Ooh, more poetry! FSG are running a month-long poetry blog. Highlights include:

  • an all new couplet composed by Robert Pinsky and available for download as your ringtone (which strikes me as bonkers!)
  • a whole week devoted to poetry in translation, with posts from many of FSG's award-winning translators
  • more original audio recorded exclusively for the blog by Frank Bidart, Les Murray, August Kleinzahler, Yusef Komunyakaa, and more
  • free, downloadable broadsheets appropriate for brightening up even the most boring cubicle

Readers Comments

  1. Mark,

    I wonder how much the FSG blog has to do with love for poetry. The "person" who writes the posts signs him/her/itself "Internet Marketing" — a sort of blatant handle that shows the whole of that April as the cruelest poetry month up for what it is: a commercial scam.



  2. A scam would have to involve some deception. Both and make it clear that they exist to promote Farrar, Straus and Giroux and HarperCollins respectively. The commercial impulse has actually resulted in some interesting work on both sites.

  3. I agree with Oliver. clearly states their purpose, and, after reading through the site, I think they're doing a good job of promoting poetry in general. In particular, the readings I found there by Heaney and other poets were fantastic.

  4. Hi Pierre,

    The FSG blogger here! Thanks for your comments, and I think I can see where you're coming from with them--the idea of reading a post written by 'internet marketing' definitely evokes for me a vision of some kind of inhuman, robot blogging machine and not a real live certified poetry dork. Let me assure you that I've been the blogger for FSG for the entirety of the poetry blog, and not some poetry-loving version of Hal.

    Oliver and Brian definitely sum up the idea behind what I do on the site very well--I'm overtly writing there to promote FSG poets (although that doesn't exclude me from mentioning those from other houses at all).

    But please know that I appreciate the idea behind your comment--it's not helpful to have an anonymous blogger--and updated the posts to reflect my name.


  5. Hi Ami,

    Your friendly name as signature is certainly an improvement — from the marketing p.o.v. And obviously what F.S.G. is doing is indeed promoting the sale of their books as Oliver & Brian suggest. So it isn't FSG I am thinking of specifically when I call the whole affair a scam, but rather the idea of "poetry month." I am in agreement with Charles Bernstein's take on this April affair when he writes:

    "As part of the spring ritual of National Poetry Month, poets are symbolically dragged into the public square in order to be humiliated with the claim that their product has not achieved sufficient market penetration and must be revived by the Artificial Resuscitation Foundation (ARF) lest the art form collapse from its own incompetence, irrelevance, and as a result of the general disinterest among the broad masses of the American People.

    The motto of ARF's National Poetry Month is: "Poetry's not so bad, really."

    National Poetry Month is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, an organization that uses its mainstream status to exclude from its promotional activities much of the formally innovative and "otherstream" poetries that form the inchoate heart of the art of poetry. The Academy's activities on behalf of National Poetry Month tend to focus on the most conventional of contemporary poetry; perhaps a more accurate name for the project might be National Mainstream Poetry Month. Then perhaps we could designate August as National Unpopular Poetry Month.

    Through its "safe poetry" free verse distribution program, the American Academy of Poetry's major initiative for National Poetry Month is to give away millions of generic "poetry books" to random folks throughout the country. This program is intended to promote safe reading experiences and is based on ARF's founding principle that safe poetry is the best prophylactic against aesthetic experience.

    Free poetry is never free, nor is free verse without patterns.

    Oscar Wilde once wrote, "Only an auctioneer admires all schools of art." National Poetry month professes to an undifferentiated promotion for "all" poetry, as if supporting all poetry, any more than supporting all politics, you could support any.

    National Poetry Month is about making poetry safe for readers by promoting examples of the art form at its most bland and its most morally "positive." The message is: Poetry is good for you. But, unfortunately, promoting poetry as if it were an "easy listening" station just reinforces the idea that poetry is culturally irrelevant and has done a disservice not only to poetry deemed too controversial or difficult to promote but also to the poetry it puts forward in this way. "Accessibility" has become a kind of Moral Imperative based on the condescending notion that readers are intellectually challenged, and mustn't be present."

    (You can read Bernstein's complete article here:

  6. Diana Manister Thursday 03 April 2008

    Pierre, your closing parenthesis got into the Bernstein link and renders it unlinkable. It should be:

    Charles' article is famous. It has caused many a fistfight between avant and conservative poets!

    Cheers, Diana

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