from a post to wompo --
part of the list history is that people posted (as on many lists) announcements, excited "my book is going to be published!" posts, etc. this was ok, but for some reason, everyone on this women's list felt they had to chime in with congrats, way to go, etc. in response to each announcement. This became such a problem -- a post with half a dozen one or two word responses -- that the list developed a solution -- no announcements except to a once-a-week newsletter which would include all of the announcements, great and small, major grants won alongside single poems in eZines, etc.
then someone -- which I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND -- won a prize, and all the congrats started, and it was obvious that the list had "forgotten" the purpose of the gazette, and it was time to discuss again, so I posted:
I don’t want to be a party pooper -- far from it, I enjoy these posts and wasn't annoyed by them as some were -- and this post IS NOT to point out that the reason that we have the gazette isn't to prevent people from announcing their accomplishments or conveying their excitement, or even conveying their congratulations but to keep the list from being dominated by this
but, in the interest of sussing out current list opinions:
1) this list of mostly women, many very accomplished poets happy to be side by side and conversant with less experienced poets, etc., is unusually accomplished for a women's poetry listserv. how do we view our accomplishments? how do you view your own? those of others? encourage yourself to accomplish more, others to accomplish more? i.e., I think we all agree that sometimes getting a poem into a zine can be as important -- strangely equivalent perhaps -- to getting a book published -- that these things are appropriately "alongside" each other in some way (do you agree? let me know)
but -- is the focus on "accomplishment" a carryover from academia? from writing programs a la AWP as opposed to the era not terribly long ago prior to MFA mania?
how can we give each other this encouragement? or is a place, an electronic tea room, encouragement enough?
2) these accomplishments don't take place in a vacuum, as mr. foetry likes to point out -- I for one would like to hear more about -- if you read, what reading, reading tours, etc. accomplish or "do", how a contest or whatever was "won", why it was you came to enter a contest, submit to a particular journal, etc. while the gazette format tends to flatten this out, announcements on the POETICS list, which has become mostly (not quite solely) a forum for announcements, tend to include things like, "I am happy to be in this journal because x, y, and z poets, who I've always thought I had a lot in common with poetically, are published in the same issue," or "my good friend p, who has a press, has just brought out my book," or "I'm going to read in sin city and hope to get to know the devil a little better," or "how random, I won this contest and no one there knows me and my work doesn't have the stamp of the type of writing the editors are known to prefer," or "I haven't written a line since we bought our new house, but look -- this old poem got published, so it seems as though I'm doing something other than trim vines, although that's really not the case"
if you post announcements here, not on the gazette, we want context! more information!!! we want juice!
3) the list, in the past, was not slowed down by announcements, but by congrats following those announcements; is this because this is a women's list, as opposed to a male-dominated one (and I do think that all lists with male and female members allow those male members to post more and more opinionated e-mails than the female members), and we all occasionally feel like we're at a tea party?
or not? is it because we don't mean to say, merely, congrats, but we mean to say, I haven't heard from you in a while, and I'm glad you weren't spending all your time trimming vines? or, wow, I know this means so much, because you were caring for your mom in her final months, and this year was looking like a real downer until this happened?
shouldn't we say that, then, instead of congrats?
and I've gotten some interesting responses, on and off list