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DIY Poetry Publishing Cooperative

August 12, 2005

Saints of DIY: Walt Whitman

I live in Brooklyn near Fort Greene Park, which Walt Whitman helped to found. One of the newspapers he used to work for, the Brooklyn Eagle, used to be located not far from here. These are among the many reasons I love my neighborhood; I think I've soaked up lots of Whitmanic inspiration.

Before becoming an energetic journalist and legendary poet, Whitman worked as a printer's apprentice, mastering the production methods necessary to produce newspapers and books; as a newspaperman he honed his editorial skills and reporting and learned about distribution and publicity; he even owned a bookstore briefly...all before self-publishing his first volume of poetry, Leaves of Grass in 1855, which he had printed and distributed by a local Brooklyn firm, Fowler Bros. Printing.

Whitman's DIY gumption didn't stop there. After the book's initial release he sent copies to several writers he admired, including Ralph Waldo Emerson. When Emerson wrote him a glowing letter of praise in response, Whitman published the letter as a blurb (without Emerson's permission) in the second edition. Among the disparate critical responses to Whitman's work, two absolutely gushing reviews stood out...and were later discovered to have been written by the poet himself.

Read Whitman's self reviews here and here.

CAConrad has been asking poets what they think about Whitman's bold attitude and posting their answers at the PhillySound Blog. I wrote a little answer myself that should appear soon (in case you can't already guess how I feel about old Walt!).

Check them out here.

REMINDER: Launch party for Kitchen Press tonight!

You Being You By Proxy by Justin Marks, the first release from Kitchen Press, will be published August 12th, 2005.

Pick up your copy at the celebration reading!

Justin Marks & Amy King
Brooklyn New Poets Readings
The Fall Cafe
307 Smith Street
Friday, August 12
7:30 p.m.


August 10, 2005

Call for reviews

If you've a mind to review a chapbook, zine, or micropress production, feel free to send your prose this way for public posting. [Email address in right sidebar.] Payment will be a complimentary copy of something by Half Empty/Half Full. Please include the links or ordering instructions for the presses if possible. Ideally, the publication(s) you review should be currently in print and available for purchase or swap.

This being a web ring to support and promote DIY and micropress publishers, I'd prefer the tone of any submitted reviews to reflect that mission. (That doesn't mean you can't be critical in a thoughtful, respectful manner.)

I'm also happy to link to reviews of DIY & micropress stuff that you've published on your own blog or site.


DIY Spotlight: Future Tense & Powell's in Portland, OR

Kevin Sampsell's Future Tense Books out of Portland, Oregon, publishes books & chapbooks of fiction, poetry, kink, sass & humor in pocket-sized volumes that pack plenty of punch. So cheeky! Check out their catalog here. Future Tense started as a self-publishing venture in Spokane, Washington. Read an interview with Kevin here.

Kevin also manages the small-press section at the country's favorite (blue, union-organized) indie bookstore, Powell's. The physical Powell's is a browser's dream, spanning an entire block of downtown Portland, with annex stores for technical and culinary books, and even an airport store. The online store is bibliophilia-inspiring. Read about Powell's here.

Powell's small-press section carries zines, chapbooks, and other DIY swag. For information about how to get your stuff into Powell's, contact Kevin at kevin dot sampsell at powells dot com.