Because self-nominations are not accepted.
Because I'm dirty, mean and mighty unclean. I'm a wanted man, Public enemy number one. Understand. So lock up your daughter n' lock up your wife. Lock up your back door and run for your life. The man is back in town. So don't you mess me 'round. 'Cause I'm T.N.T. I'm dynamite. T.N.T. And I'll win that fight. T.N.T. I'm a power load. T.N.T. Watch me explode.
Because I used to be the owner and manager of an automobile dealership in West Barnstable, Massachusetts, called “Saab Cape Cod.” It and I went out of business 33 years ago. The Saab then as now was a Swedish car, and I now believe my failure as a dealer so long ago explains what would otherwise remain a deep mystery: Why the Swedes have never given me a Nobel Prize for Literature. Old Norwegian proverb: “Swedes have short dicks but long memories.” I came to speak ill of Swedish engineering, and so diddled myself out of a Nobel Prize.
Because my sales rank, #315, 882, is too high.

Because my poetry is based on the mispronunciation of my name: Javier as have air. (I should say “a mispronunciation” because, although I find have air to be the most intriguing, people mispronounce my name in many different ways. My personal favorite is heavier because it describes me so well. Other acceptable mispronunciations: heavy air, heave air, hey bear, he be heir?, hobby air, j-bear, jay beer, jay be err, ha be a)
Because the U.S. is too isolated, too insular. We don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature. Our ignorance is restraining.
Because there isn't much quality work coming from nonwhite poets today.
Because they say they have the Heights and we have the numbers. I say we draw the line in the sand: let them have aesthetics; we'll take demographics.
Because I can't write my way out of a paper bag. Believe me, I've tried.
Because Orientalism is back in fashion: The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2008 is awarded to the French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, "author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization." During the same period, Le Clézio published the meditative essay collections L’extase matérielle (1967), Mydriase (1973) and Haï (1971), the last of which shows influences from Indian culture. Long stays in Mexico and Central America in the period 1970 to 1974 were of decisive significance for his work, and he left the big cites in search of a new spiritual reality in the contact with the Indians. He met the Moroccan Jemia, who became his wife in 1975, the same year Voyage de l’autre côté was published, a book in which he gives an account of what he learned in Central America. Le Clézio began the translation of the major works of the Indian tradition, such as Les prophéties du Chilam Balam. Le rêve mexicain ou la pensée interrompue (1998) testifies to his fascination with Mexico’s magnificent past.
Because I have never discovered the origin of all poems. I have yet to comprehend fully how “original” differs from “new.”
Because this insight of the role of bad poetry first came to me as I was considering my own poetry. I realized that the reason my poems are so good is because they are so bad. So yes, my writing shapes my criticism, and my criticism shapes my writing.
Because the poem attributed to me in the Issue 1 anthology is more beautiful than anything I could ever have written.
Because I do not own a tuxedo.
Because It is not the same thing if I sign Javier O. Huerta or if I sign Javier O. Huerta, Nobel Prize Winner. A writer must not refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honorable form. Because to refuse awards is another way of accepting them with more noise than is normal.
Because, as Cubs fans know, there’s always next year.
Because if fame belonged to me, I could not escape her—if she did not, the longest day would pass me on the chase—and the approbation of my Dog, would forsake me—then—My Barefoot-Rank is better—

Originally Published: October 10th, 2008

Javier O. Huerta's debut collection Some Clarifications y otros poemas (Arte Publico 2007) received the 31st Chicano/Latino Literary Prize from UC Irvine. He is also the author of American Copia (2012). A graduate of the Bilingual MFA Program at UT El Paso, Huerta is currently a PhD student in the...

  1. October 10, 2008
     Tommy Craig

    I just had to comment. I am sure your work is good enough to win the Nobel Prize. Maybe it's the fact that there can be only one winner. It's a bummer I know. But don't be so hard on yourself. lol.....chillout!

