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Classical Poets Live with Andrew Benson Brown

Episode 6 Part 2 of 3: The Problem with Prestigious Poetry Journals

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Andrew Benson Brown has had poems and reviews published in a few journals. His epic-in-progress, Legends of Liberty, will chronicle the major events of the American Revolution if he lives to complete it. Though he writes history articles for American Essence magazine, he lists his primary occupation on official forms as “poet.” He is, in other words, a vagabond.


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30 Responses

  1. Cheryl Corey

    ABB, you crack me up. I love the way you inject humor into your presentation. You’re right – the names of poetry journals today are idiotic. I make it a point to also check out the cover designs, as I once found one which featured, shall we say, a male member. I used to subscribe to P&W until they became infected with wokeness and blatant liberal bias.

    Reply
    • ABB

      Thanks Cheryl. It is sad how the once-venerable institutions have crumbled. P&W seems like it would have been a great resource once.

      Reply
  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    There was simply no way that the prestigious big journals and websites in the po-biz world could have avoided the infection of wokeness and left-liberalism. Hell, they were already halfway there by 1980. They just didn’t have a working immune system that could have helped them fight the disease.

    The persons running these places are ruled, above all, by emotion and reflex response. Their criterion for judging anything at all is “Does it FEEL right?” They think with their glands, and that is a recipe for following your gut prejudices on every issue.

    Andrew, this is an excellent follow-up to your first segment. And how amusing to discover that the great bulk of visitors to Burch’s website come for the tits-and-ass show!

    Reply
    • ABB

      Thanks Joe. You’d think there might have been a single organization that put up some kind of resistance, instead of falling like dominoes to groupthink. And yes, the Burch ‘uncovering’ was definitely the most delightful and hilarious discovery of the bunch.

      Reply
  3. James Sale

    Happily I am on vacation and literally packing for my next destination.!!! So must be very brief: these videos from ABB are brilliant – insightful, strangely comforting, knowledge-packed and helpful. I recommend all SCP-ers sign up and follow him on this journey – alongside his poetry, he has a real talent in front of the camera!!! There – said it! Must go – farewell Padua, welcome Ferrara!!!

    Reply
    • ABB

      Appreciate your support, James. Am gaining a slow trickle of subscribers, building this thing gradually. Hope you’re enjoying Italy and Giotto!

      Reply
  4. Mike Bryant

    The quality of this video shines. Mr. Brown is brand new to video publishing and is, I believe, pretty much a one-man show, but this video would make you think he has a staff of twenty. ABB is wearing many hats in this production… the editing alone must have taken days. However, the real draw is ABB himself.
    Andrew, you’re a star!

    Reply
    • Adam Sedia

      ABB confirmed this off-camera after my interview, and it blew me away. His video editing skills are top-notch.

      Reply
    • ABB

      Having a staff would certainly be nice. Will see how things go a few years down the road. Am worried YouTube may deny me monetization status if I ever get to that point, though, because they are woke jerks.

      Reply
  5. Lannie David Brockstein

    Hello Andrew,

    In the opening segments of Poetry Wars, I mean Episode 6, part 2 of “CPL: The Problem with Prestigious Poetry Journals”, you mentioned garage music along with your discovery that the most visited English language poetry websites receive the majority of their visits from having published classical poems of the past, but without their also publishing new classical poems.

    That reminded me of whenever I have visited my parents and then listened to their city’s Rock N’ Roll radio stations, which I loved listening to during the late 1980s and early 1990s. As an adult, though, each time I was disappointed to learn those same radio stations are still playing the same songs that they did decades go, but without their also playing any of the new songs by those same talented poets.

    Likewise, when visiting any national or provincial art gallery here in Canada, one can easily be forgiven for thinking that classical painters have gone extinct. It was only when I discovered the Art Renewal Center’s website whilst searching for classical painting websites, that I learned classical painters continue to exist. It was also at the ARC where I first learned about The Society of Classical Poets, and thus that classical poets continue to exist.

