I teach my creative writing students that the best means of promoting their work is to participate within a network of distribution that