Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Monopolisation of Avant-garde Poetry

Here is an article by Tim Allen called ‘The Kiss of Life? The Kiss of Death? Some Thoughts on Linguistically Innovative Poetry and the Academy’:


Tim wrote it in connection to a feature at The Argotist Online concerning the relationship between academia and avant-garde poetry. The feature is several years old, and was an attempt to get a discussion going about what appears to be an increasing tendency within the English departments of some academic institutions in the US and the UK to monopolise the practice, discourse, dissemination and publication of avant-garde poetry, thus creating a sort of “gold standard” by which avant-garde poetry is to be measured, validated and approved as being “worthy” of academic interest.

I thought the best way to start this discussion was to do a feature about it for The Argotist Online, consisting of articles by US and UK academics responding to an article by Jake Berry that was critical of academic encroachment into the sphere of avant-garde poetry. The feature can be found here:


My original hope for the feature was to get responses to Berry’s article from academics closely involved in this monopolisation process. To that end, I approached many academics, both in the US and the UK, who were involved, to a greater of lesser extent, in this process. Few replied to me, and the majority of those that did, refused to take part in the feature. One or two did initially agree to take part but later changed their minds, for such reasons as having lack of time or having more pressing deadlines for other projects to meet. Consequently, without the involvement of these academics in the feature, the feature was ignored, and failed to garner any online interest, despite being viewed thousands of times within the first few hours of it being online.

Recently, Tim and I were discussing these issues via email, and I suggested to him that he formulate his opinions on the subject as an article, so that they could be accumulated in one place and read by others. He readily agreed, and consequently wrote the article mentioned above. 

My thanks to him for taking the time to write it.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

A Survey of How Poetry Can Be Read and Written

I’ve just come across a feature I'm included in by Peter Philpott for his site Modern Poetry. It’s a survey of various ideas held or rehearsed by poets and academics about the reception and production of poetry. I'm included regarding various articles I’ve written that advocate reception theory as a useful tool for appreciating poetry. Others included are:

Matthew Caley, Will Rowe, Ian Davidson, Johan de Wit, J. H. Prynne, Joe Kennedy, Harriet Tarlo, Philip Terry, Lawrence Upton, Brian Kim Stefans, Sheila E. Murphy, Tim Love, Andrew Duncan, Willian Watkin, Peter Riley, Reginald Shepherd, Marianne Morris, Ira Lightman, Robin Purves, Sam Ladkin, Christopher Funkhouser and N. Katherine Hayles.

It can be found here:

My thanks to Peter Philpot for his generosity in including me in this line-up.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Pirene’s Fountain Interviews

Here are two interviews with me, conducted by Ami Kaye for Pirene’s Fountain in 2009 and 2010, about online poetry editing and online poetry publishing. My thanks to Ami for allowing me to re-publish them at The Argotist Online:

Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Influence of Coleridge on Wordsworth

Here's a free ebook drawn from material in my PhD thesis:

The Influence of Coleridge on Wordsworth is an examination of the ways in which aspects of Coleridge’s early writings and philosophical concerns permeate the poetry and poetic aesthetic of Wordsworth, especially in the composition of Wordsworth’s Preface to Lyrical Ballads, of which Coleridge said, ‘It is most certain, that that Preface arose from the heads of our mutual Conversations […] the first passages were indeed partly taken from notes of mine […] for it was at first intended, that the Preface should be written by me’.


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Michelle Greenblatt RIP

Just heard that Michelle Greenblatt, a poet and editor friend, died last Monday. She was only in her early thirties. I hadn’t had contact with her for some months, and assumed that this was due to her fibromyalgia, which she suffered from terribly. I’m very shocked and saddened. My thoughts are with her husband and family. Rest in peace, Heavenly.

She was poetry editor and music editor for the website Unlikely Stories:


Here are some of her poems at that site:


Here is a collaborative poem she wrote with Vernon Frazer I published at The Argotist Online around 10 years ago:


And here is an ebook of her collaborative poems with Vernon Frazer I published in 2011:


Friday, 24 July 2015

'Carrier of the Seed' now an Argotist Ebook

My long poem, originally published by BlazeVOX, is now an Argotist Ebook.


