Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New Feature: Plug Your Book Here

I'm pleased to announce that the comment thread attached to this post will remain open to those of you who want to plug your books or the books of a friend. Creative writers don't have a lot of opportunities to blurb about their efforts, so I thought I'd offer. This is a genuine offer, BUT...

There are some caveats:
  • No book reviews. Just the title, author, a short blurb, and link to where one can buy and/or see more information/review about the book.
  • You may use this thread only; blurbs in other comment sections will be deleted.
  • By posting your blurb, you do leave yourself open to comments about your work, and these comments cannot be deleted, at least on this thread--at least I haven't figured out how to do this.

I will be putting a permanent link on the side panel.

Best, Bugzita

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On Censorship...

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

--The First Amendment
-
Post Foetry has not been censored; perhaps a cloak of silence has surrounded us, and, perhaps, we have even been pretty much ignored by the literary establishment, but we still enjoy the right to establish a presence on the internet.

At the moment, I have little reason to cry "censorship!"; Post Foetry (and certainly Foetry before us) has a voice on the internet.

Conversely, readers have the right to ignore us; we can't force people to read this site, nor would we want to.

After I launched the Foet Laureate web page, no government wonk called me up in the middle of the night and demanded that I take down the page; there have been no FBI threats, nor have I spent time in jail because of my web page.

I can call George W. Bush a total moron and not be arrested; even in these difficult Republican times U.S. citizens are still afforded certain basic freedoms (well, most of the time).

That's the way freedom of expression should and, for the most part, does work.

However, if an organization, even a non-profit, refuses to publish some one's creative work and/or opinions, that is not censorship. To publish or not to publish is at the discretion of an editor or an editorial board, a decision that is often based on board sensibilities and, yes, taste.

Whether we like it or not, even non-profit publishers have the right to decide editorial policy, even if they accept tax money.

Foetry went after private and university publishers when Foet Presses decided to take money from contest entrants for the purpose of awarding prizes to their friends (and not even reading manuscripts of entrants not in the inner circle), not because the publications reject writers' work, a fact of life in this field, or even though it has long been an open secret that poets and writers often set up cloaked vanity presses for the purpose of publishing each others' work. We may not like this, but it's not illegal to set up vanity presses: an important distinction well worth keeping in mind.

When organizations, even non-profits, take money on false pretenses, then that meets the criminality test, but simply rejecting some one's work is not a criminal offense, nor is it censorship.

Almost any entity can be become a non-profit, although not all non-profits are awarded government funding, another fact of life.

Being a dissident of any kind tends to place one in the margins, so we have to work harder at being heard, and, sometimes, we suffer consequences for speaking out against the majority--for example, a wall of silence.

Working harder does not necessarily mean ranting and raging, but quietly creating an enduring presence and agitating when it's truly warranted. A loud voice is simply a loud voice, which simply becomes ineffective after a time. Teddy Roosevelt said it best, and Martin Luther King lived it: "Speak softly, but carry a big stick."

Recently, I was cyberslapped on a domaining board for "self-promoting." I didn't think I had, but that was beside the point. It wasn't my board, so I swallowed my anger and moved on, understanding that I had been a guest in someone else's house, and I had misbehaved, at least in the eyes of the owner.

But it wasn't censorship.

  • Censorship would be having my blog erased, against my will, by the government.
  • Censorship would entail my being arrested because I called our president a moron.
  • Censorship would involve my being jailed for protesting the war in a public place.
(On private property, it's called "trespassing.")

However, if Blogger/Google (owner of blogspot) decided to remove my blog, I would hate them forever, but their act probably wouldn't meet the censorship test, although it might be considered discriminatory, especially if a similar blog were allowed to remain.

My point: I will not take a non-governmental organization, such as The American Academy of Poets, to task, just because it rejects some one's creative work and/or opinions. Life's too short, and I'd rather save my energies for the battles worth waging.

Now if Congress or any other governmental agency decided that Post Foetry, The American Dissident, or even the most hated of all white supremacist groups (which I will not name here) could not establish a cyber and public presence, then that would be a battle worth fighting because that would be a clear case of censorship, which would violate the First Amendment, and, ultimately, such egregious censorship affects all of us.

Best,

Jennifer Semple Siegel

Added August 30, 2007: This post is a response to G. Tod Slone, who believes that The Academy of American Poets engages in public-funded censorship by silencing unpopular viewpoints. The American Dissident is edited and published by Mr. Slone.

About Press Releases on Post Foetry...

When posting a press release on this blog, Post Foetry is not necessarily endorsing or speaking out against the event or the people involved.

I have just posted a press release from poets.org that arrived in my mailbox. On the surface, the event looks straight forward enough: the event is free and open to those who wish to attend. As to what poet got favors from such-and-such organizations, I don't know.

In any case, the "comment" section is open to anyone who wishes to express opinions about organizations and individual writers featured in the press release. Opinions expressed by individuals do not necessarily reflect my opinion or that of my team members.

