Just One Book

Salt, the amazing British publisher of prose and poetry, is almost broke. Last year, they launched a campaign called Just one Book to save themselves, and they are doing it this year as well. It’s a plea to buy Just One Book published by Salt. You can buy it directly from them or from your retailer of choice. Spread the word. Here are three suggestions for you:

1. Buy Just One Book by Jennifer Moxley. Moxley is one of my favorite living American poets, and Salt has published two volumes of hers, Imagination Verses and The Sense Record. Both are strongly recommended by me.

2. Buy Just One Book by Michael Hulse. I was lucky enough to once meet Mr. Hulse in person, it’s still one of my highlights. Salt has published his book Empires and Holy Lands, Poems 1976–2000, which is a great treasure trove of poetry that draws on Continental and British sources in order to produce an assured, marvelous poetic voice.

3. Buy Just One Book by Rachel Blau DuPlessis. Blau DuPlesssis is both an insightful poetry critic as well as one of the most interesting American poets around. For years she has been contributing to her long poem of sorts called “Drafts”, a series of numbered poems. Salt has published at least two volumes of her poetry. One simply called Drafts, containing Drafts 39-57, which I own, and which is amazing. The other, called Torques, containing Drafts 58-76, which I just ordered and which I am pretty sure is great, since I know some of the poems.

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3 thoughts on “Just One Book

  1. I’m going to sound a controversial note here, but Salt have issues that cannot be solved by buying Just One Book (and I did support the last campaign, buying three or four).

    The main thing is that they publish far too many titles. No doubt these are all deserving of attention, and the ones you cite, Marcel, are tempting. But a publisher is a business, and has to be able to make money on the books. I looked on Amazon and Salt have some sixty titles listed for publication between July and December of this year. That’s ten a month! The cost of publishing these – particularly with the high production values Salt books have – must be considerable, and it’s unlikely that they can give so many titles a fair push in terms of publicity.

    They publish predominantly short stories and poetry, both notoriously hard to shift, but I heard last year that they were going to move into longer form fiction. I breathed a sigh of relief at that, until I read this in the Bookseller last week about their plans for expanding the range later this year:

    The new focus includes an all-new romance list, called Embrace Books, which will be edited by Jane Holland. It will focus on two strands; Red Velvet, which features “feisty heroines and believable Alpha males within contemporary, historical and paranormal lines”; and After Dark, which comprises “unusual storylines within contemporary, historical, paranormal and same sex categories. These will include explicit sex, which in some cases may be central to the plot”.

    As Eric Morecambe would say, There’s no answer to that.

  2. I might be biased, as someone who spends a good deal of the day to write or read about poetry (and as an economy school dropout), but I think it’s a good thing that they publish so many titles. Blau DuPlessis? They gave me the opportunity to buy and read affordable books by poets like that, that I might have otherwise missed. The list above could have been much, much longer. They publish books by Henry Hart, Robert Archambeau and many many more. From the statements that Hamilton-Enery puts out these days, I get the impression that they publish many books because the profit margin per book is slim so they try and get many published to increase the sum. Does that make sense?

    As for the erotica: don’t they sell reasonably well? The large book store in Cologne Main Station has a whole shelf of well-selling erotica.

  3. It’s obvious that a publisher is a businness, but it’s far more than that. The reader has a responsability too, especially when the concerned publisher takes risks to provide this kind of books. I heard too many people complaining about mercenary publishers : here, in France, we don’t have many poetry book houses. Poets (even great ones) often choose auto-publishing, as they don’t have any other possibility. That’s not fair, neither for the author, nor for the reader who has no real choice to discover contemporary poets. Pitiful!
    So we, readers, have to participate in this endavour. I bought just two books (Imagination Verses and Empires and Holy Lands), and I’m looking forward to reding them.

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