5.27.2005

I also failed to mention Betsy Andrews' slick and beautiful chapbook on Sardines Press. As well as the countless, some beautiful, some horrible, chapbooks I have had the misfortune of being presses with at JOB INTERVIEWS over the years. Yup, you have to explain a gap -- and you say, well, I am also a published creative writer as well as a software development, training, and policy & procedures manager, and during that time, I was teaching / writing etc. -- and then they say I AM TOO and open their desk drawers. Some of the most strange and bad chapbooks I have are from job interviews.

I do bring my books if I am interviewing for something regarding a documentation or publishing project. But I do to mostly explain, that -- and here again I guess I'm using confusing terminology -- that even though I'm published by presses they've never heard of, like Tupelo, and Salt, and Green Integer (ok, just in an anthology, but, you know, I was not in any of the turn of the century or younger writers or not published writers antholgies because I was in LA, and this is a So Cal anthology), rather than Simon & Schuster, these are "real" books and "real" presses.

Still doesn't completely do away with the -- here -- take it -- it is the book of poetry my mom write for us kids before she died -- but it does flush out the -- here we go, about to get confusing again -- "real" writers in the corporate workplace, of which there are many (fewer here in southern california -- more drawer screenplays -- a blessing).

Post to I AM YER GRAMMAR
http://nicoloff.blogspot.com/

I read this on Gary's blog and then came here to read it. And I think that you raise and interesting and important point, which is that "innovative poetry" is, unfortunately, almost totally removed from the circle of "artist" books, artist writing, performance art centered in the visual arts and increasingly the media arts/visual arts nexus, rather than the literature/arts nexus. The examples that prove the rule are the fluxus folks, NOT "the second generation New York School" as much as "the poets who were in New York at the same time as the second generation New York School," and the NY langpos (or the langpos in their NYC phase). Kelsey Street -- a few presses like that --.

But I challenge you to try to get your work of visual poetry, your small press book, your whatever, no matter how innovaative, not into B&N (which I view as something of a lost cause) but into the DIA bookshop (I have). Try to access the presses who bring out those gorgeous gallery and museum catalogs for poetry rather than "creative criticism / poetry" to accompany the paintings, etc. (I have).

I challenge you or anyone to try to set up a reading series in a museum that regularly features art which has a great deal to do with text, textuality, writing, performance, installation / environment / architecture and "literature" and get the CURATORS, not the pr or education department folks, to realize that there is a whole world of similar art that they don't know anything about, and also represent that in their programming, education, and shows. I have!
Of my collection of neat-o chapbooks, I have failed to mention my favorite designes, definitely TINFISH's, and also the chapbooks of Susan Schultz' chapbook -- exchange? collective? they make and exchange a chapbook each summer.

Part of my prejudice? experience? informed opinion? in favor of recording labels for bands arises from the record label two friends and I all-but-started after college in Northhampton, MA. We were also, foolishly, in retrospect, going to bring out Charles Manson's record (someone else did, eventually). So I *really* believe in going from demo to label, or EP or cassette or self-issued CD to tiny label. Consequently (and Pete Weiss, now at Weissy.com, I think, has kept the faith, and also became an editor and wrote a baseball book), I have carried over this desire to go "to press" from self-issued whatnot.

What Scott et.al. are talking about is somewhat different. But while they view chapbook & ephemera presses as "small labels" I would say that I view Tougher Disguises, Tinfish, or even Ahsahta, as "small labels."

And a lot of my determination not to call anything shorter than 48 pages with a spine a book is part of what is called the "professionalization" of poetry but in my opinion should be called something else, like "telling the truth on your cv."

5.26.2005

Aaron Tieger asks, "The message here, then, is that legitimacy is conferred by the sellout?"

Being signed by a label is selling out? Publishing a book-length book on a press that publishes and distributes dozens of other book length-books is selling out?
Scott asks what is a book, why is harder / easier to write than a chapbook (etym, "cheap book"), etc.

There are by and large three sorts of poetry I've come across in a chapbook: collections, series, and long poems. Kim Lyons' "In Padua" and Rachel Loden's "The Last Campaign" are collections (Loden's is I'd argue a series as well). Loden's won the SH prize (beautifully produced chapbooks in this series -- hi Stephanie Strickland!) and directly preceded HI. Loden has published several chapbooks. And I even have some of her poems from the 70s in a journal somewhere. So, these collections largely precede the book publication of the same poems, and are generally by poets who are slow to find their way into printing a full length book for a variety of reasons, motherhood included.

