The Small Press Gig – It Ain’t Easy

The time I get home from work can vary these days.  Some days I manage to slip home by 5:00pm and other days I’m stuck until 7:00pm.  From a 7:30am work day start, it’s a long day, especially if you keep in mind that (a) it’s an office job and (b) I’m not a manager.

Nevertheless, often times a tiredness sweeps over me like you wouldn’t believe. Or, maybe you would believe it because you are part and parcel of the North American typical worker. You work too many hours, for too little pay, and because of budget cuts you are missing a bunch of key positions in your department which has your work doubled or even tripled, work you shouldn’t even be doing. But you do it.  We all do it.

I walked past a bookstore a few days ago and thought to myself how much easier this small press job would be for people like myself if enough of the public still read poetry.  Don’t get me wrong, the online world is full of poetry readers and supporters, and are currently what is holding poetry together as a form of art.

Before the internet, poetry was pinned and held together by academia.  And before that was necessary, people actually read poetry in their homes, at events, both aloud to others and while sitting alone  like it mattered, like it was an actual factor in their lives. In the early to mid 20th century, the sense of a poetic community was both prevalent and present.  In North America, there were several groups (the Montreal poets, the Beat Generation poets, etc.) that pulled poetry through the decades and made it relevant to the masses.  I personally feel like in the 60’s, music completely took over poetics.  And by the 70’s, it appears more people were interested in listening to The Beatles than reading Irving Layton or William S. Borroughs.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE music fan but there are a million record shops and not one full of poetry that I can point to.

If there was such things, I’d quit my job, get a small business loan and get people into a store to read poetry.  And, I think I’d be happy because I’d walk around with my chin up, knowing I was doing something that I loved instead of working a full time job and trying to find time to devote to this process.  It takes far more work then most people could probably imagine but it’s one of the only things in life that brings me pure joy. Pure joy; you can’t say that about a lot of things.

It’s just frustrating to feel like I either was born too late to take up stake in this “business” or I am at the point in my life where I don’t have enough time to push it to the level I’d love it to reach to.

But I’ll keep pushing for all of you.


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