I plan to post select future press releases related to poetry and writing in general as they arrive in my inbox, but they will be clearly marked as press releases, which means that the text has not been changed or edited in any way. Thus, when you see "Press Release" in the title line, you will know that, at the time of posting, we have taken a neutral stance on the event and/or people involved.

That could change, of course, so anyone submitting a press release here is well-advised to keep that in mind.

We will not post the following kinds of press releases:

  • Announcements of any literary contests, both free and fee-charging
  • Vanity press "contest" announcements
  • From publications that charge a reading fee
  • From known foets and foet vanity presses
  • Announcements of paid editorial services and/or fee-charging literary agents
  • Announcements selling certain enhancement products (okay, just checking to see if you're still with us)

However, by submitting a press release to any team member's email box, you are granting us permission to quote from it and write up a news clip, which may or may not be favorable to you or your organization.

Kind of well-written press releases we will consider posting:

  • Announcements of upcoming FREE and/or charity literary events
  • Press releases from individual writers (not presses), who have published a book (novels, stories, poems, and creative non-fiction) and could benefit from a little buzz and exposure; self-publishers are welcome too. Just be aware that by publishing your release, we are not addressing the overall quality of your book.

While Post Foetry would like to keep an eye on certain foet organizations and foets, we also want, whenever possible, to emphasize what's good about the literary arts.

Jennifer

email

Press Release from Poets.org: The Academy of American Poets Presents a Special Lunch Hour Reading

The Academy of American Poets Presents a special lunch hour reading featuring:

Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Joshua Clover and Bob Hicok

Tuesday, September 11

12:30 p.m.

FREE

Location: Bryant Park Reading Room, at 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.

Rain Venue: Barnes & Noble, 5th Avenue at 46th Street.

Sponsored by the Academy of American Poets and the Bryant Park Restoration Project.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About the readers:
________________________

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart (2005), which was shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award and won the 2006 Connecticut Book Award in Poetry. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University and a Rona Jaffe Woman Writers' Award. She lives in Los Angeles and currently teaches in the M.F.A. program at California College of Arts in San Francisco and at Warren Wilson College.
-
________________________
-

Joshua Clover is the author of two books of poems, The Totality for Kids (2006) and Madonna anno domini (1997), which received the 1996 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. His work has been anthologized in American Poets in the 21st Century, American Poetry: Next Generation, and in the Best American Poetry series. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and the poetry editor for the Village Voice Literary Supplement. He is an associate professor of English literature and critical theory at the University of California, Davis.
________________________
-
Bob Hicok's books of poetry include This Clumsy Living (2007); Insomnia Diary (2004); Animal Soul (2001), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Plus Shipping (1998); and The Legend of Light (1995), which won the 1995 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry and was named a 1997 ALA Booklist Notable Book of the Year. He is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes and an NEA Fellowship. He has worked as an automotive die designer and a computer system administrator, and is currently an assistant professor of English at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About the Series:

The Academy of American Poets presents the third annual Word for Word Poetry series in Manhattan's Bryant Park. The series runs from May through September under the shade of the trees bordering the rush of 42nd Street. All readings are free and open to the public.

On the web at: www.poets.org/bryantpark

Monday, August 27, 2007

Winnow Press Suspending Operations Indefinitely

On its website, Winnow Press has announced that "Due to the owner's ongoing illness and family challenges, Winnow Press is indefinitely suspended."

In its announcement, the editor says the press will return any contest monies not yet refunded.

If you entered a contest at Winnow and did not receive a refund, go to the Winnow website for more details.

Spam Lit in a Block of 15 Scroll Boxes???


A few days ago, I received this piece of Spam Lit; sorry, the picture's not very clear, but each scroll bar contains one sentence. I have just discovered that if you click on the picture, you will see a large version of it.
-
The ad itself was for, uh, a male product; the one picture that slid through Gmail's Spam filter was somewhat graphic.
-
Now I'm a married adult, so the content wasn't shocking to me, but what about a kid getting this kind of an email?
-
Yikes! Makes one want to lock their kids in a room until they turn 18.
-
My question is: how is this setup supposed to fool the spam filters?
-
This was a first for me.
-
Anyone else receive this type of Spam Lit, and what do you know about it?
-
Bugzita

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Spam Lit News: An e-mail from Jesse Glass

On a lighter note...

Today, I received an e-mail from Jesse Glass, the poet who coined the term "Spam Lit" back in 2002.

This poet's Wikipedia entry is quite interesting, and I'm glad to have been able to give due credit where credit was due.

Best, Bugzita

Bugzita (Jennifer Semple Siegel) is NO One's Puppet

I received an e-mail from a reader, suggesting that Post Foetry might be be a "puppet" blog. I decided to answer here and clear up any misconceptions.

I'm in charge of Post Foetry; when Foetry closed, I created the Post Foetry blog, and I'm its sole administrator. I created the blog with great trepidation and some fear, but that wasn't going to stop me. I decided early on that my posting style, for better or worse, would reflect a more moderate tone, which is more in keeping with my basic personality.

