POETRY & REALITY?: Poets are Creative, not Stupid.

And so I would have expected a more creative approach from the Academy of American Poets in their search for gold (that’s metaphor for offering membership to get funding).

Dear Friend,

Today it gives me great pleasure to invite you to become an Associate Member of the Academy of American Poets.

Wow. They must read my weblog, they must like my poems even if damn few of my friends do. I read on:

In joining us now, you will enter into a new and exciting relationship with the best American poets of today and tomorrow. You will receive public recognition for your role in nurturing the art of poetry. And you will receive a number of material benefits which will bring you closer to the center of the American poetry world.

Here, the first mention of material benefits and it’s going to possibly be me as the recipient! More blah-blah-blah, name-dropping, and then towards the bottom of the first page we get to the real reason they’re contacting me:

By joining us today, you will become an important financial patron of this great national tradition–and an art form which, without your help, cannot be self-sustaining. As a member you will give strength and life to a wide variety of Academy programs which touch the lives of literally millions of Americans each year.

So they’ve more or less dropped the b.s. to come out and praise me for what they really want from me: money. Poetry is an art form that is not self-sustaining? Since when? Do we not get pleasure from the writing and the sharing of the words that is worth more in human experience than a $45 membership commitment?

I find it rather inappropriate for the letter writer to be so damned pleased with herself for asking me for money. Or rather, “inviting” me to give it to her cause. I also find it rather pathetic that she’s singled me (and millions of others) out as a soft tap for poetry–likely because of my web presence though I guess she didn’t think much of my poems either after all.

Poetry is a nice way of saying things, a better way, a more creative way. However, I think I would have preferred a simple and straightforward request.

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