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The Global Age. A Writer's Journal & Blog. Frederick Glaysher
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23 Oct 12 All Is Not Vanity

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All Is Not Vanity: The rise of literary self-publishing.

This article makes some interesting observations on various Post-Gutenberg publishing issues… despite still being too tied to the old model in some ways, with many assumptions based on it.

I would argue that the Post-Gutenberg Revolution places the responsibility, if not duty or test, of discernment and taste, upon the reader… As the author of the article rightly points out, all the leading, traditional, review publications are corrupted by the advertising dollars of the mega-publishers, just as much as an author who would pay someone to review their book on Amazon or elsewhere, which was recently in the news.

It seems to me the Internet and social networking provide the potential reader with the opportunity of knowledge of a writer’s work, and therefore the possibility of exploring it further. As has been observed, a great book judges its reader as much as the reverse–all the more true in the current Post-Gutenberg world, tired of the “taste” of the corporate gatekeepers, but still too often in limbo waiting for the new world to be born, not actively enough bringing it into being. For a long time I’ve thought of this as the reader not realizing how much power they actually have.

Self-publishing is at a stage analogous to the early days of Wikipedia, when users were
reluctant to trust information contained in a communally written encyclopedia…. Whether
the increasingly virtual world of selfpublishing will eventually learn to regulate itself is an
open question.

It’s not a matter of regulation, which would mistakenly re-install an hegemony, but a further extension and development of democratic space and openness, wherein perceptive voices can identify, nurture, and cultivate taste, persuading through merit and argument. What is the literary tradition in all national literatures if not that? Convention and revolt with newly digitized tools…

All Is Not Vanity: The rise of literary self-publishing.
http://reviewcanada.ca/essays/2012/09/01/all-is-not-vanity/

Frederick Glaysher

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02 Sep 12 The Guardian Resorts to Censorship

There are two articles from The Guardian that I am responding to in this post. The oldest, from September 2012, at the bottom half of this page. The most recent was published on August 16, 2013:

“Why is self-publishing still scorned by literary awards?
As an increasing number of DIY authors climb the digital bestseller lists, book prizes will have to rethink their entry criteria” http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/aug/16/self-publishing-literary-awards

fglaysher

17 August 2013 4:59pm

Recommend

3

My, how well represented are the Luddites of the corrupt corporate publishing industry… in the comments.

I don’t want them, and I don’t need them, nor do an ever-increasing number of readers, who are clearly sick of corporate publishing and eagerly choosing independent writers.

Now watch and observe the publishing trolls come forth…

Frederick Glaysher

http://www.fglaysher.com

“Very readable and intriguingly enjoyable. …a masterpiece that will stand the test of time.” —Poetry Cornwall, No.36, England. May 2013.

“A great epic poem of startling originality and universal significance, which is ingeniously enriching the canon of ‘literary epics’ while in every way partaking of the nature of world literature.” —Hans Ruprecht, CKCU Literary News, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. June 2013. (see below)

“I found this book to be up to the standards set by Homer. …This book also is very thought provoking as it brings into question what humanity is doing to the Earth and each other.” —LibraryThing

“Most of the contemporary poets and critics claim that epic is not suitable for our modern age. But Frederick Glaysher has proven them wrong.” —Goodreads (more) Bangladesh.

“Certainly wowed the crowd at the library with the performance and the words themselves.” —Albany Poets News

 

fglaysher WakeUpArgh

17 August 2013 9:08pm

Recommend

3

In the case of corporate publishers, they have been working very diligently at corrupting the entire publishing industry for decades, in both the USA and the UK. It hasn’t just happened overnight. It’s taken a lot of bribe money in the deceptive form of “advertising,” many millions worth, not to mention the ceaseless takeovers of publishing houses that used to have decent editors in them who weren’t just hacks looking for talking-head and celebrity schlock.

As publishing was taken over and consolidated into the now five mega-media corporations, run by illiterate MBAs and other cultural ignoramuses, looking for and thinking only of “filthy lucre” on the bottom line, the level of literary ability and vision has steadily gone down, increasingly corrupting not only Western Civilization, but World Civilization, as its nihilism has been passed around the globe. The worthless “literary prizes” with which they try to prop up the crude and banal works they foist off as “literature” only proves how utterly corrupt publishing has become. They no longer know what literature or civilization is and means, while arrogantly believing that they alone know and should be allowed to decide who and what receives a hearing with the people, with readers.

Fortunately, the Post-Gutenberg Revolution has now provided the tools with which serious writers of literary fiction and poetry can now bury the corrupt baboons of the boardrooms who cynically dominate the media-scape… as well as the university and cultural domains, and find and chart a new direction for world civilization.

We are at the end of a decadent and corrupt stage of civilization. To the extent that the decline of publishing has played a role in that process, much of it must needs be swept aside if we are to regain our balance and find the solutions to the vast problems that confront humanity.

“The poets that are identified in this fascinating book see a universal brotherhood….” —Amazon Review http://www.fglaysher.com

 

fglaysher

Incidentally, I notice you’re concealing your identity. Are you a troll for corporate publishers? You sound like one. It has often been alleged that they’re hiring people for spin-control on the Internet, trying to prop up their corrupt and decadent business model. Amazon has been vastly fairer to independent publishers than the corporate exploiters who now suck blood out of the lives of writers and their families, have for many decades, if not the last few hundred years, subjecting readers to their base and shoddy ethical standards. Fortunately, intelligent readers can see through such practices and are increasingly going elsewhere…

 

fglaysher WakeUpArgh

A troll… as I understand the term is usually used on the Internet, is someone who conceals their identity in order to deceive or harass others, for various misguided reasons. Since my identity is a public one, readily identifiable as such, if you want to google me, for instance, I don’t understand how I could be perceived as one.