The short but complete series is also something good outside of a full length book format -- if it is 30 pages long, why pretend it is not. My forthcoming chap, "Cocktails," on furniture press is an example of that. I wanted all of them to be all together, because they speak to each other, and I figure they are fun, and why wait another two years or more until they make it into OOD.

And, the single piece which is a "long poem" but not a "book length poem" is good. This begins to blur a bit -- I have a series of long poems that have similar sources and work together, but some of the individual poems I've sent out and / or had published as chapbooks. My Belladonna chapbook is an example of that. Some of Rachel Blau Du Plessis' individual Drafts are chapbooks.

So why is writing 30 pages easier than writing 48 pages? Well, because it is, in my experience. Now, it is easy for some poets to write, and it is hard for other poets to write, and this says nothing about the quality of the poetry. Some poets spend more time writing than others. Some poems are easier to write than others. But, in my experience, it is easier to write 30 pages than 48 pages. It takes less time, etc. It is easier to write 60 pages (Locket) than 208 pages (DaDaDa). A chapbook is one poem in OOD, or one series in OOD. Easier to write the part than to write the whole. In DaDaDa, which was four books collapsed into three books, those books were actually separately-written books, and then I did a great deal of rewriting on top of them to get the parts to make sense together.
I do live in a community that petitioned Wal Mart to move into it. Truly the worst (dirtiest, least amount of merchandise, etc.) I've been in, as well, but largely because they moved into an aging mall without rebuilding the former dept. store space they moved into, rather than building the giant "big box" prefab building they usually do. We are very much looking forward to a Home Depot, Target, Costco, and maybe even a sit down restaurant with table cloths! and a Hollywood Video in our neighborhood. Not to mention my dear 99 cents only store (Odd Job and Webers were just as favorite when I was in New York).

Also that abadoned a charming 20s library for a larger one with parking.

When Wal Mart dumped their mail order DVD rental, our Netflix stock shot up!

I prefer the used and the forgotten, the overrun, the not marketed well, the odd bargain, not the cheap & new one.

The downtown area of my hometown was mostly destroyed by the mall that went in -- it was the type of time and place that was going to happen anyway; when my dad was on city council, he argued for annexing the land the mall was on, since the stores would move to the mall in any case -- arguing that the city may as well retain the tax base. They didn't, idealistically convinced the stores were loyal to the town, which they were not. The library is now in the Sears, Ks Merchandise Mart expanded into Carson Pirie Scott, and I don't know about the remainder of downtown. I wanted to open a vintage clothes / coffee shop / concert venue in the JC Penney building (should have!)

I remember being mocked in summer camp by the other girls, who only shopped at Target, KMart, etc. (precursor stores there -- anyone remember turnstyle?) because all my stuff came from mom & pop stores in our town, because my parents also owned similar stores, etc. Plus, from the time I was in fourth grade, I bought lots of roller skates, hats, clothes, etc. at Salvation Army.

While Wal Mart nation doesn't disturb me so much, I guess devoting labor (curating series, editing here & there, teaching -- always that naescent press yup, pod books with spines, but large format) to poetry doesn't "count" as much as consuming poetry in this debate -- to have consumption be my primary relationship to it.

It is difficult too to maintain relationships with poets, editors, curators one knows by virtue of common pursuit and location, rather than any affinity.

I go to give a reading with poet x, y, and z at a venue, paying for my own transportation and lodging, and not receiving a reading fee, and you bet I'm expected to buy or trade for whatever chapbook poet x, y, and z are selling. I always give the curator a copy, because it is a thankless task, and because other poets don't do it, and it is chintzy. [The average reading sells four books.]

I like Philomene Long's approach, the old DIY/Beat approach much better, and try to emulate it when I can. Look -- here's what I'm reading. Have a handout, a chapbook, a flyer, a printout, a .pdf. Let me beam it to your palm. Follow along.

I don't doubt that this stuff is collectible -- I collect as much of it as I can. Too much stuff, we've got. I know Lenore Kandel's work mostly from her chapbooks, not her out of print Grove book, for example, and I want to publish her collected!
San Francisco Poet Laureate 2005-07
Nomination Form

Nominating Statement:
Attach two or three paragraphs on why the nominee should be San Francisco’s Poet Laureate.

Bibliography:
Include bibliography of published works and/or performance history. Do not submit poetry at this time. Committee may request samples of work at a later date.

