Friday, September 12, 2008

This evening I attended the Words 2008 panel discussion. It was chaired by a bloke from The Herald and had on its panel: author and poet Tom Leonard, poets Alan Riach and Kei Miller, poet and editor Michael Schmidt and a couple of authors I hadn't heard of.

When I stepped out of the elevator onto the fifth floor of the Mitchell Library I walked into the overpowering stench of Isle of Jura whisky. There had been a whisky tasting session scheduled just before the panel discussion; possibly not a good idea and may have been responsible for the irate member of the audience who became overly vocal during the discussion and had to be chucked out!

Tom Leonard was a scream. He blethered away just as if he was standing at the end of a bar talking over a pint. Alan Riach was also delightfully down to earth. The discussion was on the craft of writing but I managed to get in a question on what the panel thought were the pros and cons of chapbook publishing. Riach and Leonard were enthusiastically in support of chapbook publishing but I was surprised by Michael Schmidt's rather negative response. He said that chapbooks are not widely reviewed and have quite a limited market.
I love chapbooks, they're great value for money. I'm hoping to collect some more magazine publications and then submit a bunch of poems to a chapbook publisher. Talking to other poets there seems to be a lot of pros with publishing a chapbook - it builds experience, confidence and hopefully an audience before tackling a first full-length collection.

There was also an interesting discussion on the homogenisation of poetry being produced by the many creative writing courses available at universities these days. I imagine that's a difficult one to get round though it's a problem experienced by online workshops also.


An Honest Man said...

Oh Sorlil, I can't believe it.

You're from Scotland, but don't know how to spell WHISKY.

Sorlil said...

oops, I see from wiki it's scottish whisky and irish whiskey. I'm happy with either as long as its drowned in irn-bru. I know, I'm a philistine!

anhaga said...

I think you have the right idea about chapbooks -- builds experience, confidence, and an audience. And if you care to do readings, chapbooks tend to sell more easily there than full-length collections, especially to people who may be hearing you for the first time -- part of building an audience, I suppose.

As for there being a market, I'd certainly buy your chapbook.

Sorlil said...

hi james, yes, I like the idea of chapbooks and thankyou, that's very nice of you to say so!

Jim Murdoch said...

Maybe you should've simply said Scotch.

As for the chapbook...? Yeah, why not? Go for it.

An Honest Man said...


Dick said...

Good luck to both of us in our search for chapbook publication!

Sorlil said...

hi jim, yes I think I shall give it a go!

are you okay , honest man?! lol

yes I've heard it's hard enough to get chapbook publication never mind a full length collection, all the best to you too dick!

Dick said...

I'd settle for a chapbook if only one of the diminishing group of poetry publishers who will accept year-round submissions would open the door!