As for Amazon, while I do have several books available on it, they are also available, in hard and soft cover and as ebooks, on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, and their many worldwide global affiliates. So I’m not exclusively in favor of Amazon, but I indeed do respect Amazon’s business model which is significantly fairer to writers and their families than the publishing model of today and even the last few hundred years, which has basically been to steal the majority of the earnings of a book from authors.

Please don’t repeat all the specious arguments justifying the old system. I’ve heard them ad nauseum from corporate spinmeisters.

If you want to understand the deeper issues of publishing, I recommend starting with Jason Epstein’s Book Business.

 

fglaysher WorcesterStorey

I’ve responded here to his posts and the criticism of Amazon, which seems to be the only opinion permissible for some defending the publishing cartel. I have not attacked anyone here with aspersions on their character but encouraged others to remain above that level. I stand ready to accept your apology.

For those interested, a similar discussion about corporate publishing that I and Mr “WorcesterStorey” participated in, not a few months ago, but last September, 2012, see my blog The Globe, which includes my posts, and those deleted by a misguided censor on The Guardian, allowing apparently only pro-corporate publishing messages. Surely Murdoch doesn’t own The Guardian? I trust that such an illustrious newspaper as The Guardian shall right the wrong some day when it becomes aware of how unjustly I was treated by the overzealous.

The Globe

http://fglaysher.com/TheGlobe/2012/09/02/the-guardian-resorts-to-censorship/

 

fglaysher MartineMcDonagh

The retail distributors are part of the corrupt system of scratching the publishers backs… taking their dirty dollars for helping to keep the system of monopolies going. It works the same way in both the USA and the UK, as with the other interlocking parasites of the corporate publishing system.

Incidentally, I clicked on your name and found that you just created your account this afternoon. Are you a real person or just a publishing troll? Like probably many of the others in these comments? It’s known now that there is even software that allows unprincipled people and corporations to create dozens of false identities for various deceptive and reprehensible reasons:

MartineMcDonagh [click his "name" to verify this for yourself]
Joined: 17 Aug 2013

My identity can easily be verified by any wishing to do so. I’ve been a registered member on The Guardian since, Joined: 29 Aug 2012.

Martine, how can people verify the veracity of your identity?

Frederick Glaysher
Independent poet and publisher

http://www.fglaysher.com

Earthrise Press

http://books.fglaysher.com

 

fglaysher jae426

In the Soviet Union Andrei Sakharov and other critics were accused of paranoia in an attempt to discredit them. Probably not an effective strategy for publishers take up…

Many, many self-published books are available through various distributors, though many of them are involved in attempting to prompt up the failed paradigm.

Incidentally, here’s a very incomplete list of self-publishers:

Mark Twain, James Fenimore Cooper, Walt Whitman, William Blake, Henry Adams, Ezra Pound, e. e. cummings, Edgar Allan Poe, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, A.E. Housman, Gertrude Stein, Anais Nin, Carl Sandburg, Stephen Crane, George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Paine, William Wordsworth, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, Henry David Thoreau, Benjamin Franklin, Michel de Montaigne, Friedrich Nietzsche, Johannes Kepler, Alexandre Dumas, Derek Walcott, Upton Sinclair, W. E. B. DuBois, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Robert Hayden.

I highly doubt that William Blake and many of the writers mentioned above would have hesitated to join the Post-Gutenberg Revolution.

 

fglaysher

Why would Blake have ever wanted to be published by Faber? …when he was able to, and indeed did, publish himself, in a vastly superior form to anything that that doughty old outfit could have ever come up with on their own.

Nota bene. You’re wrong about Walcott…

“By 19, Walcott had self-published his two first collections with the aid of his mother, who paid for the printing: 25 Poems (1948) and Epitaph for the Young: XII Cantos (1949). He sold copies to his friends and covered the costs.[6] He later commented, “I went to my mother and said, ‘I’d like to publish a book of poems, and I think it’s going to cost me two hundred dollars.’ She was just a seamstress and a schoolteacher, and I remember her being very upset because she wanted to do it. Somehow she got it—a lot of money for a woman to have found on her salary. She gave it to me, and I sent off to Trinidad and had the book printed. When the books came back I would sell them to friends. I made the money back.” [5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Walcott

In the Post-Gutenberg Age, think about it… Clay Shirky might be of help:

“It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem.” Clay Shirky, “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable.” March 13th, 2009.

 

fglaysher Lainwilts

Thanks for commenting.

In my view the ever-increasing corporate takeover of publishing from the 1980s on has been one of the most significant factors in the decline of New York and conglomerate publishing, though the cultural undermining runs much deeper, with publishing merely a symptom of it.

The Post-Gutenberg Revolution presupposes and necessitates a new relationship between the reader and writer, requiring a deeper level of responsibility on the part of both the general reader and the highly trained and often gifted academic or professional reader or critic. That recognition has not yet received its full due, but some are beginning to realize it, and, with time, I believe its efflorescence will continue to play out on the Internet. Coterminously, historically, in all civilizations around the globe, there has always been a very simple and clear way to separate the sheep from the goats. That too will become clearer on the Internet.

Demonizing Amazon, which is only one online bookseller, will not save the corrupt corporate publishers from their justly deserved fate… fortunately, for literature.

 

fglaysher jae426

You seem to be using again a character attack in your opening words. Please let us stay with the ideas involved, basically how corrupt corporate publishing has become and the historical fact that they are no longer needed by writers to reach the reader.

Blake died in 1827… and he chose to publish his beautifully illuminated manuscripts, etchings and painting and all… on his own, without one of the corrupt and venal publishers of his time. Perhaps Blake had in mind the experience of Cervantes with his worthless, sleazy publisher, who stole the book and never paid him anything for it.

