October 23rd, 2013 / 12:48 pm
Behind the Scenes & Massive People & Mean & Snippets

Over at a mock Poetry Foundation Jim Behrle’s chimed in about the Kill List: his being upset about it, among other things, as well as his attempts to contact the publisher(s) to see if they’d “comment on any efforts they made to fact check the poem?

I mean, really? Really? And I’m with Mark Johnson 1000 literal (ha ha) % when he says that Behrle’s piece is “so embarrassing.”

And how embarrassing, also, the way in which so many others have reacted to this Kill List. And how embarrassing, also, that CAConrad’s heaped abuse on Mark for speaking up in the poem’s defense, comparing (after other insults) Mark’s “stupidity” to the “plaque on very filthy teeth.”

And how embarrassing (but not surprising) that Conrad’s little drones let him get away with shit like this.

This Kill List’s turned out to be a great litmus test, indeed. Blah, blah.


  1. Daniel Beauregard

      what happens when you get a fact wrong in a poem? I AM FUCKED RAUAN!

  2. Rauan Klassnik

      people are ready to pounce in all their righteousness!
      in all their outraged righteousness!

  3. Jeffrey Morgan

      It’s embarrassing to be offended by and respond strongly or even offensively to a piece of writing designed (in part) to provoke said offense and response? I’m confused.

  4. Rauan Klassnik

      you don’t seem confused

  5. Jeffrey Morgan

      I’m trying to understand if you have a legitimate complaint about the “over the top” responses to a poem called “The Kill List.” I’m confused because you seem to be in earnest, but then you deflect. Is this part of the larger performance? If so, carry on. I withdraw the question. If not, I want to understand more about these “embarrassments,” and why you see them as such. The responses by Behrle and Conrad seem fair game to me (so does “The Kill List” itself seem fair game to me ((though in poor taste–but perhaps I’m kind of prudish)), by the way).

  6. Johannes Goransson

      Rauan, I’m kind of with Jeffrey here. I think that it’s de-classe to be offended: it is, as you note, “embarrassing” to be offended. If we have taste we’ll be more flippant about it (as I was, strangely acting tasteful for once, for the embarrassing reason that I was deemed kill-worthy, while usually I’m just exclude-worthy). So the only thing I guess I oppose is the idea that we should not be embarrassing, and also the people gloating over Jim’s embarrassing behavior (it’s how they show they have taste, and it turns the poem into something lesser, a taste-measuring device). Lets be fucking embarrassing. Or angry or sad or helpless or idiotic or visionary.

  7. Rauan Klassnik

      sure let’s embarrass ourselves with our humanity because, well, that’s what we are, human, messy, etc. and i guess i am gloating, and that’s embarrassing too. gloating over Jim humiliating himself. gloating over Conrad embarrassing himself.

  8. Rauan Klassnik

      o, they’re fair game alright. and Johannes is right that i am kind of gloating also (how bad of me, how humiliating, how embarrassing)

      but isn’t it ridiculous to fact check this poem?

      isn’t it ridiculous to get so abusive against someone else sticking up for it?

      the great thing about the Kill List is that it’s exposing people’s humanity, for better and/or for worse. (and I guess i fall into both categories)

  9. Rauan Klassnik

      (repeating what i wrote above)

      the great thing about the Kill List is that it’s exposing people’s humanity, for better and/or for worse. (and I guess i fall into both categories)

  10. Christopher Lirette

      Just to clarify, the line about fact checking in the Behrle piece—wasn’t that part of the jokey “I’m not comfortable, I’m hella rich,” as in, like, Behrle might not be actually advocating fact-checking in a poem? I see that his piece was coming from a place of outrage, but I didn’t quite see him being 100% serious about truth/honesty/etc (and especially not serious about fact-checking a poem, which is a hilarious concept).

  11. Jeremy Hopkins

      Agreed, and no better argument for the total elimination of the human element from literature and criticism could be made.
      THE TEXT IS ALL — text.robot.txt.robot.txt.rbt.robot

  12. Rauan Klassnik

      well, i think he did fact-check the poem (even though you’re right it is “a hilarious concept) because he did indeed contact Josef Kaplan (transcript of their back and forth is available on Kaplan’s Facebook page).

