June 27, 2007

Publishing Chatter

I was leafing through Publisher's Weekly today, and they have one of their periodic poetry review sections this week. People snipe about "mainstream" poets getting all the attention, but I don't think the selection bears that out: Martha Ronk (Coffee House), X.J. Kennedy (BOA), Cate Marvin (Sarabande), A. Van Jordan (Norton), Translations of Paulo Henriques Britto (BOA), Fanny Howe (Graywolf), Translations of Laura Solorzano (Action Books), Juliana Spahr (Atelos Press), and Courtney Queeney (Random House).

I don't think that's a bad variety at all. Sure, Van Jordan is a "Norton poet" now, but he's not that many steps removed from being a D.C. poet who got his big break in 2001, when Tia Chucha published Rise.

That said, who is Courtney Queeney, and how did her first book get published by Random House? I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm honestly curious. I've never run across her work in a journal; the biggest selection I find online is here, if that's even the same Courtney Queeney. PW says on one hand her "debut can sometimes sound more promising than achieved"; on the other, "there may be a following for this gifted and direct writer." I like how they take pains to specify that she's "direct"--it tells you something about the biases against poetry.

On another front, Tupelo is having its annual Open Reading Period again this July. After last year's ethical quagmire they didn't even broach the topic of offering comments...but they still left their fee at $35. Remember, that extra $10 was orginally justified by the promise of individual feedback.

Beautiful books. Talented authors. But $35? They should include a book from Tupelo backstock for that amount, don't you think?


Steven D. Schroeder said...

I won't be sending my book to Tupelo, and you know how much I want to publish it.

shanna said...

for $15 more you could publish your own book and have global distibution via lulu.com.

Matthew Thorburn said...

Frankly, I'd recommend lots of other presses first to anyone shopping a manuscript around -- whether they have contests or open reading periods. Something unusual is that Ausable (Chase Twichell's press) doesn't charge anything to read manuscripts.