October 30th, 2009 / 10:28 am
Mean

Breaking the Cycle of Consent: e-chapbooks

There is no such thing as an e-chapbook. And honestly, why would you want there to be? The very term shrieks “diminished expectations” and “compromised dignity.” This is no referendum on the quality of your poetry, which I do not doubt is lovely, smart, and in the words of Daphne Dunham writing about Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, “brain candy of the best sort.”

Nonetheless, “e-chapbook” is a non-form that somebody made up, presumably as a joke, but which, like everything else in the poetry world, seems doomed to invert the classic Marxist formula–ahem, flarf–by appearing first as farce, and then as tragedy, which is the late-stage of e-chapbookism in which we now find ourselves copiously sighing. Can you think of anything more ludicrous than the idea that the publication of a pdf file to a blogger page is somehow cause for a new entry on one’s bibliography? I can, but all the examples are about other things, like healthcare.

In poetry world, this seems about as absurd as it gets, and the logical extension of the poetry “pub-credit arms race” which, unsurprisingly, tends to do double duty as an all-purpose “race to the bottom.” The only thing that I wonder is whether the impetus is the result of cynicism, laziness, or a sheer lack of imagination on the part of so-called “innovative” publishers. Though, now that I’m thinking about it, I suppose there’s really no reason why I shouldn’t be generous in my thinking and assume it’s all three at once. It’s the same lamentable urge that causes poets to casually mis-identify “chapbooks” as “books,” as in, “I had five books last year, and three more are coming out in the next six months.”

Listen, I’m sure your poems are great and I’m really glad you have eight friends with access to a copy machine and/or letter press. Seriously. That’s awesome. (I have one friend who has these things–and I love him.) And I’ve no doubt–none whatsoever–that the work is deserving of–or perhaps better than–Allen Ginsberg’s description of Naked Lunch as “the endless [poetry chapbook] which will drive everybody mad.” Still, it must be said that you have not in fact published “a book” of any kind–not even of the chapbook kind, since the one thing one of the many and best things the chapbook has going for it is its built-in value as a limited-edition, a status necessarily contingent on the physicality of the thing itself. And if you’re wondering why “must it” be said– the reason is very simple: because you are standing there trying to convince me that you have. If you weren’t trying to lie to me, I wouldn’t be forced to tell you the truth about yourself. But by all means, do go ahead and fwd me that pdf file. I’m genuinely excited to see it.

Tags: ,

135 Comments

  1. Matt Cozart

      I like this.

  2. Matt Cozart

      I like this.

  3. Amy McDaniel

      i’m definitely in favor of e-chapbooks. i don’t have the $$ or access to buy every limited edition chapbook available. if i like someone’s work, it’s annoying to have to find all the different online pubs that have one or two of their poems. some really exciting work is done by poets who don’t have collections yet. so as a reader, i think e-chapbooks are really quite handy. they can have really cool design, like a good web journal, which makes for a pleasant reading experience. so, as a reader, i’m pro.

      You seem only to consider e-chapbooks from the standpoint of getting a publication cred. I think that’s overly cynical. from a reader standpoint, i’m for them. from a writer’s standpoint, sometimes i think it’s okay to have a cohesive project that doesn’t have a place in your hard-to-publish full-length, but that you want to reach an audience in a careful (e-)crafted way. is it so bad to want to reach people who might not spend $12, but who would gladly and eagerly spend half an hour? a good e-chapbook editor can totally win an audience’s trust by having a unified aesthetic, and this way writers can reach new audiences, and vice-versa.

  4. Amy McDaniel

      i’m definitely in favor of e-chapbooks. i don’t have the $$ or access to buy every limited edition chapbook available. if i like someone’s work, it’s annoying to have to find all the different online pubs that have one or two of their poems. some really exciting work is done by poets who don’t have collections yet. so as a reader, i think e-chapbooks are really quite handy. they can have really cool design, like a good web journal, which makes for a pleasant reading experience. so, as a reader, i’m pro.

      You seem only to consider e-chapbooks from the standpoint of getting a publication cred. I think that’s overly cynical. from a reader standpoint, i’m for them. from a writer’s standpoint, sometimes i think it’s okay to have a cohesive project that doesn’t have a place in your hard-to-publish full-length, but that you want to reach an audience in a careful (e-)crafted way. is it so bad to want to reach people who might not spend $12, but who would gladly and eagerly spend half an hour? a good e-chapbook editor can totally win an audience’s trust by having a unified aesthetic, and this way writers can reach new audiences, and vice-versa.

