Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Woe to the blogger poet -

A friend told me the other day that many editors consider a poem published even if it only ever showed up on a personal blog. This is very sad! Personal blogs are an excellent way to work on a poem, get comment from friends, that kind of thing. It should not be considered published. They'll be going after online workshops next and then what will poets living in the middle of nowhere next to rivers, under the shadow of giant slabs of granite, two miles from the spit where windsurfing has become famous, underneath 1,368 bald eagles, do? Online poetry workshops are da bomb. I have three or four where I drop in, chat with friends, enter contests, see what the latest poetry is up to, ya know, that kinda thing. No one here could care less if I write another poem - I stopped sending them round to my friends a year or two ago. The ex put out a restraining order - no more poems within 100 meters. So woe to the blogger poet -

I went into my Poem A Day template and stripped out all Previous Posts and Archives references. Then I changed my formatting to show only one day at a time. This way, my most current poem is up, but nothing from before. Most poems won't be up there longer than a day, so I'm not going consider it published. How many people see it in a day? Well, two that I know of: My brother, who rolled his money into a sock and took his brown belly down to where the drinks wear umbrellas, taking his hat with the explorer's brim and his wide white oyster grin; and Eric Dutton, who is writing a poem a day and posting it to his blog and invited me to set up a chain. I will be a secret poem a day warrior.

Providing, of course, that I actually write a poem a day. I fell of the apad wagon but am trying again.

Did I read somewhere, on some editor's list of NEVER DO for poets to never put together a book of poems with all the poems linking in a way that tells a story . I don't remember why he said that, but I do remember the feeling that it is a popular approach but not so with editors and publishers. Then recently, I read a review of RAPTURE (by Carol Ann Duffy, the winner of the TS Eliot Poetry Prize) which said "Carol Ann Duffy's collection of love poems reads as a single narrative: the poems are linked - hand in hand - from the beginning of an affair to its end." (Kate Kellaway, The Guardian) and "Carol Ann Duffy links love poems into a single, entrancing narrative in Rapture".

This happens to me all the time. The whole political world of poetry is one snarl of conflicting viewpoints.

But I do notice that no matter how a book of poetry is put together, the reviewers review it as though it were a single story - a movie made up of scenes. So I'm led to conclude that, although we are not to deliberately write poems that follow a storyline, no matter what we produce, the reviewers are going to create a storyline to go with it.

It's a framework thing I think.
Well, I'm tired now (just read about 12 reviews on the Guardian)

talk soon!


Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

When an entity says it won't publish something which has already appeared on the web in one way or another, then it is not us but they who are threatened. And actually, if the point is to share our work, as opposed to getting some kind of offical little kudo, then maybe it's better that we have blogs and online workshops as an alternative to the publishing gate-keepers. They are the ones under siege, not us.

As for poetry books on a single narrative, see what has been said about "In the Shadow of the Globe" by Michelle Cameron. Personally, I like the concept, but I wish the execution would have been more engaging as poetry instead of chopped-up prose.

5:56 AM  
Blogger louisbencon8054 said...

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3:49 PM  
Blogger David, Son of Walt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:34 PM  
Blogger David, Son of Walt said...

Thanks for this entry, though it sadly confirms some of my fears. I use my journal on journalspace as a workbench for my poetry and have been thinking for some time about deleting any old entries, even old drafts, that I might submit for publication.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Billy Jones said...

Just shows how little today's print publishers actually know about modern online publishing. Google has instructionsas to how any page can be permantly deleted from search engine data bases and their archives. (Works for other search engines too.) For example: nothing I post to is contained in the Google cache or on the Wayback Machine. (It takes about a month to work-- 6 weeks to be safe--

If these publishers knew their business then they would understand how the web can help create sales rather than encumber sales. Sadly we'll be putting up with such ignorance on the part of publishers for years to come.

9:19 PM  
Blogger dick jones said...

What a pisser! I shall lie & hope that no one checks...

4:00 AM  

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