"The Secret Life of Magazine Covers" is the latest installment of my Bookstore Memoir-in-progress. While reminiscing on a poetry reading from 2002, the essay includes some thoughts on the small press and hype:
"It reminded me that the small press seemed to exist in this funny place. You could get a small group of your friends together, start a magazine or a publishing house, and it could add up to the most basic version of that: a good time, a cordial salon, a fertile exchange of ideas, a record of a cluster of talent. Or, it could go national, global. A hot title, a cool look, a dynamite new writer, a necessary conversation, a new energy, a zeitgeist, a legacy. You never knew whether you’d be overlooked as More of the Same, or become the next One to Watch. Stakes were small and huge at the same time, consequences could be negligible or cosmic. Ever since HOWL in 1955 was the 18-minute poetry reading heard round the world, hype was a part of the equation, something to be embraced or ignored by poets and publishers, but always a choice to be made."
Read the full essay in Issue No. 10 of Composite Arts Magazine, a smart and gorgeously-produced digital quarterly.