Thursday, August 04, 2005

Free Lunch

Free Lunch is a digest-sized poetry magazine that's been publishing for several years. Now that I think about it, for a little magazine, it's quite longevitous.

Its name comes from its queer genesis. Ron Offen is the editor & publisher and, I believe, founder, and he thought, the not unusual thought, there aren't many rewards to being a poet these days. Sure, you toil away perfecting your little objet d' language and once you've got it tweaked and retweaked its little word-shaped heart is buzzing away like a whiskery snouted shrew's, sure either to burn out in days and leave a fuzzy corpse or incandesce in a way that surprises everybody. That's not a reward? What more can you ask!

But Ron said to hisself, I could start a magazine and gift a subscription to every True Poet I find.

Well. Indeed.

I like this idea. Not just cuz I'm one o' dem Trues who gots a sub (eat your hearts out) but because the poetry economy is the gift economy, really, and it's time we faced it (I'm talkin' to you, poets). I've sent batches of poems to Ron over the years and he hasn't cottoned to any enough to publish them, but a free subscription isn't a bad rejection slip.

I read each issue cover to cover. And I don't dislike it more than Poetry Magazine, I suppose. The latest issue, which appeared in my just-renewed po box yesterday, is the first-person free issue. Ron's been buggin' about the state of contemporary poetry (he reads the unsolicited fat envelopes, don't he?) and decided one thing it could do was stop moaning about its own problems (I/me/mine) and start looking around, maybe see what's going on next door and talk about that maybe. I've only read a couple poems so far. They've done that one thing. That was the one thing they had to do in order to get in this time.

1 comment:

athena said...

I have had poetry published in three anthologies, won poetry awards and contests, had poetry and short stories in small publications...and not one cent, red or otherwise has found it's way into my pocket.
That may have been what the "no reward" reference was to.
Knowing that my muse hasn't yet forsaken me is about the only reward I can think of.
But she's a snippity bitch, and only comes over if she feels like it.
Poetry is making love to the language.
Prose is just a good "f..."
The "rewards" are the same.
And subject to personal preference.
It's nice to know there are other bard's out there