Thursday, December 6, 2007
Amazon.com is positioning itself to compete with Lulu and other print-on-demand companies, so you should read this article if you're a publisher or self-publisher who uses these services.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I spend every day reading and writing about the printing industry, so I’ve heard it all from both sides. It’s either “Print is dead,” or “Print will never die.” As with most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. What prompted this post was an article I saw from the Associated Press about E-Books. What interested me is that the article doesn’t say e-books are great or e-books are bad. It says that e-books are great for some things and not as good for others. For example, one company featured in the article published PDFs of role-playing texts. Why is the format popular for these types of books? Because the print books are thick, heavy tomes that players have to carry them to each game. The books are for reference, so the players need them, but in electronic form, they’re easier to transport.
Print books are a medium. E-books are a medium. Websites are a medium. Billboards are a medium. Television is a medium. CDs are a medium. The lesson here is that each medium has distinct advantages and disadvantages. The success of each medium depends on the kind of content it transmits. Print books and magazines still have advantages over an e-books and magazines and vice versa.
What's This Got to do with Poetry?
I think this discussion is relevant to poetry in a lot of ways. The internet certainly has made it easier to distribute poetry to more people. Digital printing has made it easier for authors to fund their self-publishing efforts. In terms of e-books specifically, I wonder when poetry publishers will start to really take advantage of the technology, by which I mean incorporate it into a viable business model. There are quite a few presses, journals and individuals who offer work electronically, but it's more often out of necessity than conscious strategy.
I wonder if and when, for instance, a publisher will have an ITunes model, where people pay to download their favorite poems. Another characteristic of successful e-books, according to the AP article, is their perceived disposability. Harlequin now sells short stories for 89 cents each. Why can't a publisher or writer do something similar?
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
If you live in Toledo, maybe you can throw your hat into the ring. Read about it here.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
2. A friendly designer
You can find lots of calendar printers online who will do the job for you at competitive prices. Here are a few I know about. I'm not endorsing them, but check them out: Some have instant quote calculators so you can get an idea of how much it costs.
2. Printing for Less
If you have questions about why some cost more than others even though they offer the same features, let me know. One piece of advice: Always ask a printer for samples before you commit a job to them. They should happily send you some so you can see examples of their work. If they refuse, don't use them.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Most literary journals do not look like they are professionally 'designed.' They tend to value page after page of text. Discussions about design revolve around what fonts to use. MiPOesias asks: Why not have photos? Color? Cover lines? Captions? It's designed like a consumer magazine, which I think is great.
Bonus points because the issue is offered as a PDF download OR you can buy a hardcopy at Lulu.com.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
For backstory on how and why I did this, click here.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
What I want to know is, why is Beowulf's body hairless? I don't remember reading the part where he takes a moment to wax his pecs.
Anyway, if you thought this was the first time Beowulf has been on screen, think again. Here's a story about some other adaptations.
Friday, November 9, 2007
In poetry news this morning, residents of Wirral, U.K., are upset about a pub named after poet laureate John Masefield because he looks like Hitler. Specifically, they're upset about the pub sign, which includes a photograph of Masefield. Click here to read the story.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Peach Jell-O salad:
Fresh, fruity, juicy, mouthful
of good memories.
I would love it if we all tried to get Jell-O haikus published in the Salt Lake Tribune. Here's the call for submissions.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
"The achievement of the poems in this collection lies in part in their counterpoising of the profoundly personal with a kind of objectivist impersonality, with the discovery of idioms in which the two can co-exist.
Mortal is a fascinating text containing a fluid sense of time, place, individual and family which generates complexes of meaning and feeling with which most readers will be able to empathise. Alvarez’s use of sentence and paragraph in her prose poems and, elsewhere, her use of stanzas, minimal punctuation, rhythm and assonance, and her ability to use both structures in a very accomplished and meaningful way, make for constantly thought-provoking reading."
Thursday, November 1, 2007
"For this issue of qarrtsiluni, we are interested in art — poem, painting, story, nonfiction, photograph — inspired by insects. We are equally interested in writing about insects, being just as enamored by Thoreau’s ant battle in Walden as Frost’s butterflies, “Tossed, tangled, whirled and whirled above, / Like a limp rose-wreath in a fairy dance.”
The deadline to submit is December 15. For more info about the journal and how to submit, visit www.qarrtsiluni.com.
What if a press held a contest, and everyone who entered the contest got to vote on the manuscripts the press received? The manuscript with the most votes is the one that gets published. Only entrants get to vote, so the entrants themselves are the judges, but no one can vote for their own manuscript.
Would that work?
UPDATE: I'm not as creative as I thought. It looks like this idea is kind of already being done, as reported here in Poets & Writers magazine.
