February 14, 2003

A Dust Congress Exclusive

Let's get ready to Relevance

Below is an email message david berman sent to the leader of the ULA, an organization that recently caused a ruckus outside the January 30, 2003 reading at Housing Works at which representatives of McSweeneys, Open City and Fence read their works. ULA objected to those journals alleged elitism and a wrestling match of sorts ensued outside the venue involving ULA reps and Open City rep, Tom Beller. The story of the event was picked up by page six.

Berman has issued the following challenge. stay tuned to this page for further details.

From: "D.C. Berman"
To: kingwenclas
Subject: relevance
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2003 13:41:29 -0600


My name's David Berman, I wrote a book of poems for open city and heard about you folks from Joanna Yas. I've checked out your website and agree with a lot of what I see. Moody sucks and he's rich and its a crime he got a grant. McSweeneys is fueled by a lot of arrogant nerds (who i count as a more insidious demographic than standard issue elitists) and open city published too much euro trash. Yet, i really believe these people are not the enemy. they actually publish blind submissions. Its the fusty old journals who wont give a young writer an even break. i stopped submitting along time ago to paris review etc. because i cant stand rejection. So i offer you a challenge. you have seven guys or so on your committee. select your best writer and i will read against him at your venue. i will represent open city and paint my face our team colors your guy paints his face your team colors. after the reading we will pass out a ballot to the audience they will vote for which reader fulfills your criteria for good writing. It will be based on YOUR CRITERIA so you start out with an advantage. how about it?

sincerely david berman


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