Friday, June 18, 2010

I attended one session of the local writer's conference here the other night. The poetry section entitled: The Poetry Editor: Insights into small presses, book contests, publishing online & other poetry publishing endeavors.

I guess I went into this with different expectations than I should have. It wasn't until the end that things got interesting, and then it ended. The moderator asked a few questions of the panelists, and then they took questions from the audience.

Most of the conversation was about traditional paper publication and how to send in poems, a little discussion on how to put together poems for a collection vs. a chapbook. Good advice, much of which I've read online or in texts.

When the conversation turned to online publishing, it got more useful I think.

Kate Bernheimer, the editor of Fairy Tale Review, talked about having to "put in the hard and loving work." I love that perspective. I can't wait to read some of her publication.

Zachary Schomburg when asked if he wanted his Octopus Magazine to go to print he said it wasn't a "wannabe print journal". Loved that! He also said that there is no chance of making big money with poetry, and that keeps it pure. I certainly have thought that before.

And I think therein lay the problem I found at the session. Print is still considered the standard by the more traditional types, and there was some unawareness about what is going on online. This is when the session ended. There were people there that did not know that poets post, publish, blog, or promote online. My thought is 2010! now.

A few had inklings and whispers of what they wanted to see online, and some of it is already out there.

But you don't know what you don't know I guess. I just can't imagine the poetry world, as big and huge an umbrella that it is, not recognizing a huge part of their family. Not talking about liking it, or finding it resonant or good, but strictly knowing such a huge part of it exists. A half hour of googling will get you to a firm starting place, all linking to one another. Certainly not difficult.

I will admit that because there is so much out there, it is easy to not know it all. Myself included. But still.

Zachary suggested that because poetry is so alive now, that you can pick up a rock and find it. I laughed, because it's true.

I have a hard time finding poetry here offline, major stores and smaller ones don't carry much, so being online has opened the poetry world to me, so I will admit also a very soft spot for those that share so openly and don't keep it hidden from those that will rarely find it.

Speaking of which, I picked up Zachary Schomburg's collection Scary, No Scary after the session. Very much impressed with what I've read so far, the first 30 pages or so. One poem in particular, in a volume of interconnected, twisty, and image filled poems, Look Through a Complex Eye and See 1000 of Everything, I found the last strophe amazing and startling:

Everything I plant
I bury.

This struck me. The images move through the poems freely, but anchor each other in a way I'm not sure I've seen before. There is a raw energy here, partly built by the tone and topics, but also by the title of the volume. It's childlike in a way too, with a gentle quality that belies the title. This tension between the two is really cool. Can't wait to read the rest.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Best thing I got from the conference session

Zachary Schomburg's Scary, No Scary. Buy this book of poems. Highly recommended!

More later, when it actually gets typed up.