      Behrle’s piece is bizarre. I mean sure is it jokey. but then it’s serious too.

      And, again, i think it’s embarrassing. (and, again, it’s embarrassing that i’m gloating. whereas i should just be genuinely and only bemoaning man’s fallen condition as reflected in these embarrassments) ….

  13. Jeffrey Morgan

      I thought Jim’s “fact checking” was more rhetorical than real, but I also wonder if the poem wouldn’t have been more interesting if it had been data driven (rather than a matter of perception–or whatever was used to put poets in one of the two categories).

      Is it ridiculous to get abusive? I want to say: yes, always. I also want to say: maybe, but the poem invites that. I also want to say: “don’t start no stuff won’t be no stuff.”

      I think embarrassment is hard to predict and also an emotion that quickly turns into other things (anger, shame, resentment, etc). If you want to expose people’s humanity, then you can’t complain about people’s humanity.

  14. Rauan Klassnik

      i think we could discuss/argue for hours… (appreciate the comments) …

  15. buckd_dc

      Rather like Issue 1 all over again — ‘member that trumped up contretemps? Where’d those guys (Carpenter & McLaughlin) go, anyway?

  16. Rauan Klassnik

      not sure where those guys are! … but Joe Hall and I were talking last night and Issue 1 came up a few times as we talked Kill List and its reverberations,…

      (hope you’re well, man)

  17. John Bloomberg-Rissman

      If it’s a litmus test, what’s it a litmus test *of*? I can make up a justification for Kill List, and I can make up a condemnation. But if it’s all made up … I’m seriously asking, what is this a test of?

  18. deadgod

      I think Christopher Lirette is right: the “fact check” stuff is of the same tepid sarcasm as the ‘I’m not comfy–I’m rich!’ stuff. I don’t think Behrle was outraged in the way that he’d be were he accused of, say, hurting animals for pleasure, but his blogicle seems to me clearly hostile to Kaplan’s, eh, joke. ‘Why you gotta pick on me, bud?’-kind of thing. A week from now, Behrle might wish that he’d thought of a MUCH more effective counterpunch–if he even feels that Kaplan was actually being personal and not sophomorically/cleverly political-economic.

      (I speak as a champeen of the next-morning comeback.)

      And with


      Behrle betrays his fiscal deprivation: “rich poets” pay attention to the red lines under the words they screen-type.

  19. Rauan Klassnik

      deadgod — (yeah, i bet Behrle will think he could have done better. this was terrible. and, like i said, embarrassing.)

      and, i see where you’re coming from about the fact checking stuff being sarcasm but i think he seriously fact checked. i mean, he did contact Josef. the guy was and is seriously pissed. i just don’t think Behrle can think or write in any other registers than the shades of sarcasm.

  20. Rauan Klassnik

      i appreciate you comment here, John. and for one thing i’d say for sure is that the Kill List has proven to be a pretty good indicator of whether or not you’re a jackass. seriously. kind of. pretty much. really.

  21. Rauan Klassnik

      or maybe not.

  22. John Bloomberg-Rissman

      Hi Rauan. Without doubting you, I wonder if this discussion will ever get to the point where someone explains how exactly it does that. I have to admit, I will confess, that when I first read Kill List my reaction was threefold. First, it was laughter, and disappointment that I wasn’t included (yes, I checked). My second reaction that this is a clever takedown of American drone politics (an incredibly ridiculously poorly informed kill list, the kind of thing Obama plays with). My third reaction was that this could only happen in Poetry Land. My thought here was that if someone rolled into a bar around, say, 1 AM, or up to the corner in Pomona CA, and said, you people are on my kill list, well, they’d be lucky if they didn’t get a cue stick broken over their head. Or a cap in their ass. So I get that it says something about poets as a peculiar breed … Personally, I prefer my second reaction to my others. I think this is indeed a good takedown of our stupid war machine mechanisms … But I have no idea if any of this is what the author or you might be thinking, or …

  23. mimi

      i never considered ‘fact’ when i read the poem

  24. Rauan Klassnik

      sensible woman!