‘All the way through to the poem's conclusion, with its implied continuation, the reader will have embarked down an extraordinary route of languages, registers and vocabularies, which function to arrest, surprise, disrupt, flow together, collide and cut across each other's current like a plaited waterway. In turn, this flow has been enriched by the assimilation of artefacts from different generations of writers; these deepen the work, interlacing it with echoes and experiences from different times and cultures. The integration of so many disparate elements into one cogent construct is the poem's triumph.’ (John Couth)

Available as a free ebook here:


Full Argotist Ebooks catalogue here:


Friday, 3 July 2015

Limited Poetic Meaning and the Wordsworthian Legacy

Here’s an article I wrote a few years ago, which attempts to show how the Modernist innovations in poetry in the early years of the twentieth century became marginalized as serious poetic techniques, in favour of a more realist sort of poetic style that was largely influenced by the poetic aesthetic of William Wordsworth.

‘Limited Poetic Meaning and the Wordsworthian Legacy’:

Sunday, 15 June 2014

A Critique of Conceptual Poetry

A critique of conceptual poetry: interviews with David Hadbawnik, Joseph Hutchison, Don Share, Andrew Peart and Bill Friend at The Argotist Online:


Friday, 3 January 2014

Wordsworth's Empiricist Poetic and Its Influence in the Twentieth Century

For anyone who might be interested, my PhD thesis, ‘Wordsworth's Empiricist Poetic and Its Influence in the Twentieth Century’, is available online here:

It’s a sort of literary “unified field theory” as to why we have the sort of poetry we have today.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Coleridge’s Early Empiricism

The new ebook from Argotist Ebooks is Coleridge’s Early Empiricism by Jeffrey Side


This study examines the influence of empiricism on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poetry up until 1800, at which time he deserted it for transcendentalism. This is not to suggest that he was completely an empiricist before 1800, but that his empiricism was somewhat tempered by transcendentalist influences. Therefore, the relationship between “empiricism” and “transcendentalism” in his thinking with regard to poetic composition is problematical. Coleridge became a transcendentalist poet and thinker, whose Biographia Literaria was partly intended to demonstrate the malign effect of the Locke tradition on poetry. Even so, that book is partly a work of self-correction. There is ample evidence of Coleridge’s immersion in empiricist philosophy in the 1790s, as well as in the kind of scientific enquiry that was thought to be congenial to that philosophy.

Available as a free ebook here:

Full Argotist Ebooks catalogue here:

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Shadows of the Future

Shadows of the Future, an anthology of Otherstream poetry, edited by Marc Vincenz with an Introduction by Bon Grumman, has been published by Argotist Ebooks, and can be downloaded here:

Argotist Ebooks’ catalogue can be found here:

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

What’s in a Name?: The Art & Language Group and Conceptual Poetry

In his essay, ‘Charmless and Interesting:What Conceptual Poetry Lacks and What It’s Got’ Robert Archambeau asks: ‘In what sense is pure conceptualism poetry, beyond the institutional sense of being distributed and considered through the channels by which poetry is distributed and considered?’ The answer to this question would clarify the relationship between conceptual poetry, conceptual art and the generally accepted definition of poetry as being specifically a literary art whereby language is utilised aesthetically and evocatively.

That some of the concerns and practices of conceptual poetry are not new in the world of conceptual art needs no extensive repetition here. However, it is interesting to note that in relation to conceptual poetry’s use of texts and lexical elements to comprise its works, a fairly recent historical precedent already exists. This can be seen in the theories, practices and works of 1960s conceptual artists such as Lawrence Weiner, Edward Ruscha and Robert Barry; and also in the theories, practices and works of the conceptual art group known as Art & Language, which was formed by Terry Atkinson, Michael Baldwin, Harold Hurrell and David Bainbridge in 1968. Others affiliated with this group, included Ian Burn, Michael Corris, Preston Heller, Graham Howard, Joseph Kosuth, Andrew Menard, Terry Smith, Philip Pilkington and David Rushton. These artists were among the first to produce art from textual and lexical sources.

The notable similarity between the theories of this group and those of conceptual poetry’s is that the group developed, extended and championed the conceptual theories that were initiated by artists such as Marcel Duchamp. The group also held the view that the practice of art should be systematically theoretical and entirely separated from concerns relating to craft or aesthetics. These and other ideas appeared in the group's journal, Art-Language, the first issue of which appeared in 1969.

A direct parallel with the works of these artists and those produced by conceptual poets is not my intention here. There will be differences in scale (both physical and theoretical) and presentation between them; suffice to say, that the common element they share is that of a conceptual approach to their works, and as such, this leads us back to Archambeau’s question (‘In what sense is pure conceptualism poetry, beyond the institutional sense of being distributed and considered through the channels by which poetry is distributed and considered?’), and also one that I would like to ask. If it is at all possible to agree that both the Art & Language group and conceptual poetry share similar theoretical stances and working practices, then in what sense is the work produced by conceptual poetry more suited to be called poetry than that of the Art & Language group?

