Friday, August 10, 2012

Poet Left at the Altar - Chapter 3

My experience with Kitsune Books has left me thinking a lot about the state of poetry publishing and the poetry community -- its coherences and divisions, its fragility, and its lack of a viable economic structure.

A spider is building a web on the other side of the table outside where I write this. I don't like spiders, but I have no heart for destroying his morning's diligent work, the kind of work I do when I sit down to face my own heart and mind and turn those flowing currents into words. He struggles, he goes back and forth, knotting the invisible into something that can catch things so he'll have a dinner. Could be a she, I don't know with spiders. But I see the invisible and seemingly fragile web of poetry publishing in his/her labor. So easily swept aside by chance, someone walking through the web they can't see. Some life event like illness or death or university budget cutbacks that closes a press and leaves authors and their books stranded.

We have always had poetry, but poetry publishing in books has only been available to a general audience for a few hundred years, a short time in its total history. Maybe we need to look past the vehicle to the substance and find a way to create a more vibrant poetry culture that is independent of individuals, university budgets, indie bookstores, distributors, etc., etc. Maybe we should leave the printing press behind entirely. It has served a great purpose, but does it serve poetry now?

1 comment:

  1. Rachel, you really struck a note with me with your comment. I agree that we need to be sensitive to the possibility of new forms to carry our poems to those who find them appealing.

    Are you aware the NPR featured a poetry competition from all over the world as part of the Olympics?

    Poets were invited to celebrate with a "Poetry Games" competition harkening back to Greece where poetry was an integral part of athletic festivals.

    http://www.npr.org/2012/07/27/157370975/the-poetry-of-sport-the-sport-of-poetry and/or http://www.npr.org/series/157372641/poetry-games

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