grateful for all he has given, especially to emerging writers.


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