Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Lighten Up!

I was amused to read this at Eratosphere (an online workshop for mainly ‘New Formalist’ poets). The subject is a web magazine called Lighten-Up Online, edited by Martin Parker.

One workshop participant writes:

“The content of the March issue is somewhat better than the introduction, but not by that much, and ranges from totally amateurish to dismal and predictable to good, but not outstanding”

The ‘content’ he’s talking about are poems written by the likes of Bill Greenwell, Helena Nelson, Matt Harvey, DA Prince etc, some of the UK’s finest light verse writers.

What’s the solution? Well one participant suggested (in a gratifyingly barbed manner) that if you want to strengthen a magazine, then submit to it. Failing to notice the sarcasm in that comment, another participant replied:

“This isn't the first time it's been suggested that we strengthen weak publications by giving them our work.”

So, it seems, little chance of overdosing on humility there! And his conclusion was that it was a waste of time submitting in any case, as such editors clearly wouldn’t recognise quality work (such as his own, I suppose) if it him them in the face.

I am sure all those “weak publications” out there are now waiting with bated breath for those wond’rous works (sorry, it must be all that 17th century stuff I’m reading) winging their way from the Eratosphere workshoppers…

Hilarious! There could be a found poem hidden in those threads for anyone wanting to search it out – perhaps even some light verse. There is a complaint, frequently expressed at Eratosphere, that editors, outside the ghetto publications that seek their work, don’t accept their poems because it’s metrical and formal. But this morning, one member finally hit on the truth:

“The sad truth is that our own poetry is probably little better than what is being published…”

Substitute “little better” with “generally worse” and you’ll have bitten the bullet.

(I'll be back tonight with more Milton. Enough of those diversions... other than to say that some of the poems in Lighten-Up Online did make me laugh, which is more than most light verse manages.)


Julie Carter said...

Huh. Well, I dislike nearly all light verse, so I have a bias. That said, I didn't like any of the poems in that issue. Not even a little bit.

Of course, I don't like hardly anything ever workshopped at Erato, either.

James Midgley said...

I imagine there weren't enough crap-jokes-turned-into-sonnets for Erato's liking.


Cailleach said...