  5. david e

      ha ha

      i hear where you’re coming from, i guess, but jesus h, calm down

      more and more shit is going the way of online and pdf, etc. folks can sit around bemoaning the fact that they won’t get beautiful hardcovers sold at the mall book store

      i just read xTx’s e-chap “Nobody Trusts a Black Magician” and thought it was great.

      i do like the race to the bottom line. i have been quite guilty about the arms race thing.

  6. david e

      ha ha

      i hear where you’re coming from, i guess, but jesus h, calm down

      more and more shit is going the way of online and pdf, etc. folks can sit around bemoaning the fact that they won’t get beautiful hardcovers sold at the mall book store

      i just read xTx’s e-chap “Nobody Trusts a Black Magician” and thought it was great.

      i do like the race to the bottom line. i have been quite guilty about the arms race thing.

  7. Blake Butler

      at least nobody is trying to sell me an e-chapbook, whereas those folded pieces of computer paper that get folded into an amorphous ridge on the low shelf on my shelves usually go for $3-$5

  8. Blake Butler

      at least nobody is trying to sell me an e-chapbook, whereas those folded pieces of computer paper that get folded into an amorphous ridge on the low shelf on my shelves usually go for $3-$5

  9. Nate

      I’m with you on this Amy.

  10. Nate

      I’m with you on this Amy.

  11. Blake Butler

      i think html ‘chapbooks’ kill pdf ‘chapbooks’ too. it’s like a visual experience rather than a fart chip

      but i don’t think chapbooks exist either.

  12. Blake Butler

      i think html ‘chapbooks’ kill pdf ‘chapbooks’ too. it’s like a visual experience rather than a fart chip

      but i don’t think chapbooks exist either.

  13. Amy McDaniel

      :(

  14. Amy McDaniel

      :(

  15. Nathan Tyree

      So, are you opposed to e-books in general, or just those that have been labeled “chapbooks”?

  16. Blake Butler

      you know i love chapbooks amy. i’m just bein mean

  17. Nathan Tyree

      So, are you opposed to e-books in general, or just those that have been labeled “chapbooks”?

  18. Blake Butler

      you know i love chapbooks amy. i’m just bein mean

  19. Matt Cozart

      I’ve seen some of those chapbooks go for $8-12 even. As much as a regular book.

  20. Amy McDaniel

      i know. annoying timing for mean week, in this case. i worked so hard for this………..

  21. Matt Cozart

      I’ve seen some of those chapbooks go for $8-12 even. As much as a regular book.

  22. Amy McDaniel

      i know. annoying timing for mean week, in this case. i worked so hard for this………..

  23. davidpeak

      i just really hate the word ‘chapbook’

  24. davidpeak

      i just really hate the word ‘chapbook’

  25. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I think I like it. I like crisp, thrusty-type syllables.

  26. Nathan Tyree

      I’m kinda with you on that.

  27. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I think I like it. I like crisp, thrusty-type syllables.

  28. Nathan Tyree

      I’m kinda with you on that.

  29. Amy McDaniel

      it’s a nice little spondee

  30. Amy McDaniel

      it’s a nice little spondee

  31. davidpeak

      ‘chap’ makes me think of butt-less pants and cracked lips and those two images together gross me out. throw ‘book’ on the end it makes the whole thing sound dirty.

  32. davidpeak

      ‘chap’ makes me think of butt-less pants and cracked lips and those two images together gross me out. throw ‘book’ on the end it makes the whole thing sound dirty.

  33. Daniel Nester

      Where does this leave Noah Eli Gordon?

  34. Daniel Nester

      Where does this leave Noah Eli Gordon?

  35. Vaughan Simons

      I’ve always wondered how many people actually print out these PDF chapbooks. I know I don’t. (I don’t even have a printer at home). Yet at the same time, PDFs always feel more awkward to read online than web pages. So it’s like the least ideal of both worlds, really. Great. Erm.

  36. Vaughan Simons

      I’ve always wondered how many people actually print out these PDF chapbooks. I know I don’t. (I don’t even have a printer at home). Yet at the same time, PDFs always feel more awkward to read online than web pages. So it’s like the least ideal of both worlds, really. Great. Erm.

  37. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      that’s probably why I like it.

  38. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      that’s probably why I like it.

  39. davidpeak

      ha. why does that not surprise me?

  40. davidpeak

      ha. why does that not surprise me?

  41. Justin Taylor

      I love you, Dan.

  42. Justin Taylor

      I love you, Dan.

  43. Shya

      This is a great post, because it’s not only mean, but incredibly snobbish at the same time–something that comes to Justin quite naturally.

  44. Shya

      This is a great post, because it’s not only mean, but incredibly snobbish at the same time–something that comes to Justin quite naturally.

  45. Justin Taylor

      You love it when it’s shit you love to hate, though. Can’t have it all, buddy.

