“One purpose of poetry is to articulate our existence — to give our inchoate experience shape and consciousness so that we might better understand and remember it.” –Dana Gioia, foreword to Wire Song
When you subscribe to the RMPS, you get:
Three books per year, plus the occasional bonus volume, including:
- A collection (or two) from a master poet
- A collection from an emerging or mid-career poet
- An anthology of the best poetry from a state in the region
Exclusive invitations to events, and discounts on other Conundrum Press titles
Subscriptions are $50 for one year, $90 for two years, and $140 for three years. Also feel free to donate in any amount – everything helps!
Announcing the First Books of the RMPS!
- Not one, but TWO collections from master lyrical poet Bruce Berger (acclaimed by the Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Kansas City Star, and many others)
- A new collection from emerging poet Sigman Byrd (an early reviewer raves, “Sigman Byrd’s poems have energy and grace, high wit and low humor, heady thoughts and common sundries, as well as trouble and troublemakers, including that maker of all things, the Great Troublemaker Himself.”)
- An anthology of Colorado poets (a fitting place to start!)
A Letter of Introduction from David Rothman, RMPS General Editor
What if a small press were to launch a serious, sustained campaign to attract poetry book subscribers – but without a contest/competition/prize/award? In this model, individual readers sign up for a year or two – just as they would subscribe to a magazine – but they receive carefully chosen, thoughtfully edited, and beautifully made books. They don’t know beforehand what they’re going to get: it’s up to the editors to choose, just as it’s up to the editors of The Atlantic, Harper’s, and Scientific American to decide what appears in those journals every month, based on their best judgment.
This model may seem odd, since the current poetry book publication model relies on adversarial combat to determine content. Yet the subscription model, which has a far more collaborative premise, doesn’t seem to bother magazine subscribers. They have faith in the brand because they expect that the editors will deliver, and because they want to be part of a community of readers who share, or are at least interested in, the vision of the journal as a whole. They are invested as readers, rather than competitors.
This communitarian model of subscription is the big idea behind the Rocky Mountain Poetry Series: to create a poetry audience, a community of readers in our region, who share this vision of reading, share it deeply enough to forget about their own ambitions for just a few minutes and actually read something by somebody else. Indeed, we hope that many of our readers do not even necessarily aspire to publish books of poetry – they just love to read it. By eliminating the competitions and contests, we make room to focus on what is truly important: the poetry.
As Walt Whitman said, in what we take as the epigraph of our series, “to have great poets there must be great audiences, too.” This may seem obvious, but has profound implications. We aim to repair the fragmented and fractured poetry audience that has been born out of such disregard for audiences as seen in certain kinds of poetry, including high American Modernist. Condescension to one’s audience is no prerequisite of excellence, and acknowledging their existence is no sign of weakness. Furthermore, by avoiding the contest model, RMPS and Conundrum Press avoid substantial administrative costs and we support you – our readers – first and foremost, by bringing all of us together to enjoy the very strongest poetry we can discover.
In the end, the most vibrant arts communities only emerge when three crucial conditions exist: enough peace to allow people to think about art, enough prosperity to give them the time to learn how to make it and enjoy it, and enough of those people to come together and support art in whatever ways they can. Assuming you are not running for your life, that you have enough to eat, and that you care about poetry, we hope you will join us as a subscriber to the Rocky Mountain Poetry Series.
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