Sunday, September 09, 2007

aBOUT nEW yORK

RECENTLY I went to New York City for the day on personal business. What I saw different from eight months prior: further fast-paced gentrification. The city has become too expensive for all but the affluent. Even many barmaids are on trust funds. Stop in any saloon or cafe across the city and you'll encounter only gentry. Of the once-gritty Bowery around CBGB's there's not a trace. The character of the area has been destroyed.

Literary scene? There is no literary scene. There's not one bar in the entire island of seven million people of Manhattan where patrons talk about books and literature. (There are several spots where the business of publishing is the topic of conversation.) There are no humbly compelling dives where a Jack London (or Steve Kostecke) carrying a duffel bag, cocky grin on his face, would be liable to walk through the door and tell you he's a writer. (All "writers" in this city are poseurs and wannabes.)

New York can't in any stretch of the imagination be called a literary city. Other than a few staid events at chain bookstores, there are few literary happenings. The two major "alternative" papers, Village Voice and New York Press, on the day I was there, contained no information about poetry open mics. These two papers anyway are thin ghosts of what they were even six years ago.

Boom town New York, flooding with money and rich people, is destroying its roots. No more will there be an East Village haven for bohemians. Struggling writers and artists could never survive in the once great cultural city. No O. Henry or Bob Dylan are possible. Future just-arrived Madonnas will find no flea-bag hotels to stay at, because even the flea bag hotels are pricey.

Underground artists need look for another neighborhood in another city as focal point. The question is where that will be.

48 comments:

fdw said...

ditto on Bagdadadelphia especially West Philly.

And I shld know and have earned the authority of saying this-- not only because of experience but that this "experience" seems to have been the experience itself!

There is nothing on the poetry scene here that even come close to the 70's, 80's or early ninties even. Any thing that has happened has either been generated by the ULA or by individuals affiliated directly or indirectly with (in recent years)! Otherwise if say like myself you're in this gentrified police state of a backwater city for the Literary scene then all you've got is a reason to get the hell out.

M.D.G. said...

This is a disgrace Walsh to my legacy in Philadelphia. True I hosted a reading there and I was a ULA member at the time, but was that the ULA's reading or was it run by Natalie and I? The truth is I never asked or wanted the ULA's help with the reading and never needed it. The reading and my ULA membership were separate from each other if you americans can grasp the fact that you're allowed to work outside of the herd and be an individual. Same thing with when I tried to start a poetry festival in Philly. The whole thing was successful and pretty well attended. But I was a ULA member and who was calling for a boycot of the festival? The leader of the ULA, King Karl himself. Once again I had acted on my own outside of the group. And I know what Karl is gonna say about it already. I put on a reading at an Ivy League school. And I did. Picture that, a down to earth poetry reading at an Ivy League University. And yes, Karl will say that I did not give Walsh a reading. I did give Walsh a reading. If he had not pissed everyone off it would be easier to give Walsh a reading and pass it through other people. So my conclusion is that Karl can bitch all he wants about there being no literature but when faced with real literature he tries to tear it down. Bottom line, he does not want real readings or real literature unless he is controling or has something to gain from it. Literature is for the people my friends. Open it up. What I did was selfless I did not do it for any cause, I did it for the people. They were starved for culture. And instead of bitching about nothing going on Walsh or Karl why don't you start something? If there are no readings start one. If nobody comes that is only the beginning work through it.

King said...

??? Where did this diatribe come from? You're living in the past, my friend, with your pseudo grievances over matters which for the rest of us have been forgotten.
"Mom! Karl did this and Frank did that, and they said this and that and, and, and. . . ."
Nothing Frank said in his post is inaccurate. (Note the word "indirectly.")
As for Philly, actually this year we engaged in a lot of happenings here; two big shows at The Underground; a very successful reading at Germ Books in Fishtown; and our exciting appearance at this summer's 40th Street art festival. (Plus, the Jukebox activities are taking off.) We have a very good foundation in Philly right now-- the question for me is expanding this to other cities, a subject I hope to address in the near future.
You're right that the ULA is a cooperative group and not the best place for solitary individualists.
Good luck with all you're doing, Mike. All success to you.

M.D.G. said...

What did I say that was inaccurate? Honestly Karl the point to the diatribe is that you can have shows to promote yourself and sit around and bitch about there being no scene. Maybe you don't see what is wrong with the picture. This is bigger than self. Peace man.

fdw said...

Funny I thought I just said that, Muck. Glad you agree. Again everything you say you did or even say-- the opposite is in the record.
But that's niether here nor there. What a coincidence that PK emails me at the same time frame yr. spewing poison on this Blog that's had pretty good insight and discussion into the nature of the beast-- the nature of writing and poetry, in the underground, in the mainstream, the CIA connection that is still running rampant in the general mix of this mixed up place, at the hour of need, etc. -- all of which you didn't and never have weighed in on, in other words you never talk about the practice the social context the power and place of literature in salvation of our culture. Nor the good fight.
So my take on you and your fellow moles and reactionaries is that like all entropic systems your running out of gas and are simmering in your own juices and bad vibes and are just looking for some knee-jerk reaction to nourish your delusions and give you a chance to simulate that you've a life.

M.D.G. said...

It's not just the lit scene. The CIA is involved in every aspect of our lives. Once again Frank, it's just the small picture. I sent you an e-mail a while ago man. You should have my address if you ever wanna contact me. If you don't have it check outsiderwriters. It's listed there. Or CP man, it's right there.

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

There's a curious contradiction present here, my friend. Don't you know that the split was made and OW created BECAUSE the ULA was investigating the CIA's presence in the literary scene? That was the stated reason-- they didn't want us following those leads.
My perspective is: let's clean up our own backyard (literature) first before we move on to the rest of society. As writers it's our obligation to free literature and expose corruption in our own scene-- which is eactly what the ULA has been doing.
Of course, there are many other aspects to the ULA campaign. That we have a strong relationship with the hippest bookstore in the hippest most authentic neighborhood in Philly is only one of our strengths. In Philly, the ULA (along with our allies) IS the literary scene. (Even the Overdogs like those at WHYY recognize this, which is why I did the one hour radio program in which I was able to talk up underground literature.)
I'm an optimist. I'll be surprised when we don't face opposition. Opposition from a tired status quo trying desperately to hang on to its turf comes with our campaign. They're not going to immediately put up a "CLOSED" sign and walk away.
But the momentum is clearly on our side. . . .
The Underground Literary Alliance is the future and salvation of literature.