In one of the two Facebook discussions I took part in recently about Archambeau’s question, it was mentioned by someone that the term “poetry” was merely an honorific one, conferred by the academy on what it deemed was poetry: the logical extension of this being that if the academy should deem, for instance, a text-book to be poetry then it would have to be accepted that a text-book was, indeed, poetry. In response to this, someone else mentioned that the approach of the literary theorist Roman Jakobson was more reasonable, in that Jakobson saw poetry as marked by specific functions in language rather than by an arbitrary redesignation by the academy of general texts. I agreed with the latter.

In light of this, it seems to me that given that there is no significant difference between the work of the Art & Language group and that of conceptual poetry, for the work of the latter to be designated as poetry whilst that of the former is not, seems a peculiarly inconsistent and whimsical act on the part of the academy. It seems to me, that neither the Art & Language group nor conceptual poetry can accurately be described as producing works of poetry, given that they are both operating from within a conceptual art aesthetic and theoretical stance.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Ann Bogle Apologises to Me—Sort of

Ann Bogle emailed me recently to apologise for her part in a public dispute we had with each other last year. For those interested, here are links to my blog posts where the dispute is explained:

Response to Ann Bogle:

Second Response to Ann Bogle:

Third Response to Ann Bogle:

In her email of apology Ann said:

“I apologize to you for an event that led to other events in August last year. I hope you will accept my apology, in particular for bringing up Bobbi Lurie's email correspondence with you in the OtherStream thread. It was not appropriate to bring it up there or to air it. It was in a flaming thread that you initiated because I had persisted in adding comments about Prosetics (my coinage) in poetry contexts, most particularly, in The Argotist Group.

Country Without a Name will become a book this year to be published by Veery Imprints. Acknowledgement of Argotist Ebooks as its first publisher will be included in its pages. I appreciate your steadiness in working as an e-publisher and your own poetry, when I can find it, and I wish I could find more of it. We were indeed allies and I hope you will view it that way once again.”

In response to this, I replied:

“Thanks for your apology. I can only accept it, though, if you are willing to make it a public apology. I will then accept it publically.”

Ann replied:

“I will post my apology, first, along with this note, mine, second, in response to yours of today, July 5, 2013, at Ana Verse as a Page (rather than as a blog entry) called “My Apology to Jeffrey Side” -- unless you have had thought of de-posting the several blog posts that critique me and Bobbi Lurie. Then our posts will not be permanently available on the Internet, as per Bobbi's request. Perhaps you plan and prefer to leave your critiques of us posted as an explanation of part of history.

In keeping with the artistic design of Ana Verse, the related entry I wish could remain at Ana Verse is “American Candid” -- that I view as a spontaneously-written collaborative play and that I de-posted at the request of Bobbi Lurie, who has asked both you and me not to use her name publicly in any connection with the word “psychotic,” for reasons she had stated in a comment she at first allowed to be posted at Ana Verse following my single-entry response to you and that she later asked me to de-post because her name appears there in connection with the word “psychotic” -- as do these THREE or FOUR emails.

Please let me know your wishes.”

She then posted her apology at her blog, notifying me thus:

“Jeff, there I posted my email to you verbatim:


I replied:

“I am satisfied with your posting your apology email at Ana Verse but please amend the sentence:

‘I hope you will accept my apology, in particular for bringing up Bobbi Lurie's email correspondence with you in the OtherStream thread.’


‘I hope you will accept my apology, in particular for bringing up Bobbi Lurie's email correspondence with you in the OtherStream thread, and misrepresenting what you said about her in relation to the word “psychotic.”’

And also amend the sentence:

‘It was in a flaming thread that you initiated because I had persisted in adding comments about Prosetics (my coinage) in poetry contexts, most particularly, in The Argotist Group.’


‘It was in a thread that you initiated because I had persisted in adding comments about Prosetics (my coinage) in poetry contexts, most particularly, in The Argotist Group.’

Also please remove my email address from the header of your apology email.

Once you have made these amendments (and not reposted “American Candid”) I will post your apology at my blog, with a note saying I accept it. I will also remove the several blog posts that critique you and Bobbi Lurie.”

She replied:

“I'll amend the Apology I posted without the word “flaming” in it as a compromise; otherwise, STET, no mention of the word “psychotic.””

STET, for those who don’t know, means: “let it stand”, and is used as an instruction on a printed proof to indicate that a correction or alteration should be ignored. So here, Ann has agreed to remove the word “flaming” from one sentence, but not to amend the crucial sentence:

“I hope you will accept my apology, in particular for bringing up Bobbi Lurie's email correspondence with you in the OtherStream thread.”


