I write Letters: to Steve Shroeder on his review of Richard Vargas in the Latino Poetry Review

Read this First. Then COME back.


Dear Mr. Schroeder,

Please accept my humble gratitude for the time and energy you spent reviewing Mr. Vargas’ poetry in the latest issue of the Latino Poetry Review. It’s good to see a fellow non-Latino contributing to the dialogue on Latino poetry.

I shamefully admit that I haven’t the faintest idea of what poetry is, but upon rereading my own impressive list of publications, I can only surmise that I am a very important person in the world of poetry. The fact that I am too good to even submit to the journals that you are published in makes me realize that you must be saying and writing the things they want to hear. Bravo.

Indeed it is a fine day whenever Charles Bukowski is mentioned. Since Bukowski probably forgot more about alcohol than you and I combined could ever drink in our lifetime, I found your review to be the cocktail I needed to gag, i mean gauge, your expertise.

Speaking of cock, do you have one too? I do, I’ve been fascinated with mine since the 3rd grade. You could say—or dare I say it—I’m hooked! Or, it’s hooked to me, as it were. Sometimes I do forget about my penis, but I can honestly say that in all the 29 years I’ve straddled this earth, no one…not family, not teachers, not nuns or priests past and present, No One, has ever associated me in any way with the concept of being macho. Except, of course, when i wrote that one poem—published in the Wormwood Review (an aptly named journal for a penis poem I might add) titled “My Penis and the Concept of Being Macho.” Although my poems usually come long and hard, this one just came in a sudden rush.

I posted your review on my Facebook, Myspace, Blog, Twitter, Flickr, and Classmates, so that many of my fellow poets and friends could read it. I also texted it to all my contacts. Their observations went a long way in helping me put your words in proper perspective. What follows are some of their short comments; please consider it a view in lieu of a review of your review:

From my 12-year nephew: “Dear Craig: Hi and wow! He said penis! Can you come to my class for career day! does poet count as a career? lol—ttyl!”

From one of this country’s most award winning Native American poets: “What a review! Or is it a review? A review what! Is it a review or? review a what! a review it is, or?”

From the most famous poet i know who was being published exclusively by WWNorton said: “that’s a major review! don’t worry, no one will ever read a book titled McLife, so we all lose. any man who’s NOT fascinated with his penis must be half dead. no, 9/10 dead. no, three quarters dead. no, 8/10 dead. no, 7/10 dead. no, 6/10 dead. i’m famous bitch!”

From my bus driver: “I just read that crappy white a-hole’s review! that’s what you get from white folks that have no connection with the back of the bus.”

My spinster aunty with twelve cats had this for us to ponder: “Craig, why don’t you write more about your penis? maybe then more people would review your book.”

And last, but never least, my yoga instructor had this to say… “You unify the poetic cosmos with your unconditional poetic love for all that is human and sacred; your spirit shines with the light of truth and authentic being; your aura emanates from all your chakras into the dark hollow center of the poetry world. Namaste.”

When it comes down to it, you are obviously white. Nothing personal, Steve. The world of poetry is more than big enough for the likes of you and me, though it’s not as big as my penis.

Wishing you continued success…

Craig Santos Perez


4 thoughts on “I write Letters: to Steve Shroeder on his review of Richard Vargas in the Latino Poetry Review

  1. Dear Craig:

    I'm impressed by the size of your penis. Wait, that's not what I meant to say…


  2. Ah Craig, that was funny . . . I felt sort of vaguely ill while reading the Vargas letter: that must be an unpleasant thing to receive. But this is a reasoned penisea, I mean panacea.

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