29 June 2005

Big bucks for poems

I've just about recovered from Book Expo. Just about.

Tomorrow I head off to the Niagara Region for three days of training for Centauri Summer Arts Camp, where I'll be leading a two-week writing workshop for teens in August. I'm sort of looking forward to being mostly Internetless for those days. And looking forward to being out of my messy apartment. And away from CNN access. I spent most of my goddamn days with CNN blaring in the background, as I grind my teeth over the murderous lies of George W. Bush.

What I'm hoping to do at Centauri is stay up late and work on my novel and read a bit, and embrace the serenity of the military academy. I mean, Centauri takes place on the property of a military academy, which at first might seem like a scarey proposition, but really means that for two months the military gives way to the arts. Sorta neat.

Meanwhile, a literary magazine has been wooing me for a while, and I said I'd give them something if I had something. Now the crunch is here. But I'm having a crisis of publishing philosophy. I'm thinking that, after all these years of being a writer and doing stuff for free, maybe I should only give my work to mags that pay. I mean, unless it's some labour of love put out by a high school student or Jay MillAr. The reason I think this, partly, is that when I began my own mag, Syd & Shirley, I decided I would pay my contributors. Which is nuts, because it's all out of my own pocket, and it's just more money I'm going to lose. (If you want to subscribe, PayPal me $25 for 3 issues to sydandshirley@sympatico.ca! (more if you're not in North America!)).

So do I give them my poems for free or do I make my stand now, at the halfway point of my life?

Over and out.


At June 30, 2005 9:03 am , Blogger dfb said...

Stu – that is a really good idea – you could get your poems in all those top drawer poetry mags like the walrus or the toronto suns poet’s corner- all those surreal cutting edge magazines where you can be published beside other top notch poets like that bald guy from smashing pumpkins – he gets paid lots for his poems i bet –

an even better idea would be to turn your blog into a pay site – and then we could all pay you say $15.00 (or even better $14.99) a month to read your twice a week update – and maybe a once a month live chat

really good idea Stu

Love dfb

At June 30, 2005 2:21 pm , Anonymous Jon Paul Fiorentino said...

I think it's a very important thing to stand firm and make the argument that your poetry is worth something -- especially if the magazine in question has a funding structure or generates enough revenue to pay its contributors.

Good poetry is the product of hard work and the poet deserves a fair wage for publication. Now, unfortunately, lit mags often can't pay a fair wage, but the little we can pay (speaking as a Matrix editor) is an attempt to acknowledge the hard work of our contributors.

At July 03, 2005 3:06 pm , Anonymous lynn said...

i think you should do some of each, depending on what the wisdom of your years tells you. after all, if you're going to be writing until you're 92, you'll be making *some* money from those who can pay and, therefore, should pay for many years.

enjoy the military woods, stu


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