JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Archives


BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Archives

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Archives


BRITISH-IRISH-POETS@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Monospaced Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Home

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Home

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  1998

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS 1998

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

RE: Re:Book Trade

From:

"Anthony Frazer" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Anthony Frazer

Date:

Wed, 15 Apr 1998 09:09:52 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (188 lines)

Peter and Rupert are right in what they say, and point up a hole in the
marketplace that we all know exists. It is self-evident that a publication
of 200 copies (or several such) is not going to support a repping system
whose overheads are inherently high - subsidy or no.

I suspect a British SPD is unlikely to come into existence, partly because
it would have to depend on (extensive) public funding, and the private
gifts/bequests etc, that SPD receives, for some reason would likely not be
forthcoming (at least I think so - I'd be happy to be contradicted).

What's needed is a website, such as the one SPD is constructing, such as
the ones that exist in Australia (AWOL etc), such as the one that Peter
himself sought to set up, where overhead can be kept to a minimum. If they
can take on-line orders by credit card, I suspect that a large part of the
"marketing" problem can be solved for small presses with small print-runs.
It would still exclude the offline part of society, but given the rate at
which we're all going online that should not be an insuperable problem.

Meanwhile I've applied to SPD to take on Shearsman Books ...

Tony


----------
> De: Peter Riley <[log in to unmask]>
> A: [log in to unmask]
> Asunto: Re:Book Trade
> Fecha: 15 April 1998 09:33
>
>
> I couldn't argue with anything Rupert Loydell says about Password
> (Signature) and the book trade, except that what he outlines is largely a
> self-perpetuating structure of exclusion, not entirely without
flexibility
> but for the most part divisive and partisan.
>
> Though I do think books are expensive in this country compared with
America
> and I surmised the multiple trading process might be a reason why. Or why
> public funding doesn't produce cheapness. Same as with with concert
> tickets: things like the Aldburgh Festival with lists of public funding
and
> sponsorship and you can hardly get into a concert for much under 20. I
> think the reason is that funding in this country (centralized funding
> anyway) is not (in spite of the publicity) done to promote accessibility,
> it's done to boost trade.
>
> There are of course people who produce and publish quantities of
completely
> impenetrable and unassimilable language and then are amazed and resentful
> that professional book-trade machinery does not take it up and distribute
> it all over the world. Of course there are no readers for most
("postmodern
> + linguistically innovative" two terms I heartily detest) poetry which
> despises the very concept of readership, and no trade business is going
to
> devote itself to pushing it into bookshops. There's nothing necessarily
> wrong with writing like that and it may have some kind of future (though
> it's been going on for about 80 years now without getting anywhere much)
> but if that's what you opt for I think you have to accept the position
> you've put yourself in: a very small and highly specialised market
> completely remote from the real book trade.
>
> On the other hand the demands Password made of its presses before it
would
> agree to rep and distribute them meant that they had to have already
> achieved a considerable degree of commercial success by small-press
> standards before they were qualified for further promotion. Password were
> not going to take big risks, and the demand of professional standards
> (including quantity of production) meant inevitably that certain kinds of
> writing were prioritized: and the whole exercise amounted to little more
> than reiteration of the Great Success of Poetry of which organs like The
> Poetry Society are constantly boasting. What this amounts to is
constantly
> feeding a bookshop poetry market with poetry of very low intellectual
> substance and indeed, professional standards. Looking at the list of what
> Signature now reps, it seems to me that quantity is the primary
objective.
> There are certainly very good, important, challenging, vital books,
> especially from Carcanet and Stride, but the good stuff is carried on a
> huge tide of acceptable mediocrity.
>
> Not that that matters very much either. What I'm getting at is that the
> structure constantly re-confirms this situation and makes it impossibly
> difficult to re-vision it. The bookshop poetry trade is fine really, but
