While I steep with a hundred+ papers, exams, short story portfolios, and poetry portfolios to grade, please enjoy the following poem by Justin Evans, which sheds significant light on the issue discussed here.
by Justin Evans
Michigan I've given you all and now I'm nothing.
Michigan two dollars and twenty-seven cents December 6, 2006.
I can't stand my own mind.
Michigan when will we end the rejection streak?
Go fuck yourself with your ‘best luck in placing this elsewhere’
I don't feel good don't bother me.
I won't write my poem till I'm in my right mind.
Michigan when will you be egalitarian?
When will you take off your prejudice?
When will you look at yourself and accept my poems?
When will you be worthy of your million journals?
Michigan why are your libraries barren of my words?
Michigan when will you call your poets home?
I'm sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into AWP holding one of your journals with one of my by-lines?
Michigan after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your editorial process is too much for me.
You made me want to be a poet.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Collins is in New York I don't think he'll come back it's coy.
Are you being coy or is this some form of practical joke?
I'm trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
Michigan stop saying no I know what I'm doing.
Michigan the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven't read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody else gets their poems published. Michigan I feel sentimental about the Moderns.
Michigan I used to be an MFA candidate when I was a kid and I'm not sorry.
I write poems every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and read poems in the closet.
When I go to Detroit I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there's going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Kunitz.
My thesis advisor thinks I'm perfectly right.
I won't recite Prufrock.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
Michigan I still haven't told you what you did to Aunt Rose after he came over from Iowa.
I'm addressing you.
Are you going to let our emotional life be run by The New Yorker?
I'm obsessed by The New Yorker.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of Olin Hall.
It's always telling me about responsibility. Editors are serious. Small presses are serious.
Everybody's serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am Michigan.
I am talking to myself again.
Ohio is rising against me.
I haven't got a proofreader’s chance.
I'd better consider my national resources. My national resources consist of five cats, two kids one husband one book an unpublishable private literature that goes 1400 miles and hour and twentyfivethousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underprivileged who live in my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of Lansing, Dearborn Heights is the next to go.
My ambition is to be Poet Laureate despite the fact that I'm in Ohio.
Michigan how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his automobiles more so they're all different sexes
Michigan I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
Michigan free Thomas Dewey
Michigan save the Poets loyal to you
Michigan my poems must not die
Michigan I am the quintessential Michigan poet.
Michigan when I was seven momma took me to Poetry readings meetings they sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the poems were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the poem was in 1990 Mark Strand was egotistical but a great poet W.H. Auden made me cry I once saw Susan Howe plain. Everybody must have been a poet.
Michigan you don't really want to go to war.
Michigan it's them bad Iowans.
Them Iowans them Iowans and them Ohioites. And them Iowans.
The Iowans wants to eat us alive. The Iowan's power mad. She wants to take our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Poet’s and Writer’s Digest. Her wants our MFA programs in Columbus Junction. Him big po-biz ruining our imaginations.
That no good. Ugh. Him makes poets learn read same homogenous crap. Him need small whiney poets.
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
Michigan this is quite serious.
Michigan this is the impression I get from looking in the Poet’s Market.
Michigan is this correct? I'd better get right down to the job.
It's true I don't want to join the Hegemony or turn poems out like precision parts
factories, I'm nearsighted and desperate anyway.
Michigan I'm putting my poet shoulder to the wheel.