Tobias said...

Might I respectfully suggest that if you don't see many literary events happening in New York "other than a few staid events at chain bookstores", you may not be looking hard enough? Plenty of non-chain bookstores (Housing Works, McNally Robinson, BookCourt, etc) are holding events regularly, as are bars and coffee shops in Brooklyn.

There's not one bar in the entire island of seven million people of Manhattan where patrons talk about books and literature.

...are you talking Manhattan or Brooklyn? And do you mean everyone in the bar? Because I'd submit that it's hard to find one bar anywhere where the clientele is unified on a single topic of conversation.

jimmy grace said...

I'm impressed that King managed to visit every single bar in New York. Even for a drunkard of his reputation, that's a lot.

Brooklyn Frank said...

It's true that Williamsburgh, Brooklyn is a lit-hipsterville these days, but I consider that neighborhood simply an extension of the LES, really.

fdw said...

The push is on ladies an' gentlemen, and I do mean ladies!
Point is why aren't these alternative literary events being ayred in the rags? Niether New Joke nor here.
I think he's-- and these days noth'n' wrong with hyperbole (think that's what Mike Moore's been doing inciting this Cuba healthcare "issue" presently) when ya get a whiff o' th' creamatorium--- pointing up the trendie that the real estate interests and the four and half faced media corpse that running things (into the ground) doan take too kindly to lit and especially poetry underground!

M.D.G. said...

Well like I said before I was rudely attacked by the gaurd dogs if the ULA cared so much about underground literature and the little guy getting into readings they would host their own open readings and worry less about shows that just promote self. Until that point all this bitching is all talk and talk never solved anything.

fdw said...

The opposite as usual is the case.
Open readings of the old pay- to- play, and ego stroking with lotsa really bad ignorant garbage where ass-holes go over the time limit and piss on everybody else are a thing of the past like disco music.
Actions speak louder than words.

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

p.s. We actually had a speed open mic at our second "Underground" show which attracted poets we'd never seen before, and which was wildly successful-- tremendous fun; Mr. Walsh himself taking on all comers. I gave out three prizes to the best challengers; can't remember who won what other than that hyper-beautiful Rebecca of the Mighty Paradocs won the coveted "Golden Bear" award. (One of the poets from the N.J. Idiom Poets group won something also I think.)
AND, I should note that the now famous Larry Richette read something as well at this historic event.(Some weeks later he was to publicly offer a well-informed opinion about the state of local Philly media which caused quite an uproar.)

Victor Schwartzman said...

While I read these pages I generally don't comment any longer. I wish Frank and Karl & everyone else the best o' luck.

However, the statement that OW was created in protest or reaction to the ULA's CIA articles: total bullshit.

Sorry, but it just ain't the truth. There has never been anything published on OW or that any of the OW founders have written that would support Karl's bizarre statement.

I don't want to fan flames and won't go into why OW in fact WAS created. But Karl and Frank both know that the CIA articles had nothing to do with it.

By the way, where is the follow up to the CIA articles?

Best o' luck to y'all.

Fran said...

...Victor, King could be thinking of this thread http://kingwenclas.blogspot.com/2007/02/hypocrisy-and-manners.html

Or maybe that thread made King form an impression about the situation. At the time, to me, Pat did sound upset; I assumed the CIA writings here were partly why a bunch of you left the ULA, like King had stepped over a line, though I don't see how that would be specifically why you formed OW. Maybe King was typing fast and confused the two ideas. Or maybe he meant the CIA thing caused the ULA split, which split allowed the formation of OW, like you wouldn't have formed it had you not split off with the ULA. Then the CIA thing could be like an indirect cause of OW's creation, but not a direct one.

But I don't want to speak for King--or anyone else.

Like it or not, whether you intended to or not, your having known each other and worked together probably means you've influenced each other at least a little. I really wish all of you would repair what happened between you. There's enough terrible stuff in the world right now.

Peace,

Fran

fdw said...

Fran:
With all doo respect, compromise is the worst thing of the bad things going on in the world today.
Look at mutt and jeff, demogogues and reprolicans, neo- conmans and neo- limps.
Schwarzman a bureaucrat in the Canadian government himself is admitting (he can hardly resist as per his last line) that JDF and Matamas are the CIAKGB puppets behind him as their front men.
OW is basically a chimeara of stolen "articles" of lingerie and mis-matched socks, that has nothing better to do than slap- themselves on the back while their being used by the one or two sub-humans who are getting a few pieces of gold from the Pharisees.
I myself, a sinner and a saint, have a life.
Luckily the better writers directly or INDIRECTLY associated with the ULA have smelled the dry rot and the shit eating and have saved their own health and welfare in the process. For now.
No body did noth'n' to these fish. They let themselves out and they went and signed their pact or whatever. Who cares. But look at what the CIA has done on top of everything else right in your, our, the country's FACE since Karl and the ULA within reason spooked up against the Power and gone as far as we were liable to be permitted to go.
Yes Virginia Tech there is a Boogeyman.

Pat_King said...

OW is an independent and very loose organization. People can choose to believe this or not. Nick Mamatas isn't even a member. He's never even been featured on the site. Though, who really cares if he was?

We get 3,000 unique hits a month. Seems some people like our back-patting.

We didn't form as a reaction to the ULA. And even if we did, every member after Michael Grover has had no past affiliation with the group. Most hadn't even heard of you guys.

Believe it or not, we don't see ourselves as a collective like the ULA. We're much more loosely knit. We're barely an organization. We mostly promote people outside the guild.

Saying that we quit over the CIA thing is comically simplistic. And there was no conspiracy. We didn't know we were all going to create a new group until after we left. We liked the way of banding together but we wanted to do it a different way.

OW and the ULA are like night and day concerning their approach. No matter how we might have started, we're completely different.

JDF said...

