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A Casa de Astérion by Nuno Medeiros

I know they accuse me of arrogance, and perhaps of misanthropy, and perhaps of madness. Such accusations (for which I shall extract punishment in due time) are derisory. It is true that I never leave my house, but it is also true that its doors (whose number is infinite) are open day and night….Anyone may enter. [Jorge Luís Borges]

Excellent conversations all over Blogland. Concerns, concerns, concerns. (Rachmaninov playing in the background. I’m looking for desperate effect here guys.) But, really, some interesting stuff going around. Eddie Corral concerned over his manuscript possibilities (it’s almost there) and C. Dale giving some great advise on getting published. Bino’s to-do list I cannot do here, but here is my naïve question, as usual: in light of the existing immediacy offered by Internet, its far-reaching potential, is it possible to “publish” on the net maintaining the same quality standards that exist in print? Why can’t poetry, of all written literary media, find its respected place on the net thereby demystifying the publishing labyrinth?

I realize the economic implications involved in what I’m asking. Those implications draw a double-edged sword. On the one hand the big houses publish in order to make money or to win prices or to create prestige and, yes, eventually more money. Everyone knows that artistic merry-go-round. Fair enough. At the same time poetry, we hear, makes no money so publishers can’t afford to spend valuable resources on it. Fair enough too. So much fairness, in fact, that it all ends up being a game: there are only so many possibilities to publish and only so many poets that can be published. Supply and demand. Call the equation what you will. Since “getting published” is a game —one that requires a great deal of effort and a command of obstacle course rules as C. Dale and others have demonstrated— the best poetry may not necessarily be what gets published. (The one-handed clapping poet I’ll leave for another day.) Let’s not get all huffed and puffed here; not just yet, I haven’t thrown sand in anybody’s eyes. It just seems to me that the accomplishment of publishing has become more and more a career trail than an artistic one. Can a well-disciplined M.B.A. with a sure hand (a bit of compass, ruler and metronome) and that steady pulse for the line break have a better chance of getting published than the best crop reciting out of Iowa, Columbia or Timbuktu? You tell me.

Quality publishing on the net might be a solution. It should be the solution though it is of no interest that it be so at this time. Hard-binders and toilet-seat readers beware. In every country more and more people are trying their hand at poetry —poets being few and far between no matter what medium is involved— but those trying are beginning to do so by having their voices heard, literally heard, on the Internet. Why then so many submission rules for that poem on paper? Why so many restrictions? How many stamps must still be licked? I know: supply and demand. But if poetry is what it’s supposed to be, don’t laugh, that most special of arts, then why so many walls to climb, so many moats to cross? Yes, in this new millennium, most editors will not read three poems submitted via e-mail and assess them and reply to them in the time it should take (less than how many months?) because part of the game requires that you —desperate post office roamer— lick yet another stamp. It’s harder to reach the Ivory Tower than to write something worthy of it. Otherwise the song remains the same: Wake me up when this dream is over.

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