Skip to main content

Freakopoetics #1

The economist Steven D. Levitt, with help from journalist J. Dubner, has helped to create a flashy new form of economics - one with little recourse to theory or even reference to money - but with an emphasis on incentives, and evaluating statistics to determine new ways of looking at curious relationships - inventing new quirky questions - hence, why do Sumo Wrestlers cheat, etc...

Well, their book Freakonomics is good for a flight, and quite imaginative and witty - though it tends to pad things out with repetition and potted histories (say of lynching) that, in the context, appear a bit tacky.

It introduces, however, a new field of econo-aesthetic study, Poetry Freakonomics, or, rather, Freakopoetics.

This is the first in an occasional series of Freakopoetic questions. Answers optional.


In other terms, this is called THE LAW OF NEGATIVE POETRY SALES, which says that, for every poet included in a poety anthology or magazine, assume zero or minus sales. The reason? Poets do not understand the concept of shared incentive.

For instance, let us assume that 156 poets were included in an anthology - let us call it Anthology P.

If each poet - perhaps through viral marketing - encouraged friends, family, themselves - to purchase said P - let us say x 100 - sales of the book would be a staggering (for poetry) 15,600 units. This would mean each poet included in the book would be included in one of the best-selling and most widely-owned and distributed collection of the year - a good credit.

However, usually, poets manage to drum up few if any sales, so sales usually come in at 12 - less than the number of contributors, and the book sinks like a stone.

Perhaps this is a failure of nerve?

Or perhaps poets, like cats and other famously selfish and arrogant creatures that enjoy licking their derrieres, simply do not enjoy lifting a finger / paw to assist in the promotion of a work when others can do it for them?

Perhaps, following the logic of Freakopoetics - a new incentive should be offered - one modelled on taxation. In this model, unless Poet Q sells 100 units of Anthology P, they will be fined, to the tune of $1.00 per book not sold...

Maybe not.

Stay tuned for future installments.


Popular posts from this blog

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds

Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.

Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.

To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…


Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand


Dr Bruce Meyer, a significant Canadian poet and writer, will be the final judge for this year's Beverly Prize For International Writing - the impressive super shortlist of 18 international poets and writers is announced below.
Any original unpublished manuscript, in English, by anyone living anywhere in the world, writing in any genre or on any topic, prose, non-fiction or poetry (even drama) is eligible, making it arguably the world's most eclectic "broad church" literary scouting prize. Last year's debut winner was Sohini Basak (her book is being launched in Bloomsbury July 5th, 2018).

The rules of the prize stipulate that any author chosen for the shortlist agrees to accept publication with Eyewear if judged to be the final winner; and may not be entered into other competitions at this final stage of adjudication.
Bruce Meyer is author of more than 60 books of poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, literary journalism, and portraiture. He was winner of the Gwendolyn…