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DIY Poetry Publishing Cooperative

August 02, 2006

The new issue of How2 . . .

. . . features a small press publishing forum.

The questions:
* From forming editorial collectives to self-publishing, as poet-publishers and reader-writers, what models do we have to offer, imagine, devise (or how might existing publishing and distribution models potentially be mediated) as we endeavor to build innovative publishing models that defend and invent the conditions under and within which our writing exists, is produced and distributed?

* Small press publishing of innovative poetries provides a distinct subaltern model to existing modes of literary production and their means of distribution. How might an editorial poetics of publishing that includes (or exists exclusively as) gift economy alter, challenge and create economic and aesthetic resistance or subversion? Independent publishers, specifically those committed to avant-garde writing and its strategies, engage modes of representation that often are under specific pressures. What happens when presses commit to publishing chapbooks, either exclusively or in part? Where do chapbooks fall within this rubric of small press publishing, particularly as few bookstores or distributors are willing to carry them?

* Many independent publishers are committed to an editorial practice that challenges competition and the contest system now common to many university, non- and not-for-profit presses, especially in the United States. In what ways might contest-driven / competition models blunt critical inquiry or limit the possibilities of poetry itself? Communities tend to coalesce for a variety of reasons; how might we describe the communities that editors, publishers, distributors, poets and readers of independent presses are in the process of participating in &/or inventing?

Some outtakes:
"Working on Proliferation pushed me to articulate and commit to my opinions about writing in a way that being a workshop participant or literature student never had. It gave me a sense of confidence and focus. I finally started to understand that I was not asking permission to join the world of writers, I was a part of it. And it was up to me to decide what to do with that." --Mary Burger

"Many cultural conservatives--some who are otherwise liberal in their thinking--decry that there are "too many books," by which they mean, "too many to judge." From our point of view, the opportunities and realities of POD publishing suggest a decentering of critical authority, a comment on the instability of (or deliberate destabilizing of) canonicity in the age of the privatization of the public sphere. However, controlling the means of production is one thing; creating new channels of distribution, and making better use of old ones, is another." --Bill Marsh

"Why is it, I wondered, that The Book retains such primacy in avant garde poetic communities? These are thinkers who question everything about societal values, about the acts of reading and writing, about language itself. These are people who pioneered the DIY model of printing (I think of Diane DiPrima and Amiri Baraka's Floating Bear Press) and online publishing (UBU web). Nonetheless, in my experience, experimental poets enforce amongst themselves the status of The Book as much as any other group of writers." --Allison Cobb

Ack! Eek! & then Kristen Gallagher says "I've noticed there are fewer and fewer presses these days."

Luckily that's *not* true. & the lack of cash-upfront she laments? Why not POD?

Crossposted from the other blog.

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