Fortunately, writers today can market their books to the entire world through AMAZON and other online sellers, completely circumventing the Old Boy Network who seem utterly panic-stricken by the Writing On The Wall (digital in this case). They should be. Like the music executives, a lot of will soon be out of a job. And then what will they do? They’re not capable of writing books themselves…

 

fglaysher Lainwilts

The vast majority of “awards” are utterly worthless… if not fraudulent, especially the ones that use “an entrance fee,” basically to raise money to line the pockets of the judges and publish the “winning” entry. What self-respecting writer would want such a contemptible “award”?

Elsewhere in these comments someone pointed out that other “awards” are a racket run by the corrupt corporate publishers to promote and market their often grossly illiterate and decadent titles… for dirty dollars. Peasants will always grope for those coins…

Writers worthy of the Tradition will take Saul Bellow’s advice on Deconstruction: “Real writers would bury them,” exactly what must now be done with corporate publishers… global now.

 

fglaysher WorcesterStorey

Dear Mr WorcesterStorey,

Please consider that more character attack and aspersions do not speak well of your own character. Sir, try to respect other people, since we’re talking about books and culture. You’re entitled to your own opinion but the methods used in a public space should be those of a gentleman.

I find particularly disturbing your abusing the name of Dr Hans-George Ruprecht, who is a highly educated, sensitive reader, and a distinguished scholar of semiotics. I invite you and others to consider his credentials on his Carleton University webpage. Such a man of integrity would not speak lightly of my epic poem or any book.

http://www.carleton.ca/slals/people/ruprecht-hans-george/

His books can be found on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/180-0351198-7292752?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Hans-George%20Ruprecht

He is the host of CKCU Literary News, broadcast in Ottawa, Canada, in three languages, English, German, and French. His interview of me can be found at http://cod.ckcufm.com/programs/414/13077.html

It would be gracious of you to apologize for your unkind and unfair words.

 

fglaysher WorcesterStorey

You’re still evading the derision with which you treated Dr. Hans-George Ruprecht and other reviewers of my epic poem, The Parliament of Poets, and ignoring their independent judgments of my book. How interesting and revealing.

As for the corrupt and decadent corporate purveyors of talking-head and celebrity schlock, indeed even pornographic smut, pouring all that into the soul of Western Civilization, rest assured, my vehement antipathy is undying, and for those who help to prop it up. All the little people in pre-war Germany were complicitous.

Your assumption is predicated on the notion that corporate publishing and editors have some special ability to identify and promote authors. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are economic self-servers pouring out propaganda justifying their deficient system, capable of only recognizing and promoting the decadence to which they are inured. That the media is in the hands of but a few has only exacerbated the situation but will not prevent the change that has and is coming.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again…

 

  • fglaysher fglaysher

    The tactics of the communist cadres and fascists were often to intimidate and threaten into silence those who disagreed with them. If such methods are those of corporate publishers, readers should know about it. I would think millions would find it a considerable wake up call… on the order of the Murdoch revelations. Probably not a tactic a wise publisher should emulate… From this side of the pond, it often seems that most of the British public doesn’t think highly of hooliganism.

  • 3 people, 5 comments
    fglaysher

    The pen is mightier than the corporate lie…

    fglaysher jae426

    0

    When machines break down, they need to be repaired or turned in for a new one. Similarly, when “the man” becomes corrupt, it’s time for a new one… and a new way. Hundreds of thousands of writers and readers have voted with their dollars and pounds sterling… give it some thought.

    It’s time for a new relationship between the reader and the writer.

    I have long respected The Guardian. I want to respect it more. Choose the Post-Gutenberg Revolution.

    fglaysher R042

    0

    “What kind of new relationship can there be?”

    That’s an excellent question. I urge you and others to help seek the answer… It will not be found with the MBA bean-counters and their conglomerates, but the independents, who have the courage to launch forward into the future.

    I invite you to consider my own reflections struggling to understand the emerging new Post-Gutenberg relationship between the reader and the writer:

    The Mission of Earthrise Press
    http://fglaysher.com/mission_of_earthrise_press.html

    Publishing in the Post-Gutenberg Age
    http://www.fglaysher.com/Post_Gutenberg_Publishing.html

    eReading, eBooks, on The Globe
    http://fglaysher.com/TheGlobe/category/ereading/

    fglaysher MarkKing74

    0

    MarkKing74,

    “The hierarchy of praise” is not at all the open and honest system people sometimes think. It’s bought and paid for by the corporate publishers with kickbacks of various sorts to review publications and agents, the former through “advertising,” the latter through “advances.” It’s a corrupting relationship that locks out alternative conceptions and visions of life.

    Ultimately, that’s really what the monopolies are about. Only what they choose may receive a hearing and readership.That’s why they’re so terrified of the Post-Gutenberg Revolution. They’re losing not only the money but their control over subjecting society to their decadent opinions and interpretations of life. Think, Murdoch, et al, who send in their hacks to hack the phones of the innocent, etc. That’s the level of morality they operate on. Apparently well represented in these comments…

    Conversely, the people who read your book are unbribed, fresh readers, untainted by the corrupt system described, and, in my opinion, worth infinitely more than those in the phoney “hierarchy of praise.”

    fglaysher spiritofthesand

    0

    Thanks for asking. The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem is available on Amazon.uk and, among others, W.H.Smith, Amazon.uk, Barnes & Noble.UK, Foyles, alibris, The Book Depository, Word Power Books (Scotland), etc…

    Read a free chapter, BOOK I. The excerpt includes “A Prefatory Poem,” evoking Samuel Johnson’s famous letter about his Dictionary of the English Language to Lord Chesterfield:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Parliament-Poets-Epic-Poem/dp/098267788X/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356446865&sr=1-4

    ******************************************************************************************

    ******************************************************************************************

September 2012 Article:

The Guardian Resorts to Censorship, regarding its article “Are Amazon reader reviews killing off the critic? News that a commercial operation has been rigging customer endorsements is a reminder of the virtues of professional critics.”