    I hope for the SCP to consider forming a partnership with the ARC so that the SCP may have permission to use digital copies of the new classical paintings that the ARC publishes, in order to illustrate the new classical poems that the SCP publishes, rather than the SCP mostly using old classical paintings to do so.

    If such an agreement were to happen, then the contemporary classical painters whose paintings are published by the ARC should have the option of opting-in to possibly having their paintings someday also being published by the SCP, and if the painter opts-in, for a link to the SCP’s publication of the classical poem it is illustrating to be placed on the ARC website’s page of that new classical painting, along with a link to the ARC’s webpage being placed on the page of the SCP’s cross-publication of that painting.

    Perhaps there can also be a new contest at the SCP, which asks the classical poets of today’s day and age to compose new classical poems that reference or are about the new classical paintings of today’s day and age.

    “ARC Artist Featured in Society of Classical Poets Journal”: https://www.artrenewal.org/blogposts/arc-artist-featured-in-society-of-classical-poets-journal/9529

    From Lannie.

    Reply
    • Joseph S. Salemi

      It’s not a good idea for a website dealing with one art form to get entangled in some kind of “partnership” with a different website that deals with a different art form.

      Any kind of “partnership” is potentially troublesome, because there are bound to be disagreements in philosophy, approach, style, and criteria.

      If the ARC is doing good work in its field, let them continue. And if the SCP is doing well in its field, let’s leave well enough alone.

      Reply
    • ABB

      Thanks for alerting me to the ARC, Lannie. Was browsing their online museum and catalogue of living masters, quite impressed with a lot of what I saw. Have seen at least a few of them represented in the SCP journal, nice to see there is a comparable organization out there. I also see their international salon offers $100k worth of awards—whoooaaaa how do we get to that level?
      As far as an official partnership, I imagine Joe is right. Copyright issues in particular make everything so much more complicated. But maybe on an individual level some poets on the site would like to do some ekphrastic collaborating. If I didn’t have a million other things to do, I’d be down with writing some poems about contemporary realist paintings and publishing that in book form.

      Reply
  6. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    ABB, I love this – it’s informative, insightful, highly entertaining… and revealing… extremely revealing.

    Reply
  7. Mia

    Dear Andrew
    I agree with Susan. Susan is always able to find the right words in prose and poetry.
    The last time I commented I had a bee in my bonnet and I apologise if I was a little too critical. But I meant it as support. In fact I would go as far as to say it is not a bee in the bonnet but more of a wasps’ nest!
    The only thing I will add is that you must not disparage yourself. I think you have enough material in this video for ten videos!

    Reply
    • ABB

      Mia, no apologies necessary. Appreciate your viewership. Did I disparage myself? I do enjoy a little self-deprecating humor. But overall I feel pretty confidant about this.

      Reply
      • Mia

        Thank you Andrew, you are very kind.
        No a little self-depreciating humour is good, but as someone who used to laugh at myself a lot and now much older I realise that our enemies will use it against us , take it literally and make a big deal about it.
        I was only thinking of when you said your research was not ZB
        research. As though it didn’t match hers and yet yours is way more! So many publications and research whereas she supposedly and allegedly read everything on this site. That is why I made the comment that you have enough material for ten videos.
        (if you were being sarcastic and I didn’t get it I apologise)
        The problem with being intelligent as I see it in intelligent people, is that sometimes the more you know the more you think you don’t know and the more you think you can do. There is a reason why ignorance is bliss. There is no questioning or cognitive dissonance. Everything is cut and dried and absolutely certain. If I am wrong perhaps someone will reply..
        best wishes

        ps I hope you liked my attempt at humour re: bee in bonnet!

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Dear Mia —

        You have brought up an issue that has troubled me too. I notice that today, with the basic collapse of literary education, many readers simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND sarcasm, irony, or any form of humorous self-deprecation. Instead, they read everything as straightforward statement, to be taken at its pure face value.