As you can clearly see in the left panel, Alan, Matt, and Nomi are team members, but, so far, only Nomi has posted entries, and that is perfectly okay. They understand that I would never censor a team member, so if Alan decided to post something in his own style, no big deal.

However, I make the decision as to what I post, sometimes scathing, sometimes humorous and downright silly, sometimes newsy, sometimes sad, and sometimes just plain fun. I wanted to create a place where I would want to visit time and again--besides, aren't blogs really a form of "literary masturbation"?


But I also want foets to understand that they won't get a free pass here.

I don't have the money, time, or staff to do in-depth investigative work, but if I get a tip and can verify it with two or more sources, I'll do my best to act on it in a timely manner. Also, readers can leave comments (or e-mail me) if they want to tell their side.


I have posted a "Watch List" of contests, and I have yet to receive a message from any of the people running these contests. Perhaps they believe that a wall of silence will shut this site down, but they would be totally wrong. I may be a kinder and gentler soul, but I'm also persistent and stubborn.

In other words, I'm no puppet of anyone.

In his personal blog, Alan Cordle did coin the term "Foet Laureate" (as it pertains to Charles Simic), and after looking at the facts, I agreed with Alan's assessment. Alan had absolutely nothing to do with my launching the "Foet Laureate" web page; he didn't even suggest the possibility. I take full credit and responsibility for the Foet Laureate site, not the term itself.

Believe me, it was a difficult decision for me to challenge a major poet and the Library of Congress, but it was the right decision. Still, my writing career, such as it is, has probably been ruined, at least in a traditional venue.

Alan has made the decision to distance himself from Foetry and Post Foetry, and I respect that. I was disappointed and sad that Foetry closed, but circumstances change and people move on--the cycle of life in motion.

Alan is my cyber friend (we have never met), and I will always admire him for what he risked personally and professionally three years ago.

Of course Alan and Foetry have influenced (to a certain extent) my thinking; two years ago (yes, sadly, I missed the best year of Foetry), I was thoroughly pissed off at the publishing industry, in particular The Iowa Review and The Paris Review. I would never submit to these two publications again, not because they rejected my work, but how they rejected it: no answer from Iowa at all and a mangled manuscript from Paris, with ripped pages and not even a form letter.

All I could see was a wall of red, and, somehow, I stumbled on Foetry and stayed with it for two years (a lifetime on cyberspace).

Writers have long memories, and little magazines would do well to remember that.

I have picked on New Yorker poetry on both Foetry and Post Foetry, but someone has trained their staff well in the art of basic courtesy; once (1988), when I was living in Yugoslavia, I submitted a manuscript to them, with a SASE for "reply only." They rejected the piece, but someone took the time to explain to me that (at that time), they returned all manuscripts, and gently chided me for not including full postage. They actually paid international postage to send the piece back to me. I was embarrassed, but also impressed that they would treat a lowly, totally unknown writer with such respect (and on their dime, and it wasn't cheap, either).

So, here's the deal: love us or hate us (or somewhere in between), Post Foetry will hang around for as long as at least one other person reads us; my posts, for better or worse, will be mine alone; if Alan wants to say something, he will have to say it himself, and he knows that.


I see no reason to "out" the questioner, but if he/she would like to respond, feel free, either anonymously or signed.

Bugzita
Jennifer Semple Siegel

Friday, August 24, 2007

John Q Doe and Jane Q Doe



I have a burning question:
-
Is there anyone out there who is really named John Q. Doe or Jane Q. Doe? Until the internet age came along, they were just plain John and Jane Doe, but with the advent of rigid online forms, there seemed to be a need to include a middle name in these stalwart examples of American identity.
-
I can tell you first hand what a hassle it is not to have a middle name in the cyber world. My better half Jerry lacks a middle name, and it wreaks all kinds of bureaucratic havoc, especially when he fills out NMN in that middle name spot. He often gets mailed addressed to "Mr. Gerald NMN Siegel." On top of that, his nickname is the same as one of the creators of Superman. Try typing in "Jerry Siegel" and see how many Google hits one gets (with quotations, 156,000).
-
I once asked my late mother-in-law why she didn't give her firstborn a middle name. She said, "We were too poor."
-
Okay, so Anita was known for her bad jokes...
-
But I digress.
-
The Does seem to be generic people, invented by government statisticians, with generic addresses (123 Main St. in Anytown 12345--54321 if one wants to place them in Middle America--U.S.A); an internet search shows that both John and Jane share the same social security number (123-45-6789), so I would presume that Jane and John is actually the same person with gender issues.
-
In my new book (a novel-in-progress), my main character is named Jane Q. Godwin (I couldn't quite bring myself to stick her in generic hell by naming her Jane Q. Doe, but the "Jane Q." is no accident). Her book is barely written, but she has her own web page. I'm not pushing my book here (it doesn't exist but in my head, in some scattered notes, and on one web page), but thinking about how I want to approach creating Jane's life has made me curious about her and her husband Kirk (HA! Not John Doe), and why John and Jane have persisted as American ideals and symbols.
-
Sure, sometimes one calls them the Smiths or the Publics, but the surname "Doe" seems to represent everything about ordinary people living ordinary (albeit bureaucratic snafu'd) American lives.
-
Just some philosophical musing (before school starts next week, when literature takes over).
-
Bugzita

