Letters for June 26, 2003

Spoiled Sport

Left her sense of humor at home:Upon reading the article "Olive Spoil" (June 12) by Jen Karetnick, I was deeply troubled by the reckless abandon displayed throughout. As an African-American who has attended ePoetry at the Wet Olive, I was completely appalled by the not-so-veiled attempt to vilify the organizers of this event. It is one thing to be uncomfortable in a room of people with different backgrounds and cultures, but to use your own residual fear of the unknown and try to label it as reverse racism is completely and utterly unacceptable. OK, so she uses the opening line of a risqué poem to draw readers into her article... Journalism 101. But instead of writing a sincere piece about urban professionals gathering at a contemporary restaurant to share and listen to erotic poetry, she chose to write what I consider to be a mean-spirited piece of fluff fueled by her own insecurities and inhibitions.

The mere fact that she referred to the condoms that were given out as "Rasta-colored" begs the question as to what her true concern really was. The comments about her race were completely tongue-in-cheek. She was not the only Caucasian person present, and to be quite honest, the setting was light and upbeat... basically equivalent to that of a comedy show. I take great offense to the fact that Ms. Karetnick referred to ePoetry as "Sex and the City" set to a "rap cadence." From this, am I to assume that all black people listen to rap music or that all black people are Rastafarians? The fact that she waited until the end of the article to comment on the food confirms to me that she really wasn't interested in attacking the restaurant. She was interested in attacking the event because someone hurt her feelings. Well boo-hoo, Ms. Karetnick. Perhaps the event organizers will put up a disclaimer for people like you that reads: "Leave Your Inhibitions at the Door."

Micheale Washington

Pompano Beach

An ePoetic existence:I'm white, and I get ePoetry. Admittedly, the author, Jen Karetnick, doesn't understand much about the black experience, but my question is, has she tried to? I was one of those "white folks by the window" that night at the Wet Olive but certainly didn't feel the same racially charged energy that Ms. Karetnick and her group experienced. But then again, I also know that sex in all of its manifestations has always been a part of the black experience. Yes, at times the poetry didn't leave much to the imagination, but neither does prime-time television, and at least the event was labeled with the e for erotic in front of poetry.

Poets told poignant stories of the struggles of fatherhood and the beauty of monogamous love, and there was a female poet who challenged her male counterparts to step up to their responsibilities. These themes were addressed as clearly and as frequently as were the sexual poems -- although our author may have missed those while sucking down drinks, gorging on appetizers, and trying to nail down her waitress. My wife and I skipped dinner that evening. After indulging in the verbal experience, we went home and worked on what we learned. Sounds like Ms. Karetnick should have stuck around a little longer -- maybe even have taken notes.

Jon Nieman

Pompano Beach

Uptight and pretentious, maybe, but talented:Since when is it a literary requirement that poetry be "serious," and who the hell walks into the Wet Olive, at Federal Highway and Oakland Park Boulevard, and seriously expects to hear "Neo-formalist poets"? And if her ear is so discriminating, why not ask at the door what the night is all about? I'm positive no one at the door misled Ms. Karetnick into thinking that Wednesday night at the Wet Olive was about "serious, Neo-formalist poetry."

Ms. Karetnick is all dry. Literary history is replete with tongue-in-cheekness, raunchiness, naughtiness, and straight-up dirtiness in every culture -- even by some authors whom Ms. Karetnick might recognize: Ovid, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Marquis de Sade, the Kama Sutra, etc. There have been some excellent ePoets. There have been some sexy poets at ePoetry. There have been some irreverent, lewd, lascivious, lustful, and indecent poets -- all protected by the First Amendment. I really feel sorry for Ms. Karetnick's companions on the night she walked into the Wet Olive. What a boring experience, sharing dinner with such an uptight, pretentious, haughty character.

Anna Torres

West Palm Beach

But whose?I am counsel for Rozanne Sonneborn and Michelle Subwick. I read the article titled "How Much Does Credibility Cost?" (Wyatt Olson, June 12) and noted that there are two errors regarding my clients' cases:

First, the article states that Ms. Sonneborn was fired "a couple of months" after she objected to the inclusion of Bible quotations in her pay envelopes. In fact, it was a matter of days. Second, the article states that Ms. Subwick "had witnessed another employee being accused of having allowed Satan to 'infiltrate' her life." This is incorrect. As is set forth in her complaint, this statement was made to Ms. Subwick about her, not another employee.

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