Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why There is No Marathon Man in Philadelphia 

Today an article was published in The Boston Phoenix about Jim Behrle and the poetry marathon he's organized in Boston this Summer. In the article ("Marathon man: reclaiming the tea party, one poem at a time"), Jim says that he tried to co-organize a poetry festival in Philadelphia but it fell through because he "found a bunch of poets who were even lazier than [he and David Kirschenbaum] were. We couldn't get a venue." This is a lie. Here is my response, which I posted in the comments stream under the article:

For the record: the main reason the marathon did not take place in Philadelphia is that we (the Philly people) were unable to see eye-to-eye with the Boog people (Jim and David) on the basic objectives of the marathon. We found it impossible to collaborate with Jim, whose tone was insulting--he spoke to us as if we were his employees. That kind of nonsense doesn't work over here. So we canned the idea. It wouldn't have been worth it. Jim refused to negotiate even the name of the festival (he insisted on calling it "BoogPhilly 76"--how cheesy is that?), gave us orders and referred to us as "people on the ground."

I should have guessed there might be a problem from David's initial call, when he told me the reason they wanted to have a festival in Philadelphia was so they could see a Mets-Phillies game. They never expressed any knowledge, interest or even curiosity about poetry in Philadelphia. Are poets lazy here? Maybe. But Jim and David certainly would have no idea. Anyway, most of us here have, uh, jobs.

Hope it's a blast in Boston. Never been there, but I've heard it's a great place if you've got a lot of money to splash around in. I wonder what all the poets there will be singing about . . .

Ryan Eckes

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