Grace Paley, 1922-2007


Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrations and revolutionists. --Franklin D. Roosevelt
-
Grace Paley, poet/story writer and a self-avowed "combative pacifist," passed away Wednesday at her home in Thetford Hill, VT. She was 84.
--
The literary world has lost a giant; I remember Ms. Paley when she was writer-in-residence during my time at Goddard College. She was a writer who seemed deeply interested in helping beginning writers. Although her residence at Goddard was only for a few days, she made a point of getting to know the names of all the MFA students.
-
Meeting Grace Paley was one of the high points of my professional career.
-

-
-

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Spam Lit Poem: Anatomy of a Merged Poem Based on Proverbs

This Spam Lit poem, cobbled together with slightly familiar proverbs, arrived today in my spam box. The "poem" has a lovely resonance to it and seems to touch upon some of the thoughts and opinions of Post Foetry members. The poem even makes some sense, certainly more sense than some of the published poems I have read lately! I decided to research and then attribute each line to its creator.
-

* * * * *

Nothing can be more contemptible than to suppose Public Records to be true.

-
Whatever you do, do it with intelligence, and keep the end in view.

-
The best interviews -- like the best biographies -- should sing the strangeness and variety of the human race.

(Lynn Barber I'm not sure about this attribution)
-
We only part to meet again.

-
Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrations and revolutionists.

-
The worst thing that happens to you may be the best thing for you if you don't let it get the best of you.
-
A husband is what's left of the lover after the nerve has been extracted.
-
As you walk through the valley of the unknown, you will find the footprints of Jesus both in front of you and beside you.
-
He who fears to suffer, suffers from fear.
-
Memory moderates prosperity, decreases adversity, controls youth and delights old age.
(Lactantius Firmianus (?), a.k.a. Lucius Caelius)

-
All doors open to courtesy.
-
Conductors must give unmistakable and suggestive signals to the orchestra, not choreography to the audience.
-
It takes a great man to give sound advice tactfully, but a greater to accept it graciously.

-
________________
-
Submitted by spammer Jesse Ochoa aleevcnd@soamad.com
-
* * * * *
-
I throw out this challenge to our readers: either write your own Spam Lit poem or prose (sans advertising) OR submit one (again, without advertising) that appeared in your e-mail inbox or spam box. We'll publish the what we think is the best of the best (in other words, it doesn't matter who YOU are). I'd like to see some humor and satire as well.
-
* * * * *
-
Rules
-
--Submission is free and open to everyone.
-
--However, we probably won't publish every poem or prose we receive, especially if we receive duplicate submissions.
-
--Selection of submission may depend on how well one follows rule #2.
-
__________________
-
1. Submit your Spam Lit here. Place your Spam Lit in the body of the e-mail (No attachments will be opened!)
-
2. Attribute the line to its original author or poet (in parentheses just like I did above), and provide a verifying link. Submissions providing verifying links are more likely to see their submission published in this blog.
-
3. No porn, gratuitous violence, hate speech, please. Such work will not be posted.
-
4. Keep them short, no more than 39 lines (just in case someone wants to attempt a Spam Lit sestina) and about 250 words for prose.
-
5. In the subject line, note Poem/Prose Submission; don't put "Spam" in the title; it might get kicked back to you.
-
6. For now, the submission period is indefinite, but we reserve the right to close this offer at any time.
-
7. NO prizes will be awarded and no payment offered.
-
8. As long as you don't attach an ad or other blurb (other than your tag line), your e-mail will remain confidential; otherwise, all bets are off. Also, you may remain anonymous or be credited as the Spam Lit author or finder.
-
9. If we don't get too many submissions, we'll acknowledge receipt; otherwise, we won't.
-
I hope to see some fine Spam Lit!
-
Bugzita

The Big Read Neglects Poetry ??

It's no secret that I have a passion for libraries and have been acquainting myself with the Library of Congress website. They even have a blog! Their blog has: surprise, surprise a blog roll. I discovered The Big Read.

http://www.artsgov/bigread.blog/


I am impressed with the novels chosen. Are they constitutionally opposed to encouraging poetry?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

TWO Lexicoins

Before I hit the sack tonight, I stumbled upon two new lexicoins (neologisms/neoglisms?). In fact, I like one so much that I'm thinking of using it as a short story title:

Ms. Malaproper

n. (person) A young modern woman who has the appearance of being all prim and proper but who, in fact, has a dark soul.

Mrs. Malaproper

n. (person) The young woman's mother.