“I hope you will accept my apology, in particular for bringing up Bobbi Lurie's email correspondence with you in the OtherStream thread, and misrepresenting what you said about her in relation to the word “psychotic.””

I replied to Ann:

“I can’t accept your apology without your mentioning in it the reason why I was in dispute with you in the first place, namely that you said that I had called Bobbi “psychotic”, when in fact I only said her later emails to me were. It is perfectly possible for someone’s writing style to be “psychotic” when they themselves are not. I made this clear to you at the time.

Without your apology being amended in this way, I can’t accept it, nor can I remove my blog posts regarding the issue. For me to accept the apology as it stands, would mean I would have to leave my blog posts in situ in order to contextualise your apology, which you probably wouldn’t like.”

Ann, however, was adamant that no further compromise on her part should be made, replying:

“Jeff, it's okay to me if you do not accept correct apology, but it's a shame in terms of peace and friendship.”

Her apology (albeit without the inclusion of the word “flaming”) can be found at her blog here:

In this apology, she also links to another part of her blog where she has reproduced fully the thread from the Otherstream Facebook group that initiated my dispute with her. That she should do this after both Bobbi and myself requested she not do so, demonstrates a lack of consideration, especially towards Bobbi whom, as far as I can tell, Ann has no grievance with. Incidentally, as far as I know, no one who has taken part in the thread has given her permission to publish their private comments in it. This probably constitutes an infringement by Ann of Facebook’s privacy policy, which she might or might not be aware of.

Given this, and her apology being incomplete, and possibly insincere, I am in no reasonable position to accept it as an apology.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Nothing New under the Sun

Here is an article written by Kenny Goldsmith praising Richard Prince who has made a facsimile copy of The Catcher in the Rye, inserting his own name in place of J. D. Salinger’s.

Goldsmith writes:

“A few months ago, a friend pulled off her bookshelf a new appropriation work by Richard Prince, one so radical and so daring, that I almost couldn’t believe it was by the same artist. The premise of the book was achingly simple: a reproduction of the first edition of The Catcher In The Rye, identical in every way except the author’s name was swapped from J. D. Salinger to Richard Prince. The production value of the book was astonishingly high, a perfect facsimile of the original, right down to the thick, creamy paper stock and classic typeface.”

It is peculiar how Goldsmith forgets to mention his own book Day (another work of “unoriginality”) being similarly appropriated (though in a far more ironic and conceptual manner) by Kent Johnson, a few years ago, who, I think, might have been the first person to do this sort of thing with a published book.

It appears nothing is original in conceptual art anymore, even when it’s trying to be unoriginal.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Chicago School of Poetics Scholarship Program Appeal Campaign

Poet and founder and director of The Chicago School of Poetics Francesco Levato, has asked me to spread the word about the School’s scholarship program appeal campaign, which I am very happy to do. He also mentioned to me that he and Larry Sawyer, the School’s co-director, have been teaching from Argotist Ebooks’ catalogue. This is great news, and shows great faith in the ebook format as a serious medium for the presentation and of poetry. This is what he says in his email:

"It's been a while since I last emailed, and I believe it was about teaching from Argotist Ebooks at the Chicago School of Poetics. Both I and my co-director Larry Sawyer have taught from your catalogue, and, of course, really appreciate the work you put out. I'm writing now to ask if you might consider helping us get the word out about a scholarship campaign we are nearing the end of for the School. We're trying to raise funds to offer full scholarships to poetry students in financial need. Do you have an email list you regularly send to where you might mention the campaign? If this is something you wouldn't be comfortable doing I completely understand".

Here are the full details of the campaign:

With your generous support, the Chicago School of Poetics will be offering full scholarships for Master Classes (with poets like Eileen Myles and Charles Bernstein) and regular 8-week courses for the 2013 school year. Just $10 can help students in need attend classes. Please donate at:


The campaign ends February 22nd.

"This is what a school truly should be—think of Black Mountain College—beyond all the boundaries & borders". (Ron Silliman)

The Chicago School of Poetics (CSoP) is an online and on-location school that offers compelling poetry classes without the MFA time commitment, pressure or price tag. With an emphasis on craft, instructors at the School focus on the merits of student writing on its own terms. It’s not the typical creative writing workshop! Courses offered at the School allow students to refine their work in a collaborative—not competitive—environment. We don’t teach creativity. Courses allow students to understand the writing process from the inside by observing firsthand how the instructors work in order to gain the critical distance necessary to write more resonant poetry. The School also offers genuine community. On-location courses offer valuable face-to-face contact and online courses offer valuable access to the vibrant community of Chicago poetry for anyone worldwide.


