Sukenick weighs in

ABR publisher Ron Sukenick responds to Kostelanetz's diatribe:

A virtue of ABR is that it is an open forum for multiple literary points of view, no matter how rowdy; it is possibly at times also a vice. Therefore, I am in no position - especially not as co-publisher - to say that Richard Kostelanetz's...essay on Charles Bernstein should not have been published. But publication is the least of it: it should not have been written. It should not have been thought. It is an example of the breakdown of literary community, of which I have seen too many examples recently. I think it must be due to the butterfly, or rather, wasp effect: a wasp wing of petty irritation, in the absence of a restraining sense of community, stirs a current that eventually results in grand condemnations....to compare the object of a poetry peeve with a political movement responsible for the deaths of many many millions in the last century debases our political, as well as our literary, coinage. Come on, folks - there's still a common enterprise here that may be pursued in different ways, however disparate, without a sustained exchange of hate mail.

What does it mean when a publisher, especially a publisher as courageous as Ron Sukenick, disagrees with his editors? And which communities are breaking down? And why, having set out to read about poetry, must I instead read about poets? (The Oxford English Dictionary defines "poetry" as "The art or work of the poet," and defines "poet" as "One who composes poetry," and the loops are only just beginning.)

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