Whoops….They Did It Again!: The Deceitful High School Cowards & Liars of Web Del Sol & Their Growing Embarrassment & Shame
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 9/10/03



  A week ago I got a call from my friend, Jason Sanford, a fictionist/poet & editor of the online quarterly storySouth. Jason’s contributed poems & a handful of essays for both Cosmoetica & the Omniversica radio show. He’s usually a pretty level-headed guy, but this time he was fuming over a couple of essays written by 3 twits who write for the online literary rag Web Del Sol. Over the last couple of years I’ve written 2 unflattering essays on WDS & its cowardly idiot savant of an editor, to which they’ve feebly attempted rebuttal. Jason, while looking up hits to storySouth, came upon the article- which also features reviews on 2 other websites. Predictably, the WDS trio rip on Cosmoetica- doing the usual: hurling blanket charges of bigotry (unfounded & ‘supported’ by manifestly decontexted quotes) against me, charges of bad poetry writing against me & my wife, Jessica (also without any supporting show of literary acumen), & just a generic hatchet job chock with lies & distortions. This set Jason off 1st. Then, he was 2bly pissed off when he read their ‘glowing’ review of storySouth, in which WDS not only wrote a snide, condescending, backhanded ‘positive’ review- but did so by using every outdated cliché about Southerners & their literature you can imagine; this after chiding Cosmoetica of bad writing. The ‘essays’ are so poorly written & edited that I felt no need to reply- despite prompts by Jason & Jessica. The pieces are laughable & I have other fish to broil. But, since WDS claims assorted lies against me I will have to vivisect their atrocity just to set the record straight; much as I did a few months ago when an anonymous craven Odd Couple fanatic started spreading rumors that I plagiarized information (which is not subject to copyright) from another Odd Couple lunatic. Oddly- despite all the great poems & essays on the site the Plagiarism essay is what the WDS stooges take aim at- basically chiding me for rebutting a lie, & vividly & overwhelmingly showing its fallacy!
  But, before I get into reviewing the 4 ‘essays’ in question I want to show you email exchanges I had with some cowardly folk who ripped me recently. I suspect they found out about Cosmoetica via the WDS article. Please keep these emailers’ idiocies & juvenilia in mind when you read the WDS pieces, because the similarities & banal rhetorical techniques are almost identical. Plus, this also illustrates the kind of small-minded bigotry & hatred that smug PC Elitists unwittingly engender when they filter their toxins into the world. Note how 1 of the craven emailers posted a false email, fearing an email in return from me, yet calls me a coward! But, look at the exchange with the 3rd coward & watch as he reveals his bigotry; & does so using his employer’s email; which caused him to be forced to apologize!
  Here ‘tis:


>From: "Dan Schneider"
>To: <Undisclosed-Recipient:;>
>Subject: Trio of Morons
>Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2003 21:00:16 -0500
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Dan Schneider
>To: brash@immortalpoet.com
>Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 8:49 PM
>Subject: Re: Data posted to form 1 of http://ww w.cosmoetica.com/index.htm
>Not quite up there with 'There was a lady from Nantucket'- but I never met
>John Colburn- just ask his wife- or was it her? Hmmm....Say hi to Kinsinjet
>for me.   DAN
>----- Original Message -----
>Date: 30 Aug 2003 15:37:01 -0400
>Subject: Data posted to form 1 of http://www.cosmoetica.com/index.htm
> > T1: Donavon Cawley
> > T2: brash@immortalpoet.com
> > B1: Submit
> > Remote Name:
> > HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET
>CLR 1.1.4322)
> > Date: Saturday, August 30, 2003
> > Time: 03:37 PM -0400
> > Question: Why is Dan Schneider so filled with such venom and ignorant hatred?
> > Answer: Because he's not as good a poet as John Colburn.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: MAILER-DAEMON@spf13.us4.outblaze.com (Mail Delivery System)
>Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 01:42:11 +0000 (GMT)
>To: "Dan Schneider"
>Subject: Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender
> > This is the Postfix program at host spf13.us4.outblaze.com.
> > I'm sorry to have to inform you that the message returned
> > below could not be delivered to one or more destinations.
> > For further assistance, please send mail to
> > If you do so, please include this problem report. You can
> > delete your own text from the message returned below.
> > The Postfix program
> > : host mx1.mail.yahoo.com[] said: 554
> > delivery error: dd This user doesn't have a yahoo.com account
> > (jane.morgan@yahoo.com) [0] - mta147.mail.scd.yahoo.com (in reply to end of DATA command) >< BR>>
> > Reporting-MTA: dns; spf13.us4.outblaze.com
> > Arrival-Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 01:42:11 +0000 (GMT)
> > Final-Recipient: rfc822; jane.morgan@yahoo.com
> > Action: failed
> > Status: 5.0.0
> > Diagnostic-Code: X-Postfix; host mx1.mail.yahoo.com[] said: 554
> > delivery error: dd This user doesn't have a yahoo.com account
> > (jane.morgan@yahoo.com) [0] - mta147.mail.scd.yahoo.com (in reply to end of
> > DATA command)
>Content-Type: message/rfc822
>From: "Dan Schneider"
>Date: Tue, 02 Sep 2003 20:42:11 -0500
>To: jane.morgan@yahoo.com
>Subject: Re: Data posted to form 1 of http://ww w.cosmoetica.com/index.htm
>Message-Id: <20030903014211.83696.qmail@mail.com>
>Given your lousy sentence structure & propensity for misspelling I have to
>ask- is your last name Morgan or Coward?   DAN
>----- Original Messag e -----
>Date: 02 Sep 2003 12:20:21 -0400
>Subject: Data posted to form 1 of http://www.cosmoetica.com/index.htm
> > T1: opinionated coward
> > T2: jane.morgan@yahoo.com
> > B1: Submit
> > Remote Name:
> > HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)
> > Date: Tuesday, September 02, 2003
> > Time: 12:20 PM -0400
> > Jessica Schneider poems SUCK!!!! who does that self-righteous plagiarist
>with boring convoluted sad attempts at poetry think she is? you seem to be
>the type of condescending "intellectuals" who spew out a bunch of big words
>but have no rea l feeling or point behind them! Jessica Schneider picking
>apart Louise Gluck's poems and rewriting them? wtf was that about? if
>schneider is a poet at all she sho uld know you dont take apart another's
>work to try to make it more "efficient", that was pretty damn lame.. and i
>dont need to be "intellectually superior" like schneider thinks she is to
>figure that out.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Dan Schneider
>To: [email deleted for legal reasons]
>Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 8:38 PM
>Subject: Re: Data posted to form 1 of http://ww w.cosmoetica.com/index.htm
>Thanks for the upbeat email. Given that you misspell 4 words your crit is
>ludicrous. Hope yr poetry supasses your prose. [Quick q- which word did I
>deliberately misspell?]   DAN
>----- Original Message -----
>Date: 02 Sep 2003 15:08:41 -0400
>Subject: Data posted to form 1 of http://www.cosmoetica.com/index.htm
> > T1: John Holland
> > T2: [email deleted for legal reasons]
> > B1: Submit
> > Remote Name:
> > HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0;
> > Date: Tuesday, September 02, 2003
> > Time: 03:08 PM -0400
> > Dan Scheider,
> > I read your poetry submission requirements. You are truly
> > a pompous ass. You ar e also a lousy poet. You are totally unoriginal
>and do not have any concept of poetic pupose. You are a dim witted fool.
>Turn your website over to someone outside your circle > For someone like
>you denegrate other poetry zines is rediculous. You are crap!


