I Told You

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Ernesto's poem has been withdrawn at his request. 

Julian Jordon says:

This site is run as a service to users and is largely funded and run by volunteers. We do not claim to be perfect but do our best when challenges arise. It is through addressing those challenges that we can learn and improve. Doubtless, we got this wrong in lots of ways.
I regret any ill-feeling that has occurred as a result of this poem becoming poem of the month, particularly that suffered by Ernesto, whose only <crime> was to have the temerity to post his work on what he understood to be a user-friendly poetry website. The fact that he found it not to be so friendly is deeply regrettable.
Ernesto did not ask for his poem to be chosen. By moving the poem away from the home page, we satisfied some of those who felt offended by its presence, whether for themselves or on behalf of minors. We thus alienated others concerned about “freedom of speech’ on a poetry website. In the end, we have to make a decision. So we did.
We are very relaxed in the way we moderate the site, generally only responding to complaints about postings.
The snag is that that leaves the arbiters of taste to be those with loudest voices. We have no clear editorial policy on such matters. Perhaps we should now?
One of the first to condemn the posting of the poem has, since, privately uttered regret at doing so, and is as disappointed as I am at the intemperate language used by some contributors. I regret that some were rather quick to condemn the poet, rather than to critique his work.
We did not censor Ernesto. We did put the poem at one remove from the usual POTM slot in order to assuage the concerns of some users. That is not censorship. Neither Ernesto nor his poem is banned from the site. He withdrew his own work.
I don’t like the poem, interpreting it as an abusive act against a woman, rather than between consenting males as Ernesto intended. The fact that it offers such an interpretation as mine is what swayed me to decide not to leave it on the home page, rather than the baying of the mob. But I note and accept that people whose opinion I respect take a different view.
Ernesto has had the good grace to say that he can see how such a reading of his piece might create concern. I am sorry we have lost him, as he is a brave poet trying – like us all – to make sense of the world through poetry. His work is challenging to some of us, but then – as Hilary points out in her posting – a site like this needs poets who challenge the status quo.
We are planning new innovations over the coming 12 months, things that we are sure will make your experience of using the site an even more enjoyable one. But the thing that most people have enjoyed so far with the site is the friendliness and welcoming nature of it, reflecting our philosophy with the poetry events.
I would like to draw everyone’s attention to the terms of use of the site, and to our request that people do not make personal attacks on others.
So, for the future, please, remember your manners when posting. Enjoy sensibly!


Winner of John Tripp Award 2009 ►


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