First things first. The smartest thing that has been posted here is Pat King's statement that we (the folks that hang out under the Outsider Writers banner) are not an organization like the ULA. We are a group of individuals, without any sort of hierarchy or leader. When someone wishes to join we welcome them, and it is understood that they must contribute in some material way to the group.

We do not make the noise that the ULA does. The ULA has gotten good publicity by using the mainstream media: from the NY Post's Page Six; to getting a mention in the NY Times; to a feature article in Eggers's The Believer; to a Bruno Maddox article in Black Book, etc., etc., etc. Wenclas is enough of a lit personality that his name and writing has appeared at Gawker.com, which mocks him. But who of any level of importance or notoriety don't they mock?

Outsider Writers has precious little similarity to the ULA, with the obvious exception that we are writers. OW is still at the grassroots/word of mouth stage of development. We are noticed, but it is usually one reader or writer at a time, because we are just basic hardworking writers who probably aren't even ready for the big notices that the ULA has garnered.

And in fact, the ULA has made progress in getting others to agree with several of their stances lately and it certainly looks like they're here to stay. I hope that Outsider Writers has such longevity. Fran's suggestion that we beat our swords into ploughshares is a good one, but one which I am afraid will never be realized.

There are a number of points that OW and the ULA will never see eye to eye on. If Wenclas wants to think that the CIA incident at the ULA was the reason OW was founded, I'm fine with that. There were a number of reasons and perhaps that was one of them. But in the excitement of forming the group we did not spend much time hashing over our gripes with the ULA. The ULA immediately became a thing of the past for us. And now there is more important momentum for us to keep going.

And now to address the imagined Finch-Mamatas unholy alliance alluded to by Frank Walsh, where Nick and I went to the crossroads and signed an unholy pact with The Devil (played by Salman Rushdie). He's right that I had dealings with Mamatas, but it was when I bought The Whirligig, the litzine that will be reborn in a few weeks. Nick knew and had various editorial dealings back and forth with "brooklyn frank", another commenter here, who is the writer and former editor of TW, Frank Marcopolos. Nick sort of brokered the deal between Frank and myself.

Anyway, one of the things that irritated me when I was a member of the ULA was the way Wenclas would engage nonsensical posters here at his blog. I felt he was wasting time that could have been better spent on ULA business. (It was a minor complaint of mine -- not the reason I resigned.) Seriously, I would have blown them off immediately, but he let them hang out. Maybe he's just more patient than me. Or maybe I'm just not interested in converting anyone.

Anyway, I'm out of here.

fdw said...

Sounds like especially in your coda here JD that King was probably being more inclusive less "organized" than you had and have aspired to be. That the tone and gist of everything your reactionary but pretty site exhibits is insidious and cloying without substance and certainly without any critical sensibility to speak of. Besides the deliberate sabotaging of ULA publicity (which is pure and simple advocacy of alternative literature in general) during the Howl protest event in April of '06 which you yourself oversighted it is also on record that you took it open yourself to obtain a whole lot of my poetry for the "whirligig" issue that you promised and promptly after the FILF in Cleveland that mid-Summer coopted in my view and would not after a series of prompting initiated by me allowed for no indication of my submissions' status nor made any mannerly offer to return the above. I now take this as a crooked dealing at the least. Schwarzman and Pat King went ahead and confiscated both the ULA critical Review Blog and the ULA Lit Adventures Blog locking us out.
This and other petty deceits and passive agression began to add up to a picture of the opposite of what you're claiming here. Bottom line is that the dumbfoundedness and low common denominator touted by and in OW suggested a front for something and it ain't nothing especially since the writing is so bad and fawning as to be easily ignored. Otherwise I haven't looked at it in a while, I have for one thing the patience but no tolerance when it comes to cabals if not organization that steal authentic writers/poets ideas let alone their very work.

fdw said...

"outside the guild"???
It's not worth going into Pat but everything your saying here is the opposite of what really happened and this I say without calling you a liar.

JDF said...

fdw (Walsh) -- Here is our email exchange from the time you have chosen to feature in your now public gripe with me. Try not to extend your blustering charges much further, as, believe it or not, most people have no trouble sensing bullshit and they really want nothing to do with the source.

You wrote me on the fourth of April with a couple questions. I answered you on the fifth, asking -- in good faith -- if I owed you money for the poems I used. Never heard from you.

This sentence of yours: "One reason I'm asking besides the obvious is that you know the protocall and manner regarding simultaneous submissions." lead me to believe you didn't want the copies of the poems back, as you did not include an SASE. But you didn't write back to clarify or answer any of my questions, so that was that.

If you're now complaining, over a year after the fact, that I "stole" 15 cents worth of your paper that happened to have some of your poems on them, that were disposed of when I didn't hear from you, you should get out of the writing biz. Or get some armour as I see your hide is rather sensitive. I was totally upfront with you about both the money and the lack of further need for your stuff or your services. Deal with it.

As for me sabotaging the Howl protest: If you mean the money I contributed to the ULA coffers to help to enable you guys to travel to Columbia and maybe have a couple beers, then, yeah I tried to sabotage you. Besides, I had no dealings with you during the Howl action anyway, though thanks for allowing me to view another installment from the ULA Book Of Legends, Imaginary Enemies chapter.

Emails:


Sun 3/04/07 11:51 PM
JD:
Honestly disappointed to see you break ranks, but respect yr. decision of course.
Wunnering what's happening with Whirligig and consequently my work I sent you and you got. Read from the FILF sampler in fact the other night at Robbins Books with the IDIOM poets!
One reason I'm asking besides the obvious is that you know the protocall and manner regarding simultaneous submissions. In either case I do in fact follow the old ways.
So talk to me, man!
Hope yr doing well otherwise.

Peace,

FW


3/5/07


Yo Frankie!

Yes the ULA ship has sailed and I wave to it from the shore, glad to feel the solid earth once again beneath my feet. And that's all I'll say.

Re your poetry (glad Whirligig FILF came in handy), did we talk about money? I mean do I owe you anything for what is yours in FILF?

