Hey Dispatches,

Let’s pretend for a moment there were such a thing as conversation.

While we’re pretending, let’s carry our imaginations further. Let’s try to think there is no such thing as community. Perhaps this is like suggesting precision in language can allow us freedom from metaphor, which it cannot. Even so, trying to think community has no existence apart from social relations is hard.

Whatever this explains, it may explain in part the exchange between Dispatches and Julien Poirier on the exchange between Emily Post-Avant and exchange itself. Poet laureateships don’t grow on trees, after all, whichever shrubs laurels are. Poet laureateships imply exchange, and that exchange is decided by those who do not sell labor as a means of existence. The idea that subterranean poems, as if there were any other, offer an alternative to Emily Post-Avant’s critique has to be as wrong—though its wrongness is not of the same order—as Tracy K. Smith’s idea that “poetry is a vitally rehumanizing force, something that can pull our relationship with language away from the vocabulary of the commercial marketplace and back toward the realm of genuine thought and feeling.”

Who likes boring poems? Who likes the boredom of sliding toward the intensified suffering of those alive and those unimaginable while we fret over a critique that we assume ourselves above? Because that is what it is. No one is the target of this letter, except everyone reading it.


Rejected from the Rockies