Slightly more in depth FAQ:
My name is Dave Coates, I’m based in Edinburgh, raised in Belfast, currently studying a PhD on Louis MacNeice and his influence on contemporary poetry.
This is a poetry review site. I will try my best to provide all possible bias/personal connection to the poets involved; UK poetry is a small world, and the goal here is to provide you with enough information about me to make a informed judgement on my opinions.
I have written reviews in the past that were kind of awful to the poets involved. I’m trying much harder to make these reviews about the poems and the ideas conveyed by/within them, and less of the ad hominem stuff, which helps no one. Apologies.
If you’re on twitter, please join me for poetry chat etc @DavePoems. If there’s a book you think deserves to be reviewed, please contact me there. Please note, however, that reviewing is time-consuming, and I have to be picky. I mean no disrespect if I say no.
PLEASE NOTE: I’ve decided for various reasons to no longer review books by cishet white men. If you are a cishet white man please do not ask me to review your book.
FURTHER NOTE: if you are a cishet white man, and have been triggered by my decision not to pay attention to you, please refer to my short essay in the comments.
Pleased to meet you Dave. 🙂
I have been writing poetry ever since I turned thirteen.In the past i have always penned them down on sheets of paper but, unfortunately they have always ended up getting misplaced for I happen to be a tad absent minded. Poetry inspires me,it makes me feel lighter from within and evokes a plethora of emotions,powerful and vehement. I manage the blog “The Thought Machine” on WordPress on which I post poems written by me. It has been a while now and has been progressing on a moderate scale. However, for long I have been awaiting a brutally honest feedback about my work, and till date have failed to do so. I would truly appreciate it for you to have a look at my page and leave a feedback. Having said that,with all due respect, kindly keep in mind that this is not a cry for help but, a sincere request of a seventeen year old synesthette seeking guidance from a respected blogger such as you,for I believe that it is only from our mistakes we tend to persevere.
Hope to hear from you in the near future,
“I’ve decided for various reasons to no longer review books by cishet white men. If you are a cishet white man please do not ask me to review your book.” You make think you sound world-weary, when in fact you just come across as childish and frankly a bit of a snowflake dimwit. What possible intelligent reasons could anyone have for discriminating against anyone on the basis of their race, gender, sexual orientation or any other way they choose to identify themselves?
Okay I’ll bite. I don’t especially think you’re asking this question in good faith, but I’ll do my best to answer as if you were.
So this hinges on your definition of ‘discriminate’. One definition is purely functional and means choosing one thing over another – if I want a cheeseburger with bacon but not a cheeseburger with an egg, I am discriminating because I prefer bacon. Discrimination can be a purely apolitical matter of taste, not because I think eggs are morally ill, but because I am free to exercise my right to choose bacon, or even, one day, to choose eggs again.
In that sense, you’re totally right – I’ve chosen one group of writers over another by largely arbitrary means, without leaving myself space for negotiation. In a utopian future in which all people are equal under all conceivable circumstances, in which the boundaries between all genders, cultures, sexualities and abilities have been erased, my actions would be deplorable. We have not reached this future, Otto. Every goddamn burger that slides into my DMs is a fucking egg, and I swear there was a time I wasn’t sick to goddamn death of eggs.
The second definition (and the one I think you’re invoking), though, denotes the real and present evils of racism, sexism, homophobia, and other acts of social oppression. Cishet white men, however, are not subject to these oppressions, and to employ this word in this context is disingenuous in the extreme. (You might feel oppressed because someone isn’t paying attention to you for a hot second, but neither I nor kyriarchal capitalism care about your hurt feelings.) Cishet white men like myself are the perpetrators, maintainers and beneficiaries of these systems of oppression, and my (first-definition) discriminatory decision not to spend time and resources on their work is in part a very small reaction against these systems.
In short, cishet white men are disproportionately allocated so much of our cultural space and attention, a single poetry blogger’s personal decision to review other poets will have little impact. Nonetheless I have made that choice, and it matters very little to me whether you respect it. It is happening, and no amount of petty name-calling will change things. Quite the opposite. Thanks to your comment, I have decided to never spend one further second critically considering the work of cishet white men, and it is because of you. Thank you, Otto, for releasing me. Thank you, for making me more woke than you can possibly imagine.
Thank you, Otto, for proving my point.
Excuse my ignorance but what’s Cishet?
It’s an abbreviation of ‘cisgender and heterosexual’. There’s a fuller definition here: http://queerdictionary.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/definition-of-cishet.html
Hope this helps!