The problem of literary journals.

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The problem of literary journals.

Postby Ravenwing » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:43 pm

So, I have a problem. I want to post my poems in this message board’s art forum, and on my personal website, and I want to send my poems to literary journals, and to poem contests, but I hesitate to post my poems on this message board and on my website, because doing so will make them ineligible to be published by literary journals or to win poem contests.

At the same time, the only reason as to why I would want for my poems to be published by literary journals or to win poem contests is for the sake of money/professional reputation/advertising, and socializing, and not necessarily for any noble reason such as because I respect what any literary journal has already published in previous issues, as not once have I read any literary journals or poem contest winning poems that did impress me. On the other hand, I have been impressed by the work of several poets at different message boards, over the years, including at this message board.

I feel that if I walk away from the literary journal and poem contest bullshit, that I might regret it, in the way that people who dropped out of high school to be an entrepreneur and whom became a millionaire might regret not having ever gone to university, if only for the social experience. Also, the way that the poetry industry in Canada is structured, it requires for poets to have their poems published by literary journals in order to be eligible for government grants.

But I have never been impressed by the quality of work from any whom are a regular participant of the literary journal and poem contest scenes that I have met in-person. I would actually feel embarrassed to have my name show up in search engines as being associated with any of those losers. They are such losers, it really is quite unbelievable. How any of them could ever merit a grant of any kind, or publication of any kind, is beyond me. I have no idea as to how or why the entire lot of them have not been thrown out of the poetry scene by the god of poetry for being so untalented at poetry.

When attending poetry reading series shows, I have often felt in the company of morons, liars, losers, and schmucks. Also, most of the women at those shows are either frumpy beasts, or lesbians. Like Keats, my poems are love poems to heterosexual women, so there is no reason for me to sing my sonnets to those frumpy beasts or lesbians, unless I would want to help those frumpy beasts to revive their sexuality, as some kind of 1980s liberal sex-therapist, or to convert those lesbians to heterosexuality, as some kind of 1950s conservative sex therapist. But I am not an adherent of the school which teaches that art is a form of therapy, because it is mine own opinion that if a person is in actual need of therapy, then they should do themselves and everybody else a favour by being the client of a licenced psychiatrist. Not that being a frumpy beast or lesbian should be considered as grounds for a person having a psychiatric disorder.

It is mine own opinion that poetry has to do with the exploration of the inner world, which is to say with spirituality, of which I consider sexuality to be an important part. As mine own sexuality is not geared towards frumpy beasts, or lesbians, I do not see the point in singing my sonnets to any audience whose female members mostly consists of frumpy beasts or lesbians.

On more than one occasion, I have left those poetry reading series shows where junk-poems are always loudly applauded, feeling utterly distraught, and thinking to myself that if those politically correct twits and twerps, regardless of their gender or sexual preference, really are poets, then that must mean I am not a poet.

In ancient times, if anybody were to place a pile of junk in an art gallery, they would be arrested, and sent to jail, and rightly so. These days, though, the art galleries are curated by airhead losers and nitwits whom themselves hire airhead losers and nitwits to debase those galleries with piles of junk.

I have overheard it being snobbishly said to another more than once, by those of the literary journal and poem contest crowd, that they do not take any poet’s work seriously if it is “only” published on a message board or the poet’s website. I do not understand why the opinions of the loser editors and the loser poem contest judges matter so much to them, because I have never read a single literary journal published poem or a poem contest winning poem that is worth reading. I really could not give a shit about any of them. I have never felt like re-reading a literary journal published poem or a poem contest winning poem, as I have felt like re-reading for the millionth time some of the poems posted at message boards, or re-listening to a song by Def Leppard for the millionth time, or a song by Leonard Cohen, or by the Beatles, Slade, T. Rex, or Nirvana or U2 or Guns N’ Roses for the millionth time, or as I have felt like watching Star Wars, Austin Powers, or Pump Up the Volume for the millionth time (I have not yet seen Campion’s Bright Star, though I hope to do so). I could give a flying fuck about literary journal poems and poem contest poems.

A part of me wants for literary journals and poem contests to be good, as Keats did, so there is a part of my soul which wants to send my poems to them, yet, I do not have that much faith that any of them will actually publish or select any of my poems, due to the fact that my poems do not suck, and they only publish or select poems that suck.

Due to their stupid and immoral “poems sent for possible publication must not have been previously posted on any message boards or the poet’s website” rule, the literary journals and poem contests have in effect put a kind of libel chill on the poetry forums of message boards, and on websites.

Aside from how small the readership is for almost all literary journals and poem contests, it should not matter a jot to any of them if a poet has previously posted their poem on a message board or on their website, because poets everywhere have the moral right to do what they want with their poems, but in automatically rejecting poems that were previously posted on message boards by their poet and on the poet’s website, the literary journals and poem contests show a complete lack of respect for the moral rights of poets. Their stupid and immoral “must not have been published elsewhere” rule is the main reason as to why most talented poets do not participate in the poetry forums of message boards, even though most poets know how much fun poetry forums are when a few or more truly talented poets are participating there, whereby each of them is posting in real-time for all to read their own most recent poems to be showcased or workshopped.

