|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #24|
Heleen Buijs: "Their main criterion was often whether [or not] the artist needed the money, rather than judging the attributes of the work."
Bearing in mind the perilous parallels between endeavors, we should not overlook the fact that there is still a market for fine painting, not so much for the finest poetry. We can't say "let the market decide" when there is no market. Nevertheless, what little money and organization there is in poetry operates almost exactly like Dutch warehousing. Safe from the public eye, poets bury mass-produced "poems" in publications that use subscribers as conduits between printer and landfill. For their part, institutions and publishers are still stuck on the John Barr philosophy¹, promoting only failed aesthetics. The tiny difference is that [sufficient] funds don't come directly from poetry production; monies usually derive from teaching positions that require such publication credentials.
|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #58|
1. "We understand that government funding might be good for poets but has it been good for poetry?" Not the arts in general, mind you. Just poetry.
2. "What do taxpayers--or just readers--get for financing poetry publications that even poets won't read?"
Let's start with the typical counterargument: "Government funding for the arts returns a significant profit in tax revenues."
|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #69|
|What would Paul Stevens say?³|
Thus, the Overland transitions from a credible literary magazine to a strictly political periodical (albeit one that uses both modes of communication, poetry and prose, for its diatribes). Of course, it has every right to do so, just as a church can be the first to publish "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" or the works of Gerard Manley Hopkins.
No, the only issue here is the fact that Overland receives significant government support for its partisan production. That is downright scandalous and would be even if its counterpart, Quadrant, weren't receiving a far smaller stipend. ("WTF?")
|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #70|
When--not if but when--opponents of arts funding glom onto these two issues (i.e. Dutch warehouses and the politicalization of poetry outlets), supporters and governments will need to fashion a new criterion and paradigm for funding.
I'm betting that this policy shift will be towards something that politicians and poets can sell--literally, in the latter case--to the literate population. What investment will reap the biggest bang for the buck? My expectation is that at some stage (excuse the pun) this will involve a public performance or competition.
¹ - Lest we forget, the most glaring of many flaws in this approach is that no poetry aesthetic is succeeding today.
² - Everyone understands why consumers are good for an economy. Why it is so difficult to convince people that consumers are good for poetry, too?
³ - In case you missed the link, this is what the late, legendary Australian critic and editor Paul Stevens had to say on this issue during his interview with "Very Like a Whale":
"I really do not care what the politics of a poet are. Really! If anyone submits a good poem, I will publish it because it is a good poem. That’s what I think poetry is about. It’s a transcendence of our work-a-day petty selves. I would publish Adolf Hitler’s poem if it were good enough. Same with George Bush. Benjamin Netanyahu. Joseph Stalin. Tony Blair. Jeffrey Dahmer. The Boston Strangler. Condoleeza Rice. Madeleine Albright. Hilary Clinton. John Howard. Attila the Hun. Osama Bin Laden. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Jabba the Hutt. Dutch Schultz. Anthony ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno. Sarah Palin. The Spring-Heeled Terror of Stepney Green. These are all people whose politics or other personal behaviour I strongly disapprove of, and there are plenty more! But if any of them sent me a poem they had written that I judged to be a good poem (which would ipso facto therefore NOT include hate-material), I would publish it! I publish poems: I do not judge personal lives."
Après nous, le déluge.
- Government Funding - Part I: "Dutch Warehouses"
- Government Funding - Part II: "The Politics of Altruism"
- Government Funding - Part III: "The Results are In"
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