VeRT has always strived for a quiet uninvolved editorial presence, choosing to allow what's published to stand on its own. This was comfortable; indeed, we felt it ideal.
However, events of late have compromised this quiet unassuming vision. We have been drawn into somewhat of a maelstrom, regarding the epistolary exchanges: Dear Lacan, which were first posted on the British Poets' ListServ earlier this year. The posts were considered by many on the British Poets' ListServ to be lacking, both in substance and style. A debate ensued on Listserv regarding the work and its creators: Kent Johnson and Jacques Debrot.
We chose, being privy to the posts of this debate, to publish them en masse. In so doing, we felt we were acknowledging the fact that they represented a legitimate response to work of such controversial nature. However, we also recognized that they were evocative of what we in the experimental poetry community confront often: a conservative misunderstanding of work that attempts to not only push the proverbial envelope, but to transgress it.
We also believed that the poets quoted therein would stand behind their remarks in total. We were, unfortunately, naïve in this assumption. After the publication of these posts, we received a litany of angry demands for retractions and apologies. To some extent these demands were not without merit. The posts had, indeed, been edited-- though not materially changed. Upon learning of this fact, we chose to remove the link to these posts, and assess the situation.
Certainly we at VeRT don't want to take ourselves too seriously. In some sense, such seriousness hinders what we see as our project. Despite this, this controversy has forced us to make serious editorial decisions. We choose the following course of action and are publishing:
1. The Lacan Posts: Dear Jacques et al as originally published.
2. A URL link to the full text of the British Poets' ListServe response to the Lacan text.
3. At her request, an edited and complete post from one of the participants of the British Poet's ListServ, Allison Croggon
4. An edited, adulterated and poetic response to these posts written by one of the Lacan contributors, Jacques Debrot, along with an Introduction by Slavoj Zizek.
5. Lastly, a thoughtful, unedited response to this whole mess, provided by Steve Duffy, also a participant on the British Poets' ListServ.
So there it is. We hope that in the end these choices reflect a certain quietude that we have wanted to maintain, but also beg the question: Whose work is it anyway?
Your Loving Editors