_______________________

Neither term (in quotation markers) shows up on Google.

Without quotations, "Ms. Malaproper" has about 12 Google hits, but none of them pertain to the entire term.

Without quotations, "Mrs. Malaproper" has about 7 Google hits, again none of them pertaining to the entire term.

By itself, "Malaproper" shows up about 230 times on Google, which includes my post from the other day.

According to TV Tropes Wiki,

The distinguishing characteristic of the Malaproper is that they constantly replace words with similar-sounding but wrong ones. A common form of this is for the Malaproper to mangle proverbs, idioms, and other figures of speech. They may turn them into something nonsensical, or use overly complicated synonyms that make them sound wrong; e.g., "The cat's out of the bag" becomes "The feline has been released from the sack!" This character will almost always be corrected, not that this does any good.

The meaning seems to shift when one includes the formal address, at least it seems so to me, hence my assigned meaning.

Of course, two-word lexicoins aren't as good as one-word ones, but certainly superior to three-word lexicoins.

For the next month or so, I'll be doing a word watch on the lexicoins discussed here. Meanwhile, let us know about your lexicoins.

Bugzita

No More Domaining Posts at Post Foetry

I'll no longer be posting domain news or musings here on Post Foetry; I decided to develop another blog just for that purpose.

If you are interested in domaining, the new blog is Ms Domainer.

If not, you'll be glad to hear that we'll be staying more on topic here.

We'll still talk about poetry, prose, language, contests, etc.

Bugzita

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Post Foetry Forum?

I'm thinking of setting up a simple forum for Post Foetry; I have already looked into a forum template called "Simple Machines," but I haven't set up anything yet. I'm not sure how much more tech information I can stuff into my head, but I'm willing to try.

I would like a Post Foetry forum to be a place where members could vent (pro and con), submit tips on foets, AND discuss new ideas, whatever that means. It probably won't be a copy of Foetry, which reflected Alan and Matt's unique styles, but it won't be censored either (except for spam and libelous stuff that could land me in court).

This blog would stay up--I'm discovering that I enjoy blogging.

Also, I have set up a Flash Fiction Project web site (which hasn't been advertised yet), and I think a Post Foetry forum would be a good place to start a thread where writers could post their own flash fiction pieces. I am also contemplating a Poetry Project thread and a Flash Memoir Project.

I have set up The Flash Fiction Project Blog, but it is at a very elementary stage; I'm thinking that a forum might be a better place for self-posting of creative work, but I could still post pieces that we admire and like on the FFP blog.

Anyway, to gauge possible interest, I have set up a poll.

I hope you all vote!

Best, Bugzita

A New Coined Word! Well, Almost...

A year or two ago, someone on the web threw out this challenge: to coin a new meaningful word.

In order to qualify as a bonafide coined word,
  1. The word had to be assigned a likely meaning (in other words, not just a bunch of random letters thrown together).
  2. If it's a typo of an existing word, the new word had to at least have another shade of meaning.
  3. At the time of coining, the word could not show up on Google (once I reveal the word here, it is likely to show up on Google fairly soon, which is somewhat of an irony).

For years, I, a bit of a Malaproper, have been trying to coin at least one new word, but just when I think I've done it, someone has always beat me to it. A few days ago, I really thought that "Spam Lit" would be my coined phrase, but, nooooooo--so Jungian.

Well, now I have sort done it, and it's really a good word that rolls off the tongue and sticks in one's head. And the word is...

Lexicoiner

A lexicoiner is a lexiconist (or lexiconer) who creates new words and assigns meaning to them; when I Googled it, nothing came up, so I was close to claiming this word as my invention. It IS a play on the word "lexiconer," but the meaning of lexicoiner is synonymous with inventing language and meaning instead of recording a currently used word not yet established in the lexicon (which is definitely important work).

But then I asked myself, "Has someone else ever used a variation of this word?"

After I pondered this question, I decided to do one more word check: lexicoin.

Rats. There it was, in the Merriam-Webster Open Dictionary, submitted by Kimberly on May 2, 2007. Similar meaning, too.

A day late, a dollar short.

It's a big universe out there.

But I may be the first person to establish the term for the actual inventor of the lexicoin. So I did submit "lexicoiner" in the Open Dictionary.

Technically, I may have created "lexicoiner," but the root word was already in place, garnering (as of today), 33 Google hits, so I can't, in all good faith, really claim this word.

I'll keep trying.

For those of you who are still hanging with us, I throw out the same challenge: invent a new word, incorporating the same stipulations listed above. You can establish your ownership in one of two ways: e-mail us the word and its assigned meaning and/or post it in your own blog (so that you can be reassured of getting due credit). After we check the word through Google, we'll post your word and give you credit (if you wish).

If you post it in your blog, e-mail us the link; we'll publish all bonafide lexicoins here.

Nomi and I are passionate word people, Matt a Jungian philosopher, and Alan a rebel, so discussing words and their nuances seems to be a logical facet of Post Foetry's mission.

