The Harbourfront Poetry Stage is Exactly as Bad as Slavery

“I conceived of the whole enterprise as like a group of slaves getting together and deciding, after a performance in blackface, who the slave-iest slave was, and then that slave leading the other slaves in a toast to the magnanimity of the masters.”

This is what Shane Nielson is saying today in “The Winnipeg Review” on the subject of why the Harbourfront Centre doing an all-poetry night, and inviting some of those participants to come back and do the IFOA in October, is an atrocity surpassed, or maybe only matched, by slavery. I suspect Shane wants me to rant back at him, but I’m not going to. Where do you start with someone willing to begin with the above comparison, and go further? I’m just going to post this link, and you can go read it for yourself. Some people don’t need the help of my satire.

Later on in the rant, Neilson says this about me, “Mooney was the first winner of this contest, and he has been its host ever since, upping the ironic ante: Mooney has been rewarded with a perpetual gig there, but only after choosing segregation. I am willing to bet that Harbourfront will further reward his sycophancy with a spot for his new book of poems, Folk. Subtitled: How To Get Ahead In The Short Term.”

I don’t know, man. You don’t like the event? That’s cool. I can’t imagine hating it this much, though. I hope the Winnipeg Review likes this bump in traffic they’re going to get.

The Public Segregationist

Explore posts in the same categories: Canadian Literature, Events

7 Comments on “The Harbourfront Poetry Stage is Exactly as Bad as Slavery”

  1. From the sound of it, Shane Neilson would like very much never to be invited to read at Harbourfront. I think perahps he’ll get his wish.

  2. Chris Banks Says:

    Being snarked by Shane Neilson is its own rite of passage. You must be a really good poet Jake. I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to participate in this event.

  3. voxpopulism Says:

    Full disclosure, Doctor Neilson posted a long, fairly hurtful, comment in this space a few minutes ago. I took it down. This is the second comment I’ve ever taken down from my blog. I don’t know…it’s not worth getting bullied over. If anyone feels that they’d benefit from reading it (I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t, but no judgment), I’ll email it to you.

    As Danny Glover said, I’m too old for this shit.


  4. Alex Says:

    I’m really surprised the blackface reference hasn’t been edited out by The Winnipeg Review. Can’t they see how offensive that is?

  5. James Langer Says:

    O how the devil who controls
    The moral asymmetric souls,
    The either-ors, the mongrel halves
    Who find truth in a mirror, laughs.


  6. Today, you are a man, Little Mooney. Bombastic overstatement is just Shane’s m.o. on the web. I’ve been on the receiving end too, and we’re good now. Downright friendly. He’s a good poet, FWIW, but he doesn’t edit/restrain himself when riffing on things he doesn’t like and it too often strays into the personal. I’d have ignored it.

    Besides, he’s a white male bastard. So that has to be worth something. Like 1000 points.

  7. Nikki Says:

    I really can’t decide if that article should be widely derided, or simply ignored.


    Black African slaves did not perform in blackface.

    White male bastards performed in blackface. That’s why they call it “blackface.” Because it is the application of a blackening agent to a face that was not previously…..oh, nevermind.

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