Saturday, January 4, 2014

Random Comment on James Franco and American Poetry Review

James Franco did a lot to promote poetry by portraying Allen Ginsberg in a good movie entitled Howl. Glamour surrounds Franco and his work in film. In common with many people, Franco also writes incompetent poetry. Publishing is a hard business, and I find it difficult to blame American Poetry Review's decision to publish Franco's poetry in exchange for some of his glamour. It may even be true that a combination of Franco's glamour with APR's prestige will do something, as in "some thing", to promote the reading and writing of poetry among young adults.

Many people, including me, have tried to publish their poetry, at whatever level of competence, in APR and failed to exchange their work for the magazine's prestige. The lean economy of poetic prestige and human nature being what they are, the internet is peppered with sarcasm about Franco's poetry. Isolated as two separate events--the writing of bad poetry and its being published--nothing terrible, certainly nothing unusual, has happened, and bruised egos come and go.

The worst thing that could happen, and in this instance I am only suspicious that it has, would be if the combination of Franco's film glamour, his bad poetry and the lending of APR's prestige to it were to confuse the perception of what literature is about, particularly what its pursuit might gain for anyone or any community besides fame or participation in fandom. This confusion arises whenever anything is published, a priori. But we're talking about APR here. And James Franco.

Note: Second time I posted this today. I apologize for my enduring incompetence.

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