I have several observations about the state of poetry publication in 2017, and I want to start by acknowledging the FACT that these practices are unfair in very clear terms.
- Being a man puts a poet at a clear disadvantage. Entire events are organized in favor of women writers. Entire magazines market their content upon sharing the work of female writers. Males have no such representation, at least not from what I have seen.
- Being a Caucasian also puts many poets in the bargain bin. Whiteness has almost begun to decay into a new sociological cliche. Even if the writing itself is not expressly dealing with whiteness as a concept, the lack of cultural markers and a poetic link to a minority tradition almost disqualifies aspiring poets from representation in many poetry magazines.
- Being heterosexual (mostly…I do believe in a spectrum) also locks out a great portion of verse from publication.
Now that I have those hard truths out of the way, let me explain why NONE of this bothers me.
What we are seeing can be described as a kind of discrimination in its simplest definition. But I accept these conditions as a necessity for a much needed CORRECTION in representation within literature and the arts in general. It is a positive movement that these subjects and writers should exist at a premium, while writers of mainstream views and identity should, by their very nature, experience a content filter.
As a poet, I have a few ways to respond to these “unfair” requirements. I can be a snowflake and complain about how the cards are stacked against me. I can become bitter and walk away from the field as a whole. Or I can man up and work to differentiate myself from other poets in new ways.
The latter is the most sane and genuine. It is a writer’s plight to struggle against an adverse field. Writing should not achieve acclaim due to a “fair” system. It must fight, fail, die and resurrect. The challenge itself should drive the writer forward in search for unblazed trails and views that transcend identity. The wall is a blessing. I have an obstacle to overcome.
I welcome my brothers and sisters in humanity who have suffered in the shadows and now emerge to a VALUATION in the free market of ideas. Thank you for making the world a better place. Thank you for your struggle. Thank you for demanding more of me.
Check out my poetry here!