I like Jim Behrle. I've said that before, in many places. He organized the first reading I've had in many a year. He's wrong about various things, but then, so am I. I did give a few readings before he was born (this is fact, not hyperbole), & edited some magazines before he was born (TALISMAN - & not that NJ rag), & won some awards, before he was born (all 3 they offered at Brown U. - in 1971). I have organized some readings for other people - for Keith Waldrop, & Ange Mlinko (his heroine), & the guy who edits The Poker, he's so cool, I forget his name at the moment, & various other poets. & I have been invited to read by people other than Jim, occasionally (once every decade or so). & I published various people, & edited their books, & did anthologies, & stuff.

But I don't care if Jim gets his facts wrong, I really don't. Jim hates & despises po-biz almost as much as I do. God forbid, maybe he was influenced by my sour grapes! Poor guy. The clown's laugh, the sufferer's grimace, all the same.

The trouble is, satire & mockery are so dependent on the things they mock. It's a co-dependency situation. Jim's a trawler on the bottomland of Verse World. Dante & Pound & tons of turgid theologians wrote about the problem - "words about words", "poesie der poesie", po-biz about po-biz...

after a while the laughs seem febrile & hollow, because everybody's gone home & the clown takes off his smile mask & the bass player has no girlfriend & blah blah blah...

Verse World is a very layered & phony world, even more bizarre & fishy than Hollywood - & that's saying a lot!!!! All those career minded people, striving for academic credentials & tenure & all that business. Like the people in Canterbury Tales, really. People.

Meanwhile we have no safety net in this country. We have no public speech to speak of, not from poets anyway. This is because the symbolistes & the New York Fish and the Langpo Fish and the SF Fish and the Olson Fish are too busy schooling about, semi-gleefully, in their patterns of yesteryear...

& Jim understands this!! That's why I like him. But satire will only go so far in the echo chamber of words about words, in the sub of sub-subcultures of sub-sub-librarians.

Poetry is the spark that ignites those words and your reality.

Too bad if your reality is... just more words.

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