I'm not trying to make fun of Leigh Ann Couch, who was one of the winners (and managing editor of the Sewanee Review) but I thought her quote was a bit funny: “I publish about four poems a year in magazines that maybe a half-percent of Americans even know about,” she says.
Based on the the Census Dept. Population clock, that means roughly 1.5 million Americans know about her poetry. If your audience is that large, Leigh, Red Morning Press would like to talk with you.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I’m reading this book called Blue Ocean Strategy. Like most books I read nowadays, it fell in my hands randomly, but ended up speaking to me personally. The premise is that most companies tend to operate like every other company in their industry. They compete for the same customers along narrowly defined lines. Some find a way to break away from the conventional wisdom of their industry and create a “blue ocean” of “uncontested market space.”
The authors offer Cirque de Soleil as an example. In this case, it breaks from the traditional ideas of what circus and/or theater should be like. The result: There’s nothing else quite like it, which makes competing for customers’ attention much easier and more lucrative.
What does this have to do with poetry? A lot, actually. People don’t like to admit this, but book publishing is an industry, and poetry is a part of that. When we started RMP, we looked at the traditional models for starting a poetry press: Hold a contest, apply for grant money, or both.
Within those basic models, the differences between poetry presses are minimal. If you visit most press websites, their mission statements are the same (“We strive to publish the best poetry.”) What does that mean? As a consultant I heard once says, “It doesn’t mean anything. ‘Best’ is a definition only you and god know.”
Some presses try to differentiate themselves by the type of poetry they publish (“We strive to publish the best [experimental, witness, political, women’s, regional] poetry”). The differences are minute, and what’s worse—the strategy is the same. If every press competes using the same strategy, there will only ever be a small handful of presses that succeed.
When I look at RMP in this context, I’m encouraged. We’ve abandoned most of the conventional thinking that goes into starting a poetry press. I see a lot of advantages in not competing with other presses for contest fees and grant money. It makes us a lot more flexible, and our future is much less dependent on the trends that affect other poetry presses. For instance, if grant money dries up or so many presses are applying for grant money that each press continues to get a smaller piece of the pie—that won’t affect our ability to keep publishing books.
What we haven’t done is turn those advantages into profitability…yet. Living in D.C., we’re surrounded by the history and mythos of the punk rock scene. Independent music labels that exist as standalone companies today started out in basements. I think when you have something like RMP, where there’s nothing to lose by experimenting, you’re more likely to succeed in the long run.
What we haven't done is figure out how to maximize all the advantages of being a truly independent press. The other message in the book is that companies like Cirque de Soleil and Southwest Airlines create models that brought new value to their customers. I’m not sure what that is for a poetry audience. When we figure that out, I think we’ll be set.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Ten minutes before my presentation started at the College Media Advisers convention on Saturday, there were zero people in the room. So I thought, this is going to suck. The hotel is about four blocks from Adams Morgan, which for those of you who’ve never been to D.C., is basically a street lined with bars. So I figured everyone went out late the night before and couldn’t drag themselves out of bed for a morning session. I couldn’t blame them, actually.
Still, nearly 20 people did show up by the time it started. The gist of the session was how to stay involved in the literary community after you get out of school. I used starting RMP as an example of the extreme. You don’t have to start a press to stay active, but it was cool to see that more than a few students in the session wanted to start their own. If you’re interested, here’s some of the content I gave them—a rough description of how much it cost. If you want more detailed information, email me, and I'll send you the specific breakdown of expenses. (Bear in mind, the losses are split three ways, and it’s over three years, so it comes out to about $5,000 each per year. I’ve spent that much money on much less worthwhile things.)
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As you can see, it is not a money-making venture for us, but as I said in the session, that’s not to say it couldn’t be. If we had a contest, I guarantee we’d be profitable. If we didn’t travel to AWP, we’d be profitable. If we printed the books on demand, we’d be profitable. We just don’t want to do it that way, and we don’t have to, because we have day jobs. It's a liberating feeling--something I hope I communicated during the session.
Friday, October 26, 2007
My presentation, which is titled "Keeping the Dream Alive," is supposed to give students ideas about how to stay involved in the literary scene after they graduate. Starting a press is one way, I guess.
