Sunday, July 31, 2016

Kit Kelen - Topic 4 - Publication Agendas related to 366

Topic 4
Publication Agendas related to 366

Well it seems that a few of us are interested in possible continuations/morphings of the project. But there's a resistance to administrative involvement. And possibly most or many are actually not interested? Fair enough. I do also wonder if there's a lack of discussion because people are not used to / not getting used to this way of discussing things (i.e. how the blog works = Blog and Metablog – it does sound somehow biblical!). At least I'm not talking to myself entirely. That's nice to know.

I do think that this project has a lot of model potential, especially for creative writing students and/or for international collaborations among creative writing classes. Or something along those lines. I wonder how we might let the right people know about it? But we don't really have enough discussion about this happening to resolve anything really. And perhaps I'm reaching a stage in life where I should stop caring about the pedagogic potential of ideas. Tough habit to break, I guess. There is a danger with the 52 – 12 – 1 idea (well the 1 is more or less a joke!) that it's just a long drawn out demonstration of entropy. So I shall leave the idea of what might become of things next year to the other topic thread. What's really needed is for someone to pick up the ball.

And as Mikaela has pressed now towards what was my topic 4, I had might as well raise it: Publication Agendas related to Project 366. Individual and anthology. There are many possibilities!

On the anthology side, we now have more than 4000 separate entries, i.e. 4000 draft works uploaded. In what's been re-posted to wonderbook, probably there are a thousand poems more or less (and there were a lot of pictures going up until I somehow lost the ability to do that!) In other words if we collected a few per cent of what we all imagined was the best then we'd have a decent sized book full of good stuff – a kind of proof-of-the-pudding tome. And there are many ways this could be done. A poem a day would give us a pretty decent sized collection, and in general there are (imho) several fine poems each day. There is simply asking everyone to propose their best. And of course what was selected could be polished for publication. Many possibilities. But ideas need to be suggested! Nor is the best idea necessarily to think in terms of a 366 anthology per se. In fact there may be, in this project (so far and to come), the beginning of many publishable collaborative projects. I think now is the time for people to think about what, if anything, they would be interested in along these lines.
Lizz's idea of an ongoing thematic database, along the lines of keywords was a good one. But no one really embraced it much. I am as guilty as the rest. I suspect this would have been in part because often enough the correct tag would have been something like 'life, the universe and everything'. Still, despite the amazing thematic range, we certainly do have what you could call threads. And possibly this is a way to organise things. Even to those of us lacking encyclopedic memory, some of the theme threads will be fairly obvious.

It would be a shame not to publish some kind of group collection at the end of this, apart from whatever other collaborations emerge. It would be good to 'publish the project' in some way. Perhaps such an anthology would have internal organisation along the lines of theme threads? Of course there's something at least a little ironic in wanting to give a longer life to the living daily process by giving it the old dead tree treatment. Nevertheless it feels like the right thing to do in this case. And, in particular, what's attractive about this is the fact that there aren't other anthologies around created in this way, or presented on this basis. There will be questions about what to do with translated material (very easy to seem patchy and half-hearted along those lines) and questions about how to combine the visual and written material. People who've seen my tree stone sky stream could consider that as one model – e.g. the visual and verbal are facing pages throughout.

I do think some kind of 366 anthology is a good idea. We could have a great launch/reading – probably in Sydney, but hopefully elsewhere as well. And I would be prepared to play a part in this, and mobilize certain forces as it were (the mighty machine that is Flying Islands! [Of course a commercial publisher might be a much better option if we could interest one!]). But I want to be clear about commitment here – I am neither prepared to simply organise the whole thing nor to impose a concept on everyone of what it ought to be. I am frying quite a few other fish in general. There would need to be an editorial group, of individuals stumping up to do the work together, and to share the work in a mutually agreed way. And probably to raise the funds (unless a publisher with funds is found). If there isn't a critical mass of persons willing to do the work, then I think we should let it go.

