Official American Poetry is a corporation like
any other. It has executive officers, middle-
managers, salespeople, controllers, and share-
holders. It operates major retail outlets
such as anthologies, presses, workshops,
and MFA programs. There are Academies
and Institutes, with canons on the parapets
and reviewers pouring hot grease on the mob.
Official American Poetry (OAP) frequently
says, "We are unamused by most american
poetry." When OAP notes an Interesting
Development, then OAP buys it up to
maintain market control. It bought up
Dickinson and Whitman, Plath and Sexton,
the Beats and LANGUAGE. There is insider-
trading, lobbying, and influence-peddling.
There's the awkward American imitation
of royalty (Pound crowning Eliot). OAP
is a tower of glass and steel. If you want
to try to try to trade independence for
recognition, go for it. Good luck.
Otherwise, just keep walking. And
writing. That's what Walt and Emily would do.
Bukowski and Bob Kaufman, too,
and this is not to mention,
and this is not to mention
all the poets alive, above and
under ground both at once.
hans ostrom 2013