Well, here’s another one for the record books, in the never ending saga of ‘Jesus fucking Christ, are all poets the biggest phoneys in the literary universe’?
A poet by the name of Michael Derrick Hudson, a plain, ordinary, undoubtedly hideously oppressed white male, couldn’t get his poem (“The Bees, The Flowers. Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve”) published. He’d sent it out 40 times, and it got rejected every time. So, instead of saying to himself “Well, gee, maybe it’s a piece of crap after all” (Which is to his credit. I wish I had that much confidence in my own work), he decided to send it out under a different name: Yi-Fen Chou.
Well, he still got nine more rejections, but then it got published, and now it’s appearing in an anthology of America’s Best Poetry of 2015, which I guess is the poets version of America’s Got Talent.
Some people are saying he’s a fraud and a racist, some are saying hey, if it’s a good poem, it’s a good poem.
I thought that, like the title, it was a bit longer than need be. It used a lot of big words and it wasn’t real clear what it was about. And, the major poetic sin in my book, it didn’t rhyme.
I’ve read worse poems, for sure. At least it seemed to be saying something. But, it further blurred the line between ‘long poems that don’t rhyme’ and ‘short stories that don’t make sense.’
But, I must say, this whole brouhaha provides evidence for one of my pet theories: Publishers don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground. Once you’ve tossed out rhyme, and the need to actually be understood, they are left guessing as to what is a good poem and what is not.