Equality and Representation at AWP

First off: it's just a bunch of bullshit that AWP, publishing and the realm of the literary arts (and the greater world) are systemically blatently or latently bigoted--against gender, sexual orientation, sexuality, religion, race, nationality and ethnicity. Period. I'm grateful to every voice who speaks up, calls out, and tries to do something, by whatever means they feel they can.

Now, I want to talk about this particular issue of the much needed shake up we're experiencing to jostle our complacency and improve our community. I've met Kate Gale. She gave a talk at my grad school. I took notes and made a little blog site out of it. It was "How to Be a Publishable Poet." It was a frank, informative talk. I liked the advice. That was many years ago. I haven't ever said more than "Hello" to her. I have one book in my collection of poetry from Red Hen Press.

Her actions and reactions to the response from others, about her really really shitty stupid ignorant post on HuffPo, defending AWP and its infamous lack of diversity, was like watching the worst, most embarassing moment on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" with the added gag reflex and burning hatred one feels when Ann Coulter introduces Donald Trump. Why why WHY are people expending energy defending a lack of diversity in any given forum? Well the answer is obviously because in their core they're bigoted, despite giving lip service to liberal views. So I guess my question is, "Why why WHY can't people see how bigoted they are and straighten the hell up?!" If only.

Anyway, I just wanted to document some of what has come of the saga. The original offending post has been removed but Publishers Weekly kept a screen shot of it, which I'm posting below. Here are other links regarding the issue.

Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo: "Kate Gale, Red Hen, and What Poetry and Community Means to Me"
LA Times article
Publisher's Weekly Story
Inside Higher Ed
Adroit Journal Open Letter to Kate Gale - this one is the best response I've read because it points out Gale's errors while demonstrating how they illuminate the bigger problems at hand " ...intolerance is silencing the voices of whole communities, omitting the telling of so many stories because of the intensely subjective, largely flawed process that is AWP panel selection..."
Kate Gale's Updated post, removing original article and posting an apology instead
Kate Gale's open letter with further apology
The screen shot of the original piece: