On this blog we always seem to be so down on publishers (perhaps, and let’s be honest about this, it’s because we’re mostly emerging writers struggling to get things published), that I thought I’d give a shout out to the publisher of my forthcoming poetry collection Gil Scott Heron is on Parole. When I asked Rob ‘ Is this madness?’ after he’d read the first draft of the book (which was at the time intended to be launched as part of a Caribbean Immigration Exhibition being held at the Melbourne Immigration Museum), his answer was: ‘Of course it is. But publishing poetry is madness. So let’s do it.’
It’s not just that an imprint which has published the likes of Judith Rodriguez, Dorothy Porter and David Brooks took a young (can I still claim that now that I have a 3 in front of my numbering?) black she-poet on. It’s the fact that my poetry is directly political, that all the patois and the mother fucks remain in the text, that he sent me the first proof bound into a blood red cover, then a few weeks later the second proof arrived with a closed raised fist smack bang in the middle of the red. Rob didn’t balk when I asked him to wonkify the title lettering to make the whole thing look like an underground pamphlet. Despite the potential of not even breaking even (let’s face it, the book is not exactly likely to be on the pressie list for Mum), Picaro Press is risking it. So you see, some publishers are good guys after all.
the first proof
the first proof arrived
red / like
a heart splayed open
the note said i don’t know
i thought maybe this
i thought damn / here is a man
who gets / what the fuck
i am even doing
Gil Scott Heron is on Parole will be launched at Readings, Carlton in February 2010. You can catch me performing poems from the book this evening at The Spinning Room, which will also feature the work of Benjamin Theolonius Sanders.
8pm – 11pm
ET’s Bar, 211 High Street Prahran
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