" A mere.. ragweed.. anon annoys" takes lots of pot shots at the populace
"..an entire sector.. infected with paranoia ..lecturing, exhorting, explaining.. related.. to frustrated.. facing.. "
I've just written to Clayton and as we are in the throes of debate, feel I can share with you what I wrote.
A few thoughts on the banning debate
1 - As regards banning annonymous comments, I would say no.
2 - I think that by doing this it would stifle opinion. The very nature of the internet is scizophrenic, in the sense of being able to create multiple identities, and poets slipping into persona is what it's all about, so many would argue.
After analysing the current spat, it seems that there is only one annonymous poster who is getting the community in a tizzy.
I must admit to finding the whole situation good fun. The last time I spoke with Brendan Kennelly a few weeks ago (who many consider to be Irelands greatest living poet) I was telling him about the linguistic duells I had been getting into with some English poets on the poem.uk chatboard. (see "bores on the boards" poem from a few weeks back). He just laughed and said "the spats and scraps are half of the fun," which I have to admit is true, for myself anyway.
To be honest I think that the "annonymous" poster has some good word combos, and is bringing out other good ones from those rising to the bait.
"tweak your self-congratulations...cultural mental illness... bannable bannas" etc.
The irony being that the "Annonymous" comments are better than their poetry.
It's not as if the comments are at the high end of personal insult. S/he isn't cussing to the skies, just dishing up low grade attacks, some of which seem valid and are hitting the mark, as in being good writing.
Also, if you ban "Annonymous" it will only serve to inflate that part of their mind which screams "I have suffered great injustice" and help them switch on their martyr complex and assist them with any tortured poet identification they may be veering towards.
I would advise to just let it run its course. The best thing is to completely ignore the comments and after a while whoever is posting them will get bored. By making a big deal of it is only serving to fuel their ego.
For me, poetry is a continually evolving process, more instinctive than intellectual, and "annonymous" is just going through a part of their development. Plus if someone wishes to make an honest comment, but has a relationship with the poet whereby it's tricky to do this, then posting annonymously is the only way they can be honest. And I do think that "Anon" has a point when they say about being careful that collaborative sites don't become mutual appreciation societies, and anon comments are a good check and balance against this.
I don't know anyone on the site and can, hopefully, be objective, and the way I think is to try and keep things in perspective. Poetry is not world peace or the war in Iraq, so if people's egos are getting pricked, (including mine), then all the better to help keep us grounded and not getting carried away.
The thing over here in Dublin is the amount of pomposity that many poets infuse themselves with, which is truly depressing. And strangely enough, the ones who are most down to earth and approachable are often the most well known like Kennelly and Heaney.
Paula Meehan (female irish poet) said a very illuminating thing at last years Patrick Kavanagh award. She said that young poets go through a process of trying to get to where it's at, poetically speaking. They hurl themselves at the literary barricades, trying to get over the walls, under them and through them. Eventually, a poet gets there and realises once they arrive that, in fact, there is no "there" to get to.
This has been true for me. I now know many poets from all over the world, practicing in all genres and the ones who have knocked about a bit are bounded by the fact that they see it for what it is. Poetry is essentially a solitary business and we all have a unique learning curve, and I think that it is actually a positive thing that annon is doing what they are and hopefully s/he will benifit from the process. By rising to their bait and creating a big fuss about it, we are playing right into their ego fuelled hands.
a non sensical lingustically innovative lyrical poet called Kev
"let's 'ave it anon.
Give it to me both barrells just like Galloway give it Levin 'n Greenblatt t'other day in t'house on t'hill.
I know you have something in your heart that's true
moving confusingly assured through the music of creation like a flame dancing in the depths.
A burnt fuse of past lives is the pyramid of dust weighting your soul's earth
and will return to it's fold below the sod the toll of your logic
once words have dispersed and twisted into submission the slave of another's will driven art"