Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Since getting back from BC I've been following the Stacey Lynn Brown/Cider Press Review poetry drama here. I don't know any of these people personally. But reading the posts and emails -- and looking at it from the perspective of someone who has been both a small press poetry editor and a winner of a poetry manuscript competition -- it seems like it was a toxic mix of a poet over-involved in the details of the production of her book (needing to control the blurbs and the cover image and the presence of an author photo or not, etc) and a press that was not willing to compromise or listen to reason.

What is lost in this, to me, is the poems. What were they about? I really want to know! Did any of this have any real effect on the poems? Or was it just an argument about their packaging? Was it just a series of misunderstandings about a table of contents and an author photo and some wording of blurbs? Or was it more than that?

It's fascinating theater. Perhaps a bit of a tempest in the poetry teapot? But it's all we've got, I guess, as poets. We give ourselves to our work, and our work is given to a press, and we hope and pray they will represent us well. Most of the time it works out. Occasionally (as CDY and others can attest) it does not.

I am late to this story, but read thoughtful commentary at Collin's, Reb's and Barbara's and elsewhere.

1 comment:

Collin said...

Peter, you are so right that most of these dust-ups are tempests in a teapot, but since we are resigned and devoted to this literary niche, we have to take what we can get. lol

Stacey has taken her frustration and opened up discussion on the contest system and the larger scope of publishing poetry in general.

You're not too late to the story. This thing has legs.