Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I did get an apology from Jesse Crockett just now; he's removed the poem from the site. Though I think the warning still holds, I felt I should mention this.

Monday, July 02, 2007

warning about Listenlight

I've had a very unusual publication experience.
A couple of weeks back, I sent some sections of the poetic series I've been working on to Listenlight, an online journal edited by Jesse Crockett. A few nights ago, Jesse sent an email to the contributors, myself included, saying that their work had been published. When I looked at the poem online, I was baffled. The text attributed to me is about the length of one of the sections I'd sent in, and all the words in it come from one or another of the sections, but the similarity ends there. The published poem is a collage of mostly one- and two-word fragments from various parts of my poems, orchestrated into what strikes me as a rather heavy-handed, symbolic piece I would never have written. This is not a matter of altered line breaks and small changes; it's literally an entirely different poem, written by a different poet.

At first I thought it might be the result of a formatting error (the work I sent has varied margins that could be screwed up in HTML), but when I noticed that singulars had been changed to plurals and verb tenses altered, I concluded that this had to be intentional. I sent an email to Jesse (cc'ing the other contributors) thanking him for including my work, expressing my confusion, and asking politely for an explanation.

I still haven't received a reply to that email, or to the next one, which requested that the poem be removed or replaced with an original section, or that a note be appended explaining that the poem had been altered without my permission. In the interim, I heard from one of the other contributors; it seems his work received similar treatment. This contributor is studying with Lisa Jarnot, who wrote to Jesse and received a reply stating that he had "improved," "fixed" the poems. Lisa posted a message about this today to the Buffalo Poetics list, to which a number of other poets have responded with stories of having their work altered by Crockett without their invitation. In at least one case, the contributor was consulted, though Jesse was apparently quite stubborn in retaining his edited version. In other cases, as with mine, there was no acknowledgment of the poet's request that the original work be restored, and no move made to fix it. The fact that Lisa received a response from Jesse indicates that he was able to reply to my emails as well, but didn't.

The posts to the listserv indicate that this has been happening for some time. Just so you know.