Anthologies and the visibility of the poem
Martin Langford 4 March 2017
One of the impulses behind putting the anthology together was the sense that it was becoming increasingly difficult for good poetry to become visible. Some of the problems are well-known, and don’t need much re-statement. Australia is a big country: it can be difficult enough to establish a readership in one’s immediate networks, but almost impossible to do so beyond them. Even if one’s networks have some capacity to move across regions (as, for instance, in tertiary education) the distribution of the book still seems to suffer – even in this internet age – from geographical constraints. Outside of a small number of stores in the biggest cities, very few shops stock good poetry lists. So: you have your launch, you mount a Facebook campaign which soon becomes tiring, and you obtain a small number of reviews in the limited number of paper- and e-journals that have reviewers willing to write them. Then what? If it’s published in Adelaide, how do people in Brisbane or Perth get to hear about it? – particularly if they miss the reviews? The regional constraints are compounded by the brevity of its visibility: if potentially interested readers don’t hear about the book in the year or so after publication, it is unlikely they ever will.