Friday, 17 August 2012

Third Response to Ann Bogle

Ann Bogle has made a further false accusation about me in the comments thread of one of her recent blog posts regarding me. Here is a link to the blog post:


The comments stream is at the very end of this long blog post. The same comments stream can also be found in another part of her blog, here:

She says (referring to the emails between her and myself that I posted in my first blog response to her initial accusation about me):

“Jeffrey Side posted emails he didn't write”.

If I didn’t write them, who did? Maybe she mistyped “he” for “I”, and the sentence should read:

“Jeffrey Side posted emails I didn't write”.

It so, then why did Ann, in the Otherstream Facebook group thread where I also posted the same emails in response to her accusing me there of having called her friend Bobbi Laurie “psychotic”, say:

“Bobbi knows about this correspondence that Jeff quotes here accurately”.

This comment can be found here:

It can also be found in the original Otherstream Facebook group thread, which will remain in that group as evidence, should Ann try to manipulate the reproduction of that thread she has posted on her blog. It is sad that Ann has had to recourse to a blatant lie about me.

She also goes on to say, somewhat incoherently, in the comments stream of her blog:

“Marc Vincenz and Jeffrey Side have censored using their positions as administrators of web groups. I don't have Bobbi's permission [I have her permission as of 4:29 p.m. today] to post the comment she wrote to me above that explains much that Jeffrey Side forgot to explain in his purple campaign.

Anny Ballardini instantly assumes that I did what Jeffrey Side alleges in the flame threads he started at Otherstream and at Argotist. He deleted half the proof of it, and I deleted my own comments from one thread that he said intruded, yet he claimed that he deleted my comments.”

Why she has decided to involve my friends Marc Vincenz and Anny Ballardini in this situation is unclear. Marc is not an administrator of any Facebook group that I am aware of, and if she is alluding to the Otherstream Facebook group, then she is mistaken, as he is not the administrator of that group, which is administered very fairly by my good friend Jake Berry. I administer The Argotist Online Facebook group, and make no apology for it.

I don’t know what Ann is referring to, in the second paragraph of the above quote from her, when she says that:

“[Jeffrey Side] deleted half the proof of it, and I deleted my own comments from one thread that he said intruded, yet he claimed that he deleted my comments.”

Perhaps she is referring to the thread in The Argotist Online Facebook group that she "highjacked" by using it to post links to her Fictionaut posts in, despite the thread being started by someone who was merely alerting the group to an essay he had just had published, and which had no bearing on Ann’s Fictionaut posts at all. I warned Ann not to do this, but she ignored me, and so I deleted that thread, and one other that she did the same thing in.

Ann then, in the comments stream of her blog, quotes from an email Bobbi Lurie recently sent her, which says:

“We should write story titled JEFF SIDE's BRAIN--the title of this email sounds appropriate--but why should we give jeff side any credence? who the hell is he? he is a nutso brit--i've met so many when i lived in england--they believe in false "remedies" more so even than americans...”

I won’t point out the irony of Bobbi calling me a “nutso brit”, even though I didn’t call her “psychotic”.

Ann then says in the comments stream:

“Bobbi, I fully understand what you're saying; it is a big issue with all of us, and women especially because men define women as nuts who have their own viewpoints.”

I, for one, would never define women as nuts, and most of the men I know who write poetry would not, either, so I don’t know why Ann is saying this.

Ann then quotes, again, from a recent email to her from Bobbi, who says:

“yes. ok. true enough. no shame in needing to be on morphine for pain from cancer (perhaps Jeff Side disagrees?). the fact that he won't answer me as to why he thinks i am psychotic. you can mention that i have been fighting so many things.”

Why Bobbi thinks I should disagree about her being on morphine for cancer is not clear. I have never suggested to anyone that they should stop taking morphine for pain relief. I wonder if Bobbi has read my blog posts, so far, regarding this whole situation. Had she done so, she would know that I never said she was “psychotic”. I urge her to read them.

Ann goes on to quote Bobbi as saying:

“if he freaked out over me having cancer...that sickens me. yes. "the morphine poems" you can post this as well--it's the cover for the book and if he wants to call it psychotic it was actually my rebellion against persona poems due to "poetess" woman who lied about having cancer, not only in her "persona" poems but in her bio, in her promotion of her book, in her recommending her book to cancer patients when she did not even research the disease she claimed to have. i begged her to write a statement about her "true" life. her answer "but if i told the truth: no one would believe me." she also placed her fake cancer poems in an anthology which specifically requested poems ONLY from cancer patients and their families. she also posted her fake cancer poems on a site meant ONLY for cancer patients and that place was specifically meant for cancer patients to express their ANGER about having cancer.”