I’m shocked to have to report that The Guardian has responded to several of my comments on the above article by what I consider censorship of my posts, if not RIGGING the comment section. While they’ve deleted a number of mine, they’ve allowed a number of others that ridicule and deride my views to remain. I am therefore posting here all of the messages involved so that others interested might judge for themselves. (Oddly, a few hours later, The Guardian has restored a couple of the posts below. Not all were ever deleted.)

I believe The Guardian‘s extreme reaction to my comments is partly explained by its not understanding the Post-Gutenberg Revolution, as demonstrated in the following article it ran in April:  Tim Waterstone warns Amazon tax avoidance could kill off bookshops The UK apparently lost about one fifth of all books stores on High Street, i.e., main street as we say in the USA. Since they’re considerably behind the USA in terms of grappling with the ebook revolution, they do seem panic stricken about it. But censorship is not the way to handle people and writers who realize there is no turning back.

My original response below to the article “Are Amazon reader reviews killing off the critic?” and post to Facebook:

A thoughtful piece on some of the implications of fraudulent Amazon book reviews…

“…the Amazon scandals reaffirm the importance of the much-maligned traditional book review. Reviews in, say, newspaper books sections (I’m biased) are vital in offering a properly critical (often negative) opinion of new books: a necessary accompaniment to (also important) articles in the same sections that simply showcase books, or report interviews with authors: these can all too easily become elegant exercises in PR. The book reviewers are chosen by commissioning editors, they don’t choose themselves, and their judgments, if the editor is doing his job properly, must be properly backed up. Yes, there’s only one wise voice rather than the wisdom of the crowd, but these critics are convincing, independent, entertaining and trustworthy enough that, time and again, they are paid to offer their opinion. And not in the way that Todd Rutherford was paid, by the authors of the books themselves.”

 

My 1st response in the comments on The Guardian:
fglaysher
29 August 2012 1:21PM

Here’s the problem. The Guardian, The New York Times Book Review, et al., can be and are just as corrupt as Amazon, in various ways, through the advertising dollars of publishers, scratching one another’s industry backs, sharing and promoting only the commonly shared points of view, and so forth. Any sophisticated reader knows the filtering worldview, if you will, of TLS, The New York Review of Books, The Boston Review, The Nation, The National Review, and the list goes on endlessly. Each has their NARROW little view and conceptions, precluding anything that’s different, is the truth of it.

Put it another way, as this author of The Guardian article does, “The book reviewers are chosen by commissioning editors, they don’t choose themselves, and their judgments….” Then what are they good for? They’re bought and paid for hacks and deceivers just like Todd Rutherford’s on AMAZON!!! They’re NOT “independent.” Editors who imagine they are the enlightened gatekeepers of civilization deceive themselves and their readers. The Post-Gutenberg Revolution is about opening up beyond that kind of thing.

The old publishing model IS DEAD!! Understand and Get it!! Writing and publishing must be about the Reader! Editors trying to control it are still invariably skewing the results for their publishing buddies. It is well known now that traditional publishers are paying people to defend and prop up their deficient paradigm.

Literature 2.0 is predicated upon a different model.

 

My 2nd response:
fglaysher
29 August 2012 9:14PM
Response to Skalholt, 29 August 2012 4:27PM

All of the arguments you use are the usual, hackneyed ones of the corporate publishers, who seek to maintain and extend their lucrative stranglehold over what receives a hearing in modern culture, all of which is nothing more than an extension of the received wisdom of the university, and guarantees publishers receive unto themselves the bulk of the wealth a book produces, while giving the most contemptible pittance to the writer, after having often sacrificed and labored interminably on the volume.

Corporate publishers and the universities have one thing in common. They’re both as bankrupt and naked as the proverbial emperor. No perceptive person fails to realize the media has long been a lackey to both of them. Online media needs to wake up and start serving the best interest of its readers, instead of extending a willing hand to the ruling despots, who are plunging to their just fate, that of the former music executives and labels, Kodak, and so on.

You’re defending a rearguard action. I urge you and others who share such thinking to sally forth into the future! Editors will have to work harder, but the broad-brush stroke that there’s nothing but trash out there is utterly false. As has been widely recognized, the corporate publishers have been churning out an awful lot of trash for decades… Literature 2.0 holds out the promise that was destroyed when the corporate bean-counters got their hands on the industry… Those who are capable and far-seeing are seizing the opportunity.

 

My 3rd response (Still DELETED):
fglaysher
29 August 2012 10:07PM

Response to paullaity, 29 August 2012 7:57PM [AUTHOR of the article]

“We might well be guilty of reviewing too many books from the prestigious publishers.”

The Guardian doesn’t have the same policy as The New York Times Book Review, as admitted by the editor Sam Tanenhaus of “reviewing only books that our readers can find in bookstores”?

“…certain titles are likely to be of most interest to our readers.”

Do those “certain titles” just happen to be the ones that the corporate publishers take out costly advertisements for? Sometimes full pages? Perhaps to the tune of 14,000 GBP, or whatever? The “prestigious” reviewing media, on both sides of the pond, is no better than Amazon, which allows it to go on, looking the other way, what is, admittedly, reprehensible on the part of some authors. But that does not mean every independent writer is buying reviews, nor that every independent writer is an illiterate hack. The imprimatur of a corporate publisher, for people who are truly literate, has steadily been declining for decades, for all the reasons plaguing modern culture. It’s not the corporate bean-counters who are going to revive it, but the independent spirits who loathe them with a ferocity that shakes them to the core, for what they’ve done to the culture.

The Gurardian needs to decide with whom it stands. Readers or the corrupt plutocrats of publishing?

I emailed The Guardian on August 26 a digital Advance Review Galley of The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem, which will be published in November, and takes place partly on the moon, at the Apollo 11 landing site, the Sea of Tranquility. Apollo calls all the poets of the nations, ancient and modern, East and West, to assemble on the moon to consult on the meaning of modernity. I believe it is both the first epic poem in the English language in 345 years and the first global, universal epic.