I'll let you know how it goes.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Courtesy of John Moore:
73 Things to Do With Your Tongue
1. make trills on a flute
2. make staccato notes on a trumpet
3. pronounce alveolar consonants
4. pronounce velar consonants
5. clean dishes
6. provide sensual pleasure by contact with the outer body of another person
7. be rude to someone
8. help carry out a wine-tasting
9. dislodge stuff from your teeth
10. explore the inside of your mouth for wounds
12. provide evidence of your health
13. grip food
14. move food around
15. direct spit
16. recognizing the taste of food that's gone off
17. lingual tonsils filter out harmful germs
18. stop saliva dribbling out
19. sculpting ice cream on a cone
20. playing shove football with cherries
21. push food onto the back teeth for grinding
22. saying tongue twisters
23. place in the cheek to say things in a subtly mocking way
24. gauge air temperature
25. find out wind direction
26. convey food items into your mouth
27. when protruding, express eagerness
28. when bitten, stop yourself from saying something stupid
29. sealing envelopes
30. attaching postage stamps
31. cleaning the lenses of spectacles
32. moistening cigarette paper after rolling over tobacco
33. holding it to remain silent
34. aids the prehension of food
35. find out what you're eating
36. when pierced, holding a stud or other adornment
37. when forked, speak dishonestly
38. cleaning fluff out of hard to reach crevices
39. getting sticky stuff off your fingers
40. soothing the pain in your thumb after a blow with a hammer
41. provide sensual pleasure by inserting in another's mouth
42. pass it over your lips to show anticipation
43. stroking your lips to encourage sexual arousal
44. balancing several full wine glasses on it to impress your friends
45. applying it to a part of your boss's anatomy when you're after a raise
46. cleaning your boss's shoes with the same object in mind
47. preening yourself if ever you're asked to do a cat impersonation
48. removing lice etc from your partner when he/she asks you about your animal instincts
49. removing fresh bloodstains from non-porous surfaces
50. removing particles of food from your moustache
51. separating the side of the plastic bags you get in rolls in order to open them
52. temporarily attaching two pieces of paper
54. pronouncing the clicks in African languages
55. microfacial tongue thrusts to show aggression
56. creating works of art as an alternative to finger painting
57. moistening an oboe reed before playing
58. directing the air into a blowpipe
59. wail like Arab women at a funeral or wedding
60. deliver a tongue-lashing
61. annoy someone by tickling them behind the ear
62. picking up toast crumbs off the sheets after breakfast in bed
63. stealing the decoration off the top of a wedding cake
64. temporarily corking a bottle
65. give it to the cat to cheer it up when you want to keep quiet
66. blocking holes on a harmonica to play single notes
67. moisten pages of a book to make them easier to turn
68. opening the window if your hands are full and your nose hurts
69. fold it back to wolf-whistle
70. roll it, make it look like a slug dancing to scare people
71. tickle your upper palette if you are really bored/sexually frustrated
72. stretch your cheek out to pretend you're sucking a boiled sweet
73. catch rain, tears, nose droppings and other falling liquids
Friday, October 19, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Compliments of Jason Bredle:
72 Things to Do with Your Tongue
1) Elect a political leader.
2) Decry a political leader.
3) Sign a petition against an action a political leader has recently taken with the environment.
4) Sign a petition against pants.
5) Nod knowingly to a college student canvassing against pants.
6) Take off your pants.
7) Call a friend on the telephone to discuss your mutual hatred of pants.
8) Call a friend on the telephone to discuss your distrust of a political leader.
9) Angrily hang up a telephone and put on pants.
10) Mail a letter to a political leader.
11) Walk about town furiously and with purpose.
12) Forget about love.
13) Remember love.
14) Taste an ice cream sundae.
15) Listen to a friend discuss his recent ordeal with the phone company.
16) Impersonate a snake.
17) Impersonate a lizard.
18) Impersonate a frog.
19) Impersonate a puppy.
20) Impersonate a man walking on the moon.
21) Impersonate a college student angrily canvassing against pants.
22) Audition for the role of Neo-Nazi #1 in a Jerry Bruckheimer production.
23) March into the Gap and tell them exactly how you feel about its new line of pants!
24) Rescue a family from a burning house.
25) Rescue a family from a burning tree house.
26) Rescue a family from a burning houseboat.
27) Watch a total solar eclipse.
28) Win third place in a pie eating contest.
29) Tell a friend you love him or her.
30) Win tickets to a concert after successfully naming a song on a local radio program.
31) Learn to fly a helicopter.
32) Appreciate an opera.
33) Enter a square dancing competition.
33) Enter a break dancing competition.
34) Clean yourself.
35) Earn twenty dollars in a short amount of time.
36) Erect a monument to a political leader.
37) Play a heated game of tic-tac-toe with a friend.
38) Land an airplane.
39) Direct a Broadway musical.
40) Scale a tall building.
41) Judge a beauty contest.
42) Deliver a eulogy.
43) Deliver a package.
44) Deliver a baby.
45) Infuriate a choir.
46) Circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon.
47) Build a model airplane.