> there is no real alternative to it--- if you don't go into that you don't
> get help or substantial funding, there are no structures to facilitate
> marketing and for most small presses it's an endless and discouraging
> struggle.
>
> I also don't know why businesses taking minimal commercial risk have to
> receive massive public funding for it. or why the distribution of
ongoing
> funding from organisations like ACE is so inequitable among publishers
and
> others, some getting vast amounts for a comparatively small production.
>
> So in fact the only publicly funded organisation acting as intermediary
> between poetry publishers and consumers in this country is one which
> devotes itself exclusively to bookshop poetry. I don't think it's what
we
> really need, or it's not the only thing we need. We also need something
> like Small Press Distribution of Berkeley, which will take on a very
large
> range of presses, including some so small they've only produced one
> pamphlet, and with necessary public support and sponsorship, publicise
and
> list world-wide and distribute to individuals and trade. We've never had
> this. It can't be easy and it can't be without some kinds of
exclusiveness,
> but I think the production and ranges of poetry in this country justify
it.
> For many British presses rejected by Password/Signature (or who would be
if
> they were daft enough to apply) this American business is the only
> exterior disseminating body they have had access to. This includes
Reality
> Street, Ferry Press, Allardyce Barnett, Etruscan Books, and Poetical
> Histories.
>
> I myself tried a couple of years ago to set up a listing and distributing
> organ for poetry presses direct to the reader. I was able to get it
started
> with the help of public funding but couldn't continue it because ongoing
> funding was rejected ("just about all the funds available for that kind
of
> thing," I was told, "go to Password.") So again the priority goes to the
> business-oriented producers. I expect this is a solid British tradition
> going back centuries. Yet there is such a need for something else --
> hundreds of small poetry presses of all kinds are constantly producing
> material and no one knows where it all is or how to get to it, not helped
> by many of the presses themselves, who maintain a snobbish anti-market
view
> and won't put any effort into promotion or distribution.
>
>
> But for instance, I've never looked upon most of the poetry I've been
> associated with personally, like most of the poets in A Various Art or
> Denise Riley or Lee Harwood or whoever, and many younger ones too, as
> particularly difficult or specialized in Appeal (with exceptions). I
don't
> think Difficulty or Obscurity or Linguistic Deconstruction have been
> primary aims. Most of the poetry doesn't seem to me to depart radically
> from the kinds of reader-expectation and demand you get in poets like
> W.S.Graham or Dylan Thomas or much of Auden or McDiarmid or Wallace
Stevens
> and a lot of European poetry... Yet in some way in connection with
> Britishness we have been largely excluded from bookshops (except by
> appearances in anthologies) and our books have had no access to
> professional international listing and distributing processes or to
> translation or official promotion of any kind. The rest of the world is
> totally unaware of it, and thinks that British poetry since about 1965
has
> been dominated by an easy chatty anecdotal and fundamentally unserious
kind
> of writing like Wendy Cope or C-A Duffy, or various soulful nostalgias.
> Virtually the whole world believes this, often with puzzlement, I've
> noticed, but it's all they ever see. This is because bookshop-poetry is
the
> only kind to receive promotion: official, educational or trade. If you
can
> break into book-shop poetry and adjust the balance that would be a fine
> thing, but I can't see it happening except marginally.
>
> There's also the Academic market but that's a different business, which
of
> course prioritizes Difficulty and reader-unfriendliness, so most British
> poets miss out in that too. But Polygon's rejection of the collected
Prynne
> was obviously a commercial misjudgement whatever else.
>
> God This is so boring and I've spent half a day doing it. Rupert's right:
> most poets don't read poetry. Most poets are exclusively interested in
> their own poetry because they have no sense of poetry as a public event
> whatsoever (recent BP correspondence has confirmed this) but think it's
> some kind of therapy: you get doses of Greatness or Goodness or pure
Poetry
> (whatever it is) and it makes you feel better. I wish it did.
>
>
>
> Peter riley
>
>


%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JiscMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997


JiscMail is a Jisc service.

View our service policies at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/policyandsecurity/ and Jisc's privacy policy at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/website/privacy-notice

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager