A Poem in The Nation Spurs a Backlash and an Apology

Jennifer Schuessler in the NYT:

Since its founding in 1865, The Nation has published some of the most important voices in American poetry, including Hart Crane, Elizabeth Bishop, Amiri Baraka and Adrienne Rich.

But last week, the venerable progressive weekly published what may have been a first: an apology for one of its offerings that ran twice as long as the poem itself.

The 14-line poem, by a young poet named Anders Carlson-Wee, was posted on the magazine’s website on July 5. Called “How-To,” and seemingly written in the voice of a homeless person begging for handouts, it offered advice on how to play on the moral self-regard of passers-by by playing up, or even inventing, hardship.

But after a firestorm of criticism on social media over a white poet’s attempt at black vernacular, as well as a line in which the speaker makes reference to being “crippled,” the magazine said it had made a “serious mistake” in publishing it.

More here.