  That was the 1st batch. The 1st 2 cowards never replied, but the budding bigot did: 

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Holland"
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 08:20:31 -0500
To: "Dan Schneider"
Subject: RE: Data posted to form 1 of http://ww w.cosmoetica.com/index.htm

answer > DAN - correct spelling = DICK

  I could come up with better retorts when I was 8 years old- & I volleyed:

-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Schneider
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2003 9:51 AM
To: John Holland
Subject: RE: Data posted to form 1 of http://ww w.cosmoetica.com/index= .htm

Did you need to stimulate yourself for that 1 or did it flow naturally?  DAN

  Frustrated, old John was flabbergasted & turned in to his dark recesses:

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Holland"
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 10:06:15 -0500
To: "Dan Schneider"
Subject: RE: Data posted to form 1 of http://ww w.cosmoetica.com/index= .htm

Thats a rather suggestive question > from one man to another. You must be gay. I am not > so we should end this conversation.

I didnt write you to start some perverse homosexual E-mail thread. Good look with other male writers.



  Now, he was cornered, & shivering:


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dan Schneider"
Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2003 16:24:31 -0500
To: "John Holland"
Subject: RE: Data posted to form 1 of http://www.cosmoetica.com/index= = .htm

A moron & a homophobe. But who was it who raised the phalloi? Why don't you crawl back into your benighted & bigoted world- & learn how to SPELL! DAN


  Although I knew he was beaten, I’ve gotten annoyed at this sort of bigotry & harassment, so I decided to forward his emails to his superiors at his job:

----- Original Message -----
From: Dan Schneider
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2003 4:37 PM
Subject: A Bigot/Homophobe reveals himself!

Can you believe this nonsense?  DAN


From: "Dan Schneider"
To: info@[DELETED].com,concern@[DELETED].com
Cc: webmaster@[DELETED].com,hr@[DELETED].com
Subject: RE: Data posted to form 1 of http://www.cosmoetica.com/index== = .htm
Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2003 16:35:22 –0500


It may interest you people in the human resources dept. & elsewhere that 1 of your employees has decided to use company equipment to harass & send bigoted emails to strangers- see below. I hope your company will discipline said individual for his breach of ethics & noxious behavior. If you do not tell said individual to cease I will contact your ISP & complain. Thank you, Dan Schneider


  After exposing him to his colleagues I quickly received this email:


From: "John Holland"
To: "Dan Schneider"

Subject: RE: Data posted to form 1 of http://ww w.cosmoetica.com/index= = .htm
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 16:26:22 –0500

Nice chatting with you today . Love and peace, john

  I then forwarded it around to my e-list, including Jason Sanford:

----- Original Message -----
From: Dan Schneider
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2003 7:17 PM
Subject: Repentance

That homophobe apologizes. Jason- saw that Web del Sol piece. In a week or 2 I'll rebut it. They say I stereotype yet your review is nothing but smarmy stereotyped condescension.  DAN


  To quote W.B. Yeats from The Second Coming: ‘The best lack all convictions, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.’ Ain’t it true?
  Now, keep these attitudes in mind as we delve in to the ‘essays’ of WDS, & you’ll see that the level of writing is little, if at all, superior. So, where did these ‘essays’ that so enraged Jason appear? Here is the URL: http://www.webdelsol.com/f-bodega.htm. I’m glad to give it out because WDS is 1 of the few dozen websites with more traffic than Cosmoetica, & I have gotten a boost every time they, or other morons, rip me. Unfortunately WDS does not realize that they are contributing to the demise of their own mag, & those like it, when they give me more coverage. This is why: although 9 out of 10 readers of their generic tripe will agree with them & the emailers, it’s that 10th- intelligent & discerning- reader that is the core of the Cosmoetica fan base. While those other 9 readers’ interest in poetry will dissipate as they get older (how many of us know ‘poets’ in their 20s who dropped it for accountancy?) those 10th readers are the true lovers of great verse, who hold it to their bosom. They are the folk who resent the Elitist pretensions of Academia, & its sycophants at places like WDS.

  Anyway, the page is called ‘Bodega Survey’. What I will do is simply go straight down the piece & expose each lie, cliché, & condescension as they rapidly appear. The pieces are curiously ‘undated’. Here goes:


Bodega Survey


Reviews of Lit Sites, Publications, and Places
by Tim McGrath, Steph Henck, and THE BABE


Welcome to the nonesuch new column at WDS: "BODEGA: A 'ZINE AND LITERARY SITE REVIEW."  Find all you need to know here before pursuing pleasure.  Please send comments, rants, and opinions to the editor.

  Please do send comments to their editor- Adam ‘Cross’ Dressler. Ask him why such a juvenile column requires 3- yes 3- people to pen it. Also why Elvira is 1 of their contributors.


   - Reviews of Cosmoetica, Haypenny Review, Drunken Boat, and StorySouth

The use of the internet as a literary forum raises serious Constitutional questions about our right to tell people to shut up. Now don't get me wrong here. I love free speech. I deliberately fly a Soviet Flag on the wall above my bed, not just because it pisses off my wealthy Russian landlord, but because the Constitution tells me I can. But our founding fathers never foresaw the internet - and with registered web domains flying off the shelves at light speed, we have to step back and ask ourselves the question - does free web-based speech help or hurt the internet community at large? In the microcosmic time that the average person devotes to any given website before compulsively slamming on the BACK button to find a better, faster, prettier, more immediately comprehensive and instantly gratifying experience, when do we, as the writers of the web, need to shut up and put out? This week, Cosmoetica and Drunken Boat teach us to freeze, step away from the laptop and let the editorial heat raid our literary rantings.


  In this opening paragraph we see the typical PC Elitist attempt to make everything political. In fact, the Internet raises such questions only to those afraid of having to defend their opinions. Am I tired of the blossoming online porno & increasing spam? Of course- but it’s a small price to pay for the right to sound off- especially for purposes as this, where an individual has an equal opportunity to fight back against a larger, well-funded foe. So 1 of the stooges flies a Soviet Flag- this is what passes for political discourse in Academia these days. Their penultimate sentence asks a question that- of course- WDS never answers. Why? Because they are the folk who do not follow their own advice. On to the hatchet job on Cosmoetica:


"I have had a constant barrage of threats- death threats, threats of being blackballed in the publishing industry, legal threats, false claims of libel, slander, & racism, etc… As for these charges & rumors spread by this asshole who cravenly only refers to him/herself as pb- FUCK YOU! … My advice to pb and other pathetic wretches out there, is that the next time you decide to bully someone study your enemy well, because I won't stand for that, you lousy little shitballs!"

             From "Plagiarism & The Art Of The Smear" by Dan Schneider

Meet Dan Schneider. Take a long look. Reread. Dan is not merely a single man founding, editing and writing a blog-ish brainchild called Cosmoetica. Dan is an epidemic. His website and others like it are a disease. Strap on your SARS-ophobic surgery masks and proceed with extreme caution.