I don’t want, and I don’t need, a corrupt corporate publisher, nor any of the despicable reviews it *buys* in The New York Times Book Review, if that’s the only way they’d ever review it, and other supposedly independent review magazines that gullible readers trust.

I invite The Guardian to consider reviewing The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem. It will be available for purchase in the United Kingdom and worldwide as a hardcover book printed outside London, in the USA, and in Australia, shipped and delivered to almost any place on earth. It will also be available as an ebook through several major ebook vendors, Amazon, Kobo, Google eBookstore, and in the Kindle and ePub formats for any device that can read them. [UK: W.H.SmithAmazon.ukAmazon.ukBlackwellWaterstonesalibrisWord Power Books (Scotland)Bertram ]

I have long respected The Guardian. I want to respect it more. Choose the Post-Gutenberg Revolution.

 

My 4th Response:
fglaysher
29 August 2012 10:21PM
Response to Skalholt, 29 August 2012 9:39PM

In my view, a lot of the readers people seem to think highly of are actually part of the problem. Their going down with the corporate publishers would actually improve things for the prospect of literature and the culture.

Ultimately, the Post-Gutenberg Revolution has provided a way for the independent writer to go around all of them, if that’s what it has to come to. Amazon, Kobo, Google, and all their affiliates can never obtain a monopoly, take it over from the traditional publishers. Any writer on the face of the earth can now produce their ebooks for $39.00 USD with Jutoh, a web server with a shopping cart, and Paypal, which services credit cards from over 190 countries: Earthrise Press eBooks, A Post-Gutenberg Publisher – DRM free

 

My 5th Response: (Still DELETED posted first time)
fglaysher
30 August 2012 1:51PM

Response to reedandwright, 30 August 2012 1:03AM

I enjoyed your delightful parody! Thank you for reading or at least skimming the first few pages of my epic poem, The Parliament of Poets, presumably from my ebook site at http://books.fglaysher.com (BOOK I is a free PDF download) or was it from the copy I emailed The Guardian?

After a a good laugh all around, I invite you to answer the serious issues that I and others raise.

I note that all of your messages, which I’ve read, listed under your profile, support the traditional publishing establishment. While you make some good points, overall yours is a rearguard action.

In the spirit of good fun, I’d parody you back, but, since you’re hiding your real identity, I shan’t bother.

I notice from a post linked to from your profile reedandwright that you say: “(though yes, I’d much prefer it if the ebook had never existed….).” Please explain what you have against the ebook.

reedandwright that you say: “(though yes, I’d much prefer it if the ebook had never existed….).”

 

My posts still on The Guardian the last time I checked:

fglaysher
2 September 2012 2:02AM
Response to BillyMills, 30 August 2012 6:05PM

I respectfully disagree regarding Literature 2.0, while paradoxically agreeing in a sense. The constituents of literature are literary, aesthetic, and intellectual. They can be lost or weakened during decadent periods, but can never be changed, I agree, in Wilde’s sense. However, a massive change of the “delivery system” on the scale of the Post-Gutenberg Revolution, like that of the original Gutenberg Revolution, does and will change the environment within which and how Literature 2.0 is conceived and receives a hearing, and, indeed, responds, now, today, back to its critics and opponents, especially the criticasters, theooorrrists, and hacks of the day. To state the obvious, although Samuel Johnson basically set the standard, he didn’t have the Internet…

fglaysher

2 September 2012 2:27AM
Response to Mexican2, 30 August 2012 7:01PM

“And how is “interest” arrived at – because one could reasonably compare, say, a Secker/Harvill catalogue and a period of reviewing in the Guardian and conclude that the prioritising in both vaguely maps over each other. As often does a publisher’s marketing budget with review coverage (which is not for one moment to suggest reviews are bought). Perhaps it’s just one of those things where everybody agrees independently that this is what “we’re all” interested in? But what does that mean exactly?”

Why merely suggest it? How can a conscientious mind say anything else? One could easily conclude the same about The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, and, pains me the most, TLS, because they’re the best of the lot, in my opinion, have a memory, at least, often, but perhaps tainted too by advertising dollars, and the small vision of the age, while the others definitely are… I say it pains me because I’ve been a reader of all their pages for over thirty years.

What is to be done when the literary reviews leave off literature, for the already written? Drivel… Serve the contempt and “dirty lucre” of their advertisers, not the best interests of the culture and its readers?

 

fglaysher  (Still DELETED)
2 September 2012 2:00PM
Response to WorcesterStorey, 30 August 2012 4:19PM “If your work really is the best of its kind in 3 centuries or whatever you claim, I can’t think why you feel the need to constantly plug it in this thread. You obviously know your way around the current self-publishing media so why try flogging it to death here? Intelligent people aren’t generally impressed by egotistical boasting.”

You have misread what I stated or have accidentally … distorted my meaning. I stated that my epic poem is the first one in the English language in 345 years, not that it is the best, which is a judgment for readers and critics to make. But it is merely a statement of fact to say that there is no epic poem in the English language worthy of the name since Milton, which has been said by many literary critics through the years and decades. Robert Southey’s Madoc, for instance, does not merit comparison, nor Hiawatha, nor does Cowper’s mock-epic The Task; Ezra Pound’s Cantos are a fragment, laced with antisemitism and a bizarre economic theory, Merrrill’s Changing Light at Sandover is also a mock-epic, and so on.

I have written a serious epic poem within the Western tradition and English letters. No poet could write such a poem without realizing it, for the epic requires not a moment of inspiration, like a lyric, but an act of will, which is one of the reasons why it has usually been judged as the most demanding literary form.