48) Become the fastest human alive.
49) Become a political leader and eliminate all pants from existence.
50) Edit a literary quarterly.
51) Signal to someone that he or she may cut in front of you.
45) Signal to someone that he or she may not cut in front of you, and doing so will anger you.
52) Participate in a longest tongue contest.
53) Participate in a shortest tongue contest.
54) Perform a sexual act in a pornographic film.
55) Complete a dissertation.
56) Indicate to a person of the opposite sex that you like him or her.
57) Judge a wet t-shirt contest.
58) Submit an abstract to a medical conference.
59) Perform quadruple bypass surgery.
60) Perform quadruple bypass surgery on a horse.
61) Make a watch.
62) Move scorpions from one box into another on a television program.
63) Lose a quarter of a million dollars playing high stakes blackjack in Vegas.
64) Write a detective novel.
65) Solve a murder.
66) Murder a detective.
67) Save a child from a terrible ferris wheel accident.
68) Direct traffic.
69) Beg a debtor to have mercy and not take your finger.
70) Mourn a recent tragedy and honor those who have died in the tragedy.
71) Make love to the person you love.
72) Lick the person you love's ass.
Monday, October 15, 2007
That said, I find rankings and lists useful when they're about a topic I know nothing about. A case in point is this recently published list of Top 10 Modern Korean poets. The rankings don't matter; I find it useful because it's a starting point for exploring the topic. I may discover eventually that I don't agree with the list at all, but without it I'd be overwhelmed by the total number of Korean poets and wouldn't know where to start.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Here’s an idea for self-promotion: A couple of writers in
Monday, October 1, 2007
In the interview I linked to below, Jen mentions that Horse Less is planning to print books with Lulu, a print-on-demand publishing company. I’ve been meaning to write about POD on this blog for awhile, because it’s a huge issue in the printing industry, especially the book publishing specifically.
First of all, if you are remotely interested in the topic of DIY publishing, you should be reading the newsletter Publishing Basics put out by Ron Pramschufer of RJ Communications. It is the single best resource on independent publishing that I read regularly because of its balance between practical info and birds-eye view of the topic. For instance, here’s a recent article on Amazon.com’s acquisition of iUniverse.
If you want some perspective on the way POD is affecting book publishing, the article is a good place to start (and then read some of the back issues). One of things I’ve taken from my reading on POD and as partner in RMP is that the print-on-demand part of POD is not exactly why it has been a boon to DIY publishers.
Most people assume the reason that print-on-demand removes a huge barrier to independent publishing is because you don’t have to pay for books that don’t get sold. However, that particular cost savings is negligible in my view. Printing 1,000 books up front is not prohibitively expensive. In fact, the unit cost is always lower than if the books are printed on demand. Where I think POD printers have done a great service for DIY publishing is not in the printing but the auxiliary services, such as listing the books on a website, taking care of order processing and mailing the printed book when someone buys them. Those are the most expensive and time consuming parts of running an independent press.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Thursday, Oct. 4, 7 p.m.
Jason Bredle reads at Shaman Drum Bookshop, Ann Arbor, Mich.
For more info, click here.
Saturday, Oct 6, 1-5 p.m.
Jen Tynes reads with Elizabeth Robinson, Dan Beachy-Quick, & others TBA
A Swap of Language
For more info, click here.
Friday, Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.
Jen Tynes reads with w/ Adam Clay & Kate Greenstreet
The New Lakes Reading Series
For more info, click here.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
Bonus: You can still visit this link and listen to an archived appearance from 2005, featuring a reading from Sean from Bad With Faces.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Pain fantasy / Jason Bredle. -- 1st ed.
All that's left to do is prepare the files for the printer. A friend of mine graciously does that for free, but we do it on her schedule, so hopefully we'll get with her next week and have the book off to the printer pronto!
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Click here to get the internet feed.
While you're there, check out the archives for an interview with Sean Norton.
Ernesto Priego says, "The poems in Mortal grow in the reader like teeth, they break the skin, grow inwards before finally seeking an exit out of the body, through the mouth, to become expression, to grind and bite in survival and in love, in sex and in everything which is pleasurable. To read Priego's entire review, click here.
Jeannine Hall Gailey says, "Alongside poems of mothers giving birth, a daughter struggling to come to terms with her mother’s breast cancer, and the fragile lives of flowers and insects, these mythological poems evoke a mournful and timeless struggle with mortality." To read Gailey's entire review, click here.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Oh One Arrow
Thursday, May 10th
240 Westminster Street
w/ readings by:
Lori Anderson Moseman
Flim Forum Press is a new press interested in poetry
that postulates then questions the idea of the poem
as experiment, poetry that builds and develops (forms)
original logics/grammars, poetry that dissolves to
redefine the lines between sense and nonsense, process
and product, sight, sound, and semantic.