  46. Justin Taylor

      You love it when it’s shit you love to hate, though. Can’t have it all, buddy.

  47. Shya

      Oh, I love it plain and simple. Your snobbery is one of my favorite elements of the Giant (I’m just sorry I had to compliment you during mean week.)

  48. Shya

      Oh, I love it plain and simple. Your snobbery is one of my favorite elements of the Giant (I’m just sorry I had to compliment you during mean week.)

  49. Justin Taylor

      Mostly just those that have been labelled chapbooks. This isnt a rant against e-publishing as such, it’s just frustration with a tendency to stretch definitions past their breaking points. To me, a chapbook’s physicality, its relative rarity, are virtues. Some things in this world *should* be a little hard to find, and once found–precious. If the poems are good, then let them just be good. If they are themed, or a series, then say that.

      I think “e-chapbook” is too often a cynical attempt to lend gravitas to work that doesn’t have any of its inherent own. This is similar to Dan Nester’s argument about the lyric essay I posted the other day- new forms are all well and good, but when people start using the newness–or worse, the supposed “elasticity”–of the form as cover for producing second- and third-rate writing, it gets real ugly real fast.

  50. Justin Taylor

      Mostly just those that have been labelled chapbooks. This isnt a rant against e-publishing as such, it’s just frustration with a tendency to stretch definitions past their breaking points. To me, a chapbook’s physicality, its relative rarity, are virtues. Some things in this world *should* be a little hard to find, and once found–precious. If the poems are good, then let them just be good. If they are themed, or a series, then say that.

      I think “e-chapbook” is too often a cynical attempt to lend gravitas to work that doesn’t have any of its inherent own. This is similar to Dan Nester’s argument about the lyric essay I posted the other day- new forms are all well and good, but when people start using the newness–or worse, the supposed “elasticity”–of the form as cover for producing second- and third-rate writing, it gets real ugly real fast.

  51. Daniel Nester

      You didn’t answer my questions, Justin.

  52. Blake Butler

      we gonna have lots o love for that. it will all end in matrimony

  53. Daniel Nester

      You didn’t answer my questions, Justin.

  54. Blake Butler

      we gonna have lots o love for that. it will all end in matrimony

  55. jereme

      the cynic wants to agree here but i’m not going to.

      i dunno. the basis, as i understand it from this article, that makes an echapbook worthless is because there is no money being asked and thus an assumption there is none to little effort from all parties involved?

      yeah i would agree with that to an extent but poetry doesn’t really fit the confines of the publishing world.

      i mean the only poetry books being published are dead poets for the most part. poets want their words to get out to everyone (something i disagree with but whatever). most poets do not come from well off families and may have very little educational experience. because of that the means to publish their work independently is extremely difficult. in the 60s and forward it was chapbooks. they were cheap and easy to produce. times change man. listen to dylan. now we have the internet and an easy way to get words out for virtually free. something the poets ego likes very much.

      i guess i am focusing too much on poetry. i dunno.

      i think the echapbook format can be beautiful and disgusting depending on the eye of the craftsman.

      i think adam robinson did a really good job at the e-chapbook thing. i remember reading blake’s echapbook about that fucking dog and it made me really sad and the way the experience was set up was awesome.

      it was better than cold nipple on warm soft flannel.

      so i dunno. yeah piss on the bullshit but i wouldn’t close my mind completely on the subject.

      that would just be arrogant and stupid.

      don’t you think?

  56. jereme

      the cynic wants to agree here but i’m not going to.

      i dunno. the basis, as i understand it from this article, that makes an echapbook worthless is because there is no money being asked and thus an assumption there is none to little effort from all parties involved?

      yeah i would agree with that to an extent but poetry doesn’t really fit the confines of the publishing world.

      i mean the only poetry books being published are dead poets for the most part. poets want their words to get out to everyone (something i disagree with but whatever). most poets do not come from well off families and may have very little educational experience. because of that the means to publish their work independently is extremely difficult. in the 60s and forward it was chapbooks. they were cheap and easy to produce. times change man. listen to dylan. now we have the internet and an easy way to get words out for virtually free. something the poets ego likes very much.

      i guess i am focusing too much on poetry. i dunno.

      i think the echapbook format can be beautiful and disgusting depending on the eye of the craftsman.

      i think adam robinson did a really good job at the e-chapbook thing. i remember reading blake’s echapbook about that fucking dog and it made me really sad and the way the experience was set up was awesome.

      it was better than cold nipple on warm soft flannel.

      so i dunno. yeah piss on the bullshit but i wouldn’t close my mind completely on the subject.

      that would just be arrogant and stupid.

      don’t you think?

