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« Tales of the Seventies: Old Johnny Herald [by Alan Ziegler] | Main | Lera Auerbach – excessive ease of aesthetic discovery [by Ilona Oltusk] »

September 07, 2015


So wish you would have gone with the poem that haunts you.....

After sleeping on this, I wonder why not evict the piece. So much out there. is it worth it?

"The US Constitution was written in 1787 and is still used as a precedent for the country's law. Age does not invalidate a precedent." A most excellent rebuttal.

Well, I was thinking about this, too, and I realized it's because the poems have already been published with a name attached. Presumable, the judge has read some of them already. At least, I hope he/she has- because a judge without a finger on the poetry pulse is probably not a very good one.

George and George were using males names to break into the impenetrable ranks of the patriarchy. Hudson was doing the opposite- pretending NOT to have privilege when he really did.

of course 99%, you can't actual make money as a poet unless its given to you by the government and stolen off the backs of hardworking people who makes things people actually pay to consume like books and movies.

Oh I guess poets don't get humor, it doesnt mesh well with being pretentious.

Can you elaborate on this response lomagirl? From my reading of the situation, Mr. Alexie made it clear that he gave deference to poets of color, so in this situation wasn't Hudson/Yi-Fen subverting Alexie's establishment of situational privilege? If so, how is that not analogous to the Georges' subversion of institutional privilege?

Or, is your implication that non-POC writers are required by decorum and a sense of historical debt to take a spot further back in line, waiting to be considered until all marginalized people have been considered?

If so, that is certainly ideologically consistent, but I have a hard time not seeing it as valuing politics over the aesthetic expression of ideas. I would go so far as to call that approach mildly anti-art, particularly in a craft defined by the uniqueness of the individual voice.

Thanks for considering, I look forward to your thoughts!

lol, you guys don't get it.... I understand all your jargon and I was making a joke. I read bell hooks and Tony Morrison, I get it, thats why I said it... eeesh this is the thing man in the world of social justice type people, they're so desperate to find the villain they think exists that they end up attributing malice to people doing satire. Just look at how they treat comedians.... people obviously making jokes.

hahaha, not unless he later reveled that he wasn't Chinese, but wasin fact white! Ohhh the racism! Won't somebody think of the children! not the white children of course, but the other ones.

J.K. Rowling went by initials and made up a middle initial she didn't have in order to trick fanboys into reading a girl. That modern enough for you?

hahahahahaha so you just admitted that being something other than white is a performance enhancing drug? Wow. How many stanzas does it take a poet to be completely cognitively dissonant?

What did Michael Husdon do? Write an award winning poem under a fake name..... thats dishonest? Uhhhhh its pretty standard practice... oh its because he pulled every pretentious over paid gov paid academic's pants down thats why ... ahhhh

hahahaha this just proved the opposite! omg the delusion wrongs strong with you poets.

check your privilege, Chinese Americans!

He is a hero, and all of you racists are actually the villain, dont you get it?

I really appreciate the honesty of this article, but guys.... this is the real message: you're the racists, not the white patriarchy (within which you've made your comfortable academic lives). Thats why this resonates, because racism is a disgusting practice no matter who does it, for what reasons, and no matter the color of their skin. Michael Hudson is the most important thing to happen to your little elitist cabal in a long time, it pulled the pants off what is basically a racket. I sincerely hope you have the depth and courage to extend your philosophical principles into areas which challenge you and make you uncomfortable, something thats often asked of white people who do so willingly (look at all the 'good liberals' in these comments).

A complicated situation, well & honestly explored here by Mr. Alexie. I hereby nominate this post for Best American Essays of 2015.

Not only does Rob Roberts hit the nail on the head, he appears to own the nail factory.


In smaller contests, judges check the Internet to make sure poems are not plagiarized. Judges for this book could judge blind only if there were others ensuring against plagiarism.

I agree. Furthermore, he was blatantly manipulating affirmative action criteria in order to steal a spot reserved for marginalized voices which might not otherwise be heard due to institutional and systemic racism.

Yawn. I've heard this argument a thousand times from those interested in maintaining the status quo -- that inspecting race at all, from whichever side, even (especially?) the side of the disprivileged, is "the real racism" as if Chinese-Americans held some systemic power with which they had a history of harming white people. Michael Hudson's real name will be forgotten and his pseudonym remembered as attached to "that poem Sherman Alexie published." I continue to believe that Alexie's original intent in reading those who might otherwise be underread is laudable -- see his examination of Internet publications, a decidedly anti-elitist, even populist, move. I also continue to believe that he should have pulled the poem and announced that he had been fooled by his own good intentions, not because he is part of a "little elitist cabal" -- really, are Poetry and Paris Review absolutely jam-packed with Pacific Asian writers these days? -- but because the poem is shite and he gave it a sporting chance out of an excess of goodwill. Yellow face is not a new con -- see Kent Johnson as Araki Yasusada, but at least that one could be sort of explained as a type of project for which Johnson, to write about his particular material (Hiroshima), felt compelled to adopt a heteronym like Fernando Pessoa's. However, the Michael Hudson shite poem is not a thought-out project like the Yasusada poems, however poorly thought out the latter may in retrospect have been. It is a bad poem about classical themes, and my only true surprise in all of this is that some truly elitist, white-as-snow magazine didn't snap it up under Hudson's real name, badness intact, because it had both classical allusions and the oh-so-naughty words "pooped" and "diddled." Please, spare me. And that poem you regret not publishing, Mr. Alexie? Please apologize to that writer, whoever he or she is. Like, yesterday.

AFfirmative action policies aren't a form of 'reverse discrimination' or a privilege, it is to right an imbalance that has traditionally existed due to discrimination.

To subvert those policies using false identities which coopt marginalized identities, solely in order to further privilege a person who already has privilege, is simply offensive and the antithesis of ethical conduct.

More info here:

I agree. Furthermore, in publishing it despite reservations, it is implicitly rewarding someone's unethical behaviour, which not only is bad in and of itself, but serves to teach others that choosing the unethical path is not only profitable, but socially acceptable.

I agree. Unfortunately, false equivalence abounds in so many of these comments. :(

Thank you. It's too bad, because ever since I first heard of Sherman Alexie, I was excited to hear about a Native American poet who spoke to the personal and authentic experience of growing up under the anti-Native racism that permeates the fabric of North American culture, and I vowed to do more to read not only his works, but works by people like him, because their voices are not often heard due to systemic discrimination which ignores the voices of the marginalized in favour of the privileged.

I would be incensed if a person of privilege were to coopt Native American/Aboriginal identity solely to appropriate that voice because they think it will get them past affirmative action policies, and I certainly would _not_ publish it once I knew the truth, because not only would I have been tricked, but by their actions, they managed to ensure that one less marginalized voice would even be given consideration, which is the entire purpose of affirmative action policies in the first place.

In any case, the excerpts of Hudson's poem that I read seem laughably puerile... and I say that as someone who was recently re-reading his own poetry from high school, some of which actually got published. ;P

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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