Milton, it should be noted, realized what he had written, and was not reluctant to say so, even within the poem itself. His prose, for instance, demonstrates he understood for decades what he was up against and strove to vie with the greatest poets of the epic tradition. It may shock readers today who are habituated to small, personal postmodern songs of self to hear someone make the claim, as I do, that I have written the first epic poem in 345 years, but it is merely to state a fact, for the manuscript sets on my desk. It is not something I am dreaming about writing. Those days are at long last, for me, in the past. Now it is time for others to judge. No person who hasn’t read it, however, can make the claim that it doesn’t exist.

 

fglaysher
2 September 2012 2:19PM
Response to Mexican2, 2 September 2012 1:58PM

Thank you for replying and explaining so clearly your thinking. I couldn’t agree more with you, on all counts. I believe it can all be said fairly about reviews too over here in the US that they’re about “those authors who were truly newsworthy yesterday, yesteryear.” The focus is on the “already written.” Ultimately I don’t really blame the periodicals. The problem runs very deep into the cultural fabric of Western civilization. We’re at the end of a very long period of various visions and conceptions of life having run their course. Exhaustion lies all around, and few can conceive of anything else other than rewriting the Wheel… the popular, the crude, and so forth, fill the vacuum, for a while. More perceptive minds move on, and eventually will obtain a hearing…

Samuel Johnson was so perceptive on this kind of thing.

 

fglaysher
2 September 2012 3:25PM
Response to reedandwright, 30 August 2012 1:03AM (Posted a 2nd time)

I enjoyed your delightful parody! Thank you for reading or at least skimming the first few pages of my epic poem, The Parliament of Poets, presumably from my ebook site and the free PDF of BOOK I. Or was it from the copy I emailed The Guardian?

After a a good laugh all around, I invite you to answer the serious issues that I and others raise.

I note that all of your messages, which I’ve read, listed under your profile, support the traditional publishing establishment. While you make some good points, overall yours is a rearguard action.

In the spirit of good fun, I’d parody you back, but, since you’re hiding your real identity, I shan’t bother.

I notice from a post linked to from your profile reedandwright that you say: “(though yes, I’d much prefer it if the ebook had never existed….).” Please explain what you have against the ebook.

 

fglaysher
2 September 2012 9:06PM
Response to Mexican2, 2 September 2012 7:03PM

I thank you for the suggestions. It is the usual list, however, all of which I’ve read long ago or brooded over, reading good-size chunks.

Walcott’s Omeros is not really an epic but more of a novel in narrative verse; the Prelude is a rambling study of Wordsworth’s own mind, as has often been said; Browning’s The Ring and the Book is another narrative story, not an epic properly speaking. There are a lot of those since Milton, none of which are epics. You list many of them. Byron never finished Don Juan and famously admitted he had no plot, just sat down and starting cranking it out, and didn’t know how to end it… Paterson is a small time vision. While I love Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, think it’s one of the greatest books in the English language, one of the models of my own verse, it must be conceded that it is not an epic but a retelling of selected portions of the Arthurian myth. The title of Whitman’s poem says it all… Zukovsky, Pound, and Olson do not merit the title. While many want to laud the Cantos as an epic, Pound admitted to Donald Hall in a late interview, in one of Hall’s early books, that he had no plot or vision, and the fragments remained unfinished at his death. Southey’s Madoc was plain weird and anyway never stuck to the culture. Merrill’s ouija board fantasy is a farcical would-be mock-epic, at best.

My epic poem is finished and sets on my desk. It was serialized throughout this summer in the manner of Charles Dickens and other 19th Century writers on my ebook site, Earthirse Press eBooks. It will be published in hardcover and as an ebook, both Kindle and ePub formats, in November.

If interested, I survey epic poetry, both ancient and modern, in my essay “Epopee,” in my book The Grove of the Eumenides: Essays on Literature, Criticism, and Culture, available worldwide.

The Parliament of Poets is not only the first epic poem in the English language in 345 years, but also the first global, universal epic, one that raises a world-embracing song for our time. That is what I set out to write as early as 1982. It is now up to readers to decide whether or not I have achieved what I set out to accomplish.

A very significant portion of the poets and writers throughout English and American literature were self-publishers. We read them still today. You have mentioned many of their names. So it is not true as the article here suggests that self-publishers are a reprehensible bunch. They have given us much of English literature.

Click here for all of  my comments on The Guardian, except those here that were DELETED by their censor, not moderator, in my opinion.

Frederick Glaysher

11 Aug 12 Google Nexus 7 Tablet

Google's Nexus 7 Tablet

Google's Nexus 7 Tablet

Nexus 7 Tablet

My first ereaders were Palm Pilot handheld devices in the mid 1990s, on which I read such authors as Shakespeare and Mark Twain, despite their crude screens, the earliest of which was green, about 3″ x 4″.

So I was thrilled when I stumbled on the Sony 505 ereader at the Ann Arbor Borders Bookstore in 2007. I immediately recognized it as a significant upgrade in technology and a new home for my roughly thousand or more ebooks I had already downloaded from Gutenberg.org and elsewhere. Though I read many books and articles on it, the Sony 505 had lots of defects. It was slow, crashed a lot, and basically had no support from the manufacturer.

In May of 2011 I bought an Aluratech LIBRE Touch eBook Reader, with WiFi and a 7 inch TouchScreen. It was many generations of upgrading from the Sony 505, and I enjoyed it for a while, but then the fact that Aluratech never upgraded the software from Android 1.5 really degraded the experience. I plan to keep it, but it doesn’t handle PDFs efficiently enough, leading to frustrating delays and repetitions when  resetting the size, requiring tedious moments of waiting while the processor crunches the numbers…. Still, the 7 inch screen and overall size and weight makes for very pleasant reading, especially of ePubs, which don’t have the problems of PDFs.

I held off buying a conventional tablet, such as the iPad, which to me is huge and clunky. I had had a Netbook for years, and the size of  the various tablets were all too big to attract me. I felt I was duplicating what I already had, but without a keyboard.

