Friday 28 September 2007

Big Brouhaha at Poetry Society of America. . . and what it has to do with Seinfeld

It goes like this. The board members of the Poetry Society of America are leaving in droves. It all started a couple of years ago when it was suggested they give a prize called the Frost Medal to John Hollander (pictured). See, it seems Hollander has been quoted as saying places like Mexico, Central America and West Africa are "cultures without literatures," which prompted at least one reported to "paraphrase" him as suggesting that maybe there isn't much quality poetry coming from nonwhite poets these days, and if that's really what you meant, John, that's a bloody terrible thing to say.

But maybe he meant that developing nations have insufficient publishing infrastructures for.... oh never mind.

Well, now the president of the board of the PSA, William Louis-Dreyfus, has stepped down, too. No, not because he too is upset about what Hollander has perhaps suggested, but because he thinks the other board members are being a bunch of reactionary, McCarthyist crybabies. And yes, William is the father of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who played Elaine on Seinfeld, and he also happens to be on Forbes' list of the wealthiest people in the world.

And that's when the name calling really begins. It's like Thurston Howell III, Daddy Warbucks, and Montgomery Burns having it out because someone made a snide remark at the Governor's Ball. Oh, the New York Times has the rest of the story....

UPDATE: Some interesting comments about this have been made over at Bookninja.

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