Indie publishers & Hulking Poetry Trolls

Slate offers a wonderful takedown of Mark Edmundson’s bleak, scathing assessment of the state of American poetry. What’s not to dig with lines like “you could say, maybe, that poetic voice is the expression of a soul, and that souls have porous edges”, and a final paragraph which goes a little like this; “But, you cry, “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world!” Auden’s tart rejoinder was that “Poetry makes nothing happen.” (“It is a way of happening,” he adds, “a mouth.”) Auden wanted to steer the art away from truth-claims and toward something more flexuous and subtle—a mode, not a message. For Auden, poetry unfolded in hypotheticals, in half-truths and possibilities, toggling between feeling and thought.”

“Nonetheless, financial return isn’t the only reason to publish, as Caroline Wood, publisher and director of Margaret River Press, and Lynne Leonhardt, author of Margaret River Press publication Finding Jasper, discussed at the Small publishers are an author’s best friend panel of the Emerging Writer’s Festival 2013.”

They’re right. I can think of better reasons, and there are few other professions in which being paid anything for your work is regarded as a bonus.

In other news I’ve been working on some short stories. This handful have been on my To-Do since getting back from overseas earlier this year and there’s some momentum behind them so that’s a start. We’ll see.