The thing that might piss me off more than anything else is that after all this controversy, all these hateful and loving emails, my Amazon.com sales rank has not gone up. With the more than 2,000 people who visited my blog and complimented me and/or wanted me dead, I haven’t sold a single additional goddamned motherfucking book!
My only consolation is that Suburban Ecstasies’ sales doesn’t seem to have shot up through the roof either.
I do feel that “the firm” is corrupt and evil.
I do feel that Seth’s blog has always increased the anxiety for MFA applicants. It provided often superfluous data which increases the anxiety for potential MFA applicants. What does this blog do now? It links you to his firm’s website. Where you can pay substantial sums of money to get help for each part of the application.
$80 for a purpose statement? As a friend of mine said, anyone who pays $80 to get guidance for a purpose statement shouldn’t be getting a writing degree anyway.
At the same time, the person who pays isn’t stupid. They’re desperate. They want to get in. Some years ago I was desperate; I wanted to get in. I would have paid if I wasn’t so cheap.
The blog and its linked firm know people want to get in. The firm aggravated the problem and now has the ultimate solution. The firm is a con man’s game. Plain and simple.
On Collin Kelley’s blog “Modern Confessionals” he writes about me in relation to Seth Abramson: “In the opposite corner is poet Steve Fellner, who critiques other poets on his blog and has enough axes to grind to keep whetstones turning night and day in every barn across the nation.”
Collin, you sure bet that I have axes to grind.
Ethics matter to me. On this blog, I have held queer poems and their queer makers responsible for what their art does. Sometimes I talk about other things. Such as "the firm."
Words have consequences. They can kill people.
Here’s one example: Proposition 8. I started this blog partly in response to things such as Proposition 8. Proposition 8 says gay men can’t marry. They say gay men do not exist. They say gay men are dead. When someone is told they are dead, how are you they not supposed to believe them?
I’m middle-aged and sometimes I believe the words. That’s why young gay men kill themselves. They’re doing what the words tell them.
Poetry can bring people back to life. If you try to write a poem, you won’t have time to think about those bad words and death. Poems want you to live.
Which brings us back to institutions and firms.
Institutions can kill poetry. I know. I've gotten degrees from them. But even in universities, even in those things we call workshops, you can find poetry in unexpected places at unexpected times. I’ve lucked out and sometimes have been in the right places at the right times.
The firm asks ask you to pay for their love, their care in order to pay an institution for their love and care. It may seem money isn’t that bad of a thing to trade in for love and care. There’s only one problem: institutions and firms don’t love and care for you back.
They already have more than enough people in line waiting for love and care.
MFA applicants have already been standing in line for the institution.
Now they have the “choice” to stand in yet another line created by a firm for love and care.
Lines are long and scary.
Especially when you’re being encouraged to stand in yet another one.
No one writes poetry when they’re waiting in line.
New poem in The Cortland Review
5 weeks ago