Wednesday, November 10, 2010

elsewhere stuff and blogging

I'm interviewed (along with Craig Morgan Teicher, and folks from University of California Press, BOA Editions, Copper Canyon, Coffee House, Wesleyan) about poetry eBooks in Alizah Salario's "Breaking the Poetry Code" at The Poetry Foundation.

I'm given quite a bit of space, considering that I have yet to personally format an eBook myself. I've outsourced one (The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel - Second Floor) and while it's OK, there's issues and I wasn't satisfied with the technical support or communication so I won't be using the service again. But apparently I was one of the few poetry publishers Salario could find who wasn't all fuck yo eBooks. I plan to start work on converting (at least some) No Tell Books titles next year. Yep, that makes me the person to ask (and there have been quite a few people who ask me about eBooks). That's a totally sad statement on 21st poetry publishing. There are a lot of opportunities for poetry publishers. Why aren't more of us taking advantage?

Anyhow, I sort of didn't want to participate in the article because I don't feel especially qualified to speak on this . . . but I did, mostly because I have an agenda. I mentioned my agenda during my two discussions with Salario (not using the term "agenda," I am slicker than that), knowing it was unlikely to make it into the article. But the article would be a good springboard for me to launch my agenda in a response.

I feel like a poetry mastermind and am considering shaving my head to look the part.

Here's my agenda at We Who Are About to Die:

We who need an e-publishing hero.


We who need an e-publishing hero, part 2. detailing Adam Deutsch's experience trying to format Cooper Dillon's titles into eBooks

Yes, that's right, Little Miss DIY-pants is calling out the Poetry Foundation to pony up and help find a solution so our poems don't look like ass on eReaders. This is the 21st century. The technology CAN be created.

Help us Obi-Wan, you're our only hope!


  1. That would actually be a great use of the Poetry Foundation's money!
    I volunteered, for my next book, to be an e-book experiment if they wanted to try it out - they've done e-books for their non-fic but hadn't done it for poetry yet. They explained about the XHTML and the readers and how they can't control the formatting as each reader reads things differently. It sounds like the early days of Netscape and IE!

  2. Yeah, I don't expect that it will always be like this. I'm disheartened by a few things: 1.) Poetry publishers who don't think it's their job to keep up with the times. (well, for some it might not be perhaps, but in general). 2.) How quickly many people throw up their hands and say "it's never gonna happen" regarding formatting options for poetry. As if this is an unsolvable problem. 3.) How quickly people blame small publishers for being "tech idiots" for not being able to figure the process out -- when clearly it's not an easy or straightforward process. 4.) That people seem to think it's ridiculous to expect an established and monied non-profit that exists to solely support poetry reaching new audiences to help presses who are trying (and having a really difficult time) to do just that.