Criteria:
Poet Laureate Nominees must be San Francisco residents. Must have substantial body of work, including at least one full length book (minimum 48 pages, not self-published or vanity press) or CD (not self-produced) or 20 or more published poems in established publications over the past five years.

Responsibilities:
1. Deliver an inaugural address to the public on the state of poetry at the San Francisco Public Library.
2. Participate in community-based poetry events.
3. Work on one or more poetry-centered events in cooperation with the San Francisco Public Library.
4. Do a reading at Litquake.

Nominations due on June 15, 2005
Send to: Poet Laureate Committee
c/o Luis Herrera, City Librarian
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Name of person submitting nomination: ____________________________________________
Address: _____________________________________________________________________
Phone: ______________ Fax: ______________ Email: _______________________________
4/05
"Through much of this discussion of chapbooks vs. "real" books, it seems like when you think of chapbooks, you think of the worst examples of the format, whereas others think of their favorite chapbooks. A great chapbook is a special joy, because this small and ephemeral and obscure object contains something so wonderful. I like the brevity of a chapbook, which encourages me to read it again and again, and makes it easier for me to convince others to read it. (I also like huge encyclopedic works where I feel like there will always be new things for me to discover inside.)"

I thought this was a wonderful thing to say, and an experience I wish I had more than once or twice. I suppose there are several reasons I haven't, one of which is that I really have never been around a group of poets and a net of small institutions -- series of bookstores, reading series, group of editors, etc. or in the case of the Poetry Project or SUNY BFLO, a school or formal organization -- that were supportive of these types of efforts. So my major experience with micropress, other than music-related, is one of exclusion or one of DIY / self publishing.

...

A large amount of the music I listen to these days was "published" (often self-published) on CDR.

...

Most of the music I listen to is either on the radio (the CD player in my car is broken) or purchased by my husband or, yes, downloaded or provided by friends. When my husband started writing seriously, he stopped practicing / playing guitar. When I started trying to publish my work seriously, I stopped buying records and started buying journals, books, chapbooks, etc.

"Of course I've long had a dream of releasing an album on some obscure Italian cassette-only label. I haven't had a dream of having a perfect-bound book of poems published, although that's laregly because the poetry of mine that I would most want published and legitimized is not best suited for book form."

And this made me think of another thing, which is that the stamp of legitimacy of being edited (or included in a critical stance) confers seems somewhat dangerous or damaging to me.

I tend to think the work that's published is better somehow than the work that's not. If I have fallen out of love with a poem, I'll "throw it out there," but once someone reads it, I think it is a poem that is important to me again.

But then in a special way, the poems no one will publish are the ones I prefer. They must be so good no one gets it yet.

When someone asks me for "my best work" I can't give it to them, because I'm pretty sure that they mean "select from the poems that are published, that I may have read" and I think I like those only because they were published, and I like the unpublished ones, the drafts, etc. more. Very Stevens-esque, I suppose.
"You are kidding me, accusing the micropresses of politics."

The micropress is all politics. As is the press.
And a litle bit on graphic design:

I started my career working as a writer for a graphic designer, and I have done a great deal of design work myself, although I am very much a "B" designer, mostly because I do not take the time and trouble researching other design and materials that a true designer might.

In some ways, too, fine letterpress, inks, etc. are very much the same to me as coffee, tea, cheese, fine chocolate or fine wine. I have done all the work, classes, learning, experience parts; I can very definitely appreciate the difference between different types of inks and paperstock, between chocolate that's been flown in cooled and not, or between a great vintage year of a great bordeaux and "another bordeaux." But, since when it comes down to it, if there's a hershey bar in the house at midnight I'll eat it, if there's a bottle of two buck chuck and friends, if there's a poem on the internet, well, I'll grab that, then I don't stand on ceremony, or a certain type of quality to the physical object, or try to be pedantic about it.

And, frankly, I have plenty of California friends who do. If it isn't organic, or macrobiotic, or vegan, or whatever, forget about it. If it isn't fine letterpress, if it is just a printout, well, then why read. And I think that is rather small minded.

But I'm a midwesterner, and I am very middle class. The 99 cent store shampoo is still foamy, and I don't save those nine dollars I could have put toward shampoo, I spend it on draperies, art, antiques -- pretending a screenwriters' salary in Los Angeles garners something more generous than a resolutely minimalist lifestyle.

Because new age California puritanism demands the moral high road, I really have no choice to admit -- yup, I'm that old rabbit-harming, non-hemp clad person with thousands of books and four computers, not a semi-mendicant on a zafu with a small pile of 100% cotton rag and soy ink in a white room with polished wood floors (actually, got those wood floors).

