What is the Po-Biz?

This weekend I was involved in a Literary Event. This required me to get my ass out of bed on a Saturday morning, put on something other than my jammies, be friendly, and schmooze. I spent the first hour of my morning complaining about the effort, but once I got there it was easy. I was wheeling and dealing, it was the po-biz in action.

What is the po-biz? you may ask. It is networking, submitting, editing; in short, it is anything you need to do to get your poems out of your notebook and into the hands of the public. I had to represent a little press and be nice to people. Well, after eight or nine years of working in independent bookstores, smiling and chatting to people about books is not actually a hardship for me.

I looked at the other presses, journals, and organizations in the exhibit, and I even handed out some cards. You’d think I was some slick type person, but I’m not. I stuttered and smiled and ran out of things to say. But everyone was there to talk with each other and to make connections. No one was an asshole at least to my face. They were grateful to each other and friendly. It did not sully my art or make me into a slick-tongued toad.

Many of you are actively trying to finish the fucker and get published. This is probably because you are prose writers and have a chance in hell of getting published. I think poets sometimes turn away from the publishing machine because it offers so little material return. They decide to live only on fruit that falls from the trees. They whine about the games they have to play to get published. Write better than anyone else. It’ll get you farther than a blow job (at least that’s what I hear.)

What do you refuse to do?

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9 responses to “What is the Po-Biz?

  1. Now that I’m long out of school, I feel kind of bad for the poets. When you tell someone you’re a writer, you get ‘the look.’ But you REALLY get ‘the look’ when you say you’re a poet. How do you even begin to try and publish a whole book when you’re a poet, especially if you’re not connected?

    Have a great day, Indy. I’m off to finish my fucker. My goal today is simple: add more words than I delete.

    • Thanks, Teri! It’s an editing day. But I did spend a week writing and deleting 500 words. I felt OK about it because it kept getting better.

      As for poetry, you submit to contests and hope to wow someone. One of my friends is a rabbi, and she really gets the look when she says what she does for a living. I at least get to say I’m an editor (at all those cocktail parties I never go to). But among writers, sometimes being a poet gets you some extra attention. You can never tell.

    • Cheers to smooth-talking poets!
      And Teri, darling, one may get a look if they are A poet. But THE poet? Only the silence of awe, adulation and wonder.

  2. Pingback: melbourne, po-biz & twitter: how i learned to stop worrying and loved tweeting @ the POTUS | jude ellison

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