I am not in the least “freaked out” about Bobbi having cancer. If my sending her a few links, in 2008, about alternative treatments has caused her so much anger towards me, I sincerely apologise for it.

Ann goes on to quote Bobbi as saying:

“so "the morphine poems" was based on these rules which i set down for myself (while on morphine, while in severe pain--and i dare Jeff Side to call such an endeavor while dealing with unbelievable pain and fear "psychotic"--i wonder if HE could have survived such an ordeal and i DARE him to answer me about this--he having the nerve to call me a name which condemns someone so utterly--he hasn't the courage even to answer my email to him requesting (in the most polite language) "why" he calls me such a diagnosis when he is not a medical professional or any other such thing”

Again, Bobbi can’t have read my blog posts, and Ann can’t have alerted her to them, otherwise this paragraph, by Bobbi, would not have been written. I should, also, mention that I didn’t receive an email from Bobbi regarding this. I don’t doubt she sent it; I just didn’t receive it. I have changed email addresses several times since I was last in correspondence with her.

Ann then comments:

“Side says he's defending his character as someone who wrote that her emails were increasingly psychotic not that she was and he dragged her name through the press to make his minor point.”

Ann can’t seem to understand that it is she and not me who has dragged Bobbi into this. Ann first brought up Bobbi’s name in the Otherstream Facebook group thread, accusing me of calling Bobbi “psychotic”, and then she contacted Bobbi and invited Bobbi to join in this “debate” online.

I really can’t understand Ann’s anger towards me, which seems out of all proportion to my having merely removed her from The Argotist Online Facebook group.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Second Response to Ann Bogle

Here is Ann Bogle’s response to my blog post of Saturday 11 August 2012:

In that blog post I explain that I didn’t call Bobbi Lurie “psychotic”, as Ann had previously said I had done in an email to Ann, but had, rather, referred to Bobbi’s emails to me as becoming ‘more and more psychotic and confusing’, principally at the point at which Bobbi accused me in one email of trying to make her cancer worse. I think anyone accused of this would take such an accusation as not being consistent with reality, hence my use of the word “psychotic” in relation to this. The word “psychotic” means, by the way, in case Ann doesn’t know the definition of it, “being out of touch with reality”, and as Bobbi’s accusation that I was trying to make her cancer worse falls very much into this area, I felt justified in using that word. I did not say, I stress, that Bobbi, herself, was psychotic, but that what she was saying was.

Ann says in her response to my blog post that Bobbi has told her that Bobbi might seek legal advice regarding my use of the word “psychotic”. Ann says of Bobbi: ‘She says the word "psychotic" is incriminating even in defense against it. She emailed she could find a lawyer”. If one can’t refer to the word “psychotic” to defend oneself from the accusation that they had called someone it, then that would be very strange. I’m only going, though, by what Ann says Bobbi has said regarding this. I don’t know if Bobbi said it or not.

Ann also says in her response to my blog post that my blog post accuses Ann of incompetence and malicious gossip. I don’t think I do accuse her of the former but certainly of the latter, as the latter was, as is plain from my blog post, motivated by her anger at my removing her from The Argotist Online Facebook group. The malicious gossip in question, being her accusation that I called Bobbi “psychotic”, which she first mentioned in the Otherstream Facebook group and then in a post she made at Fictionaut, which has now been removed by a Fictionaut administrator as it was defamatory.

Ann then says in her response to my blog post:

‘Side sent Bobbi quack remedies for cancer, she told me, and that when she lived in London, she met many Brits who believed in false hope remedies such as those Side proposed to her.’

This is referring to the period when Bobbi and I were in communication with each other. I sent Bobbi various links to alternative cancer therapies. I wouldn’t characterise them as “quack” therapies, though, as most were being delivered by reputable hospitals and clinics.

Ann then says in her response to my blog post:

“In a message dated 8/12/2012 11:49:19 P.M. Central Daylight Time, bobbilurie@.com writes:


I have no idea if Bobbi did actually write this or not. If she did, then I would like to take the opportunity to say that I have not advised her to drink water while standing on her head and speaking Hungarian, which, of course, she knows full well is not true.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Response to Ann Bogle

Ann Bogle, someone who I thought was a friend (or at the very least, a friendly acquaintance), has been spreading malicious gossip about me online, saying that I called her friend Bobbi Lurie “psychotic”. Here’s the link to it on her blog:

You will need to scroll down the page to find her reference to Bobbi Laurie, so I’ll quote it: 

"Jeffrey Side, you had represented (though I might have wanted an editor in you besides) my e-chapbooks, so, for that career-related investment I had made with you, I failed to defend Bobbi Lurie more fully (by disassociating from you? retracting my e-books?) when you described her as psychotic in an email."

