Monday, 17 September 2012

The price of poetry?

Part One of the launch of Tasting Notes was a great success. About 50 people attended the reading at Free Verse on 8th September, followed by a constant flow of interest on the Happenstance stand throughout the day. I carved ham, poured wine and talked poetry non-stop for six hours!

In fact, we sold a lot of books. This was no doubt partly down to our special offer of providing a free glass of wine and plate of ham with every purchase from the stand, not just of my book. A number of people remarked on how it made them think again about the way we value and price stuff. What does four pounds buy you? A lovely poetry pamphlet or a drink in London? Customers at Free Verse weren't forced into that choice, as we sent a fair number home with a warm vinous feeling inside them and a book to read afterwards.

It was a wonderful day, the chance to showcase poetry I believe in, to promote an excellent, commited publisher. And now I'm looking forward to the second stage of the launch! More on that over the coming days.


  1. When you can get the Complete works of Shakespeare for a tenner, or a boxed set of Beethoven's complete works for not too much more, poetry books (which are essentially limited editions without the numbers) can seem costly. They're costly even compared to blockbusters. And of course e-books are moving the goalposts. So perhaps poetry books should more often try to exploit their physicality - Tony Williams' "All the Rooms of Uncle's Head" for example - or at least have a tie-in with the physical world, which is what your reading did so well. Food for thought.

  2. Another advantage with tie-ins is that they provide us with the chance to gain new readers for poetry, people who think verse has nothing to do with their lives. That excites me!