  57. Amy McDaniel

      :) :) :)

  58. Amy McDaniel

      :) :) :)

  59. Justin Taylor

      as usual, you’ve misunderstood the basis, but thanks for playing.

  60. Justin Taylor

      as usual, you’ve misunderstood the basis, but thanks for playing.

  61. john sakkis

      while i think e-chapbooks usually really suck too…if only because the format (“e”) completely neuters the work…but also because they’re are totally ephemeral. i’ve had four e-chapbooks and only two of them are still available…

  62. john sakkis

      while i think e-chapbooks usually really suck too…if only because the format (“e”) completely neuters the work…but also because they’re are totally ephemeral. i’ve had four e-chapbooks and only two of them are still available…

  63. Justin Taylor

      King of the Anthill? I’m not a fan of his work in any format- the Harper book Ashbery picked for the Poetry Series no more (or less) than the rest of the stuff he puts out into the world. It all just seems totally disposable to me- on the surface it looks (and purports) to be heavy on theory and light on content, but in reality it seems to be unbearably light on both. It’s basically junk food for the Derrida-and-Lauterbach set. And I’ll be the first to admit that there are much worse things in this world than that, but you won’t catch me reading them either.

  64. Justin Taylor

      King of the Anthill? I’m not a fan of his work in any format- the Harper book Ashbery picked for the Poetry Series no more (or less) than the rest of the stuff he puts out into the world. It all just seems totally disposable to me- on the surface it looks (and purports) to be heavy on theory and light on content, but in reality it seems to be unbearably light on both. It’s basically junk food for the Derrida-and-Lauterbach set. And I’ll be the first to admit that there are much worse things in this world than that, but you won’t catch me reading them either.

  65. john sakkis

      but yeah Jerold Shiroma’s Duration Press. can’t fuck with it…

  66. john sakkis

      but yeah Jerold Shiroma’s Duration Press. can’t fuck with it…

  67. jereme

      well edify me then.

  68. Brad Green

      Amazing what kind of comments book deals can open up. I hope to be able to piss in some struggling, unknown writer’s eye someday myself.

  69. jereme

      well edify me then.

  70. Brad Green

      Amazing what kind of comments book deals can open up. I hope to be able to piss in some struggling, unknown writer’s eye someday myself.

  71. john sakkis

      “i mean the only poetry books being published are dead poets for the most part…”

      i don’t know what this means.

  72. john sakkis

      “i mean the only poetry books being published are dead poets for the most part…”

      i don’t know what this means.

  73. Blake Butler

      i’ve always gabbed at chapbooks. it’s not new.

  74. Blake Butler

      i’ve always gabbed at chapbooks. it’s not new.

  75. Blake Butler

      yes, even when i also published one myself. and published ones for others.

  76. Blake Butler

      yes, even when i also published one myself. and published ones for others.

  77. Nathan Tyree

      Thank you for the clarification. I actually agree with you.

  78. Nathan Tyree

      Thank you for the clarification. I actually agree with you.

  79. Brad Green

      Maybe Mean Week is just getting me down. Or maybe I’m just down in general but twice this week I’ve nearly canceled my RSS feed to the GIANT and I’ve been here reading since day one. First thorn under my nail was Amy’s elitist post and the next was Jimmy’s sincerity ragging, which was one of the most disingenuous posts I’ve ever read here. Now there’s this. I don’t have a chapbook, e or otherwise, but the whole rising “we’re better than thou” tone irks me. Shit, I get that I suck enough with rejection letters and whatnot. I look at what I wrote yesterday and feel suckiness enough all by my lonesome. I don’t need to read about my suckiness on a community-oriented independent lit site whose founder once urged us all to be open nodes. Everyone starts out at the same fucking place in a world that doesn’t give a shit and most try hard. Give love to everyone that doesn’t give up.

      I sent out emails to several editors last night that have published me, thanking them, telling them that they’ve improved my life. If I were to get some big-time book deal tomorrow, I really don’t think I’d feel any different. Maybe I would. Maybe I’d pick on poetry e-chapbooks (nothing at all threatening there or that could possibly damage my own career) and sit on my pimpled ass gleefully awaiting comments that further bolster my self-image as a better writer than all the schmucks still clawing their way up.

      Maybe I’m also just a sensitive, socially mis-aligned dork. It’s been a long week. I’m thinking about taking a story of mine and printing it to PDF and putting it up on my site so three people can download it and I can finish this Friday sucking on more mud. Good times.

