Ho ho ho! Ron Silliman, as he reveals a couple of days back on his blog, has been on the receiving end of nasty e-mail from Mr. Franz “so what if I dress in black and write depressing poems what makes you think you worms have any right even to touch the hem of my garments and so what if I don’t use any fucking commas I oughtta deck you one right now” Wright. As my three-year-old likes to say in response to a particularly side-splitting joke (these days, the nightly recital of how she and her friends smeared themselves at her party with birthday cake “like babies”) – and I wish there were a typographical way of reproducing her chirrupy intonation – “That’s funny!”
One of Ron’s readers points out that this isn’t Mr. W’s first foray into mudslinging: most memorable is his letter to William Logan concerning Logan's review of him in the New Criterion, where he utters threats (scroll all the way down, to the second F. W. letter) that would get Amiri Baraka thrown in jail (not being white, after all, nor a Pulitzer Prize-winner). My own conspiracy theory is that all the poets who’ve been slammed by Logan over the years in his reviews – and he is the most hated man in mainstream American poetry, and not for his poetry, which no-one I know has ever read, much less cared about one way or the other – clubbed together their lunch money and offered F. W. the wherewithal for a weekend in deep melancholia in order to put his name to their seething collective resentment.
We at the Brecht-reading end of the poetic revolution don’t mind F. W. taking a stab at Ron; it’s rather like the neutered Maltese down the road who goes berserk whenever the Muscovy ducks land on the pond – hey, it’s just how the breed works. But we’re practically gleeful to see him doing the Monty Python fish-dance with Bill Logan. Just another sign of how rotten the bourgeoisie has gotten, innit guv?