JAAMy Fare, and less Salt

Fireworks by G Schouten de JelFirst, some good news: the highly discerning crew at JAAM have selected ‘Fare’ for inclusion in the next issue, JAAM 31, due out in October! Hooray!

So for all of you who would like to read the whole poem (especially those of you who have followed through its birth-pangs) and who don’t want to wait for the eventual arrival of Janus, I suggest you get yourself a copy. It’s a damn fine magazine, and always has heaps of interesting work by a range of NZ writers.

Laesoe Saltsyderi 2011 ubt-3Some rather less good news: Salt Publishing, whose appeal for support I blogged about a couple of years ago, have just announced that they are no longer going to publish individual poetry collections, and intend to turn all their poetic focus to their annual anthology.

This is quite bad news, in lots of ways. Not least of which is that they always had a very international outlook, publishing poets from all over the world (including New Zealand). Hard to see anyone else doing quite so much to promote the international aspect of modern poetry.

Another awkward aspect is how this information was made public. I know a number of poets on their list, and word on the grapevine is that some found out about this by being alerted by others to the blog post about it, rather than being told personally by their publisher. Ok, Salt have always been big on their authors engaging with social media, but that’s still a pretty crappy way to be told that you’re not wanted anymore.

Rudbeckia fulgida during the Summer heat

I appreciate that this is a really hard time to be trying to make a living from selling something as niche as poetry collections. (My own most recent royalty statement, for example, was a negative number.) (Ouch indeed.) And they’ve published a lot – over four hundred collections in thirteen years, apparently. But it’s quite a no-confidence gesture to ditch the individual in favour of the collective. To cap it all off, on the post page Chris Hamilton-Emery is quoted saying “There’s never been a better time for poets to write …”

Yep, just not to try and publish.

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