Boycott everything for no reason!

Working in the arts, you have to expect the odd negative review and the conventional wisdom is to just ignore them. However, I honestly never expected that anyone would ever care enough about my work to call for a boycott, and I DEFINITELY did not think that anyone would ever be demented enough to call for a boycott and write a 1300+ word essay based purely on the TITLE! Oh, what a world of wonders we live in! Here’s my review of Gerald Keaney’s utterly sincere and yet unintentionally hilarious boycott call to arms.


1 ““Poetry is dead!” It’s an edgy and intriguing title for a poetry event on 9th December 2015, part of the Brisbane Powerhouse’s end of year Wonderland Festival.

Your essay begins with getting the date wrong. GREAT START!

2 While the pair’s subject matter is up to them…

Implies that the subject matter of an independently produced performance would, for some insane reason, be up to someone else (you, presumably?) This is deranged enough to be hilarious. Please continue!

Gerald Keaney, ladies and gentlemen…

3 If everyone is a poet, there are no more poets. 

In our incredibly brief online interaction I saw you use this line three times, so you’re obviously very proud of it. Poetry is currently a niche art form, so this is hardly a concern. Furthermore, one of the reasons why it is so sparsely practised is because people are put off by the kind of elitist gatekeeping you’re espousing here. Imagine if you told every ten year old who picked up a guitar: “You’d BETTER have a comprehensive understanding of 19th century flamenco music!”

4 Donellan also claimed his “poetry is dead” byline referred to old fashioned poetry. “In with the new, out with the old!” he declares…

You’ve taken a (wildly exaggerated and inaccurate) paraphrasing and presented it as a quote. I seem to recall Jonah Lehrer doing something similar. Things didn’t work out too well for him, did they?

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5 Nevertheless Donellan’s endeavour could have easily been saved. He could have been a little more enthusiastic about discussion afterwards… Along with poetry, he obviously thinks public discussion has died, and it is time for the public to sit back like good passive little consumers of art.

I said I was happy to talk after the show – repeatedly – but that we could not host a Q & A afterwards because we had to pack down the stage for the show which began 15 minutes after ours finished. You really don’t seem to have a very firm grasp of either time or basic social protocol. You aren’t an only child who was raised by some sort of humourless disgraced Slavic royalty in a barn with only your rancorous patriarch and pet woodlouse for company by any chance?

6 Even without seeing their show I can only conclude that it is a mistake for Donellan and Wilmett to use the title “Poetry is dead.”

Easily my favourite part. Basically the equivalent of picking up a copy of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and saying: “I fucking HATE rye, I’m not reading this shit!”

If you don’t like rye, stay away from this book! It’s just hundreds of pages about rye. I assume. I haven’t read it.

7 They are left displaying only a faux cleverness, and the way the pair has used the slogan Poetry is dead gives entirely the wrong message about poetry itself. For that reason my advice is boycott.

First of all, are you familiar with the concept of irony? Seeing as the only thing you seem to be interested in is your own opinions, would you prefer that we called our act Gerald Keaney and the Gerald Keaneys? Because unfortunately that name is already taken by some deranged narcissist. In any case, even if you think it’s a terrible title, calling for a boycott is definitely overkill. What next, call for a ban on poetry readings in a library ? Oh wait, I see you already did that.

8 YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE SHOW. I realise I mentioned this already, but I felt it was such an important point that it was worth repeating.

In conclusion: if this is a mislabeled piece of fiction written from the perspective of a character who is a petty, ageing punk who indulges in writing petulant rants and dressing them up as rambling, incoherent academic critique then congratulations, you’ve nailed it!

However, if this is actually a sincere essay, it gets a solid F+. The ‘+’ is awarded on the off-chance that you really are an only child who was raised in a barn with only your rancorous patriarch and pet woodlouse for company. Perhaps next time you could try typing with both hands?


sold out




3 responses to “Boycott everything for no reason!”

  1. Mar Bucknell Avatar
    Mar Bucknell

    Fucking hell!

    It’s 1917 and 1977 all over again.

    Grow up, you pathetic little person, and learn some fucking art history

    Mar Bucknell


    I am sending the same message to Keaney

    1.  Avatar

      Donellan and I might be in agreement Mar, that if you want to engage with us you should provide proper argumentation, and not just quote dates and throw abuse.

  2. Mar Bucknell Avatar
    Mar Bucknell

    Simple, really.

    1917, the peak of Dada; 1977 the peak of punk.

    Punk and Dada have much in common, especially being abused as NOT ART (but also their DIY aesthetics)

    This is such a silly debate, I can’t believe anyone bothers any more.

    Punk is music. Dada is art. Poetry is dead, or maybe it isn’t. Of course rap is poetry, it’s just that most of it is missing a C at the front of the word. The only questions that are worth asking are about value: Is this any good? What is it saying? Does it succeed in its stated aim? Has it succeeded in achieving something worthwhile that may not have been its stated aim? etc etc etc

    This is called art criticism. This is called art history. This was 1917. This was 1977. It beggars belief that anyone claiming to be literate in 2016 could have forgotten or not known any of this.

    If you are a practising adult artist and haven’t got this far, you really don’t deserve to be taken seriously as either an artist or a critic.

    Mind you, I was at a Philosophy Cafe about ten years ago where a Perth painter seriously suggested that all good art promoted human wellbeing. I asked whether anyone in the room agreed with the suggestion that Hieronymous Bosch was a bad artist, because all of his paintings were designed to terrify illiterate people into believing that if they disobeyed the Church they would suffer incredible torment for all eternity. I hate the theology but the art is brilliant.

    So to get upset about anti-art or a debate about it is too silly for words.

    Someone spraypainted on the entrance to the WA Art Gallery 20 years ago: ART IS DADA – LONG LIVE DEAD.

    It wasn’t me. Honest.