First the OSSP*: If you're thinking about coming to hear Maria Gillan and me read in the West Windsor Arts Council's Spring Poetry Awakening tomorrow, you can find directions here; it's not far from Princeton, NJ.
While preparing myself to read tomorrow, and to share the bill with one of my favorite poets, I happened to notice Bob and Margery at About.com reporting that Lulu has taken over the domain Poetry.com and that Watermark Media, they of the International Poetry Library and their regular Parade Magazine advertising , are out of business. This is interesting - an online version of Lulu's print service. I've been looking very hard at Lulu as an open of for the first manuscript... but more on that another in a week or two. Or eight.
For the record, I got over thinking ILP and its ilk were a scam a while ago. Sure, they extracted money from people who didn't know how pobiz works, but that was kind of the point. These folks were people who derived great joy from having a nice gold-edged book with their poem in it, who wouldn't care about any difference (if they noticed one) between a book from CavanKerry Press and one from Kinko's. When they stopped delivering those books because of poor cash flow, that became a different story, of course. It's not all that different from the people I used to see in my bowling league with the special bionic elbow contraption and the special spray for their sliding shoe, and the special glove with the Power-Angle Palm(tm). I know all that stuff was worthless and affected their score not an iota. But it made them happy and made them feel "like a bowler". If that's all they wanted, not to score better or be part of a better team, who am I, even as a reasonably accomplished bowler, to put them down?
There's a little buzz at Publisher's Weekly about Lulu and Poetry.com, which may interest you (and give you a brief insight into one of those bowlers - I mean, poets - I just talked about).
It's also telling that Lulu is aware that much of what they print is bad. But that awareness is part of what makes them legitimate. I have seen a couple of very nice self-published products this year. Given where the "real" presses endowments are going to be over the next two years, it's an option that more poets without bionic elbows may be considering.
Thus endeth the only comparison of poetry and bowling you will encounter today.
See you tomorrow?
*OSSP - Obligatory Shameless Self-Promotion