As I mentioned, I am cheap.

I am not arguing for or against the worth or quality of individual poems, or groups of poems. I am saying that I am asked to give my work away for free, and I do. I am asked to give away my work when I MUST PAY for the work I'm giving away. I am asked to give my work away and then I am asked to pay for the work of other people, without knowing what the quality of that work is before purchase, and also knowing that it is entirely possible that I can find the same or comparable work in the electronic formats I prefer for free (less, of course, the cost of my high speed bandwidth), and that it is very possible that I have no interest whatsoever in the poems contained therein, and it seems to me that there is no fair exchange here.

And if we are considering a gift economy for poetry, then when we are talking about selling poetry, we are talking about establishing a monetary means of exchange for only that poetry which is sold. And it seems to me that we are then considering paying the paper man and the designer, but not the poet, because 100% cotton rag and soy ink that looks neat has more worth, perhaps it is morally superior or enforces a morally superior lifestyle, than the free poem.
I Hate Chapbooks, Continued

Scott. I'm not talking about spines.

Remember, I mentioned that I read as much poetry online as I do in print? No spines there. Comparatively little physicality to the poem-delivering object.

I am not objecting to printing poems on stickers, poems on pieces of paper (broadsides), making pamphlets, chapbooks, etc. I myself have slipped them under doors disguised as menus for chinese restaurants, slipped them into weekly advertiser newspapers, stacked them at record stores along with the announcements for concerts, and given them away. I even managed to give my Belladonna chapbook away. Geraldine Monk gave me plenty of Gargoyles to give away, which I did (as Christmas gifts). I am objecting to selling them. I am objecting to being asked, point blank, to buy them for an incredibly elevated price. This is admittedly more common in San Francisco than here in LA, where we don't see that many poets day-to-day.

I am objecting to calling them books, and there are several groups, some in more official poetry in Los Angeles and some in more official innovative poetry here in Los Angeles, who call chapbooks books. They are not books. They are a lot easier to write than books, for example.

I also am trying to draw attention to the ways that they EXCLUDE and INCLUDE not on the basis of "the poems therein" but on the basis of "who you know," in the case of edited chapbook series, and the tricky "who you think you are" of self publishing.

5.25.2005

So, I think chapbooks ought to be free. Generally, no one profits from chapbooks, and there's no distribution. So, you're either publishing for a coterie, which, why should you charge your coterie money [I have this objection to journals, like Todd Baron's old re*map, that only publish subscribers, meaning you have to pony up to get published (and various other things)], or you're publishing a coterie, which, why should anyone outside that coterie who is not a well - heeled critic (are there any?) buy the chapbooks?
"I can't imagine online publication in any way replacing physical production of a chapbook -- there is little worse than reading poetry online, as the monitor burns your retinas and your e-mail comes in to distract you. (And I say this after having edited an online journal for nearly 10 years.)"

Fair enough. For me, online publication has mostly replaced physical chapbooks and it has replaced most of my pre-book publication in general. As you may recall, I do a fair amount of scanning and uploading of books by now-forgotten female modernist poets. Let it be said also, I purchase no books which are in the public domain, because I can get them online. I have divested myself of my Milton, Shelley, etc., because I need the shelf space, and I can get anything I want online. I kept the Colerige notebooks, because I can't get them online -- or at least couldn't five years ago. I prefer to review from .pdf, rather than from codex. I pursue print publication mostly because the NEA still wants evidence of it. BTW, I print them out if I like them. And I have assigned *lots* of online chapbooks in college courses I've taught.

"You make some good points about dumping all your money into self-publication, but saleability aside, I prefer books of poetry to be short."

Again, fair enough. I prefer books of poetry to be "worth it" in some way, but frankly, if it is less that 50 pages, it is not "worth it" to me to purchase. Also, my own shelf space it so limited, i.e., I have so many books, if it doesn't have a spine, it gets lost in the shuffle. I just put all the chapbooks I own (including "In Padua" by Kimberly Lyons) in a box in the attic. If I have time, I shove them in books by that author to keep track of them.

"Or, I suppose, I prefer them to be what they are, to have a single "piece" bound together, making physical the idea that this is the beginning of the thought and this is the end. Collections are a necessary evil but I always wish I had just the single books of Jack Spicer rather than the Collected Books."

