Re: Doug Harvey's "Flower Power Games" [September 1723]. I don't know if you can imagine my surprise in reading that the Germinators had "broken up." In fact, our monthly meetings have continued unabated since Ms. Faure's decision to excuse herself. In July, a group of us met at Ivette Soler and Jan Tumlir's residence, for a garden tour and clarification of Germinator involvement in other events. We decided that, in order to make sure that the club remains good fun, we would eliminate the pressure of other "Germinator-sponsored" projects. Although all Germinators may participate in any events that come our way, members are not obligated to participate. And we all agreed that Zazu's decision to make her Flower Show not a "Germinator" event was a good one.
I'm frankly puzzled that Doug Harvey did not choose to contact any Germinators for some perspective, although this would have made for a less dramatic article, and clearly that was more important for him. Regardless, I would like to extend an invitation to Harvey to attend the next Germinator meeting and make up his own mind about our continued existence. The fall gardens are nice, and the food is always good.
--Laura Cooper, Germinator
What a pity that Doug Harvey, whom I considered an intelligent art critic, chose not to interview any existing member of the Germinators before he wrote about their demise in "Flower Power Games." If he had, he would've learned that the garden club is strong and healthy and holding monthly meetings. I was surprised at Harvey's tabloid-style regurgitation of gossip, and appalled at his insistence on characterizing the club as petty, small, mean-spirited and prima donnaish. That the Flower Show's curator, Zazu Faure, would then turn around and badmouth the artists that helped make the show a success speaks volumes about her character, and maybe gives some insight into the real cause of whatever drama did or did not happen vis-à-vis the Germinators.
--Ivette Soler, Germinator
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I enjoyed Brendan Bernhard's "Perhaps These Are Not Poetic Times at All" [September 1723], a well-written, compassionate, clear-eyed look at this ancient but suffering art. The problem of the numbing indifference of consumer culture to poetry is the essential fact of life for any poet. On the other hand, from my perspective at least, once you stop wishing for cake, crumbs can taste pretty good. If a poet wants to have the name recognition of Allen Ginsberg, the press runs of Michael Crichton and the adulation afforded Michael Jordan, he or she is in the wrong business. There is, however, a very active subculture of poetry fetishists in Los Angeles and all across America these days, although it slips under the radar of newspapers, television, movies. Ten minutes ago, I pulled in off the freeway, charged and happy and feeling really electrified by a student poetry and fiction reading I attended at Whittier College, where I teach. That's where poetry lives these days -- in 30 people coming out to listen to language turn into art, to the best of a human being distilled into a 60-second stream of words. It lives on a small scale, where it matters.
I know these are poetic times, because I exist. I am barely 20, feel deeply and am dominated by an intense worship of all beauty. Poetry is important. It conveys things we can rarely name or understand at all, things on the same level as God and religion. Such heroic and grandiose qualities for literature need to be reaffirmed in words as colorful as paintings and as loud as music. The beauty of the English language is so great as to approach sanctity. These are poetic times for sure.
--Devon Harlan, Pablo Capra
Kids banging on plastic tubs while rapping about the street is authentic. Perhaps they don't possess the Nobel-laureate vernacular; they do, however, in my humble-poetry-writing-heretofore-unpublished opinion, own the heart of poetry. As long as our youth question the "matrix," and all people remember to love and fuck and wonder hard, there will be poetry.
Your article on poetry was a travesty. You are vile people with no concept of art, passion or revolution. Poetry is more important than you think, and to reject the art form as dead is no less than an act of hostility. What are you trying to do? Alienate poets and those who gain pleasure from poetry? If so, then this is war. If you want to tear us down, we're going to fuck you â up. You need to understand. We are for real. Don't take us for fools; you are the fools. You are scum. I am culture slut insurrected, and I AM VENGEANCE. Do you think poetry will lie down and die for scum? No. We will fight you to the last. Poetry is not dead; it's stronger than ever, and it's going to wipe out scum like you.