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November 2007
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January 2008

Why its hard to get into Poetry around here.


I’m taking baby steps into the magical world of Poetry, right? Trying to convince myself that its relevant and substantial and not just for angsty teens or the overeducated NPR crowd (I qualify for both categories). I don’t have these issues with music and visual art, I guess because I know what I like. But poetry is such a struggle. I just haven’t found a literary scene around here that appeals to me on all aesthetic levels.

So I’m trying to fit more poetry into my days. And that means reading more poet’s blogs. Attending readings. Supporting local writers. Not immediately cussing and changing the channel when some poet starts over-annunciating on the radio.

To this lofty end, I was excited to stumble upon Poetry Atlanta and the Atlanta Review today. And then mystified by the utter disregard for design. The above "pond" is what greets you on the homepage. Despite this design philosophy, this is no amateur organization. They have grants from city, county, state and national arts foundations. These people are published, highly educated and acclaimed poets. And they’ve compiled loads of valuable information here.

But I couldn’t get past those spirograph-looking things. I couldn’t even bring myself to read the guidelines. And the red sperm? Is this a joke? I feel that I risk invoking some seriously bad Poetry karma for airing my grievances this way. But this is why the thought of sitting through an open mic night at Java Monkey just fills me with dread.

There is no excuse for bad design. Any design student would do this job for FREE just to have a major arts publication in their portfolio. Do poets think that design is irrelevant or unsubstantial? Something for the corporate world or visually obsessed? Sometimes good design makes words and writing unnecessary, but never, ever vice versa.