As for your poems, the coming issue of The Whirligig will not have poetry. I have had a bit of a change in artistic direction and right now poetry doesn't fit in. Which I guess means: do what you will with your poems. Sell them to the highest bidder; bind them with the skin of a yak and carry them to the mountaintop; soak up the blood of other poets with the pages. They are yours! But I feel a bit richer for having read them and I thank you for the opportunity.

Jeff Potter said...

JDF: "We are a group of individuals, without any sort of hierarchy or leader. When someone wishes to join we welcome them, and it is understood that they must contribute in some material way to the group."

PatK: "...we don't see ourselves as a collective..."

This sounds like the ULA as well.

We often have a focus and we try to coordinate our efforts to increase our impact but in general it's a free-for-all.

We also aim for having members who have a strong track record and who contribute. We've occasionally altered our roster headers to reflect this, with Active Members and Supporting Members. But hands-on doers are who we want.

One thing is that I don't think we were ever just a writers group---our mission includes writers, readers, fans, publishers and artists from other genres. Writers writing for writers has been done, is taken care of, doesn't need rehashing---there are blogs, e-lists and mags---and the entire MFA world---to cover that. It's a well-mined niche. And a dead-end. The ULA wants outreach and revival.

King said...

Quite a lot of hypocrisy present here, and misinformation.
First, is the ULA a "thing of the past" with OW people as claimed? Then why are you here? Why are you reading this blog?
I don't read yours. I don't much care what you're up to, and wish you well in your endeavors. You don't have to prove anything to me in terms of hits you get etc. So why are you trying to?
Do your own thing, and please let me do mine.
Re CIA. Mr. Grover initiated that topic here. I merely pointed out that, yes. this WAS the reason given by Mr. Finch and Mr. King for their leaving the ULA. Do we need to peruse the ULA's forum? Should I review past e-mails (some quite nasty) to me from these two individuals?
Yes, maybe this was the "last straw" for them. I was just so mean to these guys. Yet the reality was that they were trying to stifle my voice, what I said on this blog. I never made any attempt to stifle them. (In fact, I prodded PK to become Director of the ULA, and encouraged his involvment.)
Why turn reality on its head?
Again, why are you here, at the very moment I'm trying to take a break from the ULA? What's your real agenda? It seems some of you actually care very much about the ULA organization.
Re Mr. Mamatas.
Can I refer you to this article,
www.villagevoice.com/news/0036,mamatas,17899,8.html ?
It makes clear that Mr. M was/is a gun for hire. Curiously enough, shortly after the ULA was founded and began our campaign, Nick began his own campaign against the ULA.
In 2002 when we had our forum going (those around like Mr. Finch well remember it), Nick spent literarily hundreds of hours posting on it, most of the time spent attacking Jeff and me. This guy, who never does anything for free (by his own admission) was posting day and night-- to such an extent that even two very voluble persons like Jeff and myself were unable to keep up with the nonstop (and unprovoked) attacks.
We had at the moment of our founding pissed off some very powerful people in the literary establishment, those who monopolize such things as the distribution of grant money. We were imposing on their turf, threatening, with the huge noise we were then making, their cushy stations. It's a logical enough conclusion that someone hired Mr. Mamatas to do a job on us-- one that, thanks to his abilities, was fairly successful, in that he broke two important members off our team.
People have been trying to destroy the ULA since its beginning. Why is that, do you think?
(The entire premise of these attacks is contradictory. On the one hand I'm said to be a person of no ability. At the same time every effort was made to expel me from the organization I envi
sioned and created-- and to change its direction at the same time.)
Mr. Finch was disillusioned with the ULA for some time. Yet he never made me aware of this until the time of his leaving (just as we were pissing off the Paris Review with our CIA stories-- recall that former PR#2 hurried to NYC from England to consult with PR's Managing Editor about the matter; PR has stonewalled completely, neither confirming nor denying our allegations). Yes, Mr. Finch operated far from openly-- disingenuously-- until suddenly he declares, "Enough!" and leaves, taking several other ULAers with him.
Yes, this is ancient history, and should well be left alone. But don't come onto my own blog with your nonsense and your ridiculous attacks and expect me to remain quiet. Your goal here is obvious: to war on the ULA.
You won't say one word against the literary establishment but you're forever thrilled to attack me. Phonies completely.

King said...

http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0036,mamatas,17899,8.html
Here's the link referred to.

King said...

www.villagevoice.com/news/0036,mamatas,17899,8.html
Trying again.

King said...

(That should be html at the end. You'll have to type it in.)
Some random thoughts:
-Curious that I take a short vacation from the ULA and every kind of ghost, mole, and demi-puppet crawls out from under the woodwork.
-MGD must not be doing very well where he's at if he needs to return to Philly.
-ULA Activism is what makes us the most credible, respected, and feared underground literary group going. We've taken on, unflinchingly, today's corrupt literary system at its source; have exposed that corruption in Report after Report. The record is clear for all to see.
In my opinion, an organization whose founding principle is that it won't criticize corrupt status quo literature in any way is controlled, indirectly or otherwise, by that status quo, or is a front for same; a hotbed for moles, informants, and reactionaries whose first assigned task from its Overdog puppetmasters is to divide and derail the authentic literary rebellion of the ULA.
(This is my opinion, my opinion only; simply an opinion and nothing more. Take it for what you like.)

King said...

A final note: What Frank Walsh refers to as sabotage-- I readily enough believe it-- is that JD was specifically designated as a ULA spokesperson for our Howl protest and requested to be ready to respond quickly to media requests-- especially once we got things like the radio show and the TimeOut thing and the ball was rolling.
I was e-mailed 9 am right before the event as media noise was breaking by NEW YORK magazine. Per my agreement with the ULA, I frantically tried to contact JD by phone and e-mail and had Pat S try to contact him. He finally got on the case hours later when it was too late. I guess he was sleeping all day. (He boasted to me when he left the ULA about his media savvy-- and so should be aware that publications like NEW YORK are on strict deadlines-- as this editor was--and must be responded to IMMEDIATELY. We lost what would've been the biggest of the stories on us at this time.)
I have e-mails from the time which document all this.
Yes, JD slipped me a few bucks on occasion-- now I wonder how tainted was that money from a guy with no visible means of support who buys up magazines and travels all over the place. Excuse me for speculating and thinking freely.
Now would the lot of you mind getting off my blog? Please don't carry this further. It IS divisive but it's you who began this discussion, not me.

