Wednesday, February 09, 2005


This "review" just up at Web del Sol, by Tim McGrath:

"Eratio Postmodern Poetry :// View | Rating:
Eratio offers up incomprehensible postmodern fodder for critics of postmodern incomprehensibility. Good luck finding anything intentionally; look for links and find a blog, look for poetry and find quotations. And when you realize that Eratio's editor, Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino (whose name suggests either a pseudonymously guarded narcissist or the tragi-comic hero of a Wes Anderson film) has included his own embarrassing asseverations ("Discourse is like a river" is his unqualified and deplorably facile, but apparently quotable, simile) along with the words of Nietszche, Plato, and Jung, you'll start wondering whether this postmodern experiment is, in fact, a postmodern parody. On the same page, alongside the luminous Lord Duke G.V. St. Thomasino, Diane Wakoski is quoted as saying, "I feel that poetry is the completely personal expression of someone about his feelings and reactions to the world. I think it is only interesting in proportion to how interesting the person who writes it is." By Wakoski's logic, the people who bring you Eratio are not very interesting at all."

St. Thomasino responds:

Friends, as contributors to eratio postmodern poetry, you should proudly count yourselves among some of the most talented and influential writers and artists on the scene today. As editor of the site, I can honestly say that many of the works submitted for eratio simply do not make the cut (and I'm sorry if I've rejected your work, Mr. McGrath, but there's always the welcome to send again). I try to be fair when making these judgments, because I know what it means to put your heart into something (especially something like poetry), and how it feels to be rejected.

Eratio is a labor of love, since it generates no revenue for me (but rather costs me time and energy and money). Each issue requires months of work, involving coding, design, correspondence, planning, and an immeasurable amount of frustration. Ultimately, it's very gratifying -- but I cannot say it's fun.

Still, I am proud to publish your work and hope that its presence at eratio gives you some exposure and some degree of satisfaction that you otherwise would not have had, and gives you some encouragement to continue being a poet in an economy that doesn't much care about you.

I do not know Tim McGrath. But if you read him closely you'll see that this is nothing more than a personal attack on me (based on his dislike of my name!). I am distressed because none of the poetry or artworks are mentioned, and in fact I do not believe Mr. McGrath even bothered to read or look at any of it. (But can he, indeed, talk about the poetry, or the content of the page, or the logic of the concept, I wonder? Why the subterfuge of fixating on my name? No one of any real insight or wit would do that -- unless he were inclined to burlesque.)

As a poet and a critic, I take great care to explicate my reasons for "liking" or "disliking" something. More importantly, I consider it my responsibility to try to place a work into context, to appreciate what it is the poet is trying to achieve, and to assess whether this has been accomplished (and sometimes I offer alternatives, but I never ridicule and I am never disrespectful, and I always manage to point out a poet's successes). There are several reviews in the current issue that I took great care in writing, I hope you'll see them for yourself now that the issue is up.

Reading Tim McGrath's personal attack (on my name, for Pete's sake!) is an example of something a poet or a critic should never do. Mr. McGrath has latched on to my name as something that irritates him a great deal, and in the process has ignored your work and mine. Why does Mr. McGrath dislike me personally? Could it be that this is payback? (Or else: What's "pseudonymously guarded" about it? What's "narcissist" about it? I will, however, accept that being a Roman Catholic name it is somewhat "tragi-comic.")

Mr. McGrath's tone -- glib, cynical, condescending, and uninformed and lacking of the requisite vocabulary to comprehend let alone explicate or set a value upon "the postmodern" -- is indicative not only of Web Del Sol but of the "unlettered lad" generally. I do not know why Web del Sol has adopted this attack mentality toward anything to do with "the postmodern," but for sure it is the creativity of resentment.

And here, in situ, is the offending "asseveration":

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