Dear Emily Post-Avant,

So you see how this works, we hope? The outsiders, the satirists, the rebels, they all get sucked inside the approved perimeters and then wither. It’s totally classic. Now that the Best American Poetry has given their stamp of approval to you, the slide surely begins, old girl.


Also, did it ever occur to you that you have the classic symptoms of Attention-Seeking Personality Disorder?

–The Leonel Rugama Poetry Dream Brigade


Dear Leonel Rugama Poetry Dream Brigade,

How many of you are there, sweeties? I hope not more than two, because it would be weird that such a stupid letter could be written by committee. Or wait, what am I saying? The saying says that committees write stupid letters, so forget it, it makes perfect sense, actually, if you’re a larger group!

I loved your poem “The Gunpowder Plot,” though. Maybe just focus on your collective poesy instead of going pompously off and insulting your elders? (And Attention-Seeking Personality Disorder, my ass. A therapist told me the same thing years ago, but I was sleeping with her at the same time, so who was the one with the real problem, you know?)

Peeps, please listen to me: I have been around the poetry block more than a few times. I’ve turned myself into an Outcast of the Field, and quite willingly so. I have committed poetry harakiri in plain view (I’d say seppuku, but it hasn’t been so elegant as that). Do you think I am about to go make GAP ads now? Do a Super Bowl spot for the old Bell Corporation? Be a Guest Blogger for the Poetry Foundation? Become a cultural agent for the Chinese intelligence services?

No, my brave insurgent poet darlings, I am going down with the pirate ship called Dispatches, and which is going down very soon, with all hands on deck, the hands closed into fists, saluting the empty horizon, as the three-cannon sloop slips beneath the waves. With a tattered Jolly Rodger flapping…

And anyway, Molly Arden, who wrote the post at Best American Poetry site, is a terrific translator of Catullus, one of my mostest favorite poets. Do you know this one, the truest, deepest poem ever written about the poetic field of cultural production?

Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris? nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

Put it in a translation program, kids.

Red hugs and kisses,

–Emily Post-Avant