Tuesday, February 17, 2009


As it has been the last few years, AWP was a great success for SPD. It is always a pleasure to ask people stopping by the booth if they know of SPD and find that they do. It is also fun to explain it and have them be amazed and approving. In this case, they often sang specific praises of SPD and of Clay Banes and me personally (many expressed their longing for Brent Cunningham who didn’t go to this one) and we could’t help but feel really gratified by it. All books in the booth were much perused and pawed over. It is entirely worth it to send books to AWP, especially if a press will not be there in person. A lot of SPD catalogs were given away and innumerable business cards. The Bad Poem Contest went over well. There were a lot of bad poems being written and recited on the spot. We took a bunch of really bad submissions home on the redeye with us Saturday and have received a fair number by email. The contest (see post below) is open until Friday, Feb 20th.

I was struck by what I already know -- which is simply that the more you get out there as a writer and or publisher, the more people will look at the books. Often you won’t even know this is happening as it might not show up right away (or ever) in sales. Example – poet A sees a books by poet B, writes a number of poems in response, broods over it, designs a class, orders poet A’s book a semester or more later and bingo! 30 or 100 sold and you have readers, which is the goal, yes? If the teacher chooses to copy the poems instead of having students order the book, you are still getting readers though you aren’t experiencing it quite as happily. (Hear that poets?)

We shared our booth with CLMP and because information takes up less space than actual books we had lots of room. As they have in recent AWPs, CLMP give many incredibly useful workshops (most were run by our mutual fearless leader Jeffrey Lependorf) about how to market, budget, survive and even prosper in the small press world. In general there was way more going on than you could do. I wonder if a lot of what one takes away is actually absorbed by osmosis.

Many thanks are due and so --Thank you to Paul Ebenkamp, SPD intern, and to Patrick Durgin, SPD publisher (Kenning Editions) and writer, for helping at the booth and thank you to publishers for supporting your books at AWP, thank you poets and teachers for stopping by the booth and thank you other orgs for fighting the good fight.

Yours in Struggle,
Laura Moriarty

For more details see my personal version at A Tonalist.

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