Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The glass of local poetry books--something that can be seen as either half-full or half-empty.

Earlier today (March 24th), I picked up copies of my latest chapbook NEVER MET BUKOWSKI from PIP Printing (have done business with them since 2000) at their Sun Valley, CA location.

I'm still a holdout from the period where poets self-published their own chapbooks (either through the former Kinkos or places like PIP) and sold them to each other at readings. This is not a popular avenue anymore, since a lot of local poets would rather have their books published by small presses instead.

There's a lot of erosion-through-change of the local poetry scene since 2000. Once upon a time, there were quite a few more independent bookstores in LA/OC--and, in several cases, the stores would support local poetry and purchase chapbooks that were self-published and non-barcoded.
Now, there are far fewer independents--and some of those stores mimic the conformity of the local scene in only wanting local poets "established" with small press credits (it can't be just any small poetry press, it has to be the "right" press).

And sometimes, even those local poets don't always make it into these local independent stores with "high standards."

Today, I was at least happy to go by Skylight Books and see that Brendan Constantine's LETTERS TO GUNS (from Red Hen Press) is now being carried.

I really admire Brendan's poetry and respect him as a person (although our relationship hit a speed bump some years back which it has never fully recovered from, unfortunately)--so I'm happy to discover he's getting greater exposure to the Los Feliz/Silverlake reading audience.

Now, if Kerry Slattery of Skylight (plus other people she's deputized as buyers for the store) could start carrying chapbooks/books from some of Brendan's talented peers (Amelie Frank, Rick Lupert, Elizabeth Iannacci, the late Erica Erdman), that would be even better.

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