  They open with an epigraph culled from the Plagiarism essay. Of course, it consists of an opening volley, & the closing. This is about as decontexted as a quote can be- considering all the paragraphs between the 2. Let us examine paragraph 1. The stooges do not even get Web jargon correct. Yes, I am a single man. After that it all goes to hell. Cosmoetica is not a blog, nor is it even remotely bloggish. The essays I write both follow & expand tried & true essaying techniques. A blog follows the techniques of modern sportswriters, where ideas are foisted out & end with ellipses. They are rarely original, & almost never present coherent ideas. They also follow diaristic norms. Cosmoetica does not. 0 for 1. I ask the readers, from here on, to tally the WDS transgressions, since I will be doing enough by pointing them out. Next we get the ad hominem- me as an epidemic. OK- back it up. Uh….sorry, more spurious & specious attacks. Not only am I & Cosmoetica something bad, but I am at the vanguard of a ‘movement’. This is classic hyperbole designed to show that art & culture are under attack by the barbarians at the (ugh!) gate. Do they name these other websites? No. Why? Because they are nonexistent. They are the products of an overmatched writer’s inability to form coherent dialectic- unlike this thrust. I would LOVE to know of other poetry or literary websites like Cosmoetica- but I’ll be waiting a long time I fear. Think about it. I have 100+ excellent essays that range over a myriad of topics, in a myriad of forms & approaches, 60+ poems online that I would challenge anyone to find an equal amount of poetry by any poet (live/dead, famed/unknown, any language/nation) to match the quantity, quality, & diversity of. It ain’t out there- believe me, I’ve troved. But, even if I were removed from the picture Cosmoetica would still be the best poetry website on the Internet. Why? Jessica has some insightful essays & over a dozen great poems, Don Moss has shown a mastery of both prose & poetry, Bruce Ario has been introduced to the literary community as both the Master of a new eponymous poetic form, as well the author of a great unpublished novel, Art Durkee (already established as a visual & aural artist) has shown he is a new titan in the field of natural/philosophic verse, & Jason Sanford has shown he can write outstanding poetry- as well as the fiction he features on his own websites. Even without me Cosmoetica has been at the forefront of showcasing the works of unpublished writers of quality- more writers & more works than any other website. Put simply- that’s the bottom line that’s irrefutable. Think not? Watch as the stooges flail in trying to prove otherwise. Here’s the next paragraph:


As far as I can tell, Cosmoetica (along with its self-congratulatory, rhyming jingle "Best in Poetica") exists solely as Dan's testament to himself that he does, in fact, have an interior monologue. The above quotation appears, in slightly altered form, in a rather lengthy essay, written by Dan in defense of Dan against a charge of plagiarism - a charge which may or may not have been a case of Dan projecting his own feelings of cheater-ly guilt onto a conveniently anonymous (not to mention androgynous) he-she by the name of "pb." Just how lengthy (in number of words) was this essay? I'll give you multiple choices (just to add a brief moment of excitement to the tedious task of wading through Dan's brain) -
A) 1
B) 18
C) 20 ¼
D) 11,054
E) Seriously, 11,054
When reading 11,054 words of a personal defense against plagiarism charges, one tends to ask if Dan doth protest too much…

  They lead off by calling ‘Best in Poetica’ a jingle. This implies it is a like a commercial. I ask you- even putting aside that my motto rhymes, has music (as most excellent poetry does) & is unique, which sounds more like an a car commercial: ‘Best in Poetica’ or WDS’s motto- ‘Locus of Literary Art’? Case closed- & don’t even ask how much horsepower their Locus has. As for an interior monologue- hmmm….that’s what an essay IS- a public interior monologue on a subject- as opposed to WDS’s trialogue. Again, the essay quote is not ‘slightly altered’ but majorly decontexted, still note how WDS tries the old tactic of imputing I am guilty of plagiarism without outright stating it. These kind of puerile comments are the reason I deliberately did an essay manifestly disputing that charge. As for the anonymous claimant? ‘Tis not I that hides behind anonymous initials nor silly noms de plume like ‘The Babe’. In fact, I have found, & am 98% certain of who the craven is- a male. However, since folk like him, & other cowards, have threatened to sue me in the past if I expose their scumminess (both legal & not) I choose not to expose myself to such. It is people like pb & The Babe that are too craven to stand behind their own opinions- not me. As for the length of the essay- here’s a classic example of stupidity. 1st off, many an essay reaches 20,000+ words. This shows either poor editing or detailed discussion of a topic. In my case, the latter. #2- My essay is not 11,000+ words long. Since I took snippets from the supposedly plagiarized piece, & mine, & contrasted them with mine you could reduce that total by 40 or so %. Here’s a brief example:

Leonard Unger


  Leonard is Felix's son, & Edna’s little brother. He was played by Willie Aames (of later Eight Is Enough & Charles In Charge infamy), & then by Leif Garrett (of even worse late 1970s pinup teenybopper infamy). His character was never developed as much as Edna’s was.


Leonard Unger


Leonard is Felix's son, played first by Willie Aames, and then by Leif Garrett. He likes playing sports, and Oscar is the coach of his football team. While Leonard isn't much like his father, he did honk in one episode when he was upset.

  As with the other descriptions, some vague similarities, but I throw in a lot more personal observations that Jaclyn probably wasn’t even aware of.

  In this excerpted piece in 3 parts, part 1 is the quote from my earlier essay, part 2 from the allegedly plagiarized piece, & part 3 my comment on both. Overall the 3 parts tally 119 words: Part 1 49 words, Part 2 46 words, & Part 3 24 words- yet only 24 of the 119 are original parts of the essay. Similarly 1 would not count the 158 words in the section I quote from WDS as part of my essay since I did not write them. In effect, they are calling me a plagiarist on content, then trying to hold me responsible for words that I never claimed to write as an example of poor editing on my part. Incredible! Speaking of bad editing- look how they end that snippet: ‘doth protest too much’. Can you say cliché? Obviously neither the stooges nor ‘Cross’ Dressler can, because anyone above a High School level newspaper would have trimmed that, or asked for something more original. Onward:

After dedicating a long week of awkward, paper spilling subway rides to swallowing Dan's epic, literary motion to dismiss, one might find cause to peruse the remainder of Cosmoetica, in hopes of excavating some sign of meaningful literary thought or expression. Let's pick another essay from Cosmoetica's heavy catalogue of nonfiction. Again, multiples choices:

Dan Schneider on Poetry How to Books
Dan Schneider on Invisible Forms
Dan Schneider on PoMo Filmmaking
Dan Schneider on Poetry's Donny and Marie!
Dan Schneider on William Carlos Williams' To a Friend Concerning Several Ladies
Dan Schneider on Bob Kaufman's O-Jazz-O
Dan Schneider on Mark Doty's Broadway
Dan Schneider on David Lehman's August 15th
Jessica Schneider on FemDogs
Dan Schneider on W.H Auden - 9/11 Nonsense
Dan Schneider De/Composes W.D Snodgrass
Dan Schneider on PC Anthologies
Dan Schneider on Robert Hayden

I felt that was necessary.