As can be seen, this is mostly incoherent, but her comment relating to Bobbi is quite clear. What Ann hasn’t done is to explain the context whereby I came to use that word in relation to Bobbi. Here is that context.

In late 2011, Ann, asked me to publish an ebook of Bobbi’s poetry. I told her that I would rather not do so, as Bobbi and I had, a few years previously, been in an email communication with each other that had started off amicably but for some reason on Bobbi’s part became what I can only describe as increasingly eccentric, incoherent and somewhat belligerent towards me, for no reason I was aware of. The culmination of this was an accusation she made towards me, saying that I was trying to make her cancer worse. Because of this, and because, by that time, I was so exasperated by the frequency and confusing nature of her emails, I called a halt to our communications.

When Ann asked me to publish Bobbi, I mentioned this state of affairs to her, saying that I would rather not have anything to do with Bobbi because of it. However, after Ann had explained to me that Bobbi had been going through a difficult period, I was moved to reconsider my refusal and agreed to publish her after all, but on condition that Ann, or her then literary associate, Marc Vincenz, be an email intermediary between Bobbi and myself, as I couldn’t cope with the thought of having to communicate with her again, to which Ann agreed. As things turned out, though, I heard no more from Ann about this, and assumed that Ann or Bobbi had changed their minds regarding publication. I later found out from Ann that the reason Bobbi had decided not to publish with me, after all, was because Ann had told her that I had said she was “psychotic” in one of my emails to Ann.

The following is the full email correspondence that Ann and I had regarding the publication of Bobbi’s ebook. As can be seen, Ann has taken the word “psychotic” very much out of its original context:

21 November 2011


I just got a note from my friend and one of my favorite writers, Bobbi Lurie. She's learned her first poetry collection has gone out of print, and she asked if I know anything about ebooks. What I know is that you publish them - amazing ones. Could I suggest that she contact you?



1 December 2011


I've had dealings with Bobbi Lurie in the past, and to be frank it wasn't all that pleasant. Her email exchanges with me became more and more psychotic and confusing, and her tone and language were so belligerent towards me (at one point accusing me of trying to make her cancer worse - whatever that meant) that it would be a pain to have to deal with her again. Sorry for my negativity, and I appreciate your trying to help her out.



1 December 2011


Thanks for letting me know of the experience you've had with Bobbi, as sad as it makes me to hear it. Marc Vincenz suggested he might be able to reissue her first book via Mad Hatters', but I haven't mentioned it to her yet, not wanting to get her hopes up and disappoint her in case Carol Novack withdraws funding from the press. Carol has cancer, too. I have had to make my way carefully with Bobbi myself, as I know her life circumstances have not been easy, and she becomes suddenly distrustful. The internet, especially, though she is a good writer there, sometimes even better than good, at times deluges her with confusion.

I'm sure there will be a place for her first book as an ebook.

Thanks for writing.



3 December 2011


The only way I could consider doing an ebook for her is if you or Marc act as intermediaries for me. I'm very sorry Carol has cancer also.

I've attached an email I send to people who have cancer, advising them how to treat it using apricot kernels. Perhaps you could forward it to Carol and Bobbi.



9 December 2011


Thanks. I'll pass on your file to Bobbi and Carol. Carol cannot read due to her brain cancer, but her assistant and friend, Douglas, can read it for her.

Bobbi is on the road for cancer treatment, but I heard from her, and she'd like to bring out the first book as an ebook with Argotist. I talked to Marc Vincenz, and he said that he and I can handle the details with her. Sound good? Let me know if there's anything we need to do first and when. Thanks so much, Jeff.


Ann initially accused me of calling Bobbi “psychotic” in the Otherstream Facebook group, after I had removed her from The Argotist Online Facebook group for ignoring my requests not to post things there that were not related to poetry. Here is how I announced to the other group members that I had removed her from it:

“I’ve had to remove Ann Bogle from the Argotist FB group, as she was relentless in her determination to carry on starting threads that were not poetry related, and also “hijacking” other threads by posting comments not related to the threads’ topic matter. I explained to her that the Argotist group was solely for discussion of poetry but she ignored me, and continued unrelentingly. I, therefore, had no choice but to remove her from the group.”

I assume Ann was so outraged at this, that she felt the need to vent her anger in the Otherstream Facebook group, and in doing so try to damage my character by representing falsely the Bobbi Lurie situation, as explained above.