And I prefer to have the collected books, although I have another book or two of poems not in the collected books. I must say, I don't hate compilation albums, either.
Farid Matuk writes:

"I can't believe this is about page count or book binding or art but about legitimacy - legitimacy assigned by the market ("bookshops don't stock them") and by universities ("don't expect them to be assigned to classes")."

Yes, but I am guilty if being quick-to-think, in this case. I think that legitimacy is also assigned by editors and by readers of work slightly outside one's circle of friends and relatives. The trick of DIY publishing to my mind is that a break-out work occasionally leaves that circle -- it is "discovered" by a body of legitimate readers. But I wonder about the wisdom of writing / working / publishing toward this type of happy accident. I think that NO legitimacy can be gained by selling your mom your poetry. Frankly, no legitimacy can be established by giving your mom your poetry, either.

I am also guilty of being incredibly cheap, and being first published in book form *20 solid years* after I began writing poetry seriously and began publishing that poetry in journals, in "e-chapbooks" and myself, in chapbooks, etc. I gave out at readings.

So, I do not like to swap books only to find out that my 200+ page tome is met with a flimsy chapbook the like of which I can readily produce on my home laser printer (I was a desktop publishing manager for YEARS AND YEARS). I do not purchase broadsides, either, and although I have good friends without laser printers who spend money they don't have on laser printing broadsides onto card stock at kinko's, I don't condone that for something other than a holiday card or hostess gift, etc. (you get my drift here) anymore than I condone chapbook publication. I do not like to be asked by my friends for $5. for a broadside or chapbook. I am quite generous with buying drinks, giving little gifts, giving my books, etc. with my friends, and when they (or, worse, students) ask me for money for something 1) I would give them if it were mine, 2) I don't want, I resent it.

I do not like to be in competition for teaching jobs, readings that pay, or even book publication with those who claim that their chapbooks are "books." I do not like to be in competition for jobs with those who include their holiday card poem - broadsides are legitimate publications.

So one problem I have with chapbooks is that they are often viewed as a sort of self-legitimacy. Frankly, poets are self-appointed. Critics of poetry and art -- one of the last bastions of the self-appointed expert. Why else do you think I do it? But self-published writers have *no legitimacy* from the publication. Writers published by a press have *more legitimacy.*

When I sell anything at readings, I sell it at or below my cost. Thus, my Salt book at readings is $12. I've hand-sold about 150 copies, and I've given away or swapped about 125 copies. Guess what, Salt books aren't carried at B&N either (actually, mine was in the system, because I have a pal who worked with Salt to draw it through the system. She also ordered a few for her store (B&N location), but *wasn't allowed to shelve them.* She took them out of the storeroom when I ran a reading there, and put them on the table of upcoming readers' books.

Also, I was the Salt author who fought for Salt to work out distribution with spd, which wasn't really a priority for them, and so they didn't have it when they brought my book out. It was very important to me that spd carry my book, and I volunteered to purchase the copies spd wanted to stock, and I bought & sent in the samples spd required to evaluate the press. I've sold at least 60 copies through spd, and that's a lot for me to sell of my book.

Farid adds:

"The chapbook's market limitations are no reason to dismiss the genre but they are a reason to take at least one step away from distributors. Chapbooks seem to be more about small communities anyway, why not accept that and distribute chaps to the one or two hundred people who'll read with care."

Mark Salerno said something similar to me, "they cared enough to give it a spine." His first book was self-published (luckily for him, at a time when B&N stocked such efforts). He also collects printed ephemera in hopes of building a retirement based on sale of a small press poetry archive (had me sign my free chaps at readings).

and

"Chap or perfect, our shelf life is short... seems a waste to spend it hoping for legitimacy or getting high off the binding glue."

But I maintain that my long-awaited books, selling like cold hotcakes, have conferred some sort of minor legitimacy. Maybe only that Chris Hamilton-Emery likes the book, but hey, he's got a great statement on the Salt site about how they aren't interested in publishing anyone who hasn't established him or herself in a poetry community that cares about the actual poetry.

My chapbook-length poems, many of which are online, have been assigned to classes and reviewed. They were edited, too. And guess what, they're free, and I didn't ask anyone for any money.

Now, I do have a very good friend who established a press, and one he published his first novel, which he bought back from a publisher who'd bought it but then decided not to bring it out (this happens very, very frequently). I did buy a copy. He is / was very involved with the sort of DIY punk publishing etc. -- much of which has gone out of business like 2.13.61, or become "legitimate" like Soft Skull. He "hand sells" most of his books & has no serious distribution. And, frankly, I am not convinced that this was a thing to do. But their band doesn't play at cheesy open mike nights at venues with cover charges, so we know it is not the same as that!

