Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Publishing Poetry

Following on from my remarks about our magazine a poet friend who is being published in the next issue of Boyne Berries sent me a link to this interesting article, The New Math of Poetry by David Alpaugh, about the enormous number of poems currently being published.

It discusses the ease with which poets can now have their "poetry" published - The notion that writing and performing "poetry" is the easiest way to satisfy the American itch for 15 minutes of fame has spilled out of our campuses and into the wider culture. You can't pick up a violin or oboe for the first time on Monday morning and expect to play at Lincoln Center that weekend, but you can write your first poem in May and appear at an open mike in June waving a "chapbook" for sale.

The new math of poetry is driven not by reader demand for great or even good poetry but by the demand of myriads of aspiring poets to experience the thrill of "publication."

The article notes that the online writers' resource Duotrope's Digest lists more than 2,000 "current markets that accept poetry," . . . If we proceed cautiously and assume an average of 50 poems per publication per year, more than 100,000 poems will be published in 2010.

How can the best poetry be recognised when there is so much being published? asks Alpaugh. He goes on to suggest that the sheer quantity allows the academic oligarchy that controls poetry to ignore independent poets and reserve the goodies—premiere readings, publications, honors, financial support—for those fortunate enough to be housed inside the professional poetry bubble.

He is of course talking about the United States. His comments could hardly apply here in Ireland, could they?

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