Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Friday, May 14, 2010

Creative Antiquities Dusted Off for Display

Thursday morning I read an e-mail from Fairwood Press's Patrick Swenson. He wondered if I had any thoughts about which of my various Talebones stories should go into the Best of Talebones collection he is editing.

A nice question to ponder.

Later, in the afternoon, I read a penned note from John Thiel, forwarded to me from Beloit. The Magazine of Speculative Poetry still uses the Post Office box I used for many years; and once in a rare aeon it receives mail for me, sent out of the misty pages of the past.

Thiel edited a small-press magazine named Pablo Lennis back in the 1980s -- an affair of wild, every-inch-used mimeography, as I recall it. I sent him a few poems. His note of yesterday reads, "We have your poem 'Dream-mare,' which I published in Pablo Lennis, up on the Net in Surprising Stories, found at"

To receive a note about a poem being published ... handwritten on a tiny slip of paper measuring only 3 by 4-3/4 inches ... takes me back to the 1980s. I was no Lyn Lifshin in those days ... (Lifshin published in every nook and cranny of the small press, and was remarkably good at producing short free verse, employing lines of only a few feet) ... yet all the same I sent out scads of verse of varying qualities. I felt the call to do so; I regarded it as my writerly duty to press my talents to the utmost, and to pursue opportunities in any mimeographed literary extravaganza that came along -- which included quite a lot of miscellaneous science fiction and horror-oriented zines, besides the general litzines. The scene was a lively one, helped along by Len Fulton at Small Press Review and Janet Fox at Scavenger's Newsletter, among others. Some poems I felt great confidence in; others I doubted.

I am unsure about "Dream-mare," right at the moment. My opinion must await my viewing the relevant pixels.

An interesting aspect is that I am being informed of publication after the fact. I am, I should say, glad to be informed at all. Since the prevailing attitude in electronic presses remains a bit free-wheeling, I applaud any instance of editorial courtesy. At least one earlier Internet publication of mine is a poem republished without notification: some litzine editors of a bygone decade had decided to perpetuate -- or to perpetrate -- their publication online. To find my poem republished in an Internet publication without my say-so displeased me to a degree less than, or equal to, the degree it pleased me. As an advocate of small-press effort, I do understand when a certain fluidity plays into matters of print and reprint rights ... or I do understand, at least, when it happens only on a rare Thursday. In the case of these poems, I feel it to be nice (or at least I hope it is nice) that they have a chance to rise out of their printed obscurity -- even if the method employed in their raising is that of submerging them into a second sort of obscurity.

Cheers ...

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