JDF said...

I didn't boast of my media savvy, I pointed out your apparent lack of same, when you couldn't get one reporter or media person to turn out for the Saunders reading press conference, pre-show. As someone who spent a lot of time in Philadelphia you certainly had zero pull. (If you had known at the time the way things would go, you could have had Richette show up in his bathrobe. At least maybe the In Bed With Butch guy would have shown up.)

And now you take leave of the ULA for awhile? Could it be because the Zine Fest, which you have always been a big booster of, is now partnered with the 215 Festival, the McSweeney's Philadelphia gala, which you have never gone to because they are "the enemy?" Nice work Wenclas, you really get things done in that town, don't you?

And re Philadelphia, let's look at how they feel about you, okay?

John Brumfield at the Inquirer's blog Books Inc. responding to a Wenclas comment:

"If by "revolutionary" writing, you mean the kind of soporific, bloviating, insipid, delusional, self-aggrandizing claptrap you post on your blog, then we here at Books, Inq. must admit you're right, we're not revolutionary.

You talk a good game, your vainglorious highness, but what else ya got?"


http://booksinq.blogspot.com/2007/
07/happy-10th-anniversary-bloggers.html


Hmmm, let's see what else I got...

How about the Gawker mention from just a couple days ago, that refers back to your original post here. You know, the one you were writing when you weren't doing any ULA stuff. Surely you have a sense of humor about it? Too bad only 28 comments, I was really enjoying them.

Up Is Down, But So Is Down
http://gawker.com/news/
up-is-down%2C-but-so-is-down/
-298165.php

And re the fact that I was unavailable for you when this great story related to the Howl/Columbia event was occurring: Previously every time some opportunity came up you guys threw it around like a hot potato because you had no system in place. I saw the trail go cold a couple times. I attempted to handle a couple of these (I should probably say tried to "wrest them from you") but you would run around crying "Oh, who should do this, oh, gee this is really hot, who could handle it?" until, usually, you did. Sure, I was pretty fed up with the way you did things. No reason to go into detail here except to say it was enough to make me resign.

But why you didn't pick up the slack when you saw I wasn't available (believe it or not, not everybody is consumed by your movement Wenclas and many of us have real lives, not the type of faux Les Miserables existence you have chosen to suffer through) is a mystery only you have the answer to. Just don't try to lay the loss of your "big story" on me, King of No Media. Plus, speaking of ingenuousness, you know damn well the reporter was only going to give you a couple paragraphs at most.

So anyway, you want to go rip stuff out of your archives to try to make me look bad, you go right ahead Mr. Revolutionary, but don't expect me to respond to any more of your foolishness.(Besides, do you think you're the only one with archives?)

But I've got to go out and make some money so I can buy a bunch of zines in Philly in a couple weeks. Maybe I'll see you there? Oh yeah, I guess not.

Pat_King said...

Michael Grover simply mention his contact information was at OW. This prompted a diatribe from Karl Wenclas. JDF, Victor and I felt the need to defend ourselves.

OK. So who started the discussion?

"In my opinion, an organization whose founding principle is that it won't criticize corrupt status quo literature in any way is controlled, indirectly or otherwise, by that status quo, or is a front for same; a hotbed for moles, informants, and reactionaries whose first assigned task from its Overdog puppetmasters is to divide and derail the authentic literary rebellion of the ULA."

Wow. So an organization that receives no funding, support or encouragement from the "status quo" and who's stated mission is to promote writing from outsiders is controlled by said "status quo" implicitly because decides it is going to ignore rather than attack said "status quo."

OK. That's very circular reasoning. To say the least.

And, I guess since you admit that you don't read the site, you would be surprised to learn that several commentators, both inside and out of the guild have posted opinion articles criticizing the "literary establishment."

You can look them up by clicking on the "naked opinion" category.

"Your goal here is obvious: to war on the ULA."

You were the first person to mention Outsider Writers, beyond Michael Grover's mention that his contact information was on there. None of the rest of us commented until you made the false claim that we left over the CIA thing. We are five individuals and our reasons for leaving were varied.

What always shocks me is that you have the knee-jerk reaction to assume that because one person (i.e. Grover) comes on a blog and makes a comment, that he speaks for an organization as a whole.

Our site speaks for itself. Besides one or two comments at the beginning of the project, there's been no "attacks" on the ULA. We have, in fact run articles and book reviews that featured individual ULA writers. They were all very positive, praising individual works and writers. Not many, but, then again, there just aren't that many ULA writers compared to the wealth of artists in the scene at large.

I'm sorry you feel backed into a corner. But know that you're not the only one who saves e-mails. I wonder who, objectively, would seem like the bad guy if these e-mails were in fact released. It would be a dirty tactic and I'd hope you wouldn't do that. Know this: we will never go on the offensive against you but we will always defend ourselves, with logic and facts.

fdw said...

These are not complete JDF. I also have our exchange(s) and will post them in due time. Point is what kind of "professional" unless they're a petty professional "spook" waits to have someone of my nature and "status" in the eyes of the gods as you well can percieve at least as part and parcel of your moleship in the ULA UNTIL I have to ask what's going on?! Besides, I want my freak'n' work back-- including and especially the work I snail mailed to you.
Other wise further measures must be doled out where I'm concerned.
Just because no one called you on your BS doesn't mean I or we don't understand but that we don't care about you or your crap. To papraphrase Homer Simpson.
Also being the poet I happen to know the Devil pretty well and I know of people and can discern them kinda people even these days of the Fall who are stupid enough to form a pact with It. Even Great Evil has some dignity.

fdw said...

Yes, fool, I want my poems back and any emails with 'em attached.
Thanks. ASAP.
Just to let you know you're not an isolated incident nor unique.
I'll be naming names and situations-- internationally-- real freaking soon!

fdw said...

The Inquirer is piece of shit
and philly zine fest has been coopted by the 215 Festival fakes.
Which makes it worst than a piece of shit.
Also Finch don't show your face on my turf if you can help it, keep your distance. Get your ass kissing over with quick and get the hell out of here. Same goes for all the rest of you backstabbers.
Francoise Villon is his own law
and Ambrose Bierce lives!

fdw said...

Opposition gives credibilty to the oppressor. A real alternative resembles niether side. When the opposition is trapped in the dialectic out of its own repressed agenda as have nots wanting to have what the haves have they act as a poison to confound and obscure the real alternatives, which is exactly what the oppressor wants the opposition to do. Knowing this the oppressor will plant agency of provocation, funds and bureaucrats and a dense level of mental deficients and bigots, thugs in other words, in the domain of the opposition, betteryet of course when this domain has absorbed and twisted the success and strategies of the real alternative by originating in a wag the dog schism from that alternative. Of course the main weakness of the alternative which is actually is its strength in the long haul is its "openess" and ability to adapt to condition and to critically turn the oppressor or dominant system inside out through guerilla action and exposure. While the "counter-revolutionary" group will show signs of smallness of mind and the coopting of spirit in spirit that are discernable which betray its actual nature as a servitor of the dominant system should be isolated and not nourished so that it atrophies or fragments, in due time, so that the alternative is able to shore up the energy of its process and evolution for the eventual overwhelming of the dominant status-quo in quite a natural and unforced manner based upon its own proper vision and value.

Victor Schwartzman said...

I don't have time to read all this right now, but will.

I'll ignore Frank's usual derogatory rant. And, I am not a bureaucrat with the Canadian government either. But so much of this is personalized, and not only are the assumptions wrong, but personalizing it detracts from what the actual point is--to change the mainstream, to promote underground writing & thinking.

But with respect to the CIA, as one of the five writers who founded OW, I can state totally that the CIA articles had zero to do with ANY of us leaving the ULA. I'd rather not reopen old wounds by discussing why we left, but it had nada to do with the CIA articles.

Being the son of communists, I am no friend of the CIA, and certainly support any muckraking.

By the way, if memory serves me right, the five of us had left and formed OW well BEFORE the CIA articles appeared.

Do your homework, stop making so many assumptions.

King said...

Good to know where we all stand, and what people really think.
I'll ask the question once again: If you don't care about the ULA, then why are you here?
Why haven't you dropped the matter?
I'm here because, well, it's my blog. I'm compelled to try to save a smidgen of my reputation. I haven't gone onto your site since we made what I thought was a tacit agreement that we'd leave each other alone. That's certainly gone by the boards.
Again, the timing is curious-- just as the timing of the breakaway from the ULA was.
It appears to me like someone got the bright idea to try a maneuver, wrongly assuming I was done with the ULA or with Philly. "Gee, let's attack Karl and at the same time send some friendly feelers to Frank."
That's how it appears.
Mr. Finch, who apparently has a very low opinion of me, called me upon leaving the team "a blight on the city of Philadelphia," at the same time informing me of all the noise he was going to make here.
Well, where is it, chump? What have YOU done?
Since your e-mail I've been on two major local radio shows hyping underground writers and writing. The ULA has staged several shows and readings. We received some great press articles-- not from the INKY, alas, but they're very status quo oriented and will likely be the last to realize what's happening. Their opposition doesn't discredit our argument in any way; on the contrary.
Yes, the well-funded McSweeney's Gang is still operating; still fighting in their own way for control of this city. This should be important to you, Doug, only if you're on their side.
Re e-mails. I said I can document what I say. Maybe you can do likewise. i don't think we need to worry about provoking you guys to start providing e-mails, because JD has already been providing them! You're already doing what you accuse me of wanting to do.
But what's the point? Why this entire exercise? What have you gained?
Again, you're on my turf, I'm not on yours, and again, it happens just when I begin to cease posting for awhile.
You sound like you all want to get rid of me, but given your behavior, keeping me defending the ULA, I'm not so sure. I'm leaving for a break and you're all crying, "Come back!"
Yes, I'm sure things are very exciting on your own site, but here you are.
Look, I don't care one iota what you're doing or what you think of me. Your presence here is pointless. You're not going to change what I think. As I said, I'm entitled to my opinion. You're not going to change either the progress of the ULA, which if not yet victorious is still in pretty good shape, as Mr. Finch in one of his saner moments acknowledged.
I'll admit that you all think very little of me and what I've done with the ULA. Fine. Is there anything else?
To Mr. Schwartzman: As you weren't reading the ULA's internal forum when the split took place (banned by somebody, I seem to recall) you're in no position to know why the others left. The timing says a lot, but we also had Finch in an e-mail telling me about the CIA matter that it was "time to get out your tinfoil hat," and Pat King on the forum calling our postings on the question "paranoid bullshit" and saying "You haven't a shred of evidence that the CIA's money influenced the editorial policies of the Paris Review."
Uh, whose side is he on?
I'm sure I'm very wrong, but it does sound to me that he was taking the side of the status quo, just as Mr. Finch clearly identifies with the 215 people.
Is that just his opinion? I'd be shocked if Mr. Grover agrees with it, as he knows those yuppie scum for what they are: the antithesis of the underground; snobs who never have and never will give authentic underground writers the time of day.
I WAS given a choice between being co-opted by the mainstream or staying true to what I believe.
Given the choice now between the 215ers on the one hand along with their demi-puppet acolytes, or genuine underground writers, the kind I've tried to promote and have promoted (not always 100% successfully) I'll keep doing what I'm doing. I don't think I'm missing anything. Thanks anyway.
Keep the noise coming if you want. It's time for me to get on with my vacation. . . .

Pat_King said...

We are on "your turf" to defend wild and untrue claims about how we left.

Same thing as when Pat Simonelli came on the OW site to defend what he thought was a slight against the ULA. It wasn't. I had overlooked a detail, that was all. But we left his comments up, of course, and had a fun little round of banter over it. I didn't start whining about him being on "our turf." Give and take man. You left comments open. You posted when you were supposedly on "vacation."

As for the "tinfoil hat" comment, it seems very appropriate in light of talk about our "timing" and my friendly e-mails to Frank Walsh. I'll repeat what I've said at least twice before: we came on here to defend ourselves and our reputations against misinformation. My e-mails to Frank came before any of us, besides Mike, had posted on here!

