There is always sadness at the idea of delaying a major cultural work - but also, hope, and greater possibility. As readers of Eyewear's blog will know, I have long tried to discuss and consider poetry within the cultural contexts of popular music and film, among other artifacts of our time. Many albums and films are delayed by their producers and directors - by the artists involved - to get things right.
I had to consider the facts. We lost most of our staff early in 2014, when our wealthy (and fickle) European patron suddenly announced he'd lost all his money on the stock market; and I spent the summer months reassembling a smaller freelance team; we're just now slowly back to speed, hampered of course by a very tight budget. The campaign to raise funds for this anthology was quite successful (although in the end it yielded less than anticipated) - but £4,000 barely covers the printing and layout costs for a 500 page hardcover anthology, let alone postage and launch and pr.
The main concern was editorial. For whatever reasons, a recent email of the PDF to contributors yielded replies indicating hundreds of typos and formatting errors - perhaps over a thousand. Permissions remain tricky in a few cases. The Intro is written, but biographies need to be edited. And, last month I received several important poems I felt could and should be added.
Finally, this is not a Christian, even a religious book, per se - it is a questing one - and I felt that a spring launch was more open and apt, than the Christmas feast period, for its themes.
And, we had not yet managed to get the book into shops - with this added time, we can plan a better series of readings and launches, get it to the funders, into shops, and produce the world class and definitive book of over 400 poets, we want this to be.
If Eyewear Publishing Ltd was funded by an arts council, a millionaire, or was part of a larger publishing conglomerate, we could hire more editors and designers to make things happen sooner - but it is a small hardy band of rag-tag lovers of poetry and books and design - freelancers all, headed by me, a full-time lecturer, and full-time poet. As it is, we managed to publish 24 hardcover poetry books, four hardcover prose works, and two paperbacks - 30 editions in total - over the past 3 years! Not bad for a little press.
Since poetry does not sell well, we mainly survive on bank loans and some generous small gifts from crowdfunding. It is a labour of love. Labour takes time, let us love properly. In the fullness of time. I apologise to any poets or pre-purchasers who feel disappointed. You will be glad to see how great the final product will look.
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