        Hard to believe, but it’s true! I have stopped counting the instances where I read someone’s response to something said in a poem or an essay that completely misinterprets the author’s ironic or facetious intention, and takes his words as dead serious, just as a small child would.

        This creates a real problem in polemics today. Unless you make your sarcasm really obvious and vicious, there’s a good chance that someone will completely misread it in a contrary sense. As for simple irony, forget it. It will very likely pass right over the heads of many modern readers.

        The one hopeful thing about AI is that it cannot perceive or compose sarcasm or irony. It also suggests that most people today have become unimaginative robots, just like AI devices.

      • Mia

        Dear Joseph,
        You are correct of course but on reading and reflecting on your kind response it has struck me; Is this why people are so easy to condition and they fall for all the propaganda? They cannot read between the lines as we used to say. No inference or deduction skills. Sadly we have to take this into account and make things simpler. I know this because I am pretty simple ( self-deprecating humour or true, please don’t answer that) but please comment back if you wish.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Dear Mia —

        I think it is probably true that many people today fall for propaganda and conditioning because they have not been trained in the complexities of formal discourse. All they read or hear are the words, and they take them strictly in the literal sense.

        This has made me less likely to use irony in writing, and to always use sarcasm in a very intense and biting manner that cannot be misunderstood. If people then accuse me of “hate speech,” well, that’s fine with me. I really couldn’t give a swiving hump.

  8. Mark Stellinga

    Andrew, very impressive and extremely enlightening! You’re quite a wizard in the virtual realm and certainly more than qualified to expound on this subject matter. You’ve caused me to more closely examine my ‘style’ of poeting, but it’s a few decades too late for *me* to attempt to emulate the proven super stars of the distant past, other than a few truly fine rhymers like Poe and Frost, and a few contemporary greats like Susan Bryant and Mark Massey.
    *As a 60-year writer & reader, I’m an addict of fine rhyme & meter* — and one who focuses on both timeless and contemporary themes. As most of us have, I’ve found far more of what I personally prefer here at the SCP than on several alternative sites combined. Super job!

    Reply
    • ABB

      Thanks again, Mark. I think as the SCP continues to grow and the existing orgs continue to eat themselves alive, we will outdistance the competition more and more. Hopefully even catch up with Poets.org and the Poetry Foundation—which I am convinced will imminently declare bankruptcy like BLM did, and go from being a $200 million foundation to a $200 foundation.

      Reply
  9. C.B. Anderson

    Your work is incredible, ABB. You have a good screen presence, you are cogent, and your ironic twists never fail to evoke the spirit of humor in the eyes of this viewer. I could listen to you all day long and never regret it. I have much less sympathy for the poetic magnets, the standard perversions of what many contemporary venues dare to represent as poetry. Stay strong!

    Reply
  10. Paul Freeman

    ABB. I don’t think you or anyone else has mentioned how long it would take to read a thousand poems in any depth. I’m doubtful that ZB got past poem titles or first lines to be honest.

    Reply
    • ABB

      The more I contemplated the logistics, I started thinking that too. Some of the pieces on the site are quite long, and she almost certainly just skimmed most of them, if that. Not to mention hurling sweeping attacks that demonstrated no nuance. Also, she was not transparent about her data-gathering methods and I feel the graph she came up with manipulated the facts.

      Reply
      • Mike Bryant

        ABA, the graph is definitely misleading. She left out the TOP part of the graph to highlight what she wanted to. If you look at the y axis you will notice that it only goes up a little over twenty percent. In other words, the graph leaves the impression that most of the posts are objectionable to her, even though she has cropped off around EIGHTY PERCENT of the graph. This is an old trick. There are many good articles and even books that point out the many ways that those with an agenda lie with graphs.
        So, around eighty percent of the posts are just fine with her.

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