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When the poetry editors of The Nation virtuously publish an amateurish but super-woke poem, only to discover that the poem stumbled across several trip wires of political correctness; when these editors… then jointly write a letter oozing bathos and career anxiety and begging forgiveness from their critics; when the poet himself publishes a statement of his own — a missive falling somewhere [among] an apology, a Hail Mary pass, and a suicide note; and when all of this is accepted in the houses of the holy as one of the regrettable but minor incidents that take place along the path toward greater justice, something is dying.

From an essay about how you make the world safe for Jordan Peterson.


The second comment is from Grace Schulman, a terrific poet, and poetry editor of The Nation for thirty-five years.

Last month, the magazine published a poem by Anders Carlson-Wee. The poet is white. His poem, “How-To,” draws on black vernacular.

Following a vicious backlash against the poem on social media, the poetry editors, Stephanie Burt and Carmen Giménez Smith, apologized for publishing it in the first place: “We made a serious mistake by choosing to publish the poem ‘How-To.’ We are sorry for the pain we have caused to the many communities affected by this poem,” they wrote in an apology longer than the actual poem. The poet apologized, too, saying, “I am sorry for the pain I caused.”

I was deeply disturbed by this episode, which touches on a value that is precious to me and to a free society: the freedom to write and to publish views that may be offensive to some readers.

… As Katha Pollitt, a columnist for The Nation, put it, the magazine’s apology for Mr. Carlson-Wee’s work was “craven” and “looks like a letter from re-education camp.”

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3 Responses to “Two comments about the pathetic goings-on at The Nation magazine.”

  1. theprofessor Says:

    So much pain these days. Between poems like this and teenage boys being scarred for life and needing $2,000,000 to assuage their pain because their high school teacher banged them uncontrollably for a few months, I don’t know how we as a society can find the strength to continue.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Excellent snark, tp, and I didn’t even bother noting in my post that it was a bad poem. What else is the new Nation liable to publish? And then apologize for…

  3. theprofessor Says:

    Here’s another of his that may incense the animal rights community.

    I do feel for this guy. Here you are, an honest-to-God progressive from Fargo, ND, who has spent his young life hopping freight trains, building hobo cred, and seeking carefully crafted adventurous misadventures to thrill the creative writing profs and poetry judges with faux hypermasculine Tom Sawyerish bullshit, hoping, no doubt, to land one of those creative writing faculty gigs–and damned if someone doesn’t out you as a white boy affecting the mantle of acceptable wokeness! The fricking PC landmine you unknowingly built with the best intentions goes off right under your fricking feet, and now you need to throw all that pseudo-tough-guy persona right out the fricking window and ASSUME THE FRICKING POSITION: low, prone, nose to the ground, jibbering for forgiveness alongside the editors.

    Life just sucks sometimes.

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