I was reminded today of an idea that has been simmering on and off in my mind for a while now.
The choices for publication for a poet today seem to be either a) get picked up by a publisher or b) self-publish.
Self-publishing definitely works out well in many cases, but often gets a bad rap, because (if I understand the rapping correctly) with self-publication, the poet acts as his/her own editor. The upside of getting picked up by a publisher is that you get an editor along with that — the extra pair (or pairs) of filtering eyes that essentially add their own “brand” to the poet’s work, so that what is being sold at the end of the process is both the work itself and the brand.
So here’s a third way idea: What if an established poet (and what’s “established”? I know, but you get the general idea — some level of poetic gravitas is required or the idea won’t work) volunteered to edit just *one* collection? Once edited, the collection is then self-published (through Lulu or whatever) by the poet under the poet’s name *and* the editor’s. Avoiding the stigma often associated with self-publishing and also by-passing the looking-for-a-publisher nightmare. Empowering for both the poet and the one-time editor, no? Volunteer non-profit work of course (although I suppose the team could agree to share whatever profits result), but a win-win situation and a great way for those who have made it to “give back” (assuming they want to), to help keep poetry going, to get names out there one believes in, give first-book poets a leg up/way in, etc etc.