He could have emulated Salt: have that friend's press be a press that his press should be associated with, by virtue of the fine, and complementary, work they publish. Or, worse, had a friend publish it, and published that friend's novel or something: be like Red Hen Press. What he did is sought to publish work he really cared about, and one of those works happened to be his book, and others were neat anthologies, and forgotten writers, etc. The DIY model. I hope he continues to do this, but I know he probably won't, because, as with chapbooks, it is virtually impossible to get distribution for this type of work, and writers have better things to do, like write and seek legitimate publication, than to hand-sell their own books.

His current publisher would like very much for the first book to go away, and I don't think they are allowing him to cross-promote. And they are claiming that his second book is his first book.
I Hate Chaps

Well, chapbooks. Yes, that's right, I think online publication of pamphlet and chapbook length material has completely replaced hard copy chapbook publication, except for a few edited, relatively high visibility, longstanding chapbook series (Seeing Eye, Belladonna, Diagram, Slapering Hol, Center for Book Arts, etc., and btw, I would include effing, the old Meow, the fine letterpress stuff, Ugly Duckling, uh, Chris Reiner's old series, etc.) and what I will term "ephemera" -- chapbooks made by an author and given out at readings, etc. Guess what, I think self-publication is vanity publication, including self-publication of pieces long enough to be bound with a spine, and I believe that it is a waste of time for serious poets to attempt to turn a profit from vanity publication.

I view chapbook publication to be the "open mike night with cover charge" of the poetry world, i.e., a way that struggling writers who don't know any better soak their friends and loved ones for $5. for what should be given those you care about / care being read by for free.

Scott Pierce of effing press writes:

"You are talking about a production value that doesn't have anything to do with the work therein."

I'm not talking about production value. I'm talking about the work generally inside. And I think I'm being pretty honest when saying that I have no desire to purchase any chapbooks ever; those I have purchased, I have purchased the entire series, such as Belladonna's, or subscribed to, such as Seeing Eye's.

"Chapbooks in fact preempt those glossy glue-bound books."

Actually, they generally come before a writer publishes a book. They should be taken less seriously, and I do take them less seriously, than books. Most of my own chapbooks and "e-chapbooks" get rolled into full length mss. when they mature or contextualize. [Although I will say that I have a couple catch-all mss. that basically roll together series of chapbook or pamphlet-length projects.]

"You are stuck on production values and spitting in the face of a lot of micropresses that take the format seriously."

Nope, I'm not. I'm stuck on the fact that dozens of my former students have wasted serious amounts of time and in some cases THOUSANDS of dollars printing chapbooks which they then tour open mike nights to sell. They call this their "poetry career," and confuse this vanity effort with DIY publishing or an actual, serious pursuit of writing and distributing poetry.

On the other hand, my business manager insists that my poetry BOOK PUBLICATION and traveling in some cases to readings is a vanity effort.

But again, my objection is not about the format. It's about the work, the poetry.

That's why, if no one but yourself will print it, it is important to ask yourself, "why" before handing over your credit card at kinko's to print the stuff youself.

"And by the way, SPD is not necessary for all micropresses. And also, chapbooks do sell. They sell quite well."

I'm glad to learn someone's selling poetry. I personally haven't sold very much of it, chapbook or no. To get people to read my books I have to give them away! I thought perhaps with so much of my work available free (online), the stuff that was in book form would be more salable. It isn't. And even when I sold books (before moving) at Amazon and years ago on Half.com, plays sold, comp books sold, fiction sold, non ficiton sold best, and poetry -- didn't sell a book. Not one poetry book did I sell. So I completely understand why stores won't sell it, and specifically, why they have prejudices against certain formats (they only want full color 8 1/2 x 11 magazines or spined journals, too, I know) that display well enough to sell.

The truth of the matter is that vanity publications, poetry, and chapbooks only sell when "hand sold." But I don't think one should pursue such "hand selling" BEFORE pursuing some sort of less merchantile relationship with the poetry community.

5.23.2005

This is a little note to tell everybody that the L.A. book release of Stan Apps' book, soft hands, will be at the smell on Sunday, May 29th. Come one, come all! The book will be available for sale for $5. Taylor Brady and William Moor from San Francisco and Jane Sprague from L.A. will also be reading.

For those who don't remember, the smell is at 247 South Main Street, between 2nd & 3rd Street in Downtown L.A., and you enter through the alley behind South Main. The event will start about 6:00.