Since I’ve had a Google Nexus S cellphone since late 2010, I immediately had an interest in the Nexus 7, upon good advice that it was coming out in late June. I bought one a few days after Google starting selling them online on June 27. Now that I’ve used Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet for nearly a month, I’m amazed at what an incredible advance it represents over the other ereaders I’ve had. It doesn’t matter to me that it doesn’t have a phone or camera capability. Of course, it’s more than an ereader, but that’s the primary purpose for which I bought one. That it has wireless and runs video exceptionally well are added advantages, as is its ability to handle email and surf the web. The enormous number of Android apps extend the device almost endlessly. The five built-in processors allow for instantaneous and efficient resizing of PDFs.

With the 16 gigabyte model, I copied my now roughly 5,000 ebooks and another 5,000 articles on to it with several gigabytes to spare, enough to probably more than double the number of books. A very seamless transition to a better and happier reading experience. The Android version is the current and most advanced, with free updates from Google, that support using the Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and the Kobo apps on it for expanded reading options, along with all the others.  Google Books has built-in availability for many more millions of books.

For people with serious literary and cultural interests, Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet might be the one  to consider if you have been holding off getting an ereading device.

Frederick Glaysher

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28 May 12 Book Cover, The Parliament of Poets

The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem

The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem

Book Cover, The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem.

Arguably, fiction evolved out of epic poetry. As a story, a tale, I’m bringing it back!

For years I’ve dreamed about the book cover for The Parliament of Poets, a concrete metaphor of the epic itself, and have finally put it together, with the Hubble Telescope Ultra Deep Field image of space, in the constellation Fornax, from 2003 to 2004, looking back at the light of the universe more than 13 billion years ago, and the photograph from Apollo 11 of Earthrise.

I first began to think in this direction when I saw the Hubble Deep Field images, taken in 1995 and 1998. I knew I was looking at images unlike anything ever achieved by the human being. They came together in my mind, resonating with my long interest in astronomy and the themes of my thought and poetry, science and scientism, imagination and reason, man and woman, all the antinomies.

I’ve finished now the seventh draft through Book IX and should be able to finish the entire seventh draft in about a week to ten days. I continue to think that I’m closer to being done with the entire book than I had realized, the writing of the first five drafts of the epic by hand having put me considerably ahead of the curve. This seventh draft has turned out to be a reading of the printed sixth draft, with particular attention to the readability of the text, to word and eye. I intend still to do one more draft going over my “Epic Notes” folder on my hard drive, but it’s more out of a sense of diligence, now, than of any intention to make major changes or revisions. What I had wanted to include from there in the poem was incorporated long ago. I’m starting to feel that I’m nearly done with the poem and must  be careful not to overwork it.

I’d very much like to serialize the individual “Books,” highly episodic chapters, somewhere, as in a magazine or journal, in the old days, when more publications were willing to do so, reminiscent, in my mind, of Charles Dickens and other Nineteenth Century writers, and then the full book in the early fall. The small literary magazines, quarterlies, and academic journals rarely publish anything beyond short lyric poems and single short stories. The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Harper’s have mostly become symptoms of our cultural problems, like Time and Newsweek. None of them would publish something like an entire epic poem! …even in installments of chapters. One Book would probably fill much of a thin issue of a literary magazine like Poetry.

A summer serialization, twelve weeks, as it were, into the fall. A dream in itself… but how, and what would be its fulfillment in the Post-Gutenberg Age? What would it look like? Where?

As someone involved for so long in independent publishing and Post-Gutenberg developments, I resist the idea of publishing The Parliament of Poets in a conventional manner, for reasons I explain elsewhere. There must be a way to publish it so as to affirm the expanding freedom of the individual as a result of the decentralization of the Digital Revolution. And given the Web 2.0 world of social networking, it would be interesting to receive and learn from reader feed-back prior to book publication. I know my poem has already benefited from discussion with friends on Facebook and Google Plus, and it’s an exciting thought to wonder what else might be the result of serialization.

And yet after thirty years of study and reflection, four of incessant writing, I’m not about to give the book away, lose control of my own book, so I won’t be posting it here on my blog or anywhere else online.

I suppose I could publish each chapter separately on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google ebookstore, and their affiliates, as well as Earthrise Press, though I don’t believe that alone would achieve what serialization in the Nineteenth Century accomplished for writers, publishers, and readers.

In Post-Gutenberg terms, a serialization that reflects our new world would have to go around the old intermediaries. Again, it must affirm the freedom of the individual now made possible globally, while protecting the individual right to intellectual property. It would, too, I believe, contribute to the exponential change that is sweeping the globe, by helping to demonstrate what is now possible, brought further to fruition, which has not yet really been made evident by a piece of literature of the highest order, but rather only the popular genres, such as detective, romance, and vampire fiction.

The clearest wake-up call to the old order will be when a serious literary work goes global and viral, without them. I believe I’m the poet, with the epic poem, that has that potential. Where is the Post-Gutenberg venue that has the vision and ability to make it happen? That is ready, and has evolved, to the point that it can? I have the history and background congruent with what’s required, and the poem. Do they have, not only the technical ability, but the humanistic, visionary prerequisites to recognize and promote it?

Frederick Glaysher

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29 Apr 12 The Decentralization of the Post-Gutenberg Age

ebooks, eReading

ebooks, eReading

The Decentralization of the Post-Gutenberg Age

‘E-books make the Gutenberg system, which still characterizes the industry after 500 years, absolutely obsolete,’ insists Jacob Epstein, the veteran publisher who invented trade paperbacks and founded the New York Review of Books.” “E-publishing radically decentralizes the marketplace,” Jacob Epstein.

