Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Saying no

Such a good book, the one I said no to at the weekend (I can’t do everything). A novel, a finely written one, of a kind I like, in which the relationships between a small group of characters are teased out and explored with a great deal of skill and wit and humanity; by a writer who's been published before, mainstream, and has won this award and been on that shortlist, and now no one wants to publish her . . .

Once upon a time they told you that if you want to be published you’d be better off writing fiction rather than fiction, because few publishers bother with poetry and the ones that do put out only so many titles a year and most of those places are booked up by the backlist poets they’re staying loyal to so the chances of getting onto their lists are minimal and, well, end of story.

I don’t believe in that story any more. I think that now, given the number of magazines and small presses dedicated to poetry rather than prose, and the subculture they’re part of, you have a better chance of seeing your work in print as a poet than as a fiction writer. It’s the novelists who are finding times hard.

I wonder how many months, years, it took to write that novel I said no to (and if they sent it to me, think of how many other people have said no to it before me). Poetry collections at least tend to be slimmer than novels, for which today I’m grateful, having toothache and a hangover and having just picked up the boxes of Voices over Water by D. Nurkse from the printer. This means that all the books listed on the website are now available to buy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so insightful yet so minimal