I don’t want to have to wait many months for a literary journal to publish my poem, or for a poem contest to select my poem. I want to post my poem when I feel that it is the right time for it to be posted. I do not want for some stupid editor that has no real talent for poetry and no appreciation for astrology to make that decision for me.

I could probably have a great many more readers of my poems by posting my poems at message boards, and on my website, than I can from having them published by literary journals and poem contests, because the vast majority of those whom read literary journals and poem contests are disgruntled poem contest losers, whereas message board posts are mostly read by the general public. The general public could give a flying fuck about literary journals and poem contests, and rightly so, because the literary journals and poem contests do not publish or select real-poetry. They only publish or select junk-poetry, the same way that the art galleries each only display piles of junk in their contemporary arts section.

I want to be a part of an online poetry community, but I haven’t met any poets that want to work with me, in order to build the foundation of a democratic online poetry community that has a message board which is governed by democracy, and a literary journal that is governed by democracy, so that the power will be in the hands of the poets and the people, rather than in the hands of some tyrannical editor or poem contest judge or moderator. I want to work with other poets whom recognize that the 20th century tyrannical structure of literary journals and poem contests does not empower decent poets to be financially independent on a yearly basis as poets, for the same reason that all tyrannical dictatorship countries are each poor as shit. Without freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion, there is no economic prosperity. Instead of publishing the best poems, the literary journals censor the best poems by not publishing them; I say as much, because it cannot be possible that all poems sent to literary journals and poem contests are as unpoetic as those which literary journals and poem contests publish, as I have seen for myself at message boards that real-poets exist in today's day and age. In visiting the contemporary arts section of any art gallery in Canada, one could be forgiven for thinking that real-art no longer exists, but the Art Renewal Center's biennial salon ( is proof that real-art does in fact continue to exist.

An example of a democratic literary journal is that which consists of a message board’s best posted poems, as voted on by its message board populace, with those poems then being dressed up in complementary colours, and a voluptuous font of which Arial font is not, for the message board populace to re-read, and for the general public to read. A democratic literary journal is that which features the best poems of its message board, as voted on over time by its populace.

I don’t know if it is true or not, but I did hear that there was a study which showed that when 100 people were asked to guess the age (to the day, month, and year) of a person, that not one of those people did correctly guess the age of that person, but that when all 100 of those guesses were averaged out, that it was the closest guess of them all.

If that is true, then that means to me that the average score of 100 people judging as to whether a poem should be published or not, is likely to be more accurate an estimation of its true value, than the 1 measly guess of an editor or a poem contest judge. Yes, some literary journals, and some poem contests have more than one editor, and more than one poem contest judge, but none of them have anywhere close to 100.

I have mine own opinion on what makes for a good poem, but I would like to know what the best poems are, as revealed by the average score of votes from 100 individuals. But I cannot build a democratic online poetry community by myself, because democracies require more than one person. I can build a tyrannical poetry community by myself, but then it would eventually become no different than any other bullshit literary journal scene or poem contest scene, if it is true that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Have any of you reading this an opinion regarding any of this?

From Ravenwing.
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:11 am

Re: The problem of literary journals.

Postby Cathat906 » Fri Mar 12, 2021 5:45 pm

In terms of the state of modern art (including poetry) I wonder if some of what you have written is re-articulating some the concerns of the late philosopher Roger Scruton, who felt strongly that there was a deep human need for beauty. He believed this was the dominant focus of Western art up to the early 20th century, until it was overtaken by the cult of shock and celebrity that he dates from Duchamp's infamous urinal exhibit. He believed the 'cult of ugliness' has now infected much of our creative endeavors in the West, including most forms of art and his particular bete noire, brutalist architecture. It seems particularly pertinent on this notice board, given Keat's well known concern with the idea and nature of, beauty.
There is a parallel it seems to me in terms of literary prizes for novels. Currently many of the more prominent ones deliberately exclude any work that has been 'self published' despite the huge growth in authors avoiding the pitfalls of mainstream publishing. The Booker is an obvious example, many of the winners are verging on the unreadable, without the lottery of winning the prize, they would have certainly sunk into obscurity.
But for me the most recent and concerning shift has been the mania of 'identity politics' that is now poisoning the literary world. A good example is the recent controversy around the European translators (Dutch and Catalan) of the Amanda Gorman poems failing to have the right skin colour.
There is some evidence that Keats himself at the time of his death, felt that he had abjectly failed in his literary ambitions. His fame came slowly, decades after his demise. He was so disappointed with the reception to his work (not only from journals like Blackwoods but also by female readers) that he seriously considered publishing the Cap and Bells under a pseudonym, Lucy Vaughn Lloyd. The fear that your name will be 'writ on water' was also a very real one for him.
Perhaps I am naïve, but I still hold faith in the belief both Roger Scruton and Keats had, that art that discerns beauty in the long run endures; the skin colour, ethnicity, nationality, gender or sexuality of the person who created it are and should be, irrelevant.
Last edited by Cathat906 on Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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