With individual poetry volumes (or even smaller scale collaborations), I think there are all sorts of possibilities. The Flying Islands Pocket Poets series is possible (especially, but not exclusively for translated/bilingual volumes). Please note, with that series, I have always been finding funds on a book by book basis, so it is a tricky thing every time and frequently doesn't come off, even if it does seem like a good idea at the time. That said, there are I think 32 books in the Pocket Poets series over six years now, so the wheels do grind on. Anyway, that's just me. A few of us are publishers, or close to publishers, and more of us could be. So there should be quite a few ways to look at it, if credible m/ss emerge from the primeval sludge, as I believe they are already doing. I have a feeling the individual books will emerge on a case-by-case basis and individuals will make private approaches regarding these. If these books credit 366 as the point of origin, then even without a 366 anthology as such, the project will have fitting memorials.

Considering how publication agendas and future projects might be related, it occurs to me one function of a Project 52, could be to enlist interested parties in a feedback process towards the polishing of m/ss for publication. I'm personally much more interested in a feedback process with a practical publishing outcome in mind. I believe a certain amount of unseen mentoring has been going on in any case, and it could be useful to have mechanisms to formalise this.

Anyway, I do hope there will be some wider response to these ideas. And I look forward to hearing it.


  1. When it comes to boring admin, I am the machine. We had some discussion around Indexing which will get transported here I believe but if It doesn't I will sort that. I have the disposition for boring tasks - I enjoy a game wherre you take a teabag and a spoon and then bash the tealeaves to dust. So. My only issue is ever the timeframe - I hobble.

  2. PS> I am still replying to Topic 1~

  3. Well, I too am a boring admin type - as I said, in terms of blog administration, if we do go to another blog. I actually enjoy making blogs, getting them to look good and work efficiently. (I itch to fiddle with the 365+1 blog, to tell you the truth – to get the contributors' notes more consistent and readable, for instance; I'm nit-picking like that. And to make the posts more readily accessible by various means.) I wouldn't want to be solely responsible for finding new contributors, but it seems to me that's been a team effort anyway. I could write the welcome-and-this-is-what-you-do emails once people are found. That's if we do have a Project 52.

    In what way do you think the project would be useful to student groups? Inspiring them to something similar? There are already teachers around the world getting their classes to produce collaborative poetry blogs.

    Anthol would be fun. I'd even be prepared to come to Sydney for launch. (Very few things would get me to Sydney these days.)

  4. responding to Rosemary here -- There are already teachers around the world getting their classes to produce collaborative poetry blogs.

    Well, in fact I don't know of anything like 366 happening elsewhere -- bringing together poets of different ages and stages, different cultures and aesthetics together to practice - and with some loose mentoring arrangements ----------- If there are similar events elsewhere then I'd like to know about them and look at hooking up with them ... so I'm thinking that there is a uniqueness to what we're doing that might make it a worthy model for others ...

    and on the other topic, I'm sure no one would mind if you fiddled with the bio notes etc to make things tidier ... I think a new banner could be a good thing too ...

    1. Oh, Kit, you're quite right – the things I was thinking of don't have the diversity of 366.

      I like the banner. :)

      If I'm allowed to fiddle with other things, you'd have to make me a blog admin. Or wait until a new blog if you like; the itch is not so burning now that I'm not tuning in every day.

      Next question – where does the Wonderbook fit in with all this, and is it fulfilling the role / purpose you had in mind for it? (No axe to grind; just curious.)

    2. you are an admin, Rosemary -- so wield the broom as you see fit (well up to a point)

    3. Thanks. I'd better resume posting daily, then, to keep up with what's going on – and because I miss the Project. May I?

  5. I'm always saddened when Kit is disappointed :( ( this post or previous??) There are always people who never assist with the admin or other hard yacker (!) and there are those who genuinely can't stretch time any further at a given time - but might take a turn on another project or at another time. All the suggestions are terrific. I appreciate all efforts and offers. Final decisions for the future may come down to available resources ie willing hands. Sorry I can't help with students etc - I am another who is completely outside Uni systems but I do pass the word on.