Why don’t we change the poetry book economy?

“Nobody except the handful of mega-poets sells many poetry books, regardless of how much effort they put into marketing/promoting (see one unscientific survey). In my view, our mistake as a poetry community is buying into the traditional commercial paradigm, within which poetry sits very uneasily. We lock our poems up in hard copies which are then only available for sale – how do we expect that to nurture and grow our product? Why don’t we change that paradigm – we are a small enough community that we probably could. How about running things on the lines of a gift economy? And based on multi-format publishing, not just print? My two cents.”

Just added my mad-haired-prophet-in-the-wilderness two cents to this interesting and much-commented-on FB thread on poetry book sales.

flavors of frabjous

I spend so much time working with other people’s poems that I’m always in a state of low-grade guilt over my own poems, which will very occasionally erupt in a spasm of submitting. Some happy results to report – there are Nic poems forthcoming in Blue Fifth Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Frostwriting</a>, and a chapbook manuscript of mine has made the first cut at the fabulous Hyacinth Girl Press. Woot!

revisiting ten questions for poets – on poetry, publication, technology

This series represents a wealth of poetry and po-biz wisdom from a bunch of awesome contemporary poets. I used to have these linked as separate standing pages, but didn’t refresh that format when I changed blog themes recently. Have just added these standing pages back to the left-hand column, and got lost in re-reading while I did so. Thank you once again to the generous poets who participated for doing so! That wonderful group includes Ron Silliman and the late Reginald Shepherd.

TEN QUESTIONS SERIES
- poets on poetry
- poets on publication
- poetry editors on publishing poetry
- poets on technology

two nice things

that I’ve Facebooked and Tweeted but not blogged. Why do all three? Well, they say that Facebook and Twitter posts will be on the internet forever, but they are not archived and not searchable, so…

I have a poem, the week before the locust swarm, in Issue 8 of Anti-. My poem the party appeared in Issue 3 of Anti- way back when and, from a composition point of view, I now see what these two pieces have in common. When I’m not going for straight narration and instead get a slant-eyed walking-on-spider-leg-stilts feeling about a topic and write from that perspective. Thanks to Steve for that moment of insight!

The whole of Issue 8 is wonderful reading, but I am particularly taken with Landscape with deerstalker by Adam Tessier and most especially by
She Considers Trading Her Secrets from Catherine Pierce:

Oh, these girls. They are dumb

as bicycles. Their eyes like tree knots. Their smiles
like paper. If they knew that my world is not their world,

is gloaming-colored and damp, echoes with howls and bells,

Wow!

The other really really nice thing is the first review of Dark And Like A Web, the nanopress publication project I worked on with Beth Adams. Justin Evans’ take on my work joins dots I hadn’t realized existed but now he points them out – of course! He’s right! Check out his review. Warmest thanks on several levels for your time, focus and kind words, Justin!

‘Poetry Book Contests Should be Abolished’ & other matters

O ye oppressed contest-submitters of the MFA world, throw away your shackles and start your own collective with like-minded friends, publish poetry you want to immortalize you, not poetry with the maximum chance of pleasing screeners and judges! Start your own press! If nothing else, write on scrap paper and share it with your wife and dog, but don’t dilute your work to win contests!

From a HuffPo article by Anis Shivani entitled Poetry Book Contests Should be Abolished: Why Contests Are the Stupidest Way to Publish First Books. If you agree with Shivani and are looking to publish a first collection, try the nanopress model!

In other news, three nice things happened for me this past week:

1. Michael Wells wrote a very nice blog post about Forever Will End On Thursday. Thank-you, Michael!

2. YB issue 4 came out, including one of my Bad-Ass Mom poems (I have to write more of those) and my review of Ren Powell’s Mercy Island. A wonderful issue from editors Rose Hunter and Sherry O’Keefe – thanks for your work and the opportunity, guys!

3. I had a guest post at Marly Youman’s Palace at 2am blog – all about nanopress publishing, with some good discussion in the comments. Thanks, Marly – love your House of Words series!

interview & poems up at Coachella Review

You can read me going on about nanopress publishing among other themes in this interview at Coachella Review, conducted by Lindsey Lewis. Also two poems in the same issue – here and here. Be sure to read all the other good stuff in there – there’s even a film clip!