What happened when Paul Robinson popped by to respond to his new critics (1 Viewer)


I take it that he didn't care much for it?

Couldn't tell...too many big words.

Hopefully he bought a copy and was not sent a review copy....

I think it was a review copy, but I'm not sure. With as annoyed as he seemed by the book supposedly "bestowing immortality", I can't imagine he went out of his way to buy a copy...or pay international shipping, which was a shiny penny as well.

Strikes & gutters, as they say...
Well if he did buy a copy and doesn't want it, I'll take it off his hands...

I love anti-authoritarian gristle and counter-cultural yearning! But introverted detachment... I'm sorry, that'll have to be censored out with a Sharpie.
Well, if you were vampires - and I'm not saying you are - that would explain why no one ever sees a picture of either of you, or why you only come out at night. It would also conveniently explain your immortality.

Listen, you cunts can bitch and whine about Paul Robinson's negative review, but his poetry speaks for itself:


I can h[ear] bloops, hums and mistpouffers.
Binary opposites are deplorably restrictive,
Free thought in a free space is the restorative,
Intuitive ∞alogue (Bohm!) is essential.
Otoacoustic emissions send subsonic transmissions
perceived via the humour of myodesopsia.

Or how about:


Broken rain, broken falls
Solely torrents can shore;
Met by arms held upward,
Thenars ricochet droplets
Subventing micro-scale inter-spill;
Palm glyphs draw the tendrils' haul
Under cuffs on dermic rills;
Along fabric run with cord,
Water grasps thoracic walls,
Undermining belted clothes.
Rivulets irrigate the ground.

Say what you will, that is the work of a stone cold genius, bitches!

Look at him:


Do you know what he's looking at?

The future!

Not the dusty past you slovenly, cornfed hayseeds and yokels so happily wallow in.

That his critique is beyond you is no surprise to this wag. It is as a god deigning to speak to chimpanzees. Seriously.
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Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.

I finished all my e-mails with that quote for the 2004-2005 period. During my time in the states I carried Bukowski in my head. He told me where to go, he got me laid. It was the best time of my life. I offer no apology for the review, and I offered no apology to America as I ploughed the landscape, the bars, the hypokeimenon, which is what Bukowski was talking about. The underlying truth. The reason why I blasted Sunlight is, it sounded like a faded echo, something I've heard before, something I've written before. Soon, it became apparent that it was time to move on. I still drink, drink like no tomorrow, but I understood that Bukowski could only drop me off at the station, and it was up to me, ME, to continue THE FUCKING JOURNEY. Let Bukowski be dead, and allow us to move to new horizons. His world was a fallacy.
The reason why I blasted Sunlight is, it sounded like a faded echo, something I've heard before, something I've written before.
Thanks for clearing that up. Because when I read the review I kept thinking, "Who is this jealous motherfucker?" You know, because no one wants to publish your letters. So it's good that you clarified.

If you are still here maybe you can clear something else up: why does your poetry suck so bad? Or is it 'so badly'? I'm terrible at grammar, sorry. I was thinking it's because you're a pretentious twat, but plenty of pretentious twats write perfectly readable poetry.

What is YOUR concept of good and bad. Here is an example of my Bukowski phase

people have no time for drunks.

i'm a drunk and even i don't

[snip, snip - we do not post poetry in the forums - ed.]
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What you call your Bukowski phase is not uncommon. Many many people have read some Bukowski, thought, 'oh that's easy' and done exactly what you have done there. I will hold my hand up to it. I have written some terrible poems about drinking and being drunk. But I don't do it anymore. And I've read a lot more Bukowski since those days and its so very obvious that he never did it to begin with.
Fair question. I don't know if they did. Perhaps they will tell us themselves.
What is YOUR concept of good and bad.
That looks like a statement, but I think it's a question. Either way, it's not a very satisfying answer to my question.

Perhaps my question was poorly worded and you need something more specific: why are you compelled to write poetry in which at least one word on every other line seems to be chosen from a thesaurus?

Is the purpose of your poetry to make people look up words in a dictionary, like some sort of guerrilla learning-is-cool-dudes! English teacher? Or is it that the use of the obscure makes you feel superior? I suppose it could be that your parents spent a good deal of money on your education, and you want to show them that the money wasn't wasted by writing gibberish that no one can understand (since most people wrongly believe that if they don't understand something it must be very profound). That is a time-tested tactic, and no one could blame you for using it. There are just so many possibilities, which is why I ask the question.

I am seriously interested to know what motivates someone to write your kind of poetry. Because when I see it, the thought of who could possibly be responsible for it is a mystery to me.

But admittedly, I am an uneducated man. So please use small words if you answer.
why are you compelled to write poetry in which at least one word on every other line seems to be chosen from a thesaurus?

