Poetry and the Publishing Revolution

Publishing has been well and truly taking up a great deal of my thoughts of late as I am presently hard at work putting the finishing touches on my latest collection, Ocean Hearted (both book and DVD). I have been reading, reading, reading and one of the articles that has really stuck with me is The Small Press Poetry Revolution by Travis Nichols (The Huffington Post). It is true… with the current technology available, just about anyone can start a small press, but as Nichols points out, after the initial rush of excitement, it proves a very difficult thing to sustain.

What makes it hard to sustain is more than a lack of excitement though, for me it is the constant job of promotion and presentation that becomes the biggest hurdle. Let’s face it, keeping your work in the public eye is a full time job and expanding the scope of that eye… well that is another thing altogether. But after almost 9 years of being involved in publishing ventures, I still get a thrill out of putting new work out into the world. Like Nichols points out, small presses have been at the forefront of the poetry revolution because they are the ones unafraid to question what poetry is and to take the risks, big publishers would never dream of (sadly, it could be said poetry as an art form is now seen as a risk for major publishers).

So tonight’s job of finalising the running order for Ocean Hearted (the book) is one that I am eager to get into… the shuffling of pages, the culling, the excitement of seeing poems in conversation with each other… we need to love this stuff, to value it. It is all part of the creative process, all part of keeping the art of poetry a living, breathing thing.



Filed under poetry & publishing

9 responses to “Poetry and the Publishing Revolution

  1. Mark William Jackson

    I am proud to display a few books from Small Change Press on my bookshelf (the top shelf to be precise), namely your own Measuring the Depth (autographed copy!), Matt Hetherington’s I Think We Have & Sean M. Whelan’s Tattooing the Surface of the Moon. Were it not for small press, and in particular Small Change Press this shelf would be weighed down by dead voices; Ginsberg, Rexroth, Dylan Thomas, Tennyson – great voices, timeless in some respects, dated in many other respects.

    You & David Stavanger have a great deal to be proud of, and I have a great deal to be grateful to you for.

    NOTE TO OTHER READERS: The only time Small Change let me down was when I ordered Graham Nunn’s Ruined Man, it was sold out, make sure you order Ocean Hearted as soon as you get the chance.

  2. thank you for casting some light on the other side of writing.

    i once tried my hands in importing and distributing. walking the streets in my better cloth, entering the shops and trying to sell.. man… hard hard hard…

    you are doing wonderful work. i hope this continue to give you the power…

  3. Pingback: The other Side of Poetry « Utopian Fragments

  4. Bryan Borland

    Great post, and thanks to my friend Dhyan for pointing me to you. I recently self-published my first book and through that process created my own imprint, Sibling Rivalry Press. I have to say that the thought of growing Sibling Rivalry Press appeals a great deal to me, and you’ve raised some valid questions in my mind. Could I do another poet or writer justice? Could I maintain my “day job” and put in the time to allow Sibling Rivalry to thrive? For now, I’m going to see what happens with my own book. I’m sponsoring book fairs, taking part in readings, and generally pimping myself out wherever I can. And it’s FUN. I don’t want the fun to end. I’m not taking it incredibly seriously – it’s my passion and my dream, but I want the magic to be maintained. (When I say I’m not taking it seriously, I don’t mean I disrespect the work… I simply mean I want to keep a smile on my face and let myself breathe.)

    I could write dialogue with you on this topic endlessly.

    Best of luck with Ocean Hearted!

    Bryan Borland

  5. yeah – good luck, you’re fighting the good fight…

  6. Here, here. You are doing a great job Graham and the best thing is you are from Queensland and my home town of Brisbane! Poetry would be stale indeed without small-presses (and damn those elitists who think that it is a corruption to the system – what are they afraid of, one might ask?)

  7. Yeah, you’re going great guns, all the massive amounts of hard work you put into poetry (not just your own) is amazing!

    Like Mark said, you and David have a great thing with SCP and though on one hand it’s a damn shame poetry is a ‘risk’ in the eyes of too many – on the other, how fantastic to be involved with something ‘risky’ and to make it work!

  8. So nice to read this. I am putting poems on my blog, and trying to navigate getting published in a magazine–anything. It is difficult, and most places seem to only want you if you have already been published.

    So, this is nice to see.

  9. Like you, I still get a thrill putting new work out there, although in my case, it’s often knowing that I’ve just published a small handful of writers for their very first time that keeps me coming back.

    Looking forward to Ocean Hearted, and to Mark: I have Ruined Man, ner ner ner ner ner. I also have – and love – Tattooing the Surface of the Moon: Sean is totally ace!

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