  80. Brad Green

      Maybe Mean Week is just getting me down. Or maybe I’m just down in general but twice this week I’ve nearly canceled my RSS feed to the GIANT and I’ve been here reading since day one. First thorn under my nail was Amy’s elitist post and the next was Jimmy’s sincerity ragging, which was one of the most disingenuous posts I’ve ever read here. Now there’s this. I don’t have a chapbook, e or otherwise, but the whole rising “we’re better than thou” tone irks me. Shit, I get that I suck enough with rejection letters and whatnot. I look at what I wrote yesterday and feel suckiness enough all by my lonesome. I don’t need to read about my suckiness on a community-oriented independent lit site whose founder once urged us all to be open nodes. Everyone starts out at the same fucking place in a world that doesn’t give a shit and most try hard. Give love to everyone that doesn’t give up.

      I sent out emails to several editors last night that have published me, thanking them, telling them that they’ve improved my life. If I were to get some big-time book deal tomorrow, I really don’t think I’d feel any different. Maybe I would. Maybe I’d pick on poetry e-chapbooks (nothing at all threatening there or that could possibly damage my own career) and sit on my pimpled ass gleefully awaiting comments that further bolster my self-image as a better writer than all the schmucks still clawing their way up.

      Maybe I’m also just a sensitive, socially mis-aligned dork. It’s been a long week. I’m thinking about taking a story of mine and printing it to PDF and putting it up on my site so three people can download it and I can finish this Friday sucking on more mud. Good times.

  81. Blake Butler

      There’s a mistake in believing that being open means you can’t be blunt. And, I don’t know, tongue in cheek? Let’s not be so literal. Let’s not imagine that every time someone says something negative, that then means that they believe they are above it. Criticism requires a higher level of being open than does patting everything on the back.

      As far as the ‘getting a book deal then shitting on everybody’ thing goes, well, I’ve been a crab apple since I was 3, with compounded flashes of extreme positivity and love. Balance.

  82. Blake Butler

      There’s a mistake in believing that being open means you can’t be blunt. And, I don’t know, tongue in cheek? Let’s not be so literal. Let’s not imagine that every time someone says something negative, that then means that they believe they are above it. Criticism requires a higher level of being open than does patting everything on the back.

      As far as the ‘getting a book deal then shitting on everybody’ thing goes, well, I’ve been a crab apple since I was 3, with compounded flashes of extreme positivity and love. Balance.

  83. jereme

      i dunno man. why would you get down about what other people say?

      if something is true and whole in your soul, who cares what anyone thinks or says?

      who cares if justin is shitting from his ivory tower?

      i don’t get this idea that people can’t vocalize their opinion if it is not popular. fuck that.

      justin has a right to say what he wants to say and you have a right to disagree. why get sad over it?

  84. jereme

      i dunno man. why would you get down about what other people say?

      if something is true and whole in your soul, who cares what anyone thinks or says?

      who cares if justin is shitting from his ivory tower?

      i don’t get this idea that people can’t vocalize their opinion if it is not popular. fuck that.

      justin has a right to say what he wants to say and you have a right to disagree. why get sad over it?

  85. Nathan Tyree

      The names of things are not the things

  86. Nathan Tyree

      The names of things are not the things

  87. Blake Butler

      yes

  88. Blake Butler

      yes

  89. Justin Taylor

      This isn’t about pissing on anyone in particular- hence the absence of proper names in the post. And it’s not about being “better” than anybody. It’s about the way the community understands itself, how it sets its standards and values- and what those things will actually be. And if I didn’t think of myself as part of this community–and if I didn’t respect it enough to believe we all benefit from such interrogation–I wouldn’t bother spending the time.

      I think this idea that I’ve somehow “made it” is at the core of your problem. Nobody said anything about a book I happen to have coming out until you did. I certainly haven’t–and would never–assert that fact as evidence of my being better than anyone. And you don’t know fuck-all about my life– how hard I worked to get what I have, what I actually got for it, or what that money means to me relative to my overall “situation.”

      So if you’ve got something to say about what I said–which is an admittedly vociferous critique of one aspect of online poetry publishing–a field I respect and participate in, and about what I have as much right to speak as anyone–then say it. I’m all ears, and you’ve been reading me here long enough to know that I’ll talk with you all damn day, if that’s what you’re in the mood for. But if your argument is solely that my having worked my ass off to achieve something incredibly difficult–and then having actually achieved it–somehow means that I’m no longer allowed to participate in this community, then I’ve got nothing to say to you. You’re the one speaking out of turn, and you’re wasting my fucking time.

  90. Justin Taylor

      This isn’t about pissing on anyone in particular- hence the absence of proper names in the post. And it’s not about being “better” than anybody. It’s about the way the community understands itself, how it sets its standards and values- and what those things will actually be. And if I didn’t think of myself as part of this community–and if I didn’t respect it enough to believe we all benefit from such interrogation–I wouldn’t bother spending the time.