Because I hate usual language. The whole purpose should be progress.
Or is it that the use of the obscure makes you feel superior?

I wish! I'm self-deprecating. I enjoy words and language and meaning. Is that wrong?

The learning curve is essential, otherwise we fester. There must be progression, bound with myth, legend and technology. If not: then I fear for poetry.

do you not fear you might be stuck in the Bukowski past, if you write that stuff
Your question is, did I read Bukowski & hope to write poems like he did? I absolutely did. Of course I never wrote poems as well as he did, & long ago realized that I had no business trying. I had to write in my own voice, or why bother. It's a really easy thing to dismiss a small press writer's work as being a "Bukowski wanna-be"--it's the default insult for any work a reader doesn't like. It's a much harder thing to explain why. I've read your review a few times, & still am not sure I understand it. You didn't like the book--fair enough. You thought Chris & I were "attacking" every poet who doesn't write like us...& by proxy, you, who obviously doesn't write like Chris or I. I think we were talking about the exclusionary, long-standing academic brand of poetry that, by design, leaves readers out...as if not having the opportunity at higher education should disqualify someone from reading/enjoying poetry. So we once read Bukowski, & even share some sensibilities with him...& you've decided we're wanna-bes. I defy you to find poems where I am a womanizing, drunken, horesplayer (if that's what you now dismiss Bukowski as). Sure, Bukowski hated that kind of poetry...and I do too. & if that's your brand--then, heck, I guess we attacked you. But I can't imagine you sitting down to write something & thinking "This is going to be so clever, only me & 3 other people will get it!" I suspect, in your own writing, you'd like to reach people. Otherwise, why put footnotes in a poem--if not to help the ignorant readers "get it?"

The kind of poetry I hate is obtuse, pointlessly vaunted language that not only isolates a reader, but downright insults them if they don't share a certain vocabulary. If you have to stop reading & go get a dictionary to understand what the hell the writer is saying, that writer has failed that reader. Maybe other readers get it, but that guy didn't. & does poetry really have so many readers & fans worldwide that a writer can sacrifice some just to prove how many words the writer knows?

I guess at the core of what you hate about the book, about Chris & I's work, maybe even Bukowski's work, seems a supposed lack of sophistication. I don't imagine I'm going to change your mind about that, now that you've moved beyond your Bukowski phase. You could be right, maybe my work isn't sophisticated--I honestly don't know. But it says things I wanted to say, & that's what I set out to do, so I'm happy with much of it. It's what I value in any piece of writing--a poem, an article in the newspaper, or a card to an old friend--that is a simple, true, clear langauge that says what it means. So, in terms of approach, I guess we couldn't be further apart.

Thanks for taking the time you did to review it. I'm sorry the book didn't work for you. I'm glad you didn't have to pay to be disappointed by it. But if you do want to get rid of the book, there might be someone here who wants it.
WHY isn't what you have just said then, in THE BOOK?

What stuff? Plain language? No, I don't believe plain language is a thing of the past. In fact it is all too rare. Like common sense.
What is your motive when you write? Who is your target?
WHY isn't what you have just said then, in THE BOOK?

Paul, you're gonna have to make it clear who you are talking to--because it seems like you're asking MJP why his writing isn't in Chris & I's book.

It seems like you think MJP is Chris.

But Chris is Chris. And MJP is MJP.

Even still, I think get what you're driving at. You think that because we don't use minimal language in our letters, that minimal language in poetry is--what--false, a put-on? The language in the letters has a little more shine because these are letters...written late nights, after work, listening to some music, to 1 guy--& a guy I knew to have a pretty sharp vocabulary. I knew he wouldn't need to stop & look up anything.
Wait, now I'm confused...

Can't I be Cunningham, just for today?

But yeah, I don't think he would be as insulting. So please don't think I'm him. He's taller than I am anyway.
I joined this forum to engage with those poets who had the opportunity to have their thoughts recorded. Nothing more, nothing less.

(mjp) we have another discussion.
To Hosh and Chris,
please keep standing and burning.
As far as critics go, let them be. They eventually run out of fuel, especially if they carry envy in their heart.
May you only pay attention to what apppears the truth to you.
All the best.
If I were to bring a gift to someone I care for, I'd bring "Sunlight" with pride.
I listen to the tapes , over and over again.
Personally, "Sunlight" is a live wire. Keep up the word, the best way you can.
It is what you have been chosen to do. Don't doubt it.
I joined this forum to engage with those poets who had the opportunity to have their thoughts recorded. Nothing more, nothing less.

(mjp) we have another discussion.

Well, as a very minor poet (damn near useless) who has had only a couple of things published, I suppose I (barely) qualify. And I've used "concomitant" in work products (I'm a scientist) because it is the correct word in certain situations.

