Thursday, December 6, 2007

Getting Published 2

Getting Published 2 - The New Math of Poetry, courtesy my friend, poet and publisher David Alpaugh, whose essays on The Professionalization of Poetry appeared in Poets & Writers.
[Note: David's New Math article is still being researched and does not factor in the many hundreds of "Single Poem" contests.]

1) A cursory investigation on the Internet turns up 158 full collection poetry book contests and 172 poetry chapbook contests. That's 330 contests a year--and though just an approximate figure, it's a conservative one.

2) If the figure holds at the current level there will be 3,300 poetry book contest prize awards each decade--33,000 by the end of this century.

3) Everything leads me to believe that the figure will not hold--that the current trend and history of exponential growth will continue and that the figure will double, triple, quadruple, perhaps even ten-tuple as technology proceeds.

4) We could easily be looking at over 100,000 poetry book awards by the end of the century! Each book chosen from hundreds, in some cases thousands, of entries by "distinguished" poet/judges--and published by supposedly selective, credible presses, trying earnestly to bring the best poetry available to the reading public.

5) How could a 22nd century English professor be confident that he had a handle on the best 21st century without carefully reading these 33, 000 to 100,000 "prize-winning" books? And how about the tens of thousands of books that didn't win prizes? How about the tens of thousands of self-published ones? Shakespeare self-published his Sonnets. Blake self-published Songs of Innocence and Experience. Whitman Leaves of Grass. Would scholars have to specialize, say, in the first three days of June, 2042, to make certain that they weren't missing a "great" poet?

6) As for individual poems, we have two popular internet zines that publish a daily poem: Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. And we have Garrison Keillor reading at least one poem daily on The Writer's Almanac. There is little duplication, if any, between these three daily reads. 365 x 3 gives me 1095 poems a year. Let's round it off to 1000. That's ten thousand poems per decade and 100,000 by the end of the century (assuming that someone picks up the ball for Garrison when he leaves us for that great anthology in the sky).

7) Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Writer's Almanac are all highly "selective." They are choosing poems from respected publishers, and literary journals. Each of those collections, journals, anthologies is full of poems presumably just as good that don't make it onto the net or radio. Assuming that the publications they draw from average 60 pages of poetry each and we have 6 MILLION poems to add to our 21st Century "new math" total! Of course that figure is high because although the 3 entities almost never duplicate poems they do draw on many of the same publications, presses, journals, etc. So let's be conservative and cut it in half. (But, remember, there are at least as many fine anthologies, journals, and collections that never get the nod from VD, PD, or GK and would need to be added in).

8) And keep in mind that so far we have only talked about hard-copy publications! For Poetry Daily and Verse Daily only select from print, never from the internet where hundreds of journals are now up and running with more coming on line almost every day!

9) Certainly it is conservative to estimate the number of poems to be published during the 21st century as exceeding 10 million. It will probably be many times that!

5 comments:

Beau Blue said...

Yes, poetry's new world, the virtual world, will leave print poetry to the elitist world it has created for itself.

The print poetry world seems doomed to irrelevance. Especially with its attitude that the online poetry world is worthless. That internet poets are unacceptable as participants, and unrecognizable by the print world's institutions and publications.

If what is poetry is only that which the print poetry world says is poetry, then it IS best those of us publishing online start setting up our own institutions, award programs, marketing methods. The print poetry world's idea of what is entertaining poetry and mine is different. So different in fact, it's a wonder why I insist on calling online poetry, poetry. What else should it be called then? Screaming in the wild weeds? No, that's not it .. what then?

-blue

Robert said...

JJ,

Got the message!

-robt.

Beau Blue said...

I was hoping to start a broader discussion than that, Robert.

We've all got the message. And after the message is received, then what?

Publish online. That's our only path. But then what? The print world continues its myopia and the online world continues growing. But all the REAL gatekeepers are paper people. All the prizes and the promotion, the reviews, the assistance, the recognition is reserved for those selling paper. So, that's the message. And we've all got the message. Now what?

Where do we go from here? What do we do to get the gatekeepers to open the door a little wider? Where are the mentors that will finally recognize that online poetry exists? And if there aren't any, how do we go about making some?

Of course we'll just keep publishing online. But that's not going to create any of the institutions the online world needs, is it?

Yep, we've all got the message. And it's a depressing message. Now what can we do about changing the message, that's what I'd most like to know.

-blue

Tran Thi said...

Publish online. That's our only path. But then what? The print world continues its myopia and the online world continues growing. But all the REAL gatekeepers are paper people. All the prizes and the promotion, the reviews, the assistance, the recognition is reserved for those selling paper. So, that's the message. And we've all got the message. Now what?



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Tran Thi said...

Publish online. That's our only path. But then what? The print world continues its myopia and the online world continues growing. But all the REAL gatekeepers are paper people. All the prizes and the promotion, the reviews, the assistance, the recognition is reserved for those selling paper. So, that's the message. And we've all got the message. Now what?



software distribution
website creator