      I think this idea that I’ve somehow “made it” is at the core of your problem. Nobody said anything about a book I happen to have coming out until you did. I certainly haven’t–and would never–assert that fact as evidence of my being better than anyone. And you don’t know fuck-all about my life– how hard I worked to get what I have, what I actually got for it, or what that money means to me relative to my overall “situation.”

      So if you’ve got something to say about what I said–which is an admittedly vociferous critique of one aspect of online poetry publishing–a field I respect and participate in, and about what I have as much right to speak as anyone–then say it. I’m all ears, and you’ve been reading me here long enough to know that I’ll talk with you all damn day, if that’s what you’re in the mood for. But if your argument is solely that my having worked my ass off to achieve something incredibly difficult–and then having actually achieved it–somehow means that I’m no longer allowed to participate in this community, then I’ve got nothing to say to you. You’re the one speaking out of turn, and you’re wasting my fucking time.

  91. jereme

      no oh arrogant one? i figured you would dismiss me. i’m okay with it. unlike you i’ll bust out my thought process so every one can laugh at how stupid i am.

      first off your tone is so fucking smug (more so than usual) that i almost stopped reading. i got past that. in the writing you shit on any and all poetry published through an echapbook. have you read every fucking echapbook? really? i bet you have, huh.

      second i see you pull this bullshit out of your ass about the form being a joke. where did you come up with this fact nugget? or is this your assumption because tao lin did it and everything tao lin does is innovative and a joke?

      i mean without facts this is all just bullshit opinion.

      you then go on to shit on chapbooks in general. everything i’m reading points to a lack of commitment to the form and the work.

      blah blah blah more dismissal.

      okay yeah. i’m with you. but the last three lines i posed to you still hold regardless of how i fucked up interpreting your egotistical elitist bitch fit.

      if you shut your mind to something, you won’t ever find any of the rare beauty.

      don’t you find that smug and ignorant?

  92. Blake Butler

      Justin, you are winning my mean week heart award.

  93. jereme

      no oh arrogant one? i figured you would dismiss me. i’m okay with it. unlike you i’ll bust out my thought process so every one can laugh at how stupid i am.

      first off your tone is so fucking smug (more so than usual) that i almost stopped reading. i got past that. in the writing you shit on any and all poetry published through an echapbook. have you read every fucking echapbook? really? i bet you have, huh.

      second i see you pull this bullshit out of your ass about the form being a joke. where did you come up with this fact nugget? or is this your assumption because tao lin did it and everything tao lin does is innovative and a joke?

      i mean without facts this is all just bullshit opinion.

      you then go on to shit on chapbooks in general. everything i’m reading points to a lack of commitment to the form and the work.

      blah blah blah more dismissal.

      okay yeah. i’m with you. but the last three lines i posed to you still hold regardless of how i fucked up interpreting your egotistical elitist bitch fit.

      if you shut your mind to something, you won’t ever find any of the rare beauty.

      don’t you find that smug and ignorant?

  94. Blake Butler

      Justin, you are winning my mean week heart award.

  95. Amy McDaniel

      Brad–I’m sorry you took my post so much to heart. I think I misconstrued mean week a bit–I thought it was the time to be a little disingenuous? I just thought elitism itself would be a funny thing to defend, or at least would cause a little debate. It did. Some of the comments were much funnier than anything I said. I think it’s great that you are longtime reader. Thank you, for that. I just started writing for this, still trying to read my audience, figure out what I want to say, etc. So, glad you didn’t cancel, thanks for reading, and I hope we can be friends after mean week is over.

  96. Amy McDaniel

      Brad–I’m sorry you took my post so much to heart. I think I misconstrued mean week a bit–I thought it was the time to be a little disingenuous? I just thought elitism itself would be a funny thing to defend, or at least would cause a little debate. It did. Some of the comments were much funnier than anything I said. I think it’s great that you are longtime reader. Thank you, for that. I just started writing for this, still trying to read my audience, figure out what I want to say, etc. So, glad you didn’t cancel, thanks for reading, and I hope we can be friends after mean week is over.

  97. drew kalbach

      i always imagined a chapbook as a small collection of related poems. so it doesn’t matter if it is in paper form or pdf form, really. plus, the e-chapbook is free. can’t beat free. just another means for authors to get their work into the hands of their eager and willing readership.

      that being said, if we removed all chapbooks and e-chapbooks from bios, mine would read “Drew Kalbach lives in Philadelphia”. and that just isn’t cutting it.

