I have a minor bone to pick with all of you poet types out there regarding being supportive of poets. Well, not all of you poet types, but more of you than it should have to be. Specifically, I have to ask what is going on in a lot of your heads when it comes to how you treat your fellow poets.
What am I talking about? I am talking about all of this whining about how poetry doesn't sell, how poetry doesn't command the same attention of fiction---that even literary fiction kicks poetry's ass on a regular basis. I am talking about how poets complain their books don't sell and how novelists don't know how lucky they are because poets would kill to sell 250 copies of their books. Well . . .
How do you sleep at night? I mean it. How do you sleep at night? What medication do you use to clear out your conscience and get a good night's sleep?
I ask because the truth is poets are the cheapest people out there, constantly talking about poverty and the expense of reading and contest fees. Well, I have had it. There are a lot of you who should simply shut your pie-holes. Seriously. Shut the fuck up! I am so tired of this.
If you want to support poets, you have to put your money where your mouth is. You need to buy more books! I am no Ron Silliman when it comes to buying books, but I hold my own. I spend a good deal of money buying books. I buy my friends' books and I buy the books of friends of friends. I don't love all of them, but I keep buying them. Why? Because if you are a poet, that's what you should do. Take a point or two from John Gallaher here and here. If you want other poets to support you, then you need to be willing to support them. Don't wait for them to buy your book or to invite you to a reading. Go out and buy books. I am so tired of this petty bullshit of waiting for some show of faith. Step up and be an adult about it. Be the first poet on your block to actually do the right thing.
Buy books your friends write.
Buy books from the presses who publish you and your friends.
Buy the books you read about on Facebook.
Buy Books from Amazon's Hot 100 List. (Yes, they are evil, so look up the books on Amazon and then buy the book directly from the press.)
Find small presses and buy year long subscriptions for all of their chapbooks.
Gift books you don't like to other poets.
Buy Books for all of your gifts. Your nieces and nephews don't like poetry? To hell with them. Buy them more poetry.
Buy books and sneak them into Doctors' offices.
Spend your damned money!