Besides, we need to have a little fun around here. ;=)

Bugzita

Monday, August 20, 2007

Spam Lit: Wikipedia Article

I have started a Wikipedia article on "Spam Lit" and have placed a copy in our draft file on this blog, just in case they decide to delete it. I really should have started it offline.

Next time.

I wrote it last night, well, in the a.m., and, obviously, it needs work.

I have tons of sources to add, though, and that should help.

If you feel the urge to edit the article over at Wiki, please feel free.

Bugz

Mairead Byrne's blog

She does live in my city/state and we've met about 4 times (maybe 6) but that's about the extant of our connection.


www.maireadbyrne.blogspot.com

Worth visiting.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

SpamLit.com (in Progress): A Sample

Okay, so I'm working on my Spam Lit web page (which I'll post tomorrow--I never do web page posting when I'm tired. I'm still not very adept at this process, and I once submitted five pages without their images), and I run across this really cool site:

Hilarious! Literal spam haiku has to be one of the most brilliant ideas for the discerning literature wonk.

This site takes a literal view of Spam Lit and applies it to the Hormel version of Spam and real and imaginary literary figures.

Spamlette? Spam Letters?

This is one of the most brilliant sites I have seen (although the backgound is a bit too busy. Yikes!).

For example (with apologies to webmaster John Nagamichi Cho):

SHAM-27.

Psychologists think Sartre
wrote Nausea because
His mom fed him SPAM.

To appreciate the full effect, you just have to visit this site and read all the haiku.

Bugzita

Spam Lit Poem: Ignoring the Critic

There is one way to handle the ignorant and malicious critic.
Ignore him.
The covers of this book are too far apart.
In a major matter no details are small.
Behold, I have refined thee,
but not with silver
I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. [Isaiah 48:10]
No such thing as a man willing to be honest --
that would be like a blind man willing to see.
Separation penetrates the disappearing person
like a pigment and steeps him in gentle radiance.
It is the duty of a doctor to prolong life
and it is not his duty to prolong the act of dying.
To understand the heart and mind of a person,
look not at what he has already achieved,
but at what he aspires to do.
We are all HIV-positive.
What is thine is mine, and all mine is thine.
Your friend is your field which you sow with love
and reap with thanksgiving.
Love is what you've been through with somebody.
A symphony is a stage play
with the parts written
for instruments instead of for actors.

_________________

Spam Lit Spammer: Tom Velasquez

E-mail address: duane.heidelnjbg@horsburghworld.com

Saturday, August 18, 2007

FoetLaureate.com: Call for Charles Simic's Resignation as Poet Laureate

After much internal debate and soul-searching, I have decided to post an ad-free web page FoetLaureate.com calling for the resignation of Charles Simic from the Poet Laureate of the United States post, and I have explained my rationale on the page.

I don't know the man personally, and I may even feel a sort of affinity toward him in that I spent a year in the former Yugoslavia (1988-1989), his native land. I wanted to be happy and thrilled when his name was announced and Nomi posted the news on this blog.

Mr. Simic may be an excellent and renowned poet; he may even be a personable soul, but I believe that our Poet Laureate should be held to a higher standard than the rest of us mere mortals. There should be no taint associated with his/her name because this person should represent all American poets and the best of American poetry.

We have enough lousy politicians giving our country a bad name, so why not aim for a Poet Laureate with impeccable credentials?

With regret and sorrow,

Bugzita

Reaction to the DEC Spam of 1978 (courtesy of Gary Thuerk)

You might be amused to read the first spam message sent out by Gary Thuerk back in 1978, which doesn't seem all that long ago.

Brad Templeton's site offers the original message, address links to recipients, and some commentary.

Who would ever think that literature (or something resembling it) would play a part in spreading the dreaded viral disease of spam?

Have fun, kiddies.

Bugz

Spam Lit Poem: "Palladio Who Beckons from the Other Shore"


E-mail spam has gone "literary," at least on the Bugzita e-mail address: I suppose having "foetry" and "poetry" bandied about on our site invites spammers to get through to us by including bad poetry and prose (keyword spamming?) in their sales pitches--certainly no worse than some of the "valid" published poetry and prose out there.

I thought I'd start a new feature called "The Spam Lit Project," which also serves notice to spammers that their handy work will appear here (without their sales pitches, of course), along with their spammer IDs and e-mail addresses. I have added a permanent announcement on the left panel of this blog.

Some Spam Lit Spammers actually use obscure public domain works for their nefarious purposes; before posting, I'll do a quick Google search to see if this is the case and attribute poems and prose to the original poets and authors. If I miss something, feel free to inform me, and I'll add the original author's or poet's name.

In other words, if you send Spam Lit to the Bugzita address (or any other e-mail address associated with this site and its members' sites), it's fair game. If I can figure out how to post their IP address, I'll do that as well. Al and Matt? Any tips? Is this even legal?
I'm all for protecting people's IDs, but I figure all bets are off for spammers.