Oh One Arrow, the first Flim anthology, includes
work by: Brandon Shimoda, Thom Donovan, Jonathan Minton,
Adam Golaski, Lori Anderson Moseman, Katie Kemple, Christopher
Fritton, Eric Gelsinger, John Cotter, Jacqueline Lyons, Jeff Paris,
Michael Ives, Jaime Corbacho, Matthew Klane, Pierre Joris, and Aaron
Lowinger. Cover art by Luke Daly.
Flim Forum Press is currently accepting submissions
for a second anthology.
for more information,
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
New Mexico ranked second. To find out who made it in the top 10, click here.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Read Toweill's entire review in a recent issue of GutCult.
To buy the book, visit the Red Morning Press website.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
The article cites this poem as an example of a body blazon:
by Thomas Hood
T'was in the middle of the night
To sleep young William tried
When Mary's ghost came stealing in
And stood by his bedside
Oh William dear, oh William dear,
My rest eternal ceases
For alas my everlasting peace
Is broken into pieces.
I thought the end of all my cares
would end with my last minute
But when I came to my last home
I didn't stay long in it
The body snatchers they have come
and made a snatch of me
Oh it's very hard those kind of men
won't let a body be.
The arm that used to take your arm
Is took by Dr. Weiss
And both my legs have gone
To walk the hospital at Guys.
As for my feet, my little feet
You used to call so pretty
There's one I know, in Bedford Row
The other's in the city.
I vowed that you should have my hand
and fate gave no denial
You find it there at Dr. Bell's
in spiritus and a vial.
I can't tell where my head is at
but Dr. Carpo can
As for my truck it's all packed up
to go by Pickford's van
I wish you'd go to Mr. P.
and save me such a ride
For I don't half like the outside place
he's picked for my inside.
The cock it crows, I must be gone
Dear William we must part
I'll be yours in death although
Sir Ashley has my heart.
Don't go to weep upon my grave
And think that there I'll be
For they haven't left an atom there
Of my Anatomy.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
POETRY: "Native Guard," by Natasha Trethewey.
Trethewey, a creative writing professor at Emory University, imagined the life of a former slave stationed at a fort off the coast of Gulfport, Miss., a former Union prison housing Confederate prisoners. The slave was charged with writing letters home for illiterate POWs and fellow soldiers. Trethewey, a Gulfport native who was a daughter of a black woman and white man, said she used the racial legacy of the Civil War to honor her mother and her personal history.--AB
Monday, April 16, 2007
Today’s topic: Makeready
Let’s say you get a quote from at printer for 500 books and 1,000 books. Let’s say the printer comes back to you and says they’ll print 500 books for $1,500 and 1,000 books for $2,000. Why does it cost relatively so little to print the extra 500 books?
One huge reason for the difference is the concept of “makeready.” Makeready is all the time and steps a printer takes to get the job set up and running. This includes getting the correct paper and printing plates on the press. Once that’s done, the pressman will start running the press, but the initial copies are waste (particularly on color jobs like book covers).
The reason is that when the paper starts running through the press and ink is applied, it takes time for the pressman to adjust ink levels to match the proof that the client (you) have approved. These “makeready” copies aren’t counted as part of your order. You typically never see them, but they are factored into the printer’s cost of doing business. Once the ink levels are up and the order is being printed, the quantity is a small cost for the printer. The presses run so quickly that it could take only minutes to print an extra 500 copies. The bulk of the cost is incurred by the printer up front, during makeready, and, except for paper costs, not so much during the actual printing.
Once the ink levels are up and the order is being printed, the quantity is a small cost for the printer. The presses run so quickly that it could take only minutes to print an extra 500 copies. The bulk of the cost is incurred by the printer up front, during makeready, and, except for paper costs, not so much during the actual printing.
The concept of makeready has a number of consequences for DIY publishers. For example, you can design a print job to run on your printer’s particular presses so you optimize factors like makeready. Or you can design a print job and then find the printer with the best equipment for that job. Not all presses run the same jobs equally, and not all printers are created equal.
The reason I thought about makereadies is because you rarely see the copies, but a printer my employer uses to print brochures recently sent us some with our regular job order. He probably did it by accident because makeready copies are generally unusable. They often look washed out, streaky and non-vibrant. For book publishers, this is mostly an issue with color covers, but even the black and white body of your books should have strong, crisp ink coverage.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Pain Fantasy, to be published by us imminently, will be Jason's second book. Check here often for updates.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Click here to read the story.
