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DIY Poetry Publishing Cooperative

July 05, 2007

The definitions of DIY

Our friend Scott Pierce of Effing Press is right--that the approach to DIY here is a little different or more open than it might be elsewhere. I think we've even talked about that before. Essentially, this blog is interested in poetry books produced by poets themselves (the micropresses featured here are usually one-person outfits, maybe a couple) outside the mainstream publishing houses. Because I think that's where the most exciting poetry is being published. That's lots of territory and healthy activity, and the focus definitely shifts around a bit. I realize the POD stuff isn't of interest to everybody here. That's cool.

Do see the comments to "Resistance Is Futile" below, for his and others' opinions.

My political/philosophical approach is that individual poets should become more involved in the publication of their own work, instead of sitting around waiting for somebody else, particularly the trade industry, to do it for them. I have personally found great satisfaction in making books (by whatever method) & I know it erases some of the usual frustrations and disappointments of being a poet. (Note: I am not disappointed to be a poet! You know what I mean, yes?) I think every poet should try self-publishing at least once or twice--or publish someone else's work--whether it's in a handmade chapbook or a POD edition. I think the experience clears up a lot of misunderstandings about what it means to have a book, and how these objects (on which way too much social/professional importance is placed, really) are made and how they get to readers. I *am* an optimist, and would like nothing better than for poets to focus more on the poems than the struggle to publish them. Doing It Yourself makes that possible.

Not everybody who wants to make poetry books has the same skill sets, and not everybody who wants to read poetry books has the same biases. There are many different ways to publish poetry on a small scale. Even though the POD/digital printing/distribution networks maybe be industries themselves, and as Scott points out do not give a hoot about poetry either, their lack of caring is not a limitation for poetry as it is in the trade publishing industry. (Bonus: POD networks also don't masquerade as cultural institutions.)

I don't see any need for one mode of publishing to be thought of as superior to the other--they're two entirely different things. (I'll be doing two editions of each Bloof book: one digitally printed and one handmade and maybe partially letterpress, for that reason.)

PS: John Tranter (of Jacket) has written to me backchannel about POD binding choices. He's given me permission to post his comments, and I'll do that sometime in the next couple of days.

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  • Good post. I self published my first poetry pamphlet with the help of a small poetry journal that offers printing services. I love the idea of hand making on-off books with poetry and illustrations in them.

    By Blogger Crafty Green Poet, at 9:49 AM  

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