  25. Rauan Klassnik

      hey John, that’s great about the bar and cue sticks breaking over heads,… i guess that’s what certain poets are doing,… and they’re coming up Positive on my Litmus Test… (Positive as in you have Rabies, but that’s different)…

      i like the military/drone idea,… but for me (as for many others) the interest is in waves, the reverberations, the pool sticks and caps in the asses,…

      (and i guess it’s embarrassing that i’m such a gleeful voyeur, musing “hey, jackass, you’re no better than an angry guy with a pool stick in Pomona”

      peace, man,…

  26. John Bloomberg-Rissman

      Thanks Rauan. So, then, this is kind of a pacifism test … (I haven;t been in a fight since I was 12. Some guy was choking my little brother so I kicked him in the back … not much of a fight, really.)

      Peace to you, too.

  27. bartleby_taco

      was thinking of writing a parody version of this wherein i write about certain fiction writers penis sizes:

      George Saunders has a massive penis.

      Thomas Pynchon has an average-sized penis.

      Scott McClanahan has a massive penis.

      Joan Didion has a large penis.

      Bret Easton Ellis has a small penis.

      Alice Munro has an average-sized penis.

      Jonathan Franzen has a small penis.


      gave up pretty soon into it.

  28. rawbbie

      if the poem is used for actual killing, it will be the most influential poem ever written in america.

  29. JakeLevineSpork

      forget the words and the poets and the “feelings”, i feel bad for the trees that died to make the paper.

  30. Rauan Klassnik

      i’m guessing you were concerned about the fact checking required ??

  31. Johannes Goransson

      It might be interesting to compare this piece not to say some poem but the Seth Abramson’s list of poetry activists, a list that generated just as much (if not more) harangues and hatred. It might also be interesting to compare it to Tao Lin’s poem about eating a whale.

  32. Rauan Klassnik

      poets do need culling from time to time

  33. Rauan Klassnik

      several people in talking about Josef Kaplan have said something like “well, he’s not as bad as Seth Abramson” …

  34. JakeLevineSpork

      By the way. I think this amplifies the role of the author at the expense of the impactfulness of language. … like all conceptual poetry. Is not the whole thing about including the author in a group of meaningful poets and then asking ” wouldn’t it be great to be a part of the poetry conversation by writing what is the opposite of poems …… the unremarkable and mundane list! I think the answer is yes and it’s gross. Tao lins whale poem and Kenny goldsmith are also revolting. I’m vomiting on myself, whom I now hate.

  35. James Embry

      This seems like one of those things that could “exist” without the ability to respond/counter-respond/comment on it online, but probably wouldn’t. That’s not a statement about it’s objective value, which I’m not going to make, mostly because I: A) only learned about the poem, and response to it, by reading this article, and B) started reading the poem, but didn’t finish it because I thought–about 80-90% certain–that I “got the idea” and C) probably wouldn’t have, even if A and B had not been the case, because, unless the poem turned unexpectedly, in its remaining pages, into something more conventionally “self-contained” meaning, in this case, less reliant on analysis of its “metadata” (by which I mean any previous knowledge of the poets mentioned within, as well as the context in which it is being discussed on this site and elsewhere which is, as I mentioned, the context through which I was introduced to the work itself).

      Having disclaimed myself, to the best of my ability, out of saying anything “embarrassing” (except insofar as I am, admittedly, commenting on a debate related to a work which I haven’t “finished” which could, also admittedly, make everything I have to say “embarrassing” but, since it’s right there upfront, I at least figure that, based on your position, I’m either 100% embarrassing myself or not at all, which seems to me, at least, preferable to ambiguity).

