Several years ago when I was invited to give a reading in Rochester, I was advised to join Poets & Writers for tactical reasons. The name should have been a dead giveaway. Poets & Writers? Really? And what exactly does a poet do if not write?

When I tried to update my profile by adding a novel I had written (a lurid tale of mayhem, deceit, and mystery (plug plug)) I couldn’t add it. The program rejected it. When I contacted whatever dolt ran the site, I was informed that I was registered as a poet, not a novelist, and therefore couldn’t add a novel to my publications. That’s it. I was branded, packaged, and shelved and there was no way around it. I think that’s the core curriculum in all those Arts Management programs that sprang up to market, among other art products, the Commercial Poetry Product being manufactured by Creative Writing Factories: Branding, Packaging, and Shelving Art in Accordance with Established Moralist Taxonomies.

When I demanded to be removed from their database, he was gobsmacked. Why would you do that, he asked?

And naive me thought that Rimbaud and Melville had sorted all that taxonomical nonsense out 167 or so years ago.

Behold The Whale (or not),