June 28, 2007KR BlogUncategorized

Out with a whimper? Foetry.com

At one time Foetry.com was, depending on one’s perspective, a source of righteous indignation and deft muck-raking inspired by the corruption of poetry contests, a source of (at best) half-lies that demeaned and slandered hardworking editors and community-minded poets, or a huge guilty pleasure and source of gossip. It certainly added a few terms to the parlance of po-biz: foetry, of course, as well as foet and I believe I saw foet-nation). The argument as to whether Foetry.com inspired reform, fear, or merely filled newspapers with the whiff of scandal (which seems to be the best way to get poetry into major newspapers these days) will continue. But the discussions and accusations at Foetry.com will not. The site has closed and is available, now, only as archive.

If its death (if we dare call it that–might it, like King Arthur, lie in wait to rise again at a time of future need?) made almost no noise, its birth and early years sounded a great barbaric yawp. Are contests more fair? Perhaps, perhaps not. It may in fact be the case that poetry contests are more careful about egregious conflicts of interest. They may indeed be more transparent now, as well. But it was never clear if justice or revenge was in the forefront of everyone’s mind in the heyday of Foetry.com (this applies to me and the other voyeurs of foetry.com as well as those who posted for or against the site). As people used to say in the Renaissance and earlier, Astraea (goddess of justice) has left the earth. History may record whether Foetry.com brought her back. Or, it may not.