      The idea of “fact-checking” a poem seems to me, on its face, laughable…however, I am not sure if this is because of an inherent quality of the medium of poetry (Topic for another long discussion: does poetry have any “inherent” qualities?) or simply because the vast majority of poetry seems to resist such a process? From just a small sampling (“Ode to the West Wind” by Percy Shelley, “Autumn” by Amy Lowell, and “i have high self-esteem and it’s making me stare” by Tao Lin, in case anyone is really curious) I am checking that statement, and I find that these poems, as well as all others, save “Kill List” that I can recall even fragments of, resist the type of “fact-checking” commonly performed on pieces of journalism and memoirs, through one of (at least) three devices, or a mixture thereof: A) Ambiguous sentence structure (How can you fact check a statement which can plausibly be taken one of several different ways?), B) Intermingling of literal and metaphorical language (How does one “prove” a metaphor or simile?), and C) Lack of access to the poet’s interior self ( ~90% of the things poets claim to have seen, heard, touched, smelled, felt, etc. are probably not able to be verified by an unbiased party). For these reasons, a great majority of poems seem to be unverifiable, even on the level of an individual sentence. Of the examples that came to mind, only the Lin poem seems to have any discreet sentences which might be able to be fact-checked, (assuming one had access to, maybe, Tao’s mom, or anyone in the same house during the relevant period of time, who might be able to verify a statement like “from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. i ate things and listened to music”). I think that this is probably what people mean when they say that a poet who writes like Tao Lin has a more “literal” style–that there are, at least, lines and little fragments of the poem which seem like they could have come out of a police report, or a deposition, or some other kind of writing whose value is seen as being proportional to how “true” it is. That is not to say that “literal” writing is the same as “true” writing, but (maybe) to say that “literal” writing is striking at least in part because of its structural resemblance to “true” writing.

      If something is striking because it resembles something else, then I think it to be a reasonable exercise of curiosity to determine how closely it resembles that thing (For example, if someone read a poem out loud which “sounded” like a haiku, I might naturally count the number of syllables back in my head, if for no other reason, to determine whether I would subsequently describe that poem as “a haiku” or as “haiku-like”).

      Therefore, because I find “Kill List” striking, because it resembles something other than a poem, and I subsequently ind myself doing something very close to the thing that I think is “stupid”: fact-checking a poem. Rather than try to determine whether a poet who is mentioned is “rich” or “comfortable”, I scan the poem to find the name of a poet who I know is, if not “rich” then at least “comfortable” by most agreed-upon standards: Frederick Seidel. I know that Seidel is well-off, not because it is a question I ask of every poet, but because he writes about things like owning and riding Ducati motorcycles, and because I feel like riding a Ducati motorcycle is most likely more worthy of poetic description than anything I have done or will do today (such as: take adderall, watch autumn leaves fall, discharge a compressed-air duster perilously close to my head, participate in a conference call). Because of this, I am glad that Seidel is a rich poet. It seems that, if we need poor poets, we need rich poets and comfortable poets as well. Alternately, if we don’t need poor poets, I am not sure we need any poets, or, rather, any class of poets. I think that, therefore, if there is any rhetorical content in “Kill List” (and, whether that content is “literal” or “ironic”, there probably is) it pertains to a distinction between “classes” of poets, therefore, I feel unmoved by it.

      I do feel, however, that the form of “Kill List” has motivated me, even if not to finish it, to ask questions of it, which I did because it is unique to me, and unlike a poem. I am, actually, not sure what it is, therefore, I feel enthralled by it.

  36. Rauan Klassnik

      well put

  37. Ethan Ashley

      Felt disinterested in this until we ended up talking about it in class which, as far as bringing up anything contemporary let alone “conceptual”, rarely happens. Now my interest is piqued.

      Teacher apparently knows someone on the list who feels threatened and also not “comfortable” but far below that, so the accuracy bit comes into play I guess (although teacher would not divulge who exactly it was). The fact that some people–the friend of the teacher–seem to consider this an actual threat against their lives is something which makes me feel a bit of sympathy to some folks listed, but I feel like the title is catchy and that the likelihood that this is some sort of Columbine-esque “announcement” is hard to believe.

      Seems almost as if it could be satirizing the constant bickering among “academic poets” about who is authentic or not.
      Seems equally possible that this is satirizing the idea that whether or not a poet is “rich” will have an impact on their career.
      Seems equally likely he is enforcing it.
      Seems equally likely that Josef K has some envy problems which he used in an artistic way.

