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Three Times the Rhyme ~ Guest Post by Tiggy Johnson [07.05.2010]

triptych-logo There’s a general consensus that publishing poetry isn’t going to bring in the big bucks, yet more and more poetry is being published. Some of it’s coming from already established presses, and of course there are poets who self-publish chapbooks. One publisher doing things a little differently is Blemish Books.

Gregory Gould established Blemish Books, an independent press based in Canberra, in 2009 and wasted no time in putting out a submission call to Australian poets for what will be their first poetry publication: The Triptych Poets series.

Rather than present just one poet’s work, the Triptych Poets series will showcase suites of poems from three emerging Australian poets in one publication. The idea is that poetry is ‘both a reflection and reaction to the poetry that came before it and the poetry that surrounds it’ and Gould expects the series will provide readers an opportunity to engage with poets on a different level.

‘With a single author collection it’s all about one poet and one voice. With Triptych the reader gets to experience multiple voices, yet they can also spend enough time with them to get a sense of what each poet is about.’

Like many new publishers, Blemish Books did not seek funding for Triptych. ‘Grants are great if you can get them, but we don’t want to feel like we can’t do a book without one.’

Despite being a press that nobody had heard of twelve months ago, Gould has been pleasantly surprised with both the number of and the quality of the submissions received, and believes this is a sign of how hungry poets are for opportunities.

‘As it was our first poetry book, I was worried we wouldn’t be taken seriously and that we’d have trouble finding anything publishable. However, after the first read I started worrying we wouldn’t be able to pick just three!’

While we have to wait for an announcement of who the first Triptych poets will be, and wait even longer before we can get hold of a copy, Gould is clear that sales won’t be the measuring stick for the book’s success. ‘Our real goal is to produce a high quality, professional book of poetry. If we can do that, then we’ll consider our venture worthwhile. Besides, if we wanted to make money, we wouldn’t be publishing poetry. We’d be publishing self-help books.’

Issue 1 of the Triptych Poets series is due for release in August/September and copies will be available directly from Blemish Books and selected bookstores. Price TBA.

Tiggy Johnson is a founding editor of page seventeen, which is produced annually and boasts work from several new writers in each issue. Her own writing has been published in several Australian journals and she maintains both the page seventeen Blog and a personal blog at www.tiggyjohnson.blogspot.com.

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