by Win Bassett
In an effort to be a charitable citizen of the independent publishing community, we’d like to give a little love to our contributors, friends, and fellow members each week!
* The new issue of BCP’s INCH is now available on our website!
* Coldfront‘s Top 40 Poetry Books of 2013.
* Mark J. Brewin, Jr.’s debut poetry collection, Scrap Iron, reviewed in storySouth: “And if living is reason enough for storytelling, then Brewin has taught us all a valuable lesson here: how to live.”
* Preach it, Amy King:
“Death be not proud.” We’re dying daily; accept each opportunity to share your work. I was once invited to be one of two poets at a mostly musical act benefit in a little town in Massachusetts with a couple hundred locals in attendance. I thought my poetry, which has never been accused of being accessible (see “Wings of Desire” in this month’s issue of Poetry) would freak their freak, and I’d meet a wall of silence at least. At the after party, many recited my own lines back to me and wanted more. I had undone something in productive ways; they were actively engaged because of the unexpected I brought.
The two central myths are one, that literary citizenship is all about self-promotion, and two, that it’s connected deeply to the “marketplace.” For example, a lot of students (and a lot of authors who clutter my Twitter feed with tweets about their own publications and nothing else) think that literary citizenship and platform-building means nothing more than promoting their own work.
In reality, it’s about completely saturating yourself in the literary culture—and then curating and promoting the work that interests you, so that other people will find it and care about it as much as you do.
My own platform has been built on promoting other writers in whose work I’m deeply interested. When I read a book I love or find an essay or poem that speaks to me, I want to tell the world about it… And it’s not quid pro quo. I’m participating in—and perpetuating—this culture because I love it. Active literary citizenship may have commercial benefits for books and publishing, but what’s at stake is much, much greater than that.
* Tarfia Faizullah’s latest collection, Seam, is available for pre-order.
“ ‘Mercy,’ he said. Soft. It was the name my mama had given me and he always said it a lot. It made me feel special how it got both meanings coming from his mouth. My name, a begging blue prayer.”
* Hannah Stephenson’s “Photographs of Flowers” at Poetry Daily.
* Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition Prize Amounts Increased.
* Presses with open readings for full-length poetry manuscripts. (Thanks to William Wright for the link.)
* Two-week extension for submissions to The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VII: North Carolina. Submissions now due February 1, 2014.
* Daniel Beauregard keeps a dry erase board by his bed to jot down poems.
* We approve of a popular publication calling poetry and a poetry editor “kickassery”.
Win Bassett‘s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review, and Salon. He’s a former assistant district attorney and serves on the PEN Prison Writing Program Fiction Committee. Follow him on Twitter: @winbassett