in the case of poetry and Silliman’s blog specifically, the bullies are grown people (read: men) who, through some lack of ability to empathize, will lash out at anyone who receives attention they think they themselves should be getting.
this is very true. and for someone like myself, a young poet (albeit a somewhat angry male one), whose only access to the poetry world has often been through the blogs, it's extremely discouraging. like Jessica, i've often felt a desire to not engage with the poetry world at large, perceiving it to be too negative and petty to even bother with.
hopefully, this sparks a larger discussion. my theory (or at least my hope) is that the bullies and haters are a very vocal minority. i would love to see the poetry blogs turn into a more productive environment.
i've written posts to try to combat some of these jealous bullies (Kent Johnson most recently, though he wasn't attacking a younger poet at the time), but it's entirely possible (likely even) that engaging with them at all, even to expose their petty stupid conspiracies, only feeds into the whole fucked up cycle.
anyway, go read her post, cause she has way more interesting things to say than i do here. thanks to Jessica, and maybe i'll try to contribute to this discussion more later.