Let Us Cultivate Our Garden

Only two more days to vote for the Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere.

I voted the year that Amy King won (I voted for Amy) and I voted for rob mclennan last year, who came in second. This year the list of nominees is strange– I don’t know who most of these people are. For some, I knew they existed but I didn’t know they blogged.  I don’t really keep up with blogland anymore outside my own back yard, as I really hate getting into blog wars and it seems inevitable. Anyway, I think there are a handful of poetry bloggers not on the list who should be, but maybe they will be next year and maybe if I think they should be I should nominate them (the candidates are chosen by nomination).

I see the competition as between four people: rob mclennan, Sina Queyras, Geof Huth and Robert Lee Brewer. I say that knowing that 3/4 of the people I just picked are men. I say that knowing that most of the blogs I read are by women (whose blogs are not on the list).

I voted for rob again. He deserves to win it one of these years.  He does an incredible amount of work for poetry for both Canadian and American poets, but with regard to Canadian poets he’s kind of the Ron Silliman of the CanPo blogosphere.  I really don’t know how this guy does so much– how he creates so much work himself and manages to publish and promote others as well.  His blog is just one tool in his toolbox for promoting himself and others (especially Canadian poets).  I love Sina and Geof’s creative work, but I don’t think they have the same impact as rob. Sina may have a growing impact as she continues to blog for the Poetry Foundation, but I feel like blogging for Poetry also means that you have kind of an automatic audience.  My impression is that rob is a more grassroots, bootstrap, work-hard-with-your-xerox machine kinda guy and that his energy is constantly directed outward, toward helping other poets.

I think the Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere is kinda bullshit, but I also know that it will make the day of whoever wins. I decided to vote knowing that whoever wins will know that it’s kinda bullshit but will also feel that they’re making an impact larger than themselves and that will make them happy.  And all we can really hope for, as poets working in a largely irrelevant medium, is those moments of kinda happiness.

(Full disclosure: rob published a chapbook of mine, Shifting Landscapes, in 2006).


About Jessica Smith

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