WRITERS NEED READERS WHO NEED PUBLISHERS WHO NEED WRITERS AND READERS …
It took me a while to realise that what I thought was the Cause was really the Market Segment from a sales viewpoint.
I wrote this poem some years ago.
To Be a Poet
Saying that this was what it felt like to put
the right foot forward, and then the left, saying
that this was the taste of morning porridge,
that of milk, and this other of a niggling
but persistent pain, saying —
that, I suppose, was what was distinctive —
being unable to keep my mouth shut,
my mind from working. But a poet lives
like any other creature, talks perhaps
more than is normal, her doom no brighter,
nor her death less dismal than any other.
A poem rises between the writing of it and the reading of it. For a poem to live both writer and reader are needed. And for a poem to be read, a publisher is needed. The process can be idealistic or commercial or both. For some writing is a vocation, not a career. Reading is engaging with a text, not mindlessly consuming it.
And publishing is a service to society, not a means of making millions. But it’s the language of commerce that usually governs the three-way relationship between writer, reader and publisher; and it’s in trying to produce good work that is commercially viable that difficulties arise.