Saturday, December 06, 2008

Now a word from our sponsor about Lisa Jarnot

A few days ago, I was thrilled to see that Lisa Jarnot put a mini-review of Derivative up on the Lisa blog, I have been friends with Lisa for about two years. During this time, she has been a relentless help and poetic navigator for me through the world of poetry. Lisa and I have different views on a couple things, but not many. She is a protester against the death penalty, an political idealist, an environmental activist, and a gay rights supporter. Lisa is the kind of person who is always looking to make the world better. She makes soap, she plants trees and prunes them, she knits hats to symbolize fallen soldiers, she tries not to waste food or electricity and, of course, she writes fabulous poems. Things we should all be doing.

In the world of poetry Lisa is not afraid to question academia. She seems intolerant of an concept of 'scenes' or 'cool' notions of poetry. She truly cares about poetry, not as a way for a job, money, or popularity, but as a crucial being in its own right. Poetry for the sake of poetry. Nothing else. It seems that this is a hard quality to find in some folks today, and many of us are too worried about getting in the 'right' magazine, getting the 'right' award, and having the 'right' people accept us. I, myself, divide the poetry 'world' into a number of facets: Ecco Press, academic, Iowa, Naropa, Fence, West Coast, East Coast, Middle Coast, and so on. I've felt accepted in some ways by all of them and rejected in some ways by all of them. I worry that many of us have, but aren't willing to go vocal on it, or run off and start our own scene. 

I think my tendency to fall through the cracks maybe for a number of reasons. Perhaps it is because I'm handicapped, but not handicapped enough to provide an interesting story. Perhaps it's because I'm too aggressive or too obnoxious or am conflicted about homeschooling and feminism. Perhaps it's because my work is too lyrical and too oblique and not oblique enough. I probably went to the wrong schools. Perhaps it's because of my father somehow. Perhaps, as Rebecca Wolff of Fence proclaimed, my work is just 'bad.'  

Lisa's support has helped me make it through this crazy life.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry about what Wolff says about your work. She has a habit of making off-the-cuff remarks, without any thought behind them. I was at a festival where she made a dismissive statement that she never saw a print-on-demand book that looked like a book. People at my book table couldn't believe her attitude.

Jennifer Bartlett said...


I was partially my fault. I made a comment on the blog about my frustration about not getting into Fence after about 6 years. Note: I was always a reader and a supporter of Fence, not that that should count, but editors including me, complain that people don't read the magazines! It didn't bother me so much that I rejected, but more that I was not acknowledged. I felt like I was a just undergrad being rejected by Paris Review of something! Katy, finally, did contact me personally which was so cool of her.

RW read my complaining and took it too harshly. She made comments about my work in a very public way without even having read it! Try them 'Sam I Am, you might like them.'

I'm still jaded/hurt whatever. But, I've learned that whether anyone is in any given magazine is completely beside the point. There is no hierachy in poetry. We are all at the bottom together.

Jennifer Bartlett said...

Sorry for the typos!

Anonymous said...

Yes in the end poets are all bottom dwellers and still I happily reside there... Thanks for your interesting response... best--Doug Holder