I have just registered SpamLit.com (a catch-all domain for all genres of Spam Lit; I've got to cut back on buying domains!), and I will soon post a webpage that will attempt to explain SpamLit and how not to be be fooled by it. I may even start a Wikipedia article about the term, for the term is not my own original idea. Shortly after registering the domain, I found a site called Shovelware that uses the term "Spam Lit," posts Spam Lit work, and allows comments about it.

The Google term, without quotation marks, gets 2,150,000 hits; with quotation marks, 835 Google hits.

I'm surprised (yet thankful) that the domain name was still available.

Without further ado, here's our first Spam Lit poem:

Palladio who beckons from the other shore,
Floating on the sky.
The road, but not far enough ahead
The road, but not far enough ahead
giddy as good kids playing hookey. Now,
Late February, and the air's so balmy
Wheezing ravens, when
Snow haze gleams like sand.
Only a whiter absence to my mind,
So you can watch me watch uplifted snow
Gray the cloud-like oaks
XIII. The Route to the North
then takes a step back, to be safe as she reaches.
grow hot in the parking lot, though they're
I've drifted somewhat from the distant heart
That square—Oh, 56 x 56
Preface to the 1970 Edition
As if your human shape were what the storm
XX. To the Pole

*
Spammer: Rod London (which is probably not his/her real name)

Rod London
grohk@rojamwebhosting.com

Feel free to e-mail your appreciation to our Spam Lit spammers!

Bring it on, Spam Lit Spammers!

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Poetry Dot Com Rejection Letter

Hooray! This has to be one of the happiest days of my life: a rejection letter from Poetry dot com!!! I thought I'd share my rejection with the world (although I could have sworn that when I submitted "Squidoo, A Love Poem" a year ago, they wanted it oh-so-bad for one of their cheesy anthologies. No bites from this quarter, however). Anyway, for your reading amusement, I have reprinted their slurpy e-mail below:
______________________

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you for your submission to the International Open Amateur Poetry Competition. Unfortunately, after careful review of your contest entry, I am sorry to inform you that your poem "Squidoo, a love poem" was not chosen for publication and is no longer eligible for contest prizes
[Boo, Hoo!]. We understand that poetry is a form of artistic expression and that it is not always understood by those who read it. Therefore, we are asking you to send us another example of your writing [I have deleted the link]. All you have to do is click on the button below [deleted] and follow the instructions.

Here are a few tips our editors give when reviewing poetry [Oh, yeah, poetry tips from the biggest foet organization around]:

--Establish a specific writing style (i.e. rhymed verse, blank verse, etc.)

--Establish a meter and follow it consistently throughout the poem(i.e. iambic pentameter)


--Use poetic elements (i.e. metaphor, simile, alliteration, assonance, consonance, etc.)


--Avoid using clich├ęs

--Be original

Jennifer, by submitting another poem you will continue to compete with other amateur poets like yourself. You will also be eligible to win one of the many cash or gift prizes available every year to talented writers. During the last twenty years, the International Library of Poetry and its affiliated companies have awarded over two million dollars to poets from all over the world. Our philosophy has always been that poetry is a form of expression that is shared and enjoyed by many people of all skill levels. We believe that poetry should be part of our daily lives and shared by everyone, and so we hope you decide to share another piece of your writing with us soon. [When Hell freezes over.]

Good Luck,

Howard Ely

Managing Editor

______________

Well, Howie, my good friend, I think I shall take a pass; I no longer teach creative writing, so I don't have to prove that poetry dot com ought to be renamed www.poetry.scam to newbie writing students.

I rather like the "rejected" poem; it appears on my Wergle Flomp Squidoo Lens.

Maybe I'll submit it to The New Yorker.

Bugzy

IOWA (U. of) at it Again ??

The bad news is that the University of Iowa Poetry Prize has not changed its tune.

Visit Alan's website (Blue Hole) for more information. If you (our small group of readers) have any personal experience or opinion, please email Bugzita (Jennifer) or myself. Or simply comment on this brief entry.

Yes, defend this program, if you wish. Their website is pleasant yet reveals little.

Thank you, Sandra Simonds for your blog entry earlier. http://ssandrasimonds.blogspot.com/2007/08/i-just-had-miscarriage-so-i-dont-feel.html

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Library of Congress action figures Prices Reduced!!

I am not surprised that the government sells action figures of Presidents Bush and Clinton and Office Holder Bush.

I did not realize: The Library of Congress is the place to find them.

They are now marked down in price! I understand that they talk!

I am not making this up.
http://www.loc.gov/shop/index.php?action=cCatalog.showItem&cid=35&iid=3761




Saturday, August 4, 2007

A New Watch List: Suspected and Known Cheaters

On the left sidebar, there is a new list (without links) of suspected and known contest cheaters; IMHO, this is a list that should not exist.

I developed this list from the Foetry Contests archive; I looked at each thread to make sure that that the contest warrants being on the watch list.

