Over 40 years
at the cutting edge
of poetry publishing
[Twitter] [rss feed] [Facebook]

A New Internationalism?

Posted by Sarah, 22nd August 2012

Now the Olympics have finished perhaps we can get back to acknowledging the pervading reluctance to engage with internationalism or the promotion of intercultural trade.

One of our writers, Michael Hulse, recently toured the US and found that some campus bookshops where he was reading were unable to buy direct from either us or our distributor since his books are not produced in the States, nor do they currently have a US distributor. Apparently these were contractually bound by the universities not to buy outside of the US.

Given this situation, touring poets would be well advised to take their own copies. It still makes a case for that favourite word 'legacy', for the bookshops to hold books beyond the event, to aid the ripples to contine circling out...

On our side of the pond, Foyles' Southbank bookshop, who were the booksellers at Poetry Parnassus, the international poetry festival at the Southbank Centre, London, celebrating the 204 countries participating in the Olympics, did not carry books that were published outside the UK.

Now, you would have thought this was one of the purposes of the festival: as well as introducing new poets to new audiences it would be great to offer readers the chance to get hold of books they usually weren't able to.

A crazy set up. Back in the US, this isn't just limited to the book industry. A total of 88.5% of U.S. consumer spending is on items made in the United States. The precursor to this thinking was the 1933 Buy American Act passed in response to the Great Depression.

All this was made more peculiar when I heard that Rumi was the most read poet in the US. Particuarly sweet given the current US-led sanctions on Iran.

That sweetness is slightly tempered by the arrival of our latest title in the office: Six Vowels and Twenty Three Consonants - An Anthology of Persian Poetry from Rudaki to Langroodi, edited by Ali Alizadeh and John Kinsella. This is a celebratory anthology of the region's poetic history, whose cover, ironically, had to be redesigned since we were unable deal directly with the museum in Tehran to get a high res image. Next task, getting into US bookshops.