Sunday, August 28, 2005

My Pet Blog


So I finally picked up a copy of The Believer. Probably because it came with a free CD of the Mountain Goats covering "Pet Politics" by Silver Jews, but whatever. It wasn't till I got it home that I noticed it had an interview with John Roderick, local rock star. In it he said something that really struck a chord with me:

"A huge indie-rock hit is a record that sells fifty thousand copies, which is about the size of the Nation of Islam. Even if you're making records that really connect with an audience, it's still a very, very small audience of people."

Right before that, he'd pointed out out the population of the USA is 300,000,000.

So, I thought, if all those bands I love, all the Built to Spills and Yo La Tengos and Guided by Voiceses, all those people who are famous beyond belief in my universe (I mean, I'm walking around with their names on my chest...) aren't really that famous, aren't really making a major mark.

Then I went cold: What about poetry?

I knew the answer. No poet is selling 50,000 copies. Except maybe Jewel. Even Jimmy Stewart didn't sell that many copies of book, I'm guessing. No way. I doubt Billy Collins or Bukowski comes near that figure. But maybe they do, but that's not my point. My point is lots of brilliant poets are not being read. I mean, one of the greatest poets in this country is Beckian Fritz Goldberg, my mentor at ASU. But even I, a huge fan, had no idea her new book was out until Killough told me about it. And he'd had no idea till Laura Johnson told him about it. It won a major prize for Chrissakes. She's the real deal, a true genius. And I have to hear about it by chance. And then I can't buy a freakin' copy. Bailey Coy Books can't get it for me (just like they can't get any small press poetry book I try to get them to order). And and don't have it. So I have to go through Amazon. Whom I have bragged about not doing business with for years since they thoroughly screwed up an order in the most thoughtless manner possible. Ugh.

So this Roderick quote woke me up. Here I am, waiting for my poems to be published by an "established" press with "respectable" credentials so my parents will be proud, and I will know that I'm not a fraud. That I haven't been wasting my time. Because that will be hardbound proof that you can touch that I'm a good poet: A book that won't sell more than 200 copies if I'm lucky. Because you can't buy it anywhere! And even if you could: I'm not Billy Corrigan...

Don't get me wrong. I'm still trying to get a book published. That's been my ultimate goal since I was a kid. But I'm not going to wait till that day before people read my poems. I want 'em read now dammit. And I want feedback. Honest feedback.

So this blog is going to be my own Nation of... My own chance to connect with a "very, very small audience of people." It'll cover all the usual things blogs cover, but once or twice a week I'd like to put up a poem and have people post comments. Anonymously. Poets are famous paranoids that think people are just too damn nice to say the truth. So I want people to say what they really think. Preferably constructive comments. So I can improve, you know?

This will be my longest entry ever. I swear. Thanks.


At 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey pete --
can't wait!


At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Wherlin' B said...

Pete, a fraud? Then I'm a communist wet blanket at a beach party. No one writes poetry like Pete, just like no one takes care of business like the Wherlin' B. To hell with the naysayers...we honest Joes will rise to our respective destinies regardless. Especially if someone else if footing the tab.

Res Ipsa Loquitor,


At 5:30 PM, Anonymous rk said...

I'll have to get used to reading a blog that isn't about what food someone's kitties ate today, or the aliens in the kitchen, but I can get used to this.

Can't wait to read the poems, man...

At 5:31 PM, Anonymous RK said...

oh, and PS--I'll second your emotions on beckian's poetry 100%.

At 9:24 PM, Blogger Eduardo C. Corral said...

I too adore Beckian Fritz Goldberg's poems. And her new book is the bomb.

Welcome to blogging!!

At 3:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In other bad news for writers of verse, Soleil Moon Frye (aka Punky Bewster) named her daughter Poet.


At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Write. Write.


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