  A week of reading & still absolutely NO comprehension. They then state they are going to tackle another essay- but don’t. Instead they list some of my recent essay titles from the Cosmoetica home page. Funny, but they never mention the 2 titles of my prior WDS essays, as they feign objectivity. Here are 2 they did not tell you of: ‘Lifting Up Adam’s Dress….To See What’s Missing!’- on their silly editor & my original piece in which WDS was 1 of many I hammered- ‘On American Poetry Criticism; & Other Dastardly –Isms PART 11: S.O.S.: Cyber-Crit & Verse- New Venue, Same Old Shit?’. Wonder why they’d omit that? So what is their crit of these essay titles, or the essays? It’s never stated, save that they exist. The last sentence implies simpatico feelings that their readers will have, but it also illustrates the poverty of critical faculty that the 3 stooges are endowed with. In the next paragraph we get classic distortion & smear tactics:

Throughout these essays, which equal or exceed Plagiarism in length, Dan maintains an unearned tone consistent with the bitterness of a failed writer left to swim in a trough of his own unedited slop. The jealous-self-loathing-turned-desperate-externalized-resentment seethes in his impassioned bashing of Mark Doty's Broadway collection. His frame caption of "Mark Doty: Is He Dead Yet" implies a desire on Dan's part to see Doty stricken with the disease that provides the theme for so much of his poetry. By writing the opening line, "AIDS. Death. Suffering. Homosexuality. What's not to love about Mark Doty's bathetic (sic), overwrought, &- ultimately- lightweight- poems," Dan jumps on the banal stereotype of homosexual weakness and inferiority and establishes an anti-gay tone that becomes even more pronounced as the essay progresses. In fact, Dan restricts his actual literary critique to lines such as "If MD's poems were any fluffier they would blow away," and other prosaic attacks on the lyrical weight of the poems and the figurative weight of Doty's loafers.


  1st we get the classing of me as a ‘failed writer’. Why? Because I am not MFA’d? It certainly is not due to the quality of writing which, conveniently, they never dare essay. In fact, most of my essays, & all of my This Old Poem series is rife with a humor that many readers actually can discern & find refreshing. More on that later. The WDS writers & readers are that, unfortunately, self-stereotyped elitist mentality that bristle at anything that points to the nakedness of their icons. Unedited slop? Meaning rambling ad hominem ‘essays’ which proffer no literary supports to the conclusions tossed out, & which contain clichéd phrases like ‘doth protest too much’? Oh, right, except that’s their website, not Cosmoetica. Then we get the anti-gay charge ‘jealous-self-loathing-turned-desperate-externalized-resentment seethes in his impassioned bashing’ against Mark Doty. Show me any self-loathing in any essay & I’ll buy you a soda. This is another example of projection. I, unlike most critics, put my poetry & criticism out for view. I not only tell how poetry works in my essays, but I show it in my poetry. Who else does that? As for being anti-gay. #1- no homosexual who has ever gotten to know me has ever labeled me that- including my Omniversica radio show co-host Art Durkee. #2- WDS imputes homophobia merely because I rip a gay poet’s work. This is classic feinting to deflect criticism that PC Elitists use. It does not work. I can- & do- rip bad poetry by Dead White Males, blacks, women, Jews- if their work deserves it. I don’t care about the poet when I review, I care about the quality of the poetry.
  So, how do the stooges ‘show’ my homophobia? By distortion & misquotation. Here’s the rest of their charge- totally in context:


  His frame caption of "Mark Doty: Is He Dead Yet" implies a desire on Dan's part to see Doty stricken with the disease that provides the theme for so much of his poetry. By writing the opening line, "AIDS. Death. Suffering. Homosexuality. What's not to love about Mark Doty's bathetic (sic), overwrought, &- ultimately- lightweight- poems," Dan jumps on the banal stereotype of homosexual weakness and inferiority and establishes an anti-gay tone that becomes even more pronounced as the essay progresses. In fact, Dan restricts his actual literary critique to lines such as "If MD's poems were any fluffier they would blow away," and other prosaic attacks on the lyrical weight of the poems and the figurative weight of Doty's loafers.


  Now, I will show you their distortions. It will take a bit, & doubtless, WDS would call my detailing their lies overwriting, but it’s necessary. #1- the caption of the TOP Doty Essay does not imply MY desire to see Doty, nor any other AIDS sufferer die. Any fool reading the piece should be able to discern I am making fun of MD’s, & ‘gay lit’s’ own self-wallowing in pity. This is a deliberate misreading & attempt to impute bias on my part. Instead, I’ve shown it’s their own bias against factual & detailed criticism that needs repair. Then we get them quoting my 1st line of the essay with a (sic) next to bathetic. This implies a misspelling. In fact, bathetic is a more mawkish & severe form of pathetic, & a perfectly fine word in its own right. There is pathos & bathos. The sic mark shows that the stooges & their editor do not even know a commonly used word like ‘bathetic’ exists? This is what THEY consider edited prose vis-à-vis my unedited slop? It’s utterly laughable. They then state this opening line sets the tone for homophobia when clearly I am making fun of the ‘bathetic’ self-pitying style of poetry MD & other gay writers wallow in. Art Durkee calls it ‘woundology’. Either the stooges are deliberately misreading to deceive their readers, or they are too stupid & lack the comprehension to understand a bit of sly critique. Either option is valid since I’ve shown they both misquote & have a vocabulary of wordage that soars into the 100s!
  Let’s look at quote 1 contexted with what comes next in the essay:


  AIDS. Death. Suffering. Homosexuality. What’s not to love about Mark Doty’s bathetic, overwrought, &- ultimately- lightweight- poems? At least if you’re a PC Elitist & want a poem/poet to drape fluttering praise over like the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima.


  Clearly this sets the tone that I am poking fun at the whole stereotype Doty & his ilk pervade through literata. Yet, such deceit is not enough: ‘In fact, Dan restricts his actual literary critique to lines such as "If MD's poems were any fluffier they would blow away," and other prosaic attacks on the lyrical weight of the poems and the figurative weight of Doty's loafers.’ Hello! Unlike WDS, which does not give a single quote from my poetry, I- in fact- in detail- dissect & rewrite MD’s poem. I do this in all the TOP essays. In fact, the fact I do so engenders the most hostility in fans of those poets. Now, WDS claims the opposite! This when it is manifestly untrue! They quote a line out of context to show my ‘raging homophobia’ yet conveniently ignore detailed observations as: ‘The self-awareness to the point of embarrassment, the overly long exposition, the relentless need to prove how hip & intelligent (at the same time), the raft of clichés, are all MD staples.’ & ‘Again clichés abound, & the bathetic self-consciousness is SO precious & forced.’ &- to make my point- ‘Poetry is a literary art form whose quality of, & concision in, word choice is structured non-prosaically (in both senses of the term prosaic). Any other definition is not as pure of this- oh, say, a definition like Poetry is words that make you feel better about yourself. Guess which definition MD subscribes to?
  It’s almost too easy, but I rebut this nonsense because someone must. Hardly prosaic attacks on MD’s shoeware. Onward:


  Rather than to analyze the poems themselves, Dan prefers to list Doty's awards (the inclusion of the list, while an attempt at irony on Dan's part, backfires and leaves the reader saying, "Wow the only American poet to win England's T.S. Eliot prize for poetry! He must suck!") and mock positive reviews, adding his own italicized translation of the reviewer's supposed intention. After reading a dozen glorious reviews of Doty's work, a line like, "I cannot let this Rump Rider know that his kind gives me the willies! I'd look like a bigot," seems not only unintentionally ironic and ignorant, but merely silly.


