Tuesday, November 06, 2012

to book or not to book

Among the melee, I've been glancing occasionally toward what is (or was) intended to be full-length book #4, which brings together most of what I've written in the past 5 years. There are certain things that make it book-like no doubt, certain threads and themes that bind everything from the havoc poems to the brief history poems to the random newer pieces and possibly even the JF poems.

But then I really sort of do like the idea of the poems existing only in their own little chap projects and wonder if I shouldn't just leave them there and not try to corral them into something longer and, I've been feeling lately, somewhat redundant. Full-lengths seem to lend themselves to more longevity than chaps historically, but I've been thinking a bit of making some pdf's available on my website of out of print things (this has expecially been the case since I know that the fever almanac is now officially out of print, and beyond a small stash of copies I have, sorta hard to get.) That way, things like the andromeda poems and maybe even older work would have a second, digital life. (there's even been rumblings about Dusie e-book versions of in the bird museum at some point.)

This also ties in with what I've been thinking about the career necessity of full-length books, the emphasis and weight placed on them in terms of that whole ridiculous "legitimacy" issue (and po-biz in general that mostly just makes me yawn.) I love my full-length books, but there are actually chapbook projects, even self-published chapbooks, that I am infinitely more proud of in terms of the actual work.) And since I'm not really in the market for teaching positions or grants/awards and such nonsense (thank god), I have a bit more freedom to do what I like in terms of distributing work however I see fit. (Heck the JF poems, by virtue of being available for free online, were probably read by more people than either of my book books, which makes that probably my most successful project to date).

I've also been working on a lot of projects that don't lend themselves to traditional book format really, stuff like shipwrecks of lake michigan (images/text), radio ocularia (diagrammatic and pop-up poems), and unusual creatures (writing in the form of letters, ephemera, and diaries). I feel like traditional books and traditional publishing have become less and less useful to me as someone who just wants to write and make things and go on about the business of doing so.

1 comment:

nitpicks said...

I respect your decision to focus on your own bookmaking instead of more traditional publishing routes. How great to have complete creative control!

I found your blog today after reading Lisa J. Cihlar's collection The Insomniac's House. A brilliant bunch of poems. I'll try to make the open studio on Dec. 14th. Thanks for great work.