But, go ahead and see correlations where there are none. It's easier to throw out conspiracy theories than to actually engage with the facts in front of you.

fdw said...

There was no mis-information. You came on here to:
1). Further your underhanded plan to co-opt other ULA members, which commenced immediately before and right after the "fall out", and as that didn't pan out to go after the big fish and tried to co-opt, "the most dangerous man in America, and the least wanted" who happens to be "the poet".
2.) Smelling blood, tho all in your heads, attack King and the attack the ULA according to your pact with the Establishment and then circuitously the CIAKGB (since those that can control culture control perception/ those who control perception control memory/ those who control memory control history). That is the purpose and nature of the CIAKGB involvement with literature and poetry. Of course since culture underground is the problem-child-- the imagination and the source of power of the market- mainstream (we are the prometheus to its vulture/Zeus)-- the presiding place of the culture itself. So after the front of the "Cold War" became harder to prop up and justify the apparatus of the CIAKGB propoganda/ control the masses pogrom turned resources and attention to maintaining its power by primarily turning its attention to destroying or using the problem child (thru the device and mechanism of the spectacle of duality and metaphysical dominace/submisiion, oppressor/opposition "show"-- as delinated in last night's post.
4). To check the water before coming to the new and diss-approved Philly zine- fest in October which is now in the pockets like all the rags including the Inquirer at least and at worst on middle-management level of the MFA/ Moody-Eggers/ McSweeneys type cabals and their attendant demi-puppets.
(Be advised there will be a welcoming committee ready for you of a kind-ness you do not expect)
Otherwise as Lao-Tzu sez:
"to fry a small fish one needs only a small fire".
Note: Mike Grover I must admitt honestly that I was appreciative that you didn't freak out and lambast moi after some of my earlier comments made on you earlier in the week. And I apologize to you for their vociferousness. I realize that you are genuinely an underground/ radical poet fighting on a front that is your own and want to add that compared to the company you seem to be keeping, you remain the only one that is dedicated and actually does to for poetry while the others have no real interest in it at all but self- therapy and politico maneuvering either out of laziness or bad intentions. So it would seem!

Metta!

fdw said...

fdw said...
Opposition gives credibilty to the oppressor. A real alternative resembles niether side. When the opposition is trapped in the dialectic out of its own repressed agenda as have nots wanting to have what the haves have they act as a poison to confound and obscure the real alternatives, which is exactly what the oppressor wants the opposition to do. Knowing this the oppressor will plant agency of provocation, funds and bureaucrats and a dense level of mental deficients and bigots, thugs in other words, in the domain of the opposition, betteryet of course when this domain has absorbed and twisted the success and strategies of the real alternative by originating in a wag the dog schism from that alternative. Of course the main weakness of the alternative which is actually is its strength in the long haul is its "openess" and ability to adapt to condition and to critically turn the oppressor or dominant system inside out through guerilla action and exposure. While the "counter-revolutionary" group will show signs of smallness of mind and the coopting of spirit in spirit that are discernable which betray its actual nature as a servitor of the dominant system should be isolated and not nourished so that it atrophies or fragments, in due time, so that the alternative is able to shore up the energy of its process and evolution for the eventual overwhelming of the dominant status-quo in quite a natural and unforced manner based upon its own proper vision and value.

9/14/

M.D.G. said...

Frank I know you fly off the handle, it's not the first time you've gone off on me. It's much better over the internet I must say.
As for the company I am keeping, you don't know what company I am keeping. So if I were you I would not comment on that. Believe me though, the company I am keeping is the right company and I think you would agree if you knew.
I am sorry that I started this whole conversation and pulled others into it. It would be probably best if it had never started. That is my responcability and it won't happen again.
I disagree with the open mic thing. I have been running a reading here for over a year and it is a necessary part of the culture of the community. The owner of the coffee shop even recognises that and works with me.
To Karl yes I do know the people that run the 215. All that I will say is Yuppies need literature too and we have no right to try to take that from them.
I think Victor is one of the nicest and most genuine people that is involved with OW. That makes him an easy target. That does not always make it right in fact it is dead wrong.
One other thing Karl. Who said I need to return to Philly? I'm cool where I am at, and would not consider returning to that shithole. You can have it.

King said...

Well, I finally looked at the comments to the Gawker thing Finch was so excited about. The comments prove my point-- yuppie scum indeed!
To get a couple facts straight:
-Curious, Finch's concern about my not being at the 215 Festival this year. Daniel Handler e-mailed me a couple months ago, out of the blue, letting me know he'd be at it. Seemed kind of anxious I know. (I guess I shouldn't tell you I have the e-mail.)
The only person I specifically told, via e-mail, that I'd be out of town during the 215 thing was Lee Klein, who's published a few things with McSweeney's.
It's just curious Finch referencing this.
-By the way, I have attended one 215 Festival-- dragged there by Will Ratblood, as was George B. The show was extremely lame-- and the organizer, Mary-Something-Something or other, refused to be introduced to me and stalked away.
I've been out of town (bus ride to Atlantic City) during most of the 215 weekends, so there's nothing exceptional about my behavior this year regarding that ridiculous thing. It's good to know that Finch is still tight with those people.
Mike Grover may not mind yuppies, but even when he had a profile in this city, was one of the chief poetry people, he was never invited by them to read, so the appreciation wasn't a two-way street.
Re my "wild and crazy" allegations. Be serious, Pat. I've quoted your own words. As Fran pointed out, there's your statement right on this blog one week after the split in which you say, "It all started with that stupid CIA thing . . . that caused bot just one but five ULA members to leave. . . ."
Facts is facts. Should we break your statement down and examine it more closely? "It all started with that stupid CIA thing. . . ." Mmmm. Where's the vagueness in this statement? What exactly is Pat King really saying? Could he possibly conceivably be saying in any way (I'm merely specualting, mind you) that the departure of not one but FIVE ULA members had the slightest little bit to do with the ULA's stories about the CIA?
What do you think?
We have Victor Schwartman telling us now on the other hand that the CIA matter had absolutely nothing to do with their leaving. Nothing!
He also says the CIA matter happened AFTER they left, he thinks, though this contradicts Pat King's blog statement at the time, as well as, er, the facts of the case.
Victor also tells us he's not a government bureaucrat, even though on the government of Manitoba's own site, through googling, one finds a Victor Schwartzman named as an investigator for Manitoba's Human Rights Commission.
I'll assume he's retired. The question isn't whether he's employed by them now as whether he still carries the same kind of thinking, or instead was turned off and alienated by his tasks and duties helping to prosecute people.
An irrelevant point-- this entire discussion is irrelevant, but I seem to have struck a nerve of some kind when I mentioned the CIA, in response to Mr. Grover introducing the topic. Then the lot of you scrambled in with assurances that you don't care about the CIA in any way, even though Pat King recently introduced the subject to another ULAer. One could guess that the subject is still on his mind.
I will say a person like Victor who is so inept at getting his facts straight here must've been/is a hell of a government investigator.