The decentralizing of  post-Gutenberg publishing is something that I can speak about with intimate knowledge and ties in with my book of poems Into the Ruins and other books. In the mid nineties I became disgusted with the conventional avenues of cultural and literary publishing, both books, journals, and magazines. I had more than a decade of rejection slips from ignoramuses who demonstrated not the slightest understanding or familiarity with the manuscripts I sent them, along with a number from highly respected editors at major publishers, one, for instance, telling me he thought my book The Grove of the Eumenides should receive a hearing but did nothing to make it happen. I came to think very little of nepotism, especially in publishing. Other editors, publishing their post-modern drivel, enjoyed indulging themselves at my expense, they apparently thought. I quite consciously walked away from the whole conventional publishing scene, and the university in 1996, and began seeking ways to go around the stranglehold of both, directly to the reader.

I first thought the way to go around the decadent post-modern establishment and open a new path for literature, seeking to revive and renew its deepest humanistic traditions, was the time-honored route of typical self-publishing and brought out Into the Ruins through the printer McNaughton Gunn in 1999 under my own independent publishing company, Earthrise Press. While I sold some books through Borders and Barnes & Noble, through Baker & Taylor, I found them all to be opposed to an independent voice. A selection from the approximately twenty Reviews from that time are on my website. Despite a few insightful reviews, no one really understood what I was fully attempting with Into the Ruins. Thus far, the same has proven to be the case with The Bower of Nil in 2002 and The Grove of the Eumenides in 2007.

Along the way, I evolved into using POD (Print on Demand) technology through Lightning Source and thought the way around the stultifying post-modern status quo would lie in that direction, which nevertheless opened up the way to the global reach of the Internet booksellers to an amazing degree, shocking me that I could sell books around the world. Very early I recognized the value of Jason Epstein’s Espresso Book Machine, though it’s yet to fulfill its potential.

Along in there, too, ebooks increasingly became a possibility, and I published all of my books into ebooks, available worldwide and going around all of the conventional gatekeepers. The record of much of the evolution of my thinking is in my Publishing in the Post-Gutenberg Age
http://www.fglaysher.com/Post_Gutenberg_Publishing.html

Like everyone else, I’ve evolved along the way with a website since 1998 and a blog, eventually Web 2.0 social networking… Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Through all that, I continued to study and work towards my epic poem, the earliest notes for which are from 1982, recently finishing the fifth draft in March of 2012. It’s not only the methods of publishing that I’m talking about, but how the identification and promotion of disparate views and visions of life, in literary terms and otherwise, evolve and reach the broader culture. I have not devoted over thirty years of my life writing an epic poem to allow a corrupt, conventional corporate publisher ever to touch it. Everything I’ve written is about the freedom of the individual soul, and the poem must be published in such a way as to affirm it.

Frederick Glaysher

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08 Feb 12 In the Post-Gutenberg Stacks

ebooks, eReading

ebooks, eReading

My writing an essay on Rabindranath Tagore, three or four months ago, led to an interesting experience that I find myself continuing to think about. As an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Michigan in the first few years of the 1980s, I would often study in the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library. My favorite places were deep in the catacombs of the stacks, 4 South, or the Sixth Floor humanities collection. Since Google digitized the holdings of U of M and those of other major libraries, along with the proliferation of classics online, Amazon and ebooks, and statewide inter-loan services, I, for some time now, have less frequently found myself needing to visit the Library, as I used to, for decades, two or three times a year.

In Tagore’s case, I discovered there were some books and sources I couldn’t obtain by other means, so I took a day last October for the sixty-mile trip to the Hatcher grad library. I started with 4 South, enclosed seemingly in the center of the old library, with very low ceilings, like the cellar of an old monastery. The floor has the bulk of the holdings in religion, especially Islam, Hinduism, and other non-Western faiths. I had on my Android Nexus S phone a list of books and articles related to Tagore and world religions that I wanted to check, complete with call numbers and so forth, from Mirlyn, the library Catalog, which I had accessed online from home. As usual, I was the only person on the floor. One or two might have wandered through that afternoon, cutting across on the way elsewhere. I found the sources in the stacks and piled them up on a desk, about twenty-five books or so.

Before combing through them, I booted my Netbook and turned on the Portable WiFi Hotspot on my phone, so that I could check U of M’s online Catalog, if needed. No reason to run downstairs anymore. I also took out my DocuPen portable wand scanner, so that I wouldn’t have to carry anything downstairs if I wanted to copy an article, which I did with several, emptying the memory, when it became full, onto my Netbook, in PDF format.

Scrutinizing chapters and articles, bibliographies, I found a few things I wanted to pursue further, so I obtained their call numbers with my Netbook, through the Catalog, went back into the stacks, dug around, loved every minute of it. And so it went. Since a few other sources were on the Sixth Floor, which houses mostly literature, having exhausted 4 South for that excursion, I packed up and changed locations, taking about another twenty-five books off the stacks upstairs, from the Tagore holdings of about three hundred books, and burrowed my way through them. I remember being reminded of my time on an NEH summer seminar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in 1995, and using the Perkins Library at Duke University, especially its excellent collection of Indian literature.

After some time, though, as the afternoon went by, I discovered I was developing a list of books that even the Hatcher Library didn’t have among its several million volumes. I fired up my Netbook again, and, while sitting in a study carrel, logged on to MeLCat, the State of Michigan’s library inter-loan system for the majority of universities, colleges, and local libraries. Working through my list, I found most of the books I needed at other state institutions and ordered them, right then and there, from a shabby old Harland Hatcher carrel, on the Sixth Floor, where over thirty years ago I had enjoyed so many fruitful hours of study.

A couple of books that I particularly wanted were not available at the graduate library nor through MeLCat.  I went online to the HathiTrust Digital Library, found one of them, and added the eBook to my account. The other was on Google Books. I downloaded it and later transferred it to my ereaders.

The MeLCat books began showing up at my local library in Rochester, Michigan, about a week later, when I was ready for them, having read the material I had taken home in digital format. An email notified me when the books were received and available for pick up. I read them in the comfort of my own library.

Frederick Glaysher

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