By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT
Since no amount of money will buy for us a new Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Keats, or Eliotand since the bequest to Poetry Magazine might instead encourage a lot more bad poetryI suggest the money be used to buy off the poets who presently vex us.
A relatively small stipend, contingent on a promise from the recipient not to write verse, would do us all a world of good.
Re "Poetry Nation":
The only way to insure that poetry is taken more seriously in this country is to make it actually relevant to regular Americans. I'd propose that the money go toward innovative educational programming. Poetry could be taught in schools by energetic young poets who reach out to the students on their own turf, rather than requiring them to struggle through poems that don't sing to them. Readings could be sponsored in public places. Poetry spots could take the place of commercials during prime-time television.
As a poet, I am for poets' being valued and, as a result, viably paid and employed. But I know that in a capitalist society, supply and demand rules, so first we need to work on making poetry an experience that Americans demand, the same way they demand sports events, mystery novels, and a good milk shakethey have to be shown that poetry is something they can enjoy.
There is no doubt that the fast-growing security industry has created a boom in gun sales in Israel, but, skeptic that I am, I found the fantastic claims made by Ian Urbina ["Up in Arms," November 27-December 3] hard to believe.
I doubt that all "Israelis flock to buy guns." In fact, not one of my friends, relatives, co-workers, or neighbors owns a gun.
Perhaps if the article had been illustrated with a photograph of a long line of Israelis waiting outside the Magnum Gun Store clutching almost-impossible-to-acquire legal permits, I would be more convinced.
Re Ian Urbina's "Up in Arms":
Let's add a few more details that stress the difference between getting a gun in Israel and one in America.
1. In Israel, a person only gets to own one gun. The manufacture, model, and serial number all appear on the gun license.
2. A gun license is for only three years. In order to obtain a license, a person must complete a course that includes both firearm safety and a specified proficiency level at the firing range.
With these points in mind, even Urbina should acknowledge that Israel's gun-licensing procedure is superior to the laws in most countries.
NIMBY GOES DOWN
Although many other publications in New York have written about the conditions at the Malibu Hotel, it was always from the perspective of the neighbors' quality-of-life complaints.
It was only The Village Voice that took the time and effort to delve beyond the obviously superficial story and discover that the building conditions were but a visible symptom of a systemic failure in the administration of government in New York City.
Thank you for exposing the complex web of greedy landlords, duplicitous bureaucrats, and party functionaries who waste millions of taxpayer dollars while our most vulnerable citizens suffer mostly in silence.
Please! I don't have time to wade through all of the asides and off-the-topic remarks. (Half of his review is contained in parentheses, which should tell you something.) Seward should instead say something about the music and background of the band. I still don't know if Dälek is an über-Scandinavian metal band or some weirdo third-wave ska thang.
ON NATIVE GROUNDS
I think it's strange that we have museums about the Holocaust, which happened in Europe, and no museum about slavery, which happened here on our own soil.
We could learn more about our country's history and culture from an African American/slavery museum than from any other possible type of museumexcept for one about capitalism.
The performances were all excellent, and the timing was superb. The only thing that deserves "the hook" is Soloski's review.
Morris Plains, New Jersey
OFF THE HOOK?
Did Janet Kim ever visit Red Hook prior to writing this piece ["Close-Up on Red Hook," Neighborhoods, December 4-10], or did she call a couple of white folks she knew who lived in the neighborhood? The nonchalant mention of Fairway and Ikea fail to consider that these two "revitalization" efforts have divided a community into racial poles. She failed to interview one grassroots organization, and never mentioned Defontes sandwich shop or Sunny's Bar.