      Seems interesting that those who are “comfortable” are not “poets” while those who are “rich” are “rich poets”. Those who are comfortable do not need to be identified as a poet/have not earned poet title?

      I don’t really have any, like, groundbreaking insight into this.
      Overall I think it is interesting, and I showed it to some friends who are not Writing majors and they thought so as well.

  38. Rauan Klassnik

      i agree that overall “it is interesting”…and it’s kind of astonishing to me that some people “seem to consider this an actual threat against their lives”.. not arguing with that, but astonished by it,..

  39. Ethan Ashley

      Seems like the worst possible way to fail if one goes from the Litmus angle aside, maybe, from pressing charges.

  40. Rauan Klassnik

      or to go actually and physically vigilante

  41. M. Kitchell

      if there’s anything i’ve learned from the internet it’s that no matter what i write i never want to be called a poet

  42. deadgod

      Fact-checking can be a truculent – or just silly – demand to impose on artfulness in language, but, to me, anyway, consistency–both internal and with respect to intersubjective reality–is a value worth imposing on a poem.

  43. Rauan Klassnik

      sometimes the glory’s in the glitches,…

      and in other news Behrle just tweeted:

      “After much thought on the matter & attempts to converse with the poet & publisher I’ve decided to file a police report about ‘The Kill List’ “

  44. A NEW THEORY OF LOVE | Scarriet

      […] latest poetry buzz—stirred up by the poet Jim Behrle—concerns a book, The Kill List, which is driven by […]

  45. deadgod

      Too good to be true??

      (Not the tweet, the fact.)

  46. Rauan Klassnik

      Behrle’s almost certainly just trying to make Josef sweat (but,..)

  47. mimi

      is there any discipline, other than Poetry, in which such a Kill List, lengthy and compulsively composed, based on possibly inaccurately (‘non-fact-checked’) perceived affluence (which affluence is ostensibly far greater than that of list composer), would Not be reported to the police?

  48. deadgod

      Sure there is: the discipline of Security.

      There is a history of this kind of ‘poem’:

      But, as to my self, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and although utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal, which, as it is wholly new, so it hath something solid and real, of no expence and little trouble, full in our own power, and whereby we can incur no danger in disobliging the nine Muses.


  49. Rauan Klassnik

      a gun on a table in a poem
      is NOT the same
      as a gun on a table

  50. mimi

      i know that rauan

      i started reading online about the legal definition of written ‘threat’, ‘prior restraint’, etc

      i need a lawyer (a nice lawyer who would explain patiently) to explain to me when one should call the police about a Kill List

  51. mimi

      what about a disgruntled Night Security Guard at WalMart who accidentally leaves his poetic Kill List, upon which are the names of the ‘rich’ and ‘comfortable’ higher-ups in the home office, on the table in the employees’ lounge?

  52. JosephYoung

      i was at the release party for kill list and several other books from the same series/publisher and afterward i and several people were standing around looking at the book [kaplan didn’t read from it that night], trying to figure out what it was. quite a few of the people i was standing with were listed in the book, and again we were speculating what it meant. but at no time did we even consider that it was anything but conceptual or even that it in some way insulted those listed. seems ok to possibly be insulted– even though we didn’t perceive it that way–but i am astounded that anyone could take it as an actual threat. it’s poetry.

  53. deadgod

      Well, I’m not any kind of lawyer, but I’ve got to think that context is relevant — especially in the case of what’s clearly a ‘poem’.

      (Maybe those suicide-supposedly-provoked-by-a-rock-song cases would be legally (or at least philosophically) apposite?)

      A list lying around at work with bosses’ names and titled ‘Kill List’ is, it seems to me, easily a different, eh, document than this book. Maybe not! Probably a good idea to tidy up the ol’ desk…

  54. mimi

      well exactly

      thus my initial rhetoric “is there any discipline, other than Poetry…?”

      you mentioned swift – i place swift in the discipline of Poetry

      not sure what you meant by “the discipline of Security” – maybe you could elaborate for poor ol’ mimi?

      you mention “suicide-provok(ing)-rock-song(s)” – i’ll place them in the discipline of Poetry

      now about that Night Security Guard at WalMart – maybe he’s taking a Poetry Writing class during the day at the local community college?