  I DO analyze several MD poems in the piece & dissect the titular poem. So WDS is flat-out lying, or dumb. Actually, such listing of awards rarely backfires, as I’ll show in another website’s review of Cosmoetica. Then they call the positive reviews ‘mock’ implying they do not exist. Go ahead online & you will see these are actual reviews- had any of the stooges bothered to Google them. Actually, there are only 5 of the supposedly ‘mock’ reviews- not a dozen. Innumeracy can be added to the list of the stooges’ failings. Then they state that I am translating critic-ese in 1 sentence, & in the very next they ATTRIBUTE these translations to my own sentiments! Here’s the actual review & my ‘translation’ in context:


"Doty's poems elegize the past and ready us for future grief, focusing intensely on the anticipated death of his lover from AIDS." -- Tony Whedon, Poetry East


***[I cannot let this Rump Rider know that his kind gives me the willies! I’d look like a bigot.] Wonderful, yes, wonderful poems….


  Note this- not only is my ‘translation’ of the critic separate from the original, but I have the translation broken into a bracketed italicized part- indicating something muffled & whispered, & the ‘real’ ‘translation’. Again, the stooges are either not capable of obvious discernment, or they are distorting willfully. Or both. In any of the cases they only show themselves to be dumb & dishonest. This is the mindset most critics have, most Academia has, & why I gave the ‘translations’ of the reviews to begin with. To SHOW what most people know is between the lines- namely ass-kissing, & in gay poets’ work, hidden homophobia. Instead of my piece bashing homosexuals, it actually bashes homophobes & homosexuals who use stereotypes to their advantage. WDS’s critique, or lack of noting, of this point only shows they are not merely silly, but unethical. What a surprise coming from MFA wannabes! There’s more:


Jessica Schneider, Dan's beloved, makes a brief appearance to rant about feminism and "ass kissers need[ing] to be ass kissers when they know their work is not good enough to stand on its own," whatever that means. If I'd wasted my time reading all of Dan's treatise on plagiarism, I might have found that the accusations surrounded whether or not Mrs. Dan Schneider needed her hubby to write her nonsensical essays for her. Her uninspired poetry fills pages and pages of amateur ramblings that could rival poetry.com in volume. And by the same rules of poetry.com, unless your sister or your wife has posted her poetry here, you can see fit to bypass.


  This is meant to draw my ire? Attack my wife? OK- where’s the proof? Again- this is all invective without anything- not 1 iota- to back it up with. Again, we see that WDS needs good editing because they add a bracketed gerund to 1 of Jess’s words, even though it is not needed grammatically. Why? A backfired attempt at preening intellect- except, you need some intellect to preen! As for Jess’s statement- it’s about as straight-forward as they come. Also the essay this is quoted from is on female doggerelists not feminism in any way, had any of the terrible trio bothered to actually read at all- much less with any comprehension. Think about that- WDS publishes a review on that THEY HAVE NOT EVEN READ! Another point is this- in the essay on FemDogs Jess quotes from some work that appeared on WDS- they do not mention this fact (surprising, eh?). Now let us look at the syntax of the WDS stooges’ sentence: ‘If I'd wasted my time reading all of Dan's treatise on plagiarism, I might have found that the accusations surrounded whether or not Mrs. Dan Schneider needed her hubby to write her nonsensical essays for her.’ ‘Surrounded whether’? That’s a rather awkward phrasing a good editor would have rewritten. As for Jess’s poetry- again, no proof & several lies. Jess has 1 page with a dozen or so poems- not pages & pages. I would compare some of my & Jess’s poems with the stooges to see whose resembles poetry.com’s, & are amateur, but none of the trio has any offerings. This is not necessarily bad since critics who are not trying to publish poems should theoretically be less biased & in need of their asses being kissed- but in regards to nepotism & cronyism, WDS has made that their top priority- who else would publish their crap unless they had the ability to return the favor, & never offer real advice? Here’s their close:


Save for a brief dedication to Stephen Jay Gould, Cosmoetica lacks any redemptive quality. Raging bigotry, implicit sexism, anti-political correctness and plenty of fodder for Freudian analysis dominate this messy, unattractive website. Unfortunately, Dan is one among many. Unless Dan learns to suppress his messianic diatribes or hires an editor - we may be spending a long time asking, Dan Schneider: Is He Dead Yet?


  The Gould essay actually over 4500 words long. 4500 is brief & 11,000 is long? Got their parameters? Do they even bother to quote from the 1 essay the stooges like (I say like because appreciate would imply a reading comprehension I’ve shown is nonexistent.)?- of course not. I’ve shown that their claims of bigotry, sexism, & the other nonsense is built upon a deck of lies that I’ve tumbled. As for Cosmoetica’s look- it’s come a long way since it’s inception & is far cleaner & easier to navigate than WDS & many sites like it- kudos to Jason Sanford for his help in that regard. Then we again get the unnamed ‘others’ who are in league with me- hmmm? I am also messianic (with no supporting evidence) & in need of an editor- although I’ve shown numerous examples of poor editing in their very brief riposte. & it is a riposte, folks. I’ll tell you that since they want to feign objectivity. Then they end with 1 of the all-time worst examples of critical clichés- attempting to pun on the title of a work. Oy!
  Before I go on to WDS’s backhanded & bigoted assault on Jason Sanford’s storySouth let me give brief snippets from their attempts to critique 2 other websites. The 1st is from a piece on Drunken Boat. Admission time- a couple of years ago this site’s editor asked me for an essay on Cosmoetica. When I sent it she rejected it as it was too critical of Academia. That said, DB is another style over substance online zine. No good writing can be seen- at least in the dozen or so times I’ve skimmed it in the last 2 years. Of course, it’s name owes to Arthur Rimbaud- always a bad sign for serious poetry. How does WDS open it’s bit on them? With this banal quote from an unknown named Steve Potter: ‘"Well, well, well," the old woman said. "Come in, my little darling, come in."’ Not exactly something to startle. Here’s the opening:

As though to relieve us from the reader-resentful world of Cosmoetica and its overwhelming flood of propaganda, misinformation and faulty opinions, the editors (ie. censors, fat-trimmers, extraneous-content watchdogs) Michael Mills and Ravi Shankar invited us into the fifth installment of the addictively sleek and streamlined - dare I say intoxicating… - journal that is Drunken Boat.


  Note how pathologically their hatred of me spills over in to the next review- spite dominates their every word. Actually, the positive emails I get are almost all from readers of poetry- not its banal practitioners. They then still rail on Cosmoetica- further distorting, even though I’ve shown their rampant distortion techniques. When they actually get to talking about DB all they can sum it up with is off-the-rack blurbery: ‘addictively sleek and streamlined - dare I say intoxicating… - journal that is Drunken Boat.’ That really tells you alot.
  The piece then praises DB for its aim to create a ‘dialogue’ with readers. This is shorthand for ‘be nice to us & we may consider your doggerel’. Here’s a few more clichés. & they are all in praise of DB so they are not out of context: ‘embraces the relationship between art and its audience’, ‘without each other, neither would exist’, ‘dialogue of art and literature’, ‘Hirmes engages in a very physical dialogue with his audience - one in which the art and the viewer collaborate to create something more visually stunning than the art alone’, ‘by providing audio recordings of their voices, thereby heightening the sense of an embedded artist dialogue’, ‘literarily and stylistically innovative journal of the arts’, ‘I could spend hours pouring over the content. I could spend days ogling the site itself’. Of course, these are all generic statements. We have no clue as to the writing itself. & the last quote is so teeny-bopper as to be self-parodic- albeit unwittingly. In the end, they cannot help but return to attacking me while unwittingly damning DB in prose stylings reminiscent of the ignorant hacks who vilified the Impressionists & Walt Whitman.:


In a world wide web of messy confusion, the meticulously edited world of Drunken Boat is a refreshing example of polished professionalism. While Dan Schneider tells us what he thinks and what he thinks we should think, Drunken Boat asks us what we think and how we think it itself thinks. Whereas Dan lectures to a silent e-class, Drunken Boat cultivates a dialogue-based relationship with the reader, where art and audience mingle in an artistically sound (and darned aesthetically pleasing) environment.