But here goes: I find your writing style very contrived and insisting upon itself. What does that mean? Just plain flowery for the sake of it. No real substance; just an apparent academic superiority. I mean, my opinion is that it's not really bad, just not really good. And that's OK, right?

I have no problem with your negative review of Hosh's and Cunningham's book (although I disagree - see edit below), because, after all we are all entitled to our opinion, right? And the two writers in question here do not need me to speak up for them, as they can no doubt do it for themselves in far more effective fashion. So, like what you like and write what you write, but do not, in any way, shape or form, expect true lovers of the word to prefer academic bull over true substance.

I used to go to poetry readings in the early 1990s in southeastern Connecticut, and I once read a poem I wrote that had big words in it and after reading one of them (we had question and answer periods - just like kindergarten!), I was asked what the word trachytic meant (I had titled the poem Trachytic Image). (For the record, it's an alkalai feldspar geologic formation, but that's not important.)

Well, the whole flippin' point of my poem was to blast big, academic words in poems and poetry in general. So, my response was: "I have no idea." For some stupid reason, no one understood that. They just looked at me like I was an idiot.

Edited to add: I received my copy of Sunlight at Midnight, Darkness at Noon just the other day, and have only had a short foray into its contents, but my initial impression is that its a worthy read. Perhaps protest is thought by you to be best dealt with intellect over gut. To me, a "gut" discusssion does not demonstrate lack of intellect; just lack of pretense.
Aw crap; I edited that out so as to appear "academic."

Sorry, should have said: Aw feces extruded from my sphincter, punctiliously, I might add; I edited that out so as...blah, blah, blah.
mjp, you're welcome to be cunningham any time you damn well please. he is a degenerate and gambler, and prone to frequenting houses of ill repute. I denounce and reject him.

as for the rest, hosh said it pretty clearly. yeah, I read bukowski. I also read lots of other shit. I write what I want to write and some folks like it, some folks don't. you don't. fine.

those letters were writ in tumbling piles of desperate words after working a crappy job and barely paying the bills out of a dire need to connect with someone else alive in a wilderness of idiocy and apathy. those letters are honest, a hallmark of good art in my opinion. they weren't crafted and require no footnotes (yes, that's a semi-ad hominem dig at you) (see, mjp, I can be insulting). apparently your life is different. maybe your work, your life, your words are merely fun experiments with language. perhaps poems aren't something that help you go on when you look around you and ponder the inevitable, the existential, the metaphysical. maybe you're after something different than I; my work is about communication, it's about attempting an understanding of what it means to be a doomed human, about creating something near magical like art despite its apparent uselessness.

really, in the end, it's about saying what I want to say, and I find that rather than fucking around and requiring multiple google searches, it's much better to just say it. I find I do that fairly effectively.

also, the phrase is "live right OR eat shit;" it's a choice. at least quote me correctly while dismissing me.

thanks for reading the whole book. your disdain bore you thru to the end...well done. I like perseverance.
I say to Cunningham & McCreesh: let your volume speak for itself: if no one raises to the bar, then damn. If someone does, then spur them on. If they can't meet in the middle, then there is a crisis. Unless VOLUME 2 tells how to cook an egg, then I will live in Sweden
Remember, paying attention to someone or talking about them is a form of love. The critic can be good for you if the reader does not like the critic-as in this case. Attention is attention and there is good in all attention. Yeah I've had a bit of red wine.
Paul Robinson came in here to face the fire and gets some credit for that. Maybe he will be better for it. I know I've seen a few people crash, burn and self destruct at this point, yet Paul Robinson is hanging in here fighting and being, so far, civil. That's a good thing. We all love Chris and Hosh and P. R. knows that now. Consider all of the good in all of this. Have a nice weekend.
Well that makes perfect sense.

If I read that correctly, that's an olive branch. Maybe I'm wrong, and that's certainly a genuine possibility. But I've always been an abrasive type and I read that as an attempt to smooth the path, as it were.

In other words: I've had my say; I didn't mean it personally even if I made it so. Hell; I've done that before many times. I'm not defending Paul, because 1) I can't, and 2) he doesn't need me to.

But he's fully capable of being as human as we are. I've criticized his work, for the record. Isn't that why we're here? We certainly aren't here to beat each other off. And both writers in question have been very present to state their position - they seemed to have mild issue with Paul, but no real resentment. But for sure, I cannot speak for them.

I dig Cunningham's and Hosh's book. He doesn't. Rock on.

And how the hell did I get involved with this anyway?
I watched them walk south at the crossroads. I stood there at the junction for a moment...and then headed in my own direction.....

Wishing everyone all the best. See you on the other side......bitches!!!!!!
Man I miss out on all the fun... My offer still stands... if you don't want the copy, I'll gladly take it off your hands... bitches...

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