Sunday, August 12, 2012

Gods of Water and Air - The Once-and-Future Book

I've made it conclusive: my poetry collection, once to be published by the now-closing Kitsune Books, is now available. I can't go with a two-month publication life for my book, which is the only possibility with Kitsune, as they are closing on December 31 and my book was to come out November 5.

It's a funny feeling, starting over, with a fully finished book -- complete with blurbs and cover art. The process of sharing about this misadventure has made me aware of the fragility of poetry publishing. As a cultural phenomenon, it's on the bubble, nearly nonexistent in terms of media. I heard of some similar problems at Calyx Books, the publisher's ill health and a lack of funding making the future uncertain. So many of these concerns are run by one or a few dedicated poets who give 150% -- an admirable but not always sustainable model in the long-term. Still, I have to admire people like Anne Petty at Kitsune Books who have made small press publishing a wonderful alternative to the corporation-dominated media, and who have kept literary publishing alive. University presses, now feeling the budget heat too, are folding or cutting back in distressing numbers. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift, not an extinction, I feel.

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