Drunken Boat teaches us to love our editors.


  Again, DB is 1 of many sites that upholds the lame status quo, while Cosmoetica (& many of my essays) implores readers to be critical of all things, including my claims. They distort even more, & end with another cliché. They then essay Haypenny Review. The main claim to fame that HP has, in WDS’s opinion, is Haypenny doles out a healthy installment of what they call Fact-Snacks. These little tidbits of entirely useless information will do nothing for you except make you interesting at cocktail parties (if that). The staff describes them as "tacos for the body." Who knew Ronald Reagan had three nipples? Seriously.’ This is the most insightful part of this piece. Next. On to their supposedly positive review of storySouth- 1, incidentally, both Jason Sanford & poetry editor Jake Adam York took offense to. To be upfront, Jason is a friend, but that did not stop me from ripping York’s poetry section in the same essay I 1st lopped the heads off of WDS. Recall how WDS ripped me for bigotry. Let’s look at all the stereotypes they employ in their ‘boosterism’ of storySouth. I will bold underline the clichés & stereotypes:

StorySouth Review

StorySouth is "all about the writing." No fancy web designs of glittery visual gimmicks to distract you from this southern belle of fiction and poetry. Designed to showcase the works of writers who represent a 'new south' where international and regional combine, the fiction and poetry of this genteel site represent all facets of the southern experience from a good 'ol Baptist sermon to the stifling heat to love dripping in the Alabama sweat and humidity.


  1st off, the site is merely storySouth- not StorySouth Review. Think about that- they DO NOT even bother to get the name of the site correct! Literally 5 stereotypes in the 1st paragraph! Take that pat on the head, Jason! How is it genteel or a belle? Who cares? It cuts down on the WDS writing time- not to mention reading time. But look how absolutely condescending the tone is- yet I’m a bigot? Unreal.


The feature is Chris Wilson's "The Dry Season," a story of the lonely and the laughable that takes place during a sweltering southern draught. Written in diary form, Israel (Iz) and his brother prepare for their father's funeral by constructing a life-size puppet of their father that is a green monster with eight arms. Meanwhile, their mentally challenged brother James befriends an old man named Simon who can't speak but merely emits hideous hacking and gurgling sounds from his throat. The Krishna-esque puppet creation even has a cameo:


Woke with the dull terror that he would forget my eyes.
Left crumpled under a tangle of broken limbs-it is a pity to be reincarnated as an octoped. What sort of karma engenders that?
It is wonderful to be blind.


While Wilson's multi-armed creation gives us a new way to talk about death and funerals, the story's tone and plot still have a twinge of a What's Eating Gilbert Grape aura to them. Despite this, Iz's voice shines through real and sometimes flat-out funny:


Also, a lot of the things I hear James say aren't really IQ 56 sort of things. They're at least IQ 90 things to say, to wager a guess. But I guess we'd have to truck James and his new friend up to Virginia if we wanted to know for sure.


  The 1st sentence probably is talking about a drought- lack of water- rather than a draught- of liquid. Yet I need editing? & here’s a trenchant critique: ‘Iz's voice shines through’. How often has a character’s ‘real’ voice/persona ‘shone through’ in banal reviews? Back to the stereotypes- retread, no less:


But the real belle of this ball is the poetry. It captures that 'southern experience' so well that you can almost smell the kudzu and hot fireworks. Nathan Parker's "My Young Brother" gives us one of these southern moments in a nutshell:

My young brother with mint eyes
And hair buzzed for summer
Got stuck under a mean old lady's fence.
Her mastiff ripped at his little feet.
She stood at the window smiling
With a double-edged bloodstained walker.
It was hot and rain fell in muddy drops.
A cluster of chocolate chips
Melted in my pocket.

  This is actually storySouth’s biggest weakness- the poetry selected by Jake Adam York sucks- as detailed in my earlier essay. Yet, this is the thing WDS sees as best. Note the 4 clichéd stereotypes & the prose, broken into lines, which is fobbed off as poetry. Here’s their wrapup:

I'm not sure whether or not Krishna-like puppets are part of the southern experience but the fact remains that even if you don't understand the criteria for what makes someone a 'new south' writer (like myself) ya'll should still come on down.


  Can you understand, now, why Jason was as pissed off at his site’s positive review, as well the hatchet job on Cosmoetica? But, not all websites are as stolid, nor all reviewers so dumb & bereft of basic writerly skills. A while back Cosmoetica got a mostly positive review in a column called Acid Tongue, in an online zine called Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. A year or so ago I did solicit some of their staff to contribute pieces to Cosmoetica but never heard back, until stumbling over this piece while Googling Cosmoetica after Jason Sanford’s call about the WDS article. Note how, even though positive & 1 could claim my bias, how much better written the piece is- syntactically, grammatically, & written with a singular human identity averse to falling back on clichés. Here’s where it can be found: http://www.qlrs.com/issues/jul2003/acidtongue/cosmoetica.html


The Acid Tongue
Dan Schneider connects the dots

Selected By Cyril Wong


I think it is high time every lover of contemporary poetry reads Dan Schneider’s essays on www.cosmoetica.com. Why? For starters, he is goddamn refreshing in his unashamed way of putting just about any critically-acclaimed or seriously up-and-coming poet in his or her place by making us see just how overrated he believes so many of them are. Sure, one may argue that he gets a bit carried away – as you will discover when you pleasurably devour paragraph after paragraph of his denunciations – and comes across as too bitchy and even ridiculous at points, too presumptuous about his own unfailing objectivity.


  Note the term ‘bitchy’- used in this context he means humorously catty- in the way gay terminology implies, not Sylvia Plath on the rag. As for ridiculous- well, I’ve never claimed unfailing objectivity- only the will to move as close to it as possible for a human being can. This is the essence of good criticism.


But one cannot help but savour the malice as well as the nuggets of truth as they appear, as when Schneider calls Sharon Olds (a past poet laureate for the state of New York) a “disingenuous poet” and a 5th rate Sylvia Plath, 40 years too late,” or when he attacks every political poet’s idol, Carolyn Forché, and elaborating acidly on how The Angel of History is “a dull, prolix reply to The Waste Land – only 7 or so decades too late.” It is literary entertainment of the most vindictive and oddly cathartic kind.


  Again, the context of terms like malice & vindictive show that Cyril Wong gets the humor in the pieces. It is not malice in the sense of the ludicrous gaybashing charges WDS hurls, but in the Alexis Colby/Joan Collins sense.


Rather than to enter a potentially interesting discussion about whether Schneider’s implicit antagonism towards the conventions and ideologies that determine when a poet is good or bad is merely a case of jealousy or bitterness due to lack of recognition for his own work as a poet, or whether Schneider is really just promoting his own personal aesthetic under exactly the same guise of critical objectivity that he objects to when others adopt it, let us simply enjoy what Schneider is capable of.


