Tuesday, August 22, 2006

When I breeze into that city

Phew. I had to track down contact information for, I think, 400 billion editors today. Well, it felt like that. If you've published me in the past few years, you've probably got an email in your inbox from me.

The University of Nebraska Press wanted written verification that the 42 poems in Notes that were published in journals are mine to reprint outright. I'm almost certain that all of them have reverted back to me upon publication but I can understand why they'd want it spelled out.

That was a mind-numbing few hours. I distracted myself by stirring the pot over in Slate's forums. They've been serializing The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation. Some bozo was horrified that a comic book, his term, had been made out of such a tragedy. It's clear he hadn't picked one up since about 1950. Longtime comic book reader that I am, I couldn't let him go by unsmacked. So it became this huge discussion about what art is and what medium is and preconceived notions about both.

Of course, this went nowhere. But people have this absurd idea about September 11th and art's relationship to it, that it's too soon, too soon, too soon. I don't know what they expect, that there's an art acceptability counter ticking down implaccably somewhere, probably Area 51, and at some random time a buzzer will go off, freeing us troublesome artists because, well, now it's ok.

It's never going to be that. Art is one of things we have us humans to help us understand, grieve, remember, and heal and this notion that art has no place in these discussions, this unfolding of history, impoverishes us all.

7 comments:

Glenn Ingersoll said...

When I was on staff with Berkeley Poetry Review (15 years ago) I remember we got a series of increasingly exasperated letters from a poet who needed us to affirm that a poem the review had pub'd some years previous was available for reprinting. I think I wrote back after the third letter because no one else was going to. (None of us were working on BPR when his poem had been included.) I mean, I thought it was absurd to think he had to ask us our permission for anything. So I signed the paperwork he (or his publisher) had sent us because it was getting really obvious that not responding was making somebody unhappy.

Montgomery Maxton said...

Eggshells. I hate it.

Ali Davis said...

I haven't read the graphic novel yet, but I loved this post. Well-said.

Penultimatina said...

Hmmm. Somebody obviously missed Maus.

Good luck with the editors!

Heather said...

I think you can buy the Art Acceptability Counter at Target now. Just an fyi.

Anonymous said...

hey pg, how did you get to be so smart?

Suzanne said...

I loved this post.