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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why Outsider Poetry Is Important to Editor Thomas L. Vaultonburg

Our first post is a guest editorial from Thomas L. Vaultonburg of Zombie Logic Press.

For most of my thirties I had no real need for poetry. The money was good, the times were fast, the women were loose. That's just a fact I address in my book Flesh Wounds. 

But the Piper always shows up eventually. I had heart surgery to replace genetically abnormal heart valves that had led to an aneurysm of my ascending aorta in October 2013. I would never have even known I was moving slower and slower if it weren't my four year old who was running me up and down the stairs every ten minutes. 

I'd like to not reduce myself to a cliche and say that the duel factors of having children and a near death experience have changed my outlook, but that's also a fact. Poetry is one of the things that has also become important to me again. Specifically publishing the poetry of other people. My own poetry has sputtered and fallen flat for years now. I really have nothing to say I haven't said already.

Why is the term Outsider Poetry so important to me lately? Well, because that's technically what I am. I have no formal training in writing or publishing poetry, and no academic, public funding, or powerful friends to help propel me into the public consciousness; I also have Schizoid Personality Disorder, also a genetic abnormality. I thought the title Outsider Poetry would be easy to move into, like an old room in a familiar house, but I discovered someone else had been dominating the search term, and that they aren't Outsider Poets, not in the true definition. Being an Outsider implies either having a lack of that formal training or some disability that makes doing the work and promoting oneself to others difficult. These are people who have had no difficulty getting the academic and public funding sector to back them. They have a lot of training, and aren't Outsider Poets. 

That shouldn't be important, but it is. I've been working rather hard the past couple of weeks to get a foothold and start scaling the cliff I know is ahead of me in order to overtake a search term I feel I have every right to share ownership of. Not just for myself, but for Outsider Poets, then create a platform where they have a voice. I'll be doing that here in tandem with Olvia Suchs and others.