  98. drew kalbach

      i always imagined a chapbook as a small collection of related poems. so it doesn’t matter if it is in paper form or pdf form, really. plus, the e-chapbook is free. can’t beat free. just another means for authors to get their work into the hands of their eager and willing readership.

      that being said, if we removed all chapbooks and e-chapbooks from bios, mine would read “Drew Kalbach lives in Philadelphia”. and that just isn’t cutting it.

  99. Brad Green

      Sure. There’s been lot’s of good brought forth this week. Ain’t no denying that. And you, specifically, don’t seem to exude the same airs of which I herein berate. I think this post coming on Monday wouldn’t strike in me the same cord as it does arriving on Friday, after the others have already plowed into me. Perhaps it’s just a cumulative effect.

      I’ve no dog in this particular e-chapbook show, but it just seemed to be particularly vile and exclusionary to writers that haven’t yet had the same luck or the same time in which to better their craft. It’s incredibly unsupportive and when you mix that with an elitism, it makes me wanna spit and click unsubscribe. I haven’t yet. I hope that next week will arrive and someone will post something about a writer of whom I’ve never heard and I’ll go and check them out and thereby be made a better writer myself by consuming those words. That is my hope. I have hope. Hope needs to be fostered.

      And giving love to everyone does not mean patting all backs. It means offering suggestions on how to improve in a respectful, non-dismissive manner.

      One can be loving and blunt at the same time.

  100. Brad Green

      Sure. There’s been lot’s of good brought forth this week. Ain’t no denying that. And you, specifically, don’t seem to exude the same airs of which I herein berate. I think this post coming on Monday wouldn’t strike in me the same cord as it does arriving on Friday, after the others have already plowed into me. Perhaps it’s just a cumulative effect.

      I’ve no dog in this particular e-chapbook show, but it just seemed to be particularly vile and exclusionary to writers that haven’t yet had the same luck or the same time in which to better their craft. It’s incredibly unsupportive and when you mix that with an elitism, it makes me wanna spit and click unsubscribe. I haven’t yet. I hope that next week will arrive and someone will post something about a writer of whom I’ve never heard and I’ll go and check them out and thereby be made a better writer myself by consuming those words. That is my hope. I have hope. Hope needs to be fostered.

      And giving love to everyone does not mean patting all backs. It means offering suggestions on how to improve in a respectful, non-dismissive manner.

      One can be loving and blunt at the same time.

  101. Blake Butler

      For the record, the ‘elitism’ post was by Amy, who has a chapbook coming out very soon (and one that is sure to be amazing). So I think that mash up you are talking about is a mix of voices, not one voice. Which to me is integral to the idea: to not smash everyone who is speaking into one voice.

      Being blunt is love.

  102. Blake Butler

      For the record, the ‘elitism’ post was by Amy, who has a chapbook coming out very soon (and one that is sure to be amazing). So I think that mash up you are talking about is a mix of voices, not one voice. Which to me is integral to the idea: to not smash everyone who is speaking into one voice.

      Being blunt is love.

  103. Amy McDaniel

      i don’t know..i got casually compared to a Nazi, Blake, doesn’t that count for something?

  104. Amy McDaniel

      i don’t know..i got casually compared to a Nazi, Blake, doesn’t that count for something?

  105. Blake Butler

      your Nazism is why i asked you to join the giant

  106. Blake Butler

      your Nazism is why i asked you to join the giant

  107. Matt Cozart

      What I try to do is read the entire chapbook in the store so I don’t have to buy it. This takes about 8-10 minutes. Sometimes I get stiff standing there and I have to shift my weight to my other leg, but that’s the only drawback.

  108. Matt Cozart

      What I try to do is read the entire chapbook in the store so I don’t have to buy it. This takes about 8-10 minutes. Sometimes I get stiff standing there and I have to shift my weight to my other leg, but that’s the only drawback.

  109. Brad Green

      I’m not dismissing your achievement, man. I’m happy for you. Blake knows I’m happy for him, or at least he should based on an email I sent him. I’m not sure why you think I was saying you’ve no right to participate in this community. That’s not true at all. If anything, you have more right than I do.

      Whether or not an individual is named, I can assure you others will read this post and feel shitty about themselves because they’d published an e-chapbook of poetry. Dude, people look up to you. People respect you. It’s the tone that carries the real message, just like your response above. One can convey disappointment with a particular medium or the belief that it’s inferior, but all criticism can be delivered in positive ways that seek to better things instead of merely dismiss them.

      Again, you’ve done something that very few people are able to do. You go! I think it’s phenomenal that a bigger, well-known publishing house will be publishing you and Blake. You know how much hope that gives me? A fuck lot. That’s what I take from it. I just think you’re being particularly vicious without really thinking what it might mean to someone who hasn’t had the same opportunities yet.

