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Going Postal 

Who's slamming who?

As a fellow liberal, I must say that Creative Loafing's construction of laughable straw men from the right does a disservice to progressive politics.

I steadfastly refuse to believe that the writers who have been featured over the last few weeks are the best right-wing polemicists in Atlanta. Indeed, the prospect is frightening.

Generally, I think your Creative Loathing pieces speak quite well for themselves, and feel no urge to comment on them. They are what they are. However, Mary Grabar's piece is so extravagantly ridiculous that I cannot resist (Creative Loathing, "Shouts and gestures," April 21).

Firstly, I feel for her. I am sure that hers is a heart-rending tale of overwhelming odds overcome by a plucky Slovenian woman determined to become that rarest of birds, the conservative intellectual. I can only imagine the cruel and thoughtless arrows that have been aimed at her by liberal colleagues over the years. I am sure her tiresomely predictable lobbing of the word "socialist" in my general direction does not even come close to the heartless derision she has surely suffered. It is a tale that should be told.

But her notion of right-wing poetics is curious. Does this kind of work exist? If so, what is it? Maybe meditations on how a poem is never as beautiful as it is when it is commodified? Or perhaps verse explicating how the harmony of the spheres is instantiated in the perfect justice of state capitalism? Of course, odes to the celestial purity of marriage unsullied by the gay hordes are de rigueur.

But seriously - what the hell is she talking about?

Of course, if there were examples of explicitly right-wing contemporary poetry that is unjustly ignored, we would have something to talk about, and maybe this letter would rise above my helpless wallowings in left-wing hate. Indeed, if right-wing poetry were more than a sort of Dada thought experiment, if Dr. Grabar engaged in the very instructive exercise of trying to actually write right-wing poetry, her column would be well worth its while, and I would be the first to clamor for her to be made a permanent contributor. I mean, it doesn't have the cache of the Java Monkey poetry slam, but unfortunately, it's the best we can do.

- Owen Talley, Athens

As a participant in the Atlanta Slam Finals at Java Monkey, I enjoyed Mary Grabar's critique of the event, but I did want to add a few points.

First off, there is no ideological or political slant to who reads or performs at Java Monkey on Sunday nights - it's first come, first serve, end of story. In the past few years, I have seen hip-hop rambles and conversations with a crack pipe as well as academic types reading formal verse, a young man singing a Hugo Wolf aria with boom-box accompaniment, an emotional tribute to veterans, a recounting of first homosexual sex in the basement on shag carpet, plus sonnets, raps, harangues, and last Sunday, a visiting Ph.D. from Philadelphia acted out a dramatic monologue to the accompaniment of host Kodac Harrison's guitar.

Second, poetry is, by nature, marketplace driven. I have a full drawer of rejection slips from various journals and quarterlies to prove it. But I also have had many poems and stories published, so ... does that make me a dilettante for participating in slams? Perhaps, but I cannot ignore this fact: Stratified verse that the public never reads or experiences is ultimately meaningless.

Third, to accuse a poetry slam of one-mindedness and an insular mind-set while defending the policy-making decisions of the Bush administration? Oh, please. This presidency is now famous for suppressing any internal opinions which might possibly go contrary to what they've already decided to do - but at least with slams, human lives are not needlessly sacrificed.

Lastly, I wish Dr. Grabar good luck with her writing and the dilemma of finding the time to pursue it, a concern I share.

- Rupert Fike, Atlanta

Already left behind?

I read Left Behind as it was offered by a co-worker to express how significant his faith was ("The Rapture: special report," April 21). (I agree with your conclusion that God [if he exists] would not discriminate by which means goodness [via religion] is attained.) Finishing the first installment, I declined the sequels because of how appalled I was by this ethnic/religious/racist bias.

With a popular pre-emptive war advocated by a military deserter, our global nuclear "superiority," no national energy policy, tax incentives for Hummers, abolishment of public transportation (AMTRAK and MARTA), more money demanded for highways, oil drilling in the arctic wilderness, our theocratic leadership in ethics disputes, the increasing debt burden on our grandchildren, and current social programs cut with the undercurrent of racism ... I fear we may have missed the Rapture and have been left behind.

- Peter S. Morgan Jr., Roswell

We Matter

Your "Shrinking services" article was beautifully written and on target (News & Views, April 21).

As the mom of a child with autism spectrum disorder, I fear that my son could end up spending most of his time in hospitals. As you may already know, not all children and adults with disabilities even qualify for Medicaid waivers that could help keep them in real homes and not institutions. Unfortunately, a lot of people with autism spectrum disorder do not qualify because their IQ is usually higher than what is required to qualify for Medicaid waivers and community living waivers.

It means a lot to me that you care enough to bring this to the attention of your readers. Thank you for trying to make a difference for people who, in the eyes of too many others, just don't count!

- Debra Noonan-Elber, Dawsonville

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