King said...

p.s. From now on could you work out your internal problems on your own site, and not on this blog?
Thanks.

fdw said...

Yes, it's probably hopeless trying to convince the narcissist that their reflection in the water is just that and they in the self-medicated state are apt to fall in and drown.
There is a difference between enthusiasm and passion for the truth when dealing with ignorance and corruption, and anger and disdain. The ignorant and the corrupt who are possessed in turn with "intellectual hatred" will always invert the truth, retroreactively. In their eyes (the eyes of matter)they are, after all, INVESTED.
This is a characteristic of the conditional bourgioese,and if you look a bit into MDG's last comments one sees a CLASSist example of this. Typical neo-liberal elitist attitude seeing that having an open mic in the boondock backwaters of Florida as some kind of social service! Sustained mediocrity and its attendent status quo does so make lowest common denominator look outstanding.
Otherwise I intend now that I have made time for myself to fully critically analyse the type of open reading the ULA's action-reading "philosophy" has helped evolve-- a truely egalitarian and "advanced" form-at compared to the primitive nature of the "open mic" of the late 20th Century, but on which of course the new style is based-- historically. And show this as one of main contributions among many that King Wenclas-- the best damn publicity director in or out the mainstream the literate country has had and still has-- has made to the contemporary literary culture underground.

M.D.G. said...

I was hoping we could end this conversation. Obviousely not.
To clear things up for Karl I never said I liked or tollerated yuppies. I only said they could do their own thing just as you do. True when Natalie and I were hosting the biggest reading in the city they never acknowleged me. The point is they never stopped me from what I was doing.
As for you Walsh You are doing what you are good at. You have called me a drug addict, you have called me a racist just to get a reaction out of me. Now you call me a classist. It's not even worth responding to. This will be my last post. Best of luck to ya.

fdw said...

You,ve done the right thing.
And admitting it is half the cure, so best of luck!

Victor Schwartzman said...

This string of self-involved comments illustrates one reason why I left the ULA, frankly. At the time, it was a waste of time.

King, I am not a bureaucrat in the federal Canadian government, which is what Frank keeps writing. I do not prosecute people & never have. Get your facts straight--if you can be bothered.

I have never even heard of the two guys Frank mentions. But I assume no one takes seriously anything Frank writes.

By all means, go forward with the revolution, but first you're going to figure out how to not antagonize people just to get some attention for yourselves.

fdw said...

fdw said...
Opposition gives credibilty to the oppressor. A real alternative resembles niether side. When the opposition is trapped in the dialectic out of its own repressed agenda as have nots wanting to have what the haves have they act as a poison to confound and obscure the real alternatives, which is exactly what the oppressor wants the opposition to do. Knowing this the oppressor will plant agency of provocation, funds and bureaucrats and a dense level of mental deficients and bigots, thugs in other words, in the domain of the opposition, betteryet of course when this domain has absorbed and twisted the success and strategies of the real alternative by originating in a wag the dog schism from that alternative. Of course the main weakness of the alternative which is actually is its strength in the long haul is its "openess" and ability to adapt to condition and to critically turn the oppressor or dominant system inside out through guerilla action and exposure. While the "counter-revolutionary" group will show signs of smallness of mind and the coopting of spirit in spirit that are discernable which betray its actual nature as a servitor of the dominant system should be isolated and not nourished so that it atrophies or fragments, in due time, so that the alternative is able to shore up the energy of its process and evolution for the eventual overwhelming of the dominant status-quo in quite a natural and unforced manner based upon its own proper vision and value.

9/14/

9/15/2007 08:49:00 PM

RBS said...

Woh, hold a tick there, my friend. I'm a new reader to your blog, and a little slow getting up to speed. I've just waded through your this blog, trudged through the "tinfoil hat" item, and a swamp of crazy stuff about US secret government control of literature, then went over to the ULA's Monday Reports, especially the Cummings piece to see what this was all about. Very strange. I see it's also made it way onto Wikipedia... so I guess there's something to it. Then I looked around a bit further and came across this, on another website. (See text and link below.) What gives there, sir?

http://themainpoint.blogspot.com/
search/label/ULA

sent to Underground Literary Alliance on March 2:

Dear Skostecke and Pat,

At the prompting of Karl Wenclas, I responded to you one month ago, Feburary 2, regarding the "monday reports" Richard Cummings wrote for the Underground Literary Alliance's website. To date, you've still not posted my response (below), nor publicly acknowledged it on your site. Neither, so far as I can see, has the ULA site publicly acknowledged my earlier response to his writing, sent to Wenclas some years ago. I should think it'd be appropriate to note these responses on the webpage where Cummings's writings appear.

Sincerely,

James Linville

Sent to ULA, 2 February 2007:

To:Skostecke, and Pat, Underground Literary Alliance!

Dear Skostecke and Pat,

It’s unfortunate that Mr. Cummings has declined my invitation for a recorded conference call to clarify discrepancies and interpretations reflected in his writings about The Paris Review, where I used to be employed. I'm sure that conversation would have been illuminating about any number of matters, including the elevator Mr. Cummings discovered while visiting George Plimpton's townhouse.

As I stated before, I don’t believe he’s a fully competent journalist, or historian.

Sincerely,

James Linville