Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Your Future Holds Many Many Chapbooks

Every poet’s got a chapbook, is making one, is competing to publish one – and is showing us the future. Readers want
  • short
  • intimate
  • prettily designed
  • highly portable and
  • cheaply-had books. Chapbooks seem disposable because they seem slight; but then they’re not so disposable, because they’re usually not worth the trouble to re-sell.
Plus, I find myself picking up chapbooks from my shelf and enjoying brief readings; I do this more often than pick up full-length, hardback poetry books, some of which I begrudge reading because they cost me so much. Last full-length poetry book purchased was a 90-page paperback, $17.95, titled Enterprise, Inc. Love the poet, Chuck Sweetman. Hated the price.

Q. But will people download poetry chapbooks?

A. I think they will. I’d rather pay $9.95 and see half of that $9.95 going to the poet. Easy to make a PDF of a pretty chapbook. It'd cost nothing to add a sound file, too, so one can hear the poet read a few poems. In the chilly electronic cocoons that we're spinning for ourselves so that we can't be hurt, we're going to be craving more truth and intimacy. Poetry will fill the need.

I’d only miss getting the poet’s autograph and smile.

1 comment:

  1. I really need to rethink this whole chapbook business. As you know, I don't have one. I don't have ANY poetry books--and maybe I ought to start there. I have not respected them, for some reason, and yet I have a shelf full of them and I enjoy them completely.