Click here to watch the actual music video.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Personally, I think he's overreacting. Even if you accept that National Poetry Month doesn't effectively support poetry, the idea that it actively hurts the genre is a stretch. In this essay, I think National Poetry Month is just a starting point for Bernstein, an excuse to criticize poetry that he doesn't like. What do you think?
Monday, April 9, 2007
Here's a writing exercise: Write a poem in which the speaker of your poem witnessed a murder but is afraid to reveal the identity of the killer.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Monday, April 2, 2007
On Tap: “Party Crasher: St. Patrick’s Day 2007”
Print Solutions: “Health Care Forms Undergo Revision"
P.S. If you’re having a party and live in the D.C. area, email me so I can crash it :)
Friday, March 30, 2007
How would this work in the United States? Which B- or C-list celebrity would host? Any suggestions? Maybe we should put together a pitch for Fox.
I thought some of you might get a kick out of this story about the company naming itself Poet. I didn't actually read much of the article, so if anyone finds the rationale behind the name-change, please eduate me.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Just reading this story in P&W tired me out. The spotlight is on Tupelo Press and its contest shenanigans. (I call them shenanigans, but read the story and decide for yourself.)
The clue was something like "In 2005, a Library of Congress exhibit on this poet included a display called 'Wound Dresser.'"
If you know the answer, be the first to put it in the comments below, and we'll send you a free copy of Sean, Jen or Ivy's book.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Mean time waiting for luggage at bag claim: 30 minutes
Gross earnings from gambling (poker): $75
Gross losses from gambling (slots): $30
Average margaritas per hour: 3.5
Number of poems read by me: 0
The wedding was nice, a blend of African and Japanese traditions to reflect the bride and groom's heritage. To make this relate somehow to poetry, I was going to include a blessing from Ghana that was part of the ceremony, but I forgot to get a copy of it. Instead, here's a poem by Lynn Emanuel called "Inventing Father in Las Vegas."
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
The relationship between copyright/trademark/patent laws and creativity is something that fascinates me. On one hand, the laws can be overly protective. On the other, they can be the only protection an artist has. One deviation from the often black-and-white discussions about copyright--especially as they pertain to music--can be found at the Creative Commons web site. The idea here is that you can share some of your rights without giving them all away.
Monday, March 19, 2007
[Edit -- I'm bored this morning and figured I'd weigh in... I’m embarrassed to admit I just read the first article Andy posted, so now at least I know what everybody at AWP was talking about. But frankly, I’m not sure I see what all the controversy is about. Poetry got a lot of money, and it now wants to spend lots of it in silly ways to try to make poetry more appealing to ordinary people. Let me look into my crystal ball for a second… oh, ok, it’s a spectacular failure.
I mean, it’s no secret that poetry ain’t popular. It was once, sure, but that was when people who were educated were actually taught how to engage with a poem. I think back to my K-12 education, and I remember only one class in which we were taught to read and write poems: It was in first or second grade, in a “gifted and talented” class, and I was encouraged to write little poems about things like dinosaurs and ghosts.
And there was one day when we were taught about simile. I wrote a poem called “Winter,” in which I said something like “it tastes like chocolate cake, sounds [or looks?] like the ocean.” The cake thing was because my birthday is in December (I guess I should have known my audience and said “tastes like candy canes”); I don’t remember what was going on with the ocean part, but I know I was mocked mercilessly by a neighbor kid, who was not in said GT class. Even years later, when I bumped into the guy, he said something like, “Hey, remember when you wrote a poem about how winter tasted like cake? That was so gay.”
So there you have it. I was given an introduction on how to read and write poems by a teacher who knew how to read and write poems. He was not. I stayed interested in poetry. I think it’s safe to say he’s not a fan. Getting a poem or an essay on poetry placed in Maxim isn’t going to change his mind, unless maybe it’s tattooed on Fergie, who is fergalicious.
You know, that's not a bad idea. Note to self: draft grant proposal and perform legal research on avoiding restraining orders.
This (the poetry thing, not Fergie) is something I was talking about with some folks at AWP. If they want to make poetry more popular, they should spend the money paying me a salary in the low six figures (I’ve got law school loans, you know) to travel the country and teach first and second graders how to read and write little poems. Or hire someone else to do it and pay them less; I know plenty of good writers cheaper than me who would probably do a great job teaching the kiddies (that is, not opening with, “Do you like iambs, Jimmy?” or otherwise turning poems into the literary equivalent of brussel sprouts).
But that’s, as far as I can tell, not what they’re doing, and I’m not too upset about it. Based on what I’ve now read, the Poetry Foundation is a little like Richard Pryor in Brewster’s Millions, in which Pryor’s character inherits millions and has to spend it all in a week without accumulating any assets. So he buys icebergs that are going to melt and million-dollar stamps, which he then uses to mail postcards. In the end, it’s their money. If they want to spend it giving awards for funny poems, I guess that’s fine by me. I'm way more annoyed by the New Yorker's process for selecting its poems, though I guess I really shouldn't be.
Now I’d better get back to my latest poetry manuscript, A Polack Walks Into a Bar // (ouch).
Friday, March 16, 2007
Today I finally visited PBS' Online News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. Our good friend Tom works for the show, and one of his responsibilities is to generate content for the program's Poetry Series web site.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Then someone sent an email and scolded us for being behind the times. The arguments for having email submissions made sense--less paper, easier to handle, etc.--so we made it happen.
It wasn't too long after that we realized what a hassle it was for us to accept paper submissions at all. With CP in a different state, transferring manuscripts cost us time and money. So we formally eliminated mail submissions, and overall it has been a good thing.
One side benefit that I didn't think about at the time is that it expands our pool of potential writers. For example, I wonder if Ivy would have sent us her manuscript if she had to mail a hard copy. We get manuscripts from people all over the world now, because emailing a manuscript from overseas cost the same as emailing it from the United States.
One downside to email is that it when you send an email from our server, you're never sure it's going to reach its destination. I guess that's true of a mailed letter also. Anyway, I'm sharing all this because I am still getting inquiries about manuscripts that we rejected months ago. The short answer to all these inquiries: If you submitted your manuscript before November 2006, then we won't be publishing it at this time. If you submitted it after November 2006, then expect to hear from us soon, one way or another.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Friday, March 9, 2007
The reading is on Friday, March 16th at Ada Books (2 Dean Street, Providence, RI). It starts at 6:00 p.m.
Have a drink. Buy a book.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Click here to read about Slamchops, a restaurant/slam poetry venue concept that three Rutgers' students entered in Microsoft's ideaWins contest (registration required).
Click here to read about a teacher who is on administrative leave for teaching a poem that some parents deemed offensive. The poem is unidentified in the story.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
I didn’t go to any sessions, seminars, presentations, panels--whatever you call them. So if that's what you want to hear about, you’ll have to ask someone else. I spent the entire time at the bookfair--at our table or looking at other tables. Dennis went to a reading by
Bookfair (and Books I Bought)
The bookfair was pretty solid. Last year, the convention center in
I spent more money buying books than buying booze this year. That's obviously not true, but you get the idea. Books I bought:
- Bone Pagoda by Susan Tichy (Ahsahta Press)
- Reliquaries by Eric Pankey (Ausable Press)
- Talk Shows by Monica de la Torre (Switchback Books)
- A bunch of chapbooks (Ocutpus Books)
I've read about half of Bone Pagoda so far. Susan was a teacher of ours at George Mason U, so I've been looking forward to her book coming out. Eric also was a teacher of ours, so that's another one I'm looking forward to reading.
I'm really interested in Talk Shows, because I'm excited about Switchback Books. When we met Brandi Homan in
The last thing I wanted to buy before I left was a chapbook by Jen and co-author Erika Howsare published by Octupus Books. I went to their table to buy it and came away with eight chapbooks instead. They all looked so good that I had to have them. Something I noticed at AWP (let’s call it a trend) is that a lot of people bought chapbooks. We had some of horse less press’ chapbooks on our table, and a few of Ivy’s and one of Jason’s—people were consistently drawn to them. I started seeing them everywhere. It made me wonder whether we should have been a chapbook publisher :)
More to come...
More to come...
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
The off-site readings are one of my favorite things about AWP. They're always more social and energetic than the keynote readings at the actual conference center. (Probably because you're within easy reach of a beer.) I'm glad that Switchback invited Jen and Jason to be part of their reading.
Except for the talented Miss Ivy Alvarez, (who lives in Wales), here's the entire RMP crew at AWP in Atlanta. Clockwise, from Jen, are Jason, Chris, Dennis, Sean and me.
Monday, March 5, 2007
If we ever release BWF in Germany, I think we'll have to go with this one. I'm pretty sure we can get the Hoff to give us permission in exchange for a warm bowl of soup or an enthusiastic compliment ("You should totally be in the Checkpoint Charlie museum, Hoff! Your voice helped bring down that wall!").
Actually, I really do like this cover. Really.
Speaking of fires, on the drive back from Atlanta, we saw a car burst into flames. It was parked on the side of the road, and someone was still in the car! A bunch of cars pulled over, and we called 911, but I'm not sure what happened after that.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
A lot of online printing companies will offer one product at ridiculously low prices as a loss leader, hoping you'll like the quality and service so much that you'll buy other products, like business cards, brochures, etc. from them. You could do that, or you could shop around and find the printers that use business cards, etc., instead of post cards as loss leaders and get great pricing on those products.
Here's a list of just a few online printing companies I know about that specialize in small orders. I can't speak specifically about all these companies, except to say that people I know have used them for various projects and been satisfied with their work:
Here's a copy of the post card we're distributing at AWP and elsewhere. It looks blue on my browser, but the actual card is red and black. The other side has more copy on the back, but it's too light and obscure to read on my browser. It says "Red Morning Press will never fund itself through contests or reading fees./ Truly independent publishing demands it./ If you believe in the mission, then buy a book.../...or start your own press./ Ask us how."
If you want some to distribute, email me and we'll mail you some.
The longer we run RMP, the more convinced I am that writers should take a serious look at self-publishing. We receive so many manuscripts that deserve to be published, but we simply can't publish them all. It's a shame that those authors will have to keep searching for a publisher or hoping to win a contest. One of the messages we wanted to communicate on the post card is that if anyone wants to self-publish or start their own press, we're here to help. If you want tips or advice on navigating the process, we're more than willing to share what we've learned.
Friday, February 23, 2007
The information is extremely practical. When CP, DC and I first talked about starting the Press, one of the hardest things to find out was how much it would cost to print a book. The pricing I researched was all over the map. But I had been getting the newsletter, and one of the articles (very timely) was basically a matrix showing how much it cost to print a book according to quantities, type of printing (offset versus digital), etc.
Now I work for a magazine that covers the printing industry, and all that information is second nature, but at the time, it was a critical resource, because the printing cost for us is the greatest expense, and we couldn't budget realistically until we knew what it would be.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
To summarize: The Poetry Foundation has a shit-ton of money, way more money than you ever thought poetry would attract. They are using it to publish Poetry, syndicate Ted Koosier's newspaper column, buy an office building, maintain a web site, promote poetry to nationally circulated consumer magazines, etc. A lot of people in the poetry community are annoyed, pissed or outright angry at the way the money is being spent, primarily because the Poetry Foundation takes a "do it our way/go-it-alone" approach rather than redistributing the money to the scores of independent publishers and artists who could use it.
My opinion: I'm not speaking for Dennis and Chris, but my general attitude is "Who cares?" The New Yorker sets up the story as a confrontation--People who favor the Poetry Foundation must believe in A, B, C. People who disagree with the Poetry Foundation must believe in X, Y, Z.
That's a convenient story-telling device, but it misses the point. Both sides have merit. Both sides have weaknesses. Both sides also have proponents with self-serving agendas, so they benefit by dismissing each other outright.
One joy of running Red Morning Press is that our merits and weaknesses don't matter that much. We all have jobs outside poetry, so what other publishers and poets think about our mission, our aesthetic, our fashion sense, whatever--it doesn't really concern us. We're going to publish poetry we regardless of how much money the Poetry Foundation spends or how much people rail against it.
As long as we can afford it, no one can really stop us from putting good books into the world. That's one of the reasons I encourage poets I meet to think about self-publishing. It's not that difficult or expensive, and the freedom to do it the way you want is priceless.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
But it never took off. People didn't really sign up for it, and maintaining a clean email list was a pain in the ass. The need to communicate still existed, so that's what led us to blogging. The instant we think of something or make a decision, it can be recorded, and it's instantly available for anyone that wants to read about it.
So after AWP this year, say goodbye to the newsletter. And check back here to learn about our next project: The RMP Poetry Round.
Chris, Dennis and I keep having a conversation about how to get our authors' books in front of as many people as possible. Advertising seemed like a next logical step.
If you're a small press or self-publisher that's thinking of advertising, here's some advice:
1) Advertise where your audience is: Before you reserve ad space in a publication, find out who reads it and be sure you can imagine them reading and liking your books.
2) Don't expect immediate (or tangible) results: Repetition is a key part of advertising, and the benefits may not translate into direct sales. Advertising builds awareness and recognition of your brand among readers. It may be a long time down the road before you can tie increased sales to advertising efforts.
3) Support advertising with other marketing efforts: Our Boston Review ad includes our web site address, which links to this blog, which refers to our Boston Review ad. Try to create a "closed-circuit" marketing program.
Chris, Dennis and I first heard of Jason Bredle while we were at George Mason. He submitted a poem to Phoebe, the University's literary journal. He blurbed Sean's book for us two years ago, and we finally met him at the AWP conference in Vancouver. Jason's first book, "Standing in Line for the Beast," was just published by New Issues.
Check this blog often to learn more about the publishing process. We'll post regularly on the production of Jason's book.