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DIY Poetry Publishing Cooperative

February 28, 2008

What to Wear During an Orange Alert interviews Reb Livingston

I believe every "serious" poet should, in some way, assist and cultivate other poets. Poetry is a gift economy, nobody is making much/any money off her work. Some make livings teaching or editing at mid-sized to large publishing houses, sometimes poets get paid to speak, most make their living (or the bulk of it) doing something completely unrelated to poetry. Almost nobody is surviving on royalties and poetry book sales. So one must remember that every publication, every invitation to read, every review -- those are all gifts. Do you want to be the asshole who shows up to every Christmas empty-handed and leaves with a bag full of presents? I don't. I pride myself in being a completely different kind of asshole.You don't need much or any money to support other poets. It's easy to request free review copies and once you write a few reviews,review copies show up in your mailbox almost like magic. One doesn't need money to start a reading series in the community. One can spend very little money (or even do it for free) starting an online magazine. And with print-on-demand technology or other DIY means, one can publish a book for a few hundred dollars -- and in regard to POD, that includes an ISBN and distribution (i.e. you're available on Amazon, orderable in bookstores, etc.). One can discuss and promote other poets and books on her blog, speaking at conferences, during her own readings -- there's all kinds of ways to contribute back to the general poetry community. One's greatest gift is her time, energy and passion.

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