A Review of Volume Six of The Society of Classical Poets' Journal
This is my review of The Society of Classical Poets' literary Journal, Volume
Six. If you're in a hurry, my advice is to save your money. If you have the time
to consider the evidence, here's why ...
NOTE: Updates appear in bold to make them easier to find.
CAVEAT EMPTOR: With the latest issue of its journal, Volume Seven, The Society of Classical Poets has apparently become a vanity
publication. Members must now purchase the SCP's journal and provide proof of
purchase in order to remain members. This appears to be the case even for members who
weren't included in the journal in question, so the SCP has seemingly gone
"beyond vanity." Because previous journals have been
riddled with errors and lackluster poems, this seems like a vastly unfair
policy. First, one must pay to become a member. Then one must buy shoddy
merchandise in order to remain a member. Whatever happened to putting out books
that people want to buy?
by Michael R. Burch
Beware of False Advertising!
In his awkwardly-worded Introduction to Volume Six of its Journal, Evan
Mantyk calls the Society of Classical Poets a "major force in the revival of
poetry." He touts the "quality" of the poems being published online by the
Society and claims that "all" such poems are "deserving of print publication."
Mantyk laments that "many wonderful poems had to be left out." But as the old
saw goes, "The proof is in the pudding." Some of the "wonderful" poems are
hardly recognizable as English. For instance:
Thy eyes surveying every crest and cave;
the crooked snowy paths and frozen plain;
forgot a wink, in wait of enemy knave.
A newer form will chang’d carcass take
And off the petal, yellow pollen, rake.
And while this life we passage,
Your bloom will help me bear,
My feelings for you, waiting,
Until your [sic] standing here.
The journal’s editors, Mantyk and Connie Phillips, produced some amazingly
awkward and archaic lines themselves. For example:
... Quite safe amid this seas'nal ebb and flow ...
Just know, despite all hardship, you are strong,
And in your heart will always be a song.
... The aching years gone by mere speck neurons ...
I dashed in through the front door of the place,
A maniac who struggled desp’rately ...
Indeed, I’ve traveled all around the world,
And peering down from clouds has been my head ...
The tea-filled, smiling kids to me have changed,
No longer baggage, they’re endangered pets,
Some fleck of gold in each warm breath contained,
“Have they or I or both somehow reset?”
When the editors write so poorly themselves, what hope is there for the books
they "edit" and publish? The SCP website overflows with bad writing and its latest journal
is more of the same.