  55. mimi

      ps – i hope you don’t think i’m advocating contacting the police – i’m not!
      simply responding to your comment about behrle tweet

  56. Rauan Klassnik


  57. Laura A. Warman


  58. deadgod

      By “Security”, I meant ‘national security’, ‘drug-war security’, ‘RICO security’, even patrolmen who know the names of neighborhood troublemakers. –just the thing that Kaplan exploits/mocks with his title.

      If someone ran for President behind a ‘kill list’ guaranteed to bring back dollar-fifty gas, she or he would win pretty easily. Now, what that has to do with $ in poetry, and poets’ weird ambitions, and so on… maybe two different things mixed up to confused effect? (And why not.)

      With respect to poetry–let’s say, public speech–as an institution, I agree with the guys at the beginning of this thread: if you write something (or make a movie or song or etc.) that’s outrageous, that’s deliberately offensive, then it’s hardly rational for you to be offended or even surprised by other people’s offense. Kaplan is getting from Behrle what Kaplan wanted, right?

      Kill List isn’t the same as handing a teller a note that says ‘i have a gun put all the $$ in this bag and if i think u hit the alarm ill kill u’, and then when you get shot and arrested, saying, ‘Oh, that note was an art project on “free speech”!’

      And Behrle’s fear — that somebody’s going to try to impress Jody Foster — , that’s Plato’s warning: using words (and music and images and so on) is dangerous, because people just want an excuse to believe and do any fucking thing.

      The position of a serious ironist–like Kaplan–is fraught.

      Still think if he were prosecuted for, eh, public menacing, that would be a) a joke–material for his next project–, and b) a possibility he could reasonably have anticipated.

  59. mimi

      thanks, deaders, this makes a lot of sense to me now –

      Security does not report to the police, it IS the police

      i think i was confused thinking that you were using (immediately on the heels of “Sure there is: the discipline of Security.” with no transitional clause as warning) Swift as an example of ‘Security’ – i thought maybe you meant Swift had the ‘Security’ of writing (about eating poor povertybabies) from the safety and lofty advantage of a literate white male of authority, an “Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs, then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.” (wiki)

      i like everything else you say here, too – fraught!

  60. Jeremy Hopkins

      This seems a clear rip-off of Partial List of People to Bleach, which was itself basically a rip-off of the Complete List of People to Bleach.
      [I was going to refresh my memory, but I can’t easily find the single story, PLoPtB, now that the collection has been published.]
      Why was there no enragement at Lutz?
      Are they not real people, or names borne by someone somewhere?
      Is bleach not deadly when used nefariously or irresponsibly?

  61. deadgod

      No, by “Security” I meant, prosaically, the profession and institution of ‘keeping people safe’. Swift was an abrupt pivot to the kind of thing Kill List seems to me to be: a provocation.

      Racial profiling exploits a (notoriously careless) kind of ‘kill list’; kill lists are an exaggerated way of (maybe) understanding ‘keeping people safe’ categorically.

      And Behrle turning to the police for protection from his having been listed as a threat — is that not, from Kaplan’s point of view, perfect?

      Your ‘hunt vs. gather’ analogy restates my objection to McSweeney’s (I think: hyperbolic) take: yes, as readers and as political-economic actors, we’re all ‘drones’, but we’re most of us each more complicated than reduction to that one function.

      (Not that she’s being so crude, but I can’t stand those ‘we’re all Nazis, we’re all Hitler, we’re all Stalin, we’re all Charlie Manson’ raps.)

      That parenthesis accepted, we Americans are definitely collectively complicit with these sloppy, counterproductive assassination-from-5000-miles-away drone strikes.

      What to do? I vote, but I also drive, you know? Things like recycling aren’t absolutely futile, but they are largely futile in the face of pell-mell consumption.

      So, without just throwing your hands up and handing the keys to conservatism, but also without deceiving yourself as to effectively resisting pro-drone idiots, what to do?

  62. mimi

      i was being too broad, i admit, when i wrote ” ‘Security IS the police”

      prosaic definition – duly noted; “abrupt pivot” – likewise

      thanks for your clear, patient responses
      : )

      “what to do?” very good question

  63. columbusmatt

      I found Jim Behrles’s response to be fun and engaging.