If your organization appears on this list and you would like it to be removed, email me a compelling reason why your contest should be removed from our watch list. I reserve the right to publish any and all email responses as posts, so keep that in mind as you select the exact right wording for your email.

Conversely, "Honest Contest Guidelines" appear below it, with nothing listed yet; I would like to see this list filled in, but I'm not optimistic. If you feel that your contest should appear on this list with a link to your guidelines, email me, and include your detailed guidelines, contest winners and their professional affiliations, and contest finalists and their professional affiliations for the last 10 years (or when the contest came into existence). I reserve the right to publish any and all email responses as posts, so keep that in mind as you select the exact right wording for your email.

One of us will research your information and then make a decision as to whether your guidelines and actions pass the stink test.

I have a feeling I'm going to be a very lonely blogger with not a whole lot to do on this blog.

Jennifer

Charles Simic is our new Foet Laureate?

According to Bluehole, we need to take a closer look at our new Poet Laureate Charles Simic as a Foet Laureate.

Bluehole makes a compelling argument in his August 4, 2007, blog entry.

Is it any wonder that ordinary folks eschew the literary arts? First, one is inflicted with obscure and puzzling poems that only insiders understand and then these foets cheat to get those really lousy poems published.

Post Foetry will continue to lobby against fee-based literary contests. Unless the playing field (in terms of judging) is leveled, then, quite simply, paying to enter a contest is worse than playing the lottery.

Starting immediately, Post Foetry will remove all links to literary magazine contests; we will make a list of magazines to avoid (without links), and we will develop a link list to litmags that offer good guidelines and are known to play fairly.

I suspect that will be a very short list, indeed.

Jennifer

Friday, August 3, 2007

Jorie Graham's New Yorker Poem

Recently, I had dinner with a BIG NAME POET who said The New Yorker is a place where major poets publish their worst work.

At the time, I didn't think too much about the remark, although I must admit that, overall, the typical New Yorker poem leaves me scratching my head and wondering who selects that obscure and bland stuff. I just chalk it up to my own differing tastes and let bygones be bygones. Besides, the New Yorker cartoons and articles more than make up for any deficiencies in their poetry, so I continue to subscribe.

However, Jorie Graham's poem "Later in Life" (August 6 issue) is astounding in terms of its mediocrity, rambling qualities, wordiness, painful length, and strange structure. I'm much too weary to deconstruct this poem for this small audience; the poem itself makes me tired. I'm sure that if Bugzita or some other unknown poet submitted this poem, it would have been buried in the bottom of the slush pile.

I hadn't read Ms. Graham's poems before and felt somewhat obligated to see what all the buzz has been about, but without having to pay for the privilege. I must admit, I was expecting better.

"Later in Life" simply doesn't pass my BS meter, which I had to use often when I taught creative writing. IMHO, it reads like a bad undergrad poem. The poem spans two pages in the 8/6 issue, much too long for a mediocre poem.

If anyone wishes to defend the poem and/or analyze it, feel free to e-mail me and I'll post it here. Maybe I have missed something.

On a cheerier note, the same issue of The New Yorker published an informative article by Michael Specter titled "Damn Spam," and outed the inventor of this marvelous wonder that clogs our mail boxes daily: Gary Thuerk. In 1978, he figured out a way to send a mass email to members of a network called Arpanet. He was trying to sell a computer system, which he did, to the tune of a cool $20 million. However, most of the members of the group were outraged that the sacred internet would be used for commercial purposes.

What a hoot.

Wouldn't you just love having Gary Thuerk's email address?

Finally, MAJOR and shameless self-promotion: I set up a web page with an open letter to agents and publishers regarding my memoir I, Driven, now finished. I'm also going to try the old fashioned way, but last night, as I was checking out a domaining blog, I got this brainstorm: why not find a generic domain name and put my promotional information on it? Amazingly, some great generics having to do with memoir were available and just ready for the plucking (for cheap), so I grabbed several variations. For now, you can see how I have used one of them (I'm still a bit slow with creating web pages):



This domain name was parked on Sedo for less than 24 hours and received three browser type-in hits, so I decided to pull it and DO something with it--that's my goal for all my parked pages; I just need to find the time without devoting my entire life to creating web pages. But this one felt important (at least personally).


My next goal is getting a synopsis page up, but first I have to write one up--I hate the promoting part of writing a book.

My other memoir domain names are safely parked on Sedo, making next to nothing.


In closing, I, Bugzita, may be slipping slightly over to the dark side in my domaining endeavor.

Best to all, even Jorie, who should be writing better poems.

Bugzy
I learned yesterday, that the U.S. has a new Poet Laureate. Donald Hall, we barely knew ye...I hope his health is ok. It would not surprise me if Laura and hubby simply didn't appreciate him.

Welcome, Charles Simic to this position!

And congratulations, Jilly Dybka for posting this a day before the mainstream media!: http://PoetryHut.com/wordpress/

Let's hope the link works...