  110. Brad Green

      I’m not dismissing your achievement, man. I’m happy for you. Blake knows I’m happy for him, or at least he should based on an email I sent him. I’m not sure why you think I was saying you’ve no right to participate in this community. That’s not true at all. If anything, you have more right than I do.

      Whether or not an individual is named, I can assure you others will read this post and feel shitty about themselves because they’d published an e-chapbook of poetry. Dude, people look up to you. People respect you. It’s the tone that carries the real message, just like your response above. One can convey disappointment with a particular medium or the belief that it’s inferior, but all criticism can be delivered in positive ways that seek to better things instead of merely dismiss them.

      Again, you’ve done something that very few people are able to do. You go! I think it’s phenomenal that a bigger, well-known publishing house will be publishing you and Blake. You know how much hope that gives me? A fuck lot. That’s what I take from it. I just think you’re being particularly vicious without really thinking what it might mean to someone who hasn’t had the same opportunities yet.

  111. Blake Butler

      chapbooks in stores

  112. Blake Butler

      chapbooks in stores

  113. Brad Green

      Yes, it’s not a single voice at all, but a general rising tone amongst several contributors.

      In the end, however, it’s all how I’m dealing with things. I know. I’ll get over or not.

  114. Brad Green

      Yes, it’s not a single voice at all, but a general rising tone amongst several contributors.

      In the end, however, it’s all how I’m dealing with things. I know. I’ll get over or not.

  115. Brad Green

      I know Jereme. I’m trying to figure out why I got so bothered by it. Shit, I don’t even write poetry.

  116. Brad Green

      I know Jereme. I’m trying to figure out why I got so bothered by it. Shit, I don’t even write poetry.

  117. Brad Green

      I know Amy. It’s fine. I have elitist tendencies myself. We all do to certain degrees about various things. I’m just no good on the internet, I think. I just need to go write some tender-hearted love scene now cause I feel like warm pudding.

  118. Brad Green

      I know Amy. It’s fine. I have elitist tendencies myself. We all do to certain degrees about various things. I’m just no good on the internet, I think. I just need to go write some tender-hearted love scene now cause I feel like warm pudding.

  119. mike young

      ha! well played

  120. mike young

      ha! well played

  121. Cami

      I like it, too. Great post.

  122. Cami

      I like it, too. Great post.

  123. Matt Cozart

      Yeah I guess it’s just this one store mainly. Sometimes there’s this other one that has them too. I realize I’m spoiled here.

  124. Matt Cozart

      Yeah I guess it’s just this one store mainly. Sometimes there’s this other one that has them too. I realize I’m spoiled here.

  125. mathias

      I hate books. And deals.

  126. mathias

      I hate books. And deals.

  127. Garett Strickland

      Sometimes it’s important to get something seen.

      For example: I put together a limited-edition chapbook, and I stand behind it as a quality piece of work. But I’m not going to keep printing more indefinitely, mostly because I don’t have the means. So making it available online makes sense in the aftermath, since so few people ever got to see it to begin with. Better, anyway, than something I worked hard on being lost completely.

      I don’t know. It beats putting something together that looks and reads like a zine. At least you’re able to fulfill whatever design stuff you’d want to include without thinking about how much that’d cost to print.

      For anyone who’s getting started in the submissions department but nonetheless has a finished product that they mostly just want to SHARE, e-publishing doesn’t seem so bad. There are great e-journals, and great e-chapbooks. I don’t think it’s an ideal first choice, but it’s a choice I’m thankful for.

  128. Garett Strickland

      Sometimes it’s important to get something seen.

      For example: I put together a limited-edition chapbook, and I stand behind it as a quality piece of work. But I’m not going to keep printing more indefinitely, mostly because I don’t have the means. So making it available online makes sense in the aftermath, since so few people ever got to see it to begin with. Better, anyway, than something I worked hard on being lost completely.

      I don’t know. It beats putting something together that looks and reads like a zine. At least you’re able to fulfill whatever design stuff you’d want to include without thinking about how much that’d cost to print.

      For anyone who’s getting started in the submissions department but nonetheless has a finished product that they mostly just want to SHARE, e-publishing doesn’t seem so bad. There are great e-journals, and great e-chapbooks. I don’t think it’s an ideal first choice, but it’s a choice I’m thankful for.

  129. Noah Eli Gordon

      I know just what you mean…

  130. Noah Eli Gordon

      I know just what you mean…

  131. Noah Eli Gordon

      I purport no theory. Now, back to the rest of the ants…

  132. Noah Eli Gordon

      I purport no theory. Now, back to the rest of the ants…

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