      A good read.

      Unlike Mr. Klassnick’s giggly-sniggling-Jr.-High-school-gossip-in-the-halls response.

  64. Rauan Klassnik

      “i found Jim Behrles’s response to be fun and engaging. A good read.” — sounds like Jim’s grandmother writing a review for him on Amazon or Goodreads,…

      but, if you found it fun, Matt Dennison, then more power to ya,…

  65. Jeremy Hopkins

      Am I wrong about Lutz’s ‘story’?
      Just trying to get my ‘facts’ straight.

  66. Rauan Klassnik

      i don’t know

  67. columbusmatt

      Let me get this straight:

      Mr. Klassnik can ridicule Jim Behrele, CAConrad and his “little drones,” but if
      someone comments on Mr. Klassinik’s response to the “great litmus test” he (and
      Jim’s grandmother) is insulted.


  68. Rauan Klassnik


  69. columbusmatt

      “the Kill List has proven to be a pretty good indicator of whether or not
      you’re a jackass. seriously. kind of. pretty much. really.”

      So true, so true…

  70. "Kill List": A Bad Poem as Provocation | Bark: A Blog of Literature, Culture, and Art

      […] when he’s really gallivanting about on a yacht, etc. etc.) In turn, Rauan Klassnik wrote an article for HTMLGiant lambasting Behrle’s reaction as embarrassing and a “litmus test” of some […]

  71. Brett
  72. deadgod

      But for my money, here’s what’s interesting about the whole charade: none of it focused on poetry.

      Yoko didn’t focus on Salinger’s storytelling skilz; Jim Brady has never focused on Taxi Driver as a movie.

  73. Brett

      Right, but if one really takes Kaplan’s piece as drone criticism and attempting to showcase the violence/murders of the drone program, a poem like this is probably the least effective way to do it. That’s why it seems like such a gimmick.

  74. deadgod

      Ha ha — by “no”, I meant ‘yes (“no” to Swift’s response being “Security”)’. “Security IS the police” is – “police” taken broadly – exactly right.

  75. deadgod

      Definitely a gimmick — a) a synonym for “concept”, I think (still think the execution-as-opposed-to-idea of Kill List makes it not a ‘conceptual poem’); b) to me, ‘gimmick’ (old guy gives away inheritance to asshole kids before his death; mother connives with bro-in-law to kill father and what’s son to do?; etc.) is no insult.

      I read only a few pages of Kill List before I started Scrolling Right Past and scanning for ‘names’ interesting to me, BUT… I did actually start thinking about the variety of things “rich” and “comfortable” might mean in connection with “poet”. That aspect of the thing worked on me. To me, the title just makes the exercise absurd — or maybe I’m confused. Drone-strike… a bunch of unacknowledged Groucho legislators? –because nobody’s yet hip to the political impotence of Poetry?? Oh kay.

      To the point of your blogicle, most of the interest seems to have been about reactions to the poem and not in reaction to the poem. Behrle (and a few others?) got or pretended to get upset, and then 1001 blogs and 1,000,001 comments.

      But I meant to say in response to your blogicle: that’s the nature of bomb-throwing, right? Nobody asks right away about the chemical composition of the petard or the deviousness of its placement — the owl of Minerva sets aloft later.

  76. Lemon Hound

      It is embarassing. Totally agree.

  77. Jeremy Hopkins

      That’s a great point: people see what could be real reaction in others and wonder whether they should react.
      “Oh, maybe this IS an important poem.” — human

  78. mimi

      i didn’t interpret “Kaplan’s piece as drone criticism”

      joyelle mcsweeney was the (first) one to put the Drone spin on the reading of Kill List; deaders likened it to the Hunter Instinct – (but in the comment thread of different post – it isn’t in This thread – tho even ‘here’ he reports “Scrolling Right Past and scanning for ‘names’ interesting to me”); after a day’s reflection, i realized My reading felt more Gatherer Instinct – (most likely, simply because i’m a slower, more plodding reader)