Monday, September 06, 2010

Virginia Quarterly Review, Suicide, & What's So Funny About Peace, Love & Understanding...

I haven't blogged about this even though it's been big news in the poetry community.
If you haven't heard about it, you can read a short article here in the NY Times to catch up.  Basically, the managing editor of the VQR committed suicide (he was 51) and speculation was that it was because of unhappiness at work and "bullying" by the journal's top editor.

I cannot comment on any of this, because I really have no idea who these people were/are.  I have never published at poem at VQR and maybe submitted once.  My friend Allen Braden has his first book A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood (The VQR Poetry Series) come out through them, but really, that's about all I know.

So I guess I haven't blogged about this because I don't feel I know what to say about it, or have anything to add.  And maybe, because it makes me really sad.  Not just, that's-too-bad or what-a-sad-story, but it hits me in the gut to the point when I really think about it.

Maybe because I know melancholy loiters outside many of our writing windows.

I'm not sure.  Maybe there is part of me that just doesn't want to get involved.  Or if I don't talk about it, then it will go away.  Maybe I don't like to hear of another writers/artists' suicide.  Or have to admit how close many of us are to falling apart.

But I read this response on the Rumpus A Rumpus Meditation on Editors, Ambition, and Angry Dependence (in 33 loosely jointed parts): by Steve Almond and well, I thought it was important and well-written and said things I realize I think, but didn't know how to say them.

Here's one part of Steve Almond's essay that I connected with and wanted to share here, but you can click on the link below and read the whole thing for yourself--

We’re going to destroy ourselves as a species if we lose the capacity to imagine the suffering of others. One way to do this – the best way – is via our imaginations, via storytelling. It’s our job to help spread that particular virus, in our work and our lives. The point isn’t to take sides. There are no sides. There’s just the one side. And we’re all on it.


I don't have anything to add here except a reference an Elvis Costello song...

and this--

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline



  1. There's melancholy and then there's depression. Depression takes a lot of lives. Melancholy writes poems sometimes or goes for walks on the beach etc.

  2. I read this article, too, and thought he had some good things to say. I agree there seems to be a shortage of empathy in the world sometimes.

  3. Reb- Good point. Thank you.

    Peter- yes, yes, yes. xo.

    c.c.- thank you.


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