The Selling and Self-Regulation of Contemporary Poetry by J.T. Welsch: A Review

Elliptical Movements

The Selling and Self-Regulation of Contemporary Poetry, J.T. Welsch, Anthem Press, ISBN:9781785273353, Various formats and prices

Anyone who has poets on their Twitter timeline will be familiar with a number of recurring topics of conversation: anxiety over readiness to step up to a ‘full collection’; wondering what a full collection is as compared to a pamphlet; asking which competitions are taking entries; worrying over if online publication is ‘real’ publication; discussing which words or topics the arbiters forbid this week; advertising (Covid-online) book launches, workshops, courses and other events; discussions on which poems offer consolation. It’s almost an alternative contents list for J. T. Welsch’s fascinating study of the business, promotion and control of contemporary poetry in the broadest sense.

Welsch is at pains to point out that his book is not concerned with poetry as such, but with the contexts in which it is produced, distributed and consumed…

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