The sad fate of so many poets is to get a job in a small town like State College, PA, where there are going to be only a few simpatico people on campus, and virtually no serious readers in the surrounding community, and expecting them to build a life in such environs, for the most part with only their students to talk to. To add to the problem, a number of schools then, in the name of diversity, make sure that any authors they've hired aesthetically conflict with one another, so as minimize any possible discourse between them. This has been the fate especially of certain aspects of the School of Quietude; hopefully the arrival of the Net will have a liberating experience, erasing as it does so much of geographic isolation.It strikes a chord, of course, and it didn't need Ron Silliman to ring the bell. Still I'm glad he mentioned this local isolation. But the thing I'm most amazed at are the sheer numbers of people who write and post online and thus hang out a shingle as "poet."
So in a sense, Silliman contradicts his point of artistic isolation, though I recognize he's channeled his comment toward the poet in academe. But still in this community of mine where "poetry" had the cadence of something foreign or worse, revolutionary, I'm surprised at the amount of newsprint and cafe time devoted to it.
Just a few days ago, I went through Folio Weekly and found listings for a different poetry venue (open mic, workshop, traditional reading, poet group) meeting every day of the week but Wednesday and Sunday. And I know personally of a group that meets on Sundays at Unity Church.
Quantity's not the whole ball of wax but it sure helps build a hive.
So there's William Slaughter's Mudlark at UNF, one of the elder journals of the internet. Over at the local community college, the fate of the well respected Kalliope is in the hands of an administration which seems not to recognize its value or for that matter, agree with its founding thesis: to advance women in the arts. With the retirement of its editor, Mary Sue Koeppel, Kalliope may go the way of the dinosaur. More on this to come.