Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Letter to "Poets & Writers"

To the Editor:
When I saw your new "Indy" issue I was ready to applaud your coverage of a literary movement long on the scene. However, your presentation of DIY is curiously truncated.

Where is mention of the major players of the Do-It-Yourself literary movement today? No Zine World, no Underground Literary Alliance, no Outsider Writers, no ZineWiki, no WeMakeZines. The historical overview Kimiko Hahn gives in her article has thrown the past 20 years of exciting DIY activity down an Orwellian memory hole. Where is mention of Factsheet 5 (either incarnation)? Or of unique DIY writing talents like Aaron Cometbus, Jen Gogglebox, Doug Holland, the Urban Hermitt, Bill Blackolive, Ann Sterzinger, and many others? Ms. Hahn hasn't done her homework. She mentions a "Chapbook" show-- apparently unaware of the hundreds of zine fairs, shows, and readings which have taken place, and continue to take place, this decade across the country.

Most mysterious of all, I can't find the word "zine" anywhere. (How-to-Make-a . . . Chapbook??)

Most of those involved in DIY see themselves as making ZINES, which encompass a range of talents-- art, graphics, DIY marketing and selling-- that traditional chapbooks only scantly embodied.

Real DIY is rooted in the punk happenings of the 70's and 80's. It carries forth that philosophy-- creating art apart from badges, institutions, gatekeepers, bureaucrats, and controllers. ("We don't need no stinkin' badges.")

Culture from the ground up. To paraphrase Zine World's motto, American literature belongs to everyone.

Karl Wenclas


FDW said...

Penn is basically pre-meditated and put into agressive action as Poets and Writers with the same suppressed targets in mind here with the help of Columbia, big corporate money and leverage from our favorite "twins of evil" Eggars and Moody, with a chorus of scum lawyers, demi-puppets and greedy unconscienable literary "institutions" like Bob Holman's t. Mark's etc.
We in the underground pretty muck know why too--- to justify and indebt too where the unsuspecting (?) MFAers are concerned the factory MFA systems 100s of million of dollars outside and inside what you yourself have called the Green Zone.
In my mind, the whole front can be assummed under a particular fact of the many many facts that are in eveidence overall and that is that some professer there is now teaching a course, with all the ill- literate jokers in the system making money off of it, in Philadelphia. Which is revisionist to say the least.
The main point is that there is no mention of Philadelphia Poetry or poets accept those who early on sold out to the Man (and they are few to tell t he truth fortunately)before pretty much the creation of the New Philadelphia Poets and of course the inflated commericial podigy of spoken word slam cut up prose thing (also backed by the same big NYC money pouring in under the door, the same powers and financing that gave you and will keep on shoving it up too it seems, the Main Library/ Disney Hole that has busted the Librarians union, and leverages a bourgeiose temple of elite privaledge from what was a bastion of public works ). Whereas there is no mention of the poets and poetry scene prior and aspecially anything that even smacks of authenticity for of and by the current DIY independent undergrounds poets and writers including the ULA, Carnevolution, CCE and Natalaie Felix and most of the ongoing great black reading and open readings in the hood or on the lam in one form or another fofrom the very beginnings.
But this is only one example but one of the more disgusting...

Karl Wenclas said...

Poets & Writers latest issue is out-- devoted, ironically, to MFA programs; which, of course, is what the magazine is really about.
My letter is not printed in the issue. . . .

(Yes, the libraries are open, for now, many branches with restricted hours. Construction on the planned central Palace for elite events will no doubt continue. As for myself, as the recession continues to worsen I'm moving largely offline-- underground!)

FDW said...

As Jeffers opines in the hard to take but now maybe true as hard tack poem, "Shine Perishing Poetry"
"... there is always the mountains".
As an aside theres disturbing signs that everything you, the ULA,and its members, has achieved in action and in words is been buried by a vicious shameless establishment financed and directed CONSTRUCT much like in tone and "overlay" to he Invasion of the Body Snatcherss that bad and widespread. Seriously it is that serious.
I say this 'cos I've been searching thru 5 pages of search pages on frank Sherlock who I'll be dealing with I guess that's the plan largely in the panel "discussion" at UCAL this Sunday, and I cannot find but two poems of his in all those glowing worshipful post- industrial controlling interested listings!
What there is has not an inkling of the American people, the worker, the day to day sufferage reaching a crescendo out in the day to day world.
Not that this is any big deal in terms of being saavy to the transience of all that midden where the whole thing and all the posturing will be forgotten in short schrift "due time", where I think we will be 'cos we're and the whole underground so called are tuff built to last actually still be standing as well as our histrionic "effects".
At the same time it is very disturbing that as a poet (why not use it in the sense its meant!) I can see the huge conflict between the haves and have nots pretty much coming on soon with dire tidings knelling not that far off.
Now I must focus on being up front and speak on these things in an unfriendly if not mostly murderous enclave to let the enemy know I will stand agaist them on the barricades with the people under threat in this once great city.
Sad by the way to see Claude Levi-Strauss one of the great influence on me and my critical thinking pass.

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