"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Don't let the Sitemeter Plummet

But, don't worry, you're a personable guy, tall, good-looking, witty, undoubtly gifted, at least, that I know of, as a poet and by the evidence of your rank, that is, your present position. And, let's face it. You're a white guy. You're on your way.


Well, I certainly am NOT tall. My whiteness is contestable.

Seriously, have a look at what LDC has to say. Mountains and molehills, all of this. I didn't make this post to be contentious--I was curious and a bit weirded out. But I'm not brokenhearted or pissed off or anything else. I'm honored to be considered in the "best of" anything, I suppose, but in this particular case, I have to take the ranking with a grain of salt, given what LDC has said in the past:

I haven't commented on your blog before because the poems just aren't any good. But they have their moments. But I have to look. And the only reason I take the time is your heritage.

So I don't think it's odd of me to be a bit cautious about accepting a laurel from a woman who has admitted that she thinks my poems aren't very good and that the only reason she bothers with me at all is because I'm Chicano. (Note that she denies this in her most recent post.)


Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

Yes, all true. I never denied it. I deny that that's why you are on the list or that's why I clicked on you originally. It is why I took the time, valuable time I might add, to spend reading it. And I became a regularly reader for the food -- I adore your food posts. The poetry that you posted on your blog up until that post was not good -- you bemoaned the fact yourself and trashed your blog for it more than once. And I was happy you returned to it. (I remember the FW title) But that was my point. I was saying: now this here is a *good poem* and could be among one of the best with just a little nip and tuck. Hey, who can't do without one of those?

And that was before you published that poem in No Tell and wrote one that hit it out of the park, the New Orleans inspired one, the bird one. Killer. I really would like to see a manuscript of yours if there's more like that. You deserve to be on the list. And proof positive I'm not just promoting my friends or people I (ahem) like or people who can do something for me or just writers of a certain school of poetry or with the proper "Name".

Criteria? Poetry rooted in the earth and rendered in blood. Melopoeia. Phanopoeia. Logopoeia. And: Does it make me want to write?

You just make me mad. And I go to po-blogs to relax. But you know what? I don't take it personally. According to Laurel's link to that test we took my type is the exact opposite from yours, your E-something to my IN-something and your type was my "ANTAGONIST" which I might as well take to be catalyst. So since our communication styles are so different (how much better if I had had the chance to track you down at the AWP, buy you a beer o lo que sea, maybe show you and your buds Austin, or just chat it out cara a cara. But I was sick as a dog for most of the conference.) But, trippy, huh?

And, what do I know from a head shot - didn't you not have a photo for a long time/ Just a name? I didn't realize your mother was Chicana until the day of my first comment when you wrote about your parents and posted their pic. That was what the remark about you being a tortilla eater meant, I was acknowledging your mother. As a fellow masa slinger, I was sincerely hoping we could throw down some recipes as you wrote that you wanted to learn how to make them, tortillas that is. I could see and read that you knew your way around chilis.

A mi me pica. And it aggravates my ulcer.

Tony said...


Hey. I understand where you're coming from, and if I make you mad, well, you make me me mad too. But that's not all you do. I'm certainly not trying to pick on you.

I think we started things on the wrong foot with a huge misunderstanding. My original comment about "The Tortilla School," was, I think, misconstrued. I'm culpable too--I suppose I should have done a better job of explaining what I meant. It was in no way, however, meant to antagonize you in any way. At the time you were not even a blip on my radar. I don't mean that in a disrespectful way, either. There are a lot of poets out there. Some, I haven't read. That was you.

And this, really, in the end, isn't much about what you think about my poetry. To be perfectly honest, (perfectly honest), it doesn't matter much to me one way or another. That's not to say I don't like it when someone appreciates what I do--I do, tremendously, but I don't let my head get big. I know that I am my own worst critic, and I tend to beat myself up about a lot of what I do, sometimes my poetry, but more often, my other writing, and the choices I make in my personal life. But I try not to take either criticism or praise too seriously because I know that everyone has their cup of tea. There are, for example, poet-bloggers whom I adore as people, but don't care for as poets. I'd never discuss this in public and only in private if one of these folks approached me and asked me point blank: "Do you like my poetry?" Even then, it's just my opinion.

That's why I was a little taken aback by your post ranking poets. It's something I wouldn't think of doing. Not that you were wrong for doing it--it just struck me as odd. Having read your defense of ranking, I can understand, if not appreciate your motives. And maybe that's all we can hope for--that we understand each other, if not approve of or agree with. That we can understand that both of us, I think, are coming from places of good intentions.

And as for the personality type thing--you're probably right. You're probably the type of person who gets under my skin, and I, your. (That's an odd grammatical snafu...oh well.)

And yes, it is too bad we didn't meet at AWP. I think we probably would have gotten along. Eduardo and I hung out for a bit, and he was charming. He said nice things about you, too.

So let's agree to try to understand where the other is coming from, even if we continue to butt heads from time to time.