  As for the argument, any in-depth reading of the essays will show that I am the only critic you’ll likely read who acknowledges the difference between excellence & aesthetics. I state this in my essay on Self-Aware Doggerelists & my TOP essay on Robert Frost- a poet that has never gotten me to ‘like’ his stuff, but I can step back & admit his best stuff is great. As for recognition of my work, I long ago reconciled that it will be the future generations who will champion my poetry, long after this wasted generation has withered- such is always the case with great artists who push the art’s limits. As for aesthetics & excellence, they fall under 2 different magisteria (as Stephen Jay Gould called religion & science)- they do not intersect. Aesthetics are almost wholly subjective while excellence is almost wholly objective. A well-written line can be the same exact wording as a poor line- & its success or failure determined by the context about it, but a poem is its whole context &- just as with a wall- it is either good or bad. It might be a pretty wall- but poorly constructed, or a dull looking wall that’d hold back the Atlantic. But its intimate construction is different from its aesthetic appearance. Any arguments against this premise are manifestations of the laziness of those critics unwilling or incapable of weaning themselves from their own aesthetic biases. So, I promote excellence, NEVER aesthetics. As for critical objectivity, the point is that I at least attempt it- others don’t even wager an effort.


In one of his latest essays, his target is Leslie Adrienne Miller and her latest collection, A Connect-the-Dots Picture. Here is how he begins:


Ever met someone who just cannot stop talking? Ever wonder what that person is called? Here’s the word- a logorrhetic; they suffer from logorrhea- aka diarrhea of the mouth. Many poets nowadays suffer from this affliction & sobriquet. Rather, I should say many ‘poets’ suffer from this... throw some clichés together, break some prose into lines at an odd place, & you - too - can call yourself a ‘poet’.


He is so bitchy he brings out her biography to draw attention to all the hackneyed and typical signifiers that so many attempt to appropriate and plant upon themselves like semiotic badges so that they may be deemed “qualified” enough to enter established poetic discourse and be formally recognised as “poets”:


Leslie Adrienne Miller's fourth full-length collection of poems, Eat Quite Everything You See, came out from Graywolf Press in spring 2002. Her previous collections include Yesterday Had a Man In It (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1998), Ungodliness (CMU, 1994) and Staying Up For Love (CMU, 1990), and "No River," winner of the Stanley Hanks Memorial Award from the St. Louis Poetry Center. She has won a number of prizes and awards and has published in a number of magazine and anthologies including American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Antioch Review, The Georgia Review and The New England Review. Currently associate Professor of English at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., she holds an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop and a Ph.D. from the University of Houston.


  Remember the praise WDS heaped on Mark Doty for his laurels? They thought it backfired? Maybe to the tools in their shed, but not to CW & many others. Onward:


Next, Schneider takes a look at the titular poem to see if it really is poetry or randomly broken prose:


A Connect-the-Dots Picture

The pine tree at the corner of the lot
where my childhood home, a ranch house,
sits like a snapped sugar wafer on a slope.
Tents in Upton’s field collapsed and pushed
aside for a game of kickball or just tumbling.
The oldest Upton girl whom I adore,
nearer adulthood than I, her head in a sky
I cannot but wish to see. Follow me,
she says, I will show you something really neat.
And I go up the stone path and stairs
among the lolling day lilies and ivy
behind the marvelous girl to a place
nested in trees where a garden hose
uncoils in her hand. There, she says,
holding the metal-rimmed end to my face.
I must be nine, possibly ten. I love Christy.
She taught me to make ice cream in a bucket.
She combed my hair as if I were a doll.
She took my hand and led me away from the gang
of boys in the field where I tried so hard
to be good and strong. There, she says tenderly,
look in there, and I cast my whole being
into her command. Some wonder is about
to happen in the dark hole of the hose.
Sputter of laughter, and more laughter,
and I realize I cannot see her, or anything.
There has been a blast of air, water. I think
I am crying and hope not. In this world
tears have never been good. Once, when Casey cried,
his sister forbade me to tell anyone, ever,
and she smacked him till he stopped.
But now my face is wet, my hair, my loose
summer shirt, which I like more than all the others
in my drawer because it has two girls on it,
hand in hand, and they wear shirts exactly
like this one. No, I am not sobbing. Good.
But I am cold, and my eyes sting.
I try to look where Christy was and may
still be when the smarting stops. She is trying
to teach me something adult. Complicated.
How it feels to be stung by the force
of your own desire turned back on you,
and the possible responses: regret or fury.
One day I will understand that one is antidote
to the other. Years later in the darkening room
of a country not my own, real history heaped
in the corners, I stand next to a man
who has just begun to be weary of my hopefulness,
unwavering desire that simply asks for it.
His is a small travesty, a forgotten promise
that left me waiting all of an afternoon.
Smell of wet stones, gnats hovering
around the spigot dribble. My shirt has not
been ruined, Christy clucks, unnerved at this kid
who stands in mute trust, dripping, comic,
obscenely forlorn. This was not the point.
She meant to send me screaming like any child,
home—but home, if ever I had one
is on another continent, inching away.
The man draws back from the insipid scene,
unpleasant female disappointment gathering
in his room, ruining the evening, filling his shoes,
making the air too close. The offending garden hose
settles far under the ivy, and it is intolerable
that I should keep standing here expectantly,
taking it, asking for more, still too much
in love. It was that, then, that Christy wanted
to wash from my face. In the long minute
of my blindness, the summer afternoon went
cruelly on in my ear. A horsefly. The dog
somewhere itching itself. Smack
of the rubber ball against a boy’s toe
down in the field. Small shush of ivy
where the hose falls. Drips on the stone.
It’s only water, dummy, she says, disgusted.
I look straight into her eyes and she sees
she hasn’t gotten rid of it, that appalling
ardor. Too much of something sticky, serious,
and she hates me for it.


Are you still awake? This poem is not as cliché-laden as most of her tripe but it is dull, dull, DULL! How many times have we seen ‘poems’ written by female poetasters about lost love, teen angst, unfulfilled dreams- count the # of words that are overblown & melodramatic, the # of overdone modifiers. The poem starts with a nice idea by just stringing images together & hoping to force the reader to ‘connect’ things. Unfortunately the images are so snooze-inducing that there is no care to. Same with the trite narrative- & hints of (oolala) lesbianism. In order to maximize this poem we must minimise its length. By just removing lines we do just that. We combine a few, split the poem in to 2 quatrains (to, again, force a reader to connect), & end the poem without any punctuation to affect its being left hanging; to again force a reader to attempt to connect whatever they want to imbue it with. Read:


A Connect-the-Dots Picture

And I go up the stone path and stairs
behind the marvelous girl to a place
I must be nine, possibly ten. I love being
and I realize I cannot see her, or anything.

But now my face is wet, my hair, my loose
hand in hand. But I am cold, and my eyes sting
of my blindness, the summer afternoon went
cruelly on in my ear. A horsefly. The dog.


In these 8 lines note the improvement. We’ve dropped the trite narrative & truly get some unique phrasings. The speaker goes behind a marvelous girl, & to a place where he/she must be a certain age. Then line 3 ends with an existential statement, & line 4 with self-denial. The 2nd stanza starts with a near breathlessness, & another interesting twist - the summer afternoon’s entry within the speaker’s ear. We then end with observations of things. This is the making of a possibly good poem. The original was prose. Don’t believe me? Reread the original without breaks & tell me why any of the breaks in the original are there.