For Ann to have done this is quite disturbing. She must have known the potential damage it could have caused to my character. It is especially disquieting considering the reason for it was fairly trivial: merely my removing her from a Facebook group.

Here is the Otherstream Facebook group exchange I had with Ann where she says I called Bobbi “psychotic”. As can be seen her posts are extremely incoherent and rambling, whether this is intentional on her part, I don’t know:

Ann Bogle:

You had represented (though I might have wanted an editor in you besides) my e-chapbooks, so, for that career-related investment I had made with you, I failed to defend Bobbi Lurie more fully (by disassociating from you? retracting my e-books?) when you described her as psychotic in an email. The links to my e-books are probably still working. Rachel Lisi designed the cover of one of them, and Daniel Harris gave ten illustrations. All I wanted to say, and you are avoiding the subject rather stupidly, is, and I said it in more than one place and way, your poetics collection of essay, responses, etc. and fight with Seth Abramson about it, did not name names in a way that might have been useful in considering or applying your arguments. Your cry that it went by not celebrated caused me to plunge in as a reader preparing to review your email correspondence, Other Voices, with Jake Berry. Jake, in turn, took a dip, a little swim, in my prosetics, and responded kindly. I am in your coral as a writer, and you are revoking my digressive strategies. It seems strange you represented my collections as e-books unless you were aligning yourself in another silent debate in poetry.

Jeffrey Side:

Ann, I was unaware that the links to your ebooks were not working. I will correct that. If I had intended to remove the actual ebooks I would not have left them as listed on the site. If that is what all your silliness is about, then you should have told me the links were inactive instead of causing trouble here. I assumed you were more mature than this.

Regarding my saying Bobbi Laurie was psychotic. I said her emails to me had become psychotic and confusing to me, much like your posts here have been.

Ann Bogle:

Define "psychotic" then. You are wildly evasive. Who knew you were wild? I wrote "distrustful" and you are not? I wrote "confusion" and you are not confused. Bobbi knows about this correspondence that Jeff quotes here accurately (it is plain that Jeff and I do not have day jobs), painstakingly, and ... okay, Princess Di ...

Shortly after this exchange, Marc Vincenz told me that Ann had now left the Otherstream Facebook group. I wish her no ill will, and hope she can resolve some of the issues she has with me.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Response to Seth Abramson

Here is a link to my response to Seth Abramson’s critique of my Introduction to The Argotist Online feature, The Academisation of Avant-Garde Poetry:

Sunday, 24 June 2012

The Academisation of Avant-Garde Poetry

Jake Berry’s essay, 'Poetry Wide Open: The Otherstream (Fragments In Motion)' deals with the issue of certain types of avant-garde poetry as not yet having found favour within the Academy, or with poetry publishers of academically “sanctioned” avant-garde poetry. The damaging aspects of this exclusion, and the concept of an “approved” versus an “unapproved” avant-garde poetry, are also examined in the essay. And these things could well be described as “the academisation of avant-garde poetry”.

Academic poetic output is operating to a healthy extent in the US, where university creative writing departments are flourishing. The University of Pennsylvania has its Kelly Writers House programme, its PennSound website and its Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, all sympathetic to academic avant-garde poetry. The University of Pennsylvania also edits Jacket2, an influential online poetics website, which was formerly called Jacket, and which was edited by the independent John Tranter before he passed it over to the university. And similar things are happening in the UK, with various institutions such as the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre at Birkbeck University, and the Poetry and Poetics Research Group at the University of Edge Hill, both promoting academic avant-garde poetry.

Consequently, one could say that the term "avant-garde" has now, essentially, been appropriated by the Academy, and, as such, has become associated with the sort of poetic writing practices that could be fairly said to represent “establishment” poetry, to the extent that the historical resonances of the term “avant-garde” have become meaningless. In contrast, Bob Grumman’s term, “otherstream”, which Berry uses in his essay to describe poetry that is marginalised by the Academy, can be seen as a more apt replacement for the term “avant-garde”, which has now become obsolete as an appropriate description for poetry that isn’t anecdotal, descriptive or prose-like.

This Argotist Online feature presents Berry’s essay, the responses to it from poets and academics it was first shown to, and an interview with Berry where he addresses some of the criticisms voiced in these responses. Many poets and academics (including those most famously associated with Language Poetry) were approached for their responses but declined. Other poets and academics that had initially agreed to respond ultimately declined. I mention this not as criticism but merely to explain the absence of people who one would normally expect to have responded and taken part in such a discussion.

The feature can be found here: