Sunday, October 7, 2012

Another poetry topic people shy away from: not buying poetry books/chapbooks.

I was reading Facebook the other day when someone I know who runs a small press (full disclosure: I've been published by him in the past) made a very truthful point; for all the people who have friended him, very few have bought books published by his press imprint.

And very few people "liked" or commented on his post.

Of course, this has to do with certain rules of poetry community omerta (silence).

Poets are tacitly forbidden to make general criticisms about the community (i.e. low attendance, not enough people buying books or chapbooks at poetry venues or on websites).  Apparently this is because people may recognize the limits of their own behavior/community participation and they might become uncomfortable--even if it's a generalized complaint with no one mentioned.

Also, poets are tacitly-to-explicitly forbidden to call out specific people on less than ideal behavior because the poetry community isn't seen as a strong redwood tree that can withstand occasional wear and tear, but (in these situations) as an oh-so-fragile twig where omerta is preferable to self-examination and/or admitting mistakes in public.  Because if you say something that's less than laudatory about someone, you hurt everyone--such is Poetry Logic.

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