And yes, Schneider rewrites the entire original poem without line breaks this time, and although there may ultimately be potential argument anyway about whether the original’s line breaks are justified, and whether Schneider’s own reworking is truly effective, you may just be unable to help yourself but want to agree with Schneider in any case. He is that fun to read, as well as potentially edifying.


Is it Miller or Schneider who's dotty? Drip acid in the Forum!

'The Acid Tongue' is a column that celebrates acerbic reviewing. Mail us if you know of any examples.
QLRS Vol. 2 No. 4 Jul 2003

  Unlike WDS, CW notes how I actually vivisect a poem in detail. There are no lies, no petty jealousies. Yes, he sometimes overstates his case- but that is rhetoric, not intentional distortion. Also note the use of longer, more complex- yet coherent sentences. Again, this is a positive review so you might think I’m vested in it. I am, to a degree, but QLRS is a much smaller site than WDS- given a choice for 1 of the 2 reviews to disappear I’d banish QLRS’s since regardless of a pro or con any review increases readership & gets more folk to actually think independently about poetry & life. But the most important word in CW’s piece is a short 1: FUN. This is something most poets & critics have long ago dismissed as childish in the realm of literature, but- is that not truly why we read any work of literary art? Knowledge is 2ndary, the main goal is enjoyment.
  So how do the WDS’s & the plethora of sites like it (yes, compare it to 100s of similar sites online) get away with their crap- be it dishonestly ripping Cosmoetica, or engaging in asskissing Drunken Boat, or smarmily & condescendingly patting storySouth on the head? Because they can- might makes right in their worldview, even if time levels the playing field & makes scree of such magazines & endeavors. Why is it the only negative review they do is of the only online site that reviews negatively- & with good reason? & what does that say about their true motives? & wouldn’t that be a backhanded booster since 2 negatives = a positive? Simple- I’ve ripped them twice before this- & shown in depth all of their flaws. It’s not that they will not rip Cosmoetica’s flaws- they CAN NOT- since they are not there. Cosmoetica will never be a place where they can fob off their bad prose & poetry so they have no compunction in lying & misquoting.
  Their biggest concern about me, incidentally, was that I am too thorough & detailed in my analysis & rebuttals. You see, 1 must be detailed, & above board with all relationships in the arts when you criticize, lest you open yourself up to a total denuding of incompetence & motivations- like I’ve done in this piece on WDS. You have to defend false charges because the world is filled with pinheads like the 3 WDS stooges who are so malicious &/or gullible. They believe all readers will buy their inaccurate & fuzzy crap without any analysis. I think there are a good portion of you who are better than that. I value good readership- WDS values hit counts & a willingness to scratch their backs. Most hack poets dread or fear Cosmoetica, while most non-poets see that I say what they are technically incapable of describing. Failing that, watch for puerile ad hominem- much like the emailers quoted earlier, & the tiff I had a few months back with Jack Foley, along with false claims of misquotation even as they truly practice it. & the ‘they’ is really a they- it took 3 boobs to write these essays!
  In short, I would love to have foes in the arts that were at least capable of mature & responsible dialectic, not juvenile & deceitful ad hominem, yet I am left with puerile Pavlovian responses. Why would WDS make it so easy for me to rebut? Because, they are truly clueless as to what constitutes good writing. In effect, WDS’s review was untintentionally humorous, while Cyril Wong’s appreciated humor. Art is about entertainment always- enrichment & knowledge are often there- but not always. This is a conflation almost as noxious as the nonsense that poetry started orally. No, it started in the mind 1st, then passed to the lips. I correctly point out poetic flaws- I don’t mindlessly, nor personally, diss people. Yet, all poets have these thoughts- they are just afraid for their careers & will not voice them. I know the difference between excellence & aesthetics- few others do, especially in print. Yet, essays like WDS's do annoy me- only if it means that I spend too much time on trivial nonsense, & not hard poetry criticism.
  To close, you’ve seen the kind of bile the ad hominem from WDS engenders- from them & their small-minded readership, you’ve seen their High School newspaper-level writing style- so lacking in individuation that it does not matter if there were 3 or 300 stooges. It is this sort of attitude that pervades Academia, as well, & has led to the blacklisting of poets that dare to be other- be they a Dan Schneider or a James Emanuel. It is little different from the 1950s-era Blacklist, save for being less known & more subtle. But, that’s fodder for another essay. Here’s a cheerio to the WDS Archie gang & hoping that old Tim can pin & nail The Babe & Steph (hopefully simultaneously). I ask just 1 favor- please teach your writers, editors, & hate list respondees to learn how to write well, or at least how to correctly spell! Damn, just a few dozen words shy of the Plagiarism essay.


More on the phoniness of PC Elitists and Artistes

Dan Schneider wrote:

Unbelievable that he would actually admit his rip on me is childish.  DAN

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dan Schneider < cosmoeticalist@gmail.com>
Date: May 28, 2007 6:55 PM
Subject: Re: The M&C Interview 1: Charles Johnson, 6/07
To: Michael Neff <editor@webdelsol.com>


Why would I? Your site is the antithesis of everything both my site and the interview with Johnson are about. I am simply trying to get it out to a larger audience. I 'LIKE' the fact that your rip at Cosmoetica is online, and I hope it stays online because I've gotten many readers who have found Cosmoetica through it, because they are disgusted with all flash and no substance sites like Web Del Sol.
And, this is not a personal attack, simply a difference of opinion on what art should be about. You are Carmen Electra. Cosmo is Jane Goodall. You are cotton candy. Cosmo is beef. What I find interesting is that through all your contacts and squid-like reach via all the mirror sites for the little mags, Cosmoetica gets as many hits and occasionally spikes quite higher, even though it is non-commercial, and lacks bells and whistles.
This is 2 reasons- 1) quality and 2) more importantly- it is unique. Web Del Sol is a garish monster of a site with no coherent vision.
Your offer of removing the article you wrote is a de facto admission of this lack of vision, because it means that it was merely written for the petty and puerile reasons I stated.
But, that's great, because it gives people a clear choice. George Lucas or John Sayles. The Salonistas or Manet.
The fact is it is FAR easier to get popularity with Lowest Common Denominator articles that WDS posts, because for every witty, intelligent, literature-starved reader there are 999 airheads. The very fact that Cosmoetica is as popular says something about quality- that oft-maligned idea. Then again, for every Cosmoetica there are tens of thousands of sites that are WDS-like. Granted, you are the biggest behemoth in the crowded lit site pond, but even a Great White can succumb to a piranha with sharper teeth.
But, thanks for the reply, and after Johnson we have Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Pete Hamill lined up.
Perhaps you can interview titans like Dave Eggers or Nell Freudenberger. Email me the link. Thanks, DAN

On 5/28/07, Michael Neff < editor@webdelsol.com> wrote:

Dear Dan,


Thanks for the note on this.  btw, it's been a long time and our stupid posts blasting each other's sites are still floating in the google top five.  I'll take down that bodega review if you zap the "cowards/savants, etc. of webdelsol" thing.  Plus I'll give C a new review in Portal Del Sol or take it out completely.


What say?


Let's start over.




----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2007 4:19 PM
Subject: The M&C Interview 1: Charles Johnson, 6/07


http://books.monstersandcritics .com/features/article_1308738 .php/The_M%26C_Interview_1 _Charles_Johnson_6_07

The M&C Interview 1: Charles Johnson, 6/07

It's a kick ass interview. Please spread the word and forward to other people and blogs. 

Future interviewees confirmed are Daniel Dennet, Steven Pinker, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

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