  2. October 10, 2008

    Why I Have Not Been Asked to Blog fro This Website
    1. No one knows who I am.
    2. I only come up with an interesting thought every two years.
    3. I am transparently self-promotional.
    4. I'm deluded enough to think that I might win the Nobel Prize
    5. I'm deluded enough to think that I might win the Nobel Prize if I'm offered gigs like blogging for this Website.
    6. I don't have an author photo.
    7. If I had an author photo, I have low sex appeal.
    8. My Amazon sale rank 1, 256, 201 is too high.
    9. I'm not worldly. I've never traveled outside the United States. And when I did, I went to Bejiing and was shocked that no one understood what I wanted when I pointed to it.
    10. I'm currently nominating myself.
    Steve Fellner

  3. October 10, 2008

    A Few Other Reasons Why I Have Not Been Asked to Blog for This Website
    11. I wrote my last post when I was drunk, And everyone knows that responsible bloggers don't so such things. Or at least not admitting to them.
    12. I am a writer who was published by a supersmall press. Therfore, I would be able to say things about poets and the poetry community that others couldn't say because I know no one will ever give me something special.
    13. I don't use spellcheck. Even though if one of students fails to do so, I would subtract a full letter grade from their paper grade.
    14. I'm no longer drunk. Only buzzed. And I still don't have the restraint to keep my mouth shut.
    15. I've sent poems to Poetry for years and I havem't even gotten a rejection with a personal note. But I still keep all the letters pasted in family scrapbooks, looking at them every so often, hoping there was some encouragement that I'd never seen there before.
    16. Because I am unknown, writers would be able to relate to my in amore genuine way rahter than allowing them to covet things that most poets never receive.
    17. I'd be truly grateful for the position rather than talking about how busy my life is and how difficult it is to come up with something to write about.
    18. I would argue with the poets on this blog, so they would secretly admire me and help me ge my next book published.
    19. I would post postiive reviews of other authors from my press Marsh Hawk Press os they would publish my next book. (No one from the press has made such an overture and my feelings are hurt.)
    20. I would post postiive reviews of other authors from other presses (like Tupelo and Wesleyan and Fence and BOA and Carnegie Mellon and Steel Toe etc etc etc) and become a beloved figure and they would publish my next book.
    20. My resume would be too short and the other bloggers would demand more pay.
    21. Other unknowns would demand that they be allowed to have their own forum.
    22. I would write negtive things about Mark Doty and Wayne Koestenbaum who refused to blurb my book. They were supposed to support me unconditionally. I'm gay. They're gay. Does there need tobe anothing more between us?
    Steve Fellner

  4. October 11, 2008
     Tara Betts

    Rich Villar and I are enjoying your humor, your rhymes in the first stanza in particular, and the nod to Juan Felipe Herrera.

  5. October 11, 2008

    I can't tell who's kidding and who isn't anymore.

  6. October 11, 2008
     Rich Villar

    Who's not kidding:
    John Hollander when he was quoted on NPR as saying there isn't much quality work coming from nonwhite poets today.
    Who's also not kidding:
    A Nobel official who said that Europe was the center of the literary world, and that American literature is too insular and ignorant.
    Couple these statements with the assertion that "Orientalism is back in fashion" with a Nobel winner who writes about Latin America, and methinks there's a lot more to be said about this post.
    Personally, the more I think about awards and accolades and who gets them and who doesn't, the more I must retreat into myself and simply search for the best writing I can muster. I'm currently re-reading Julia De Burgos in translation, cognizant that translation doesn't always translate into understanding.

  7. October 11, 2008
     Rich Villar

    Also, Javier.
    Wanted to add one more reason:
    Because I'm ever upper class high society, God's gift to ballroom notoriety. I always fill my ballroom (the events are never small). The social pages say I've got the biggest balls of all.

  8. October 11, 2008
     Erika Wurth

    "Honey... the Gods are laughing at us." -L. Hughes.
    Hey, Javier - am I STILL your hero?

  9. October 12, 2008
     Javier Huerta

    Tommy: thanks for the confidence.
    Steve: If I had anything to say about it, you would be on Harriet. Loved your comments. I also loved your piece over on Critical Mass.
    Tara: thanks for your comment. the rhyming is AC/DC.
    Doodle: that's how I reacted when I read Bloom's introductions to "Best of the Best" and "The Western Canon." Is this guy for real? He's gotta be kidding, right? Where's the camera? Am I being Punked?
    Rich: In addition to those comments that you point out, it was Bloom who said, they have the numbers, we have the heights. Thanks for following this up with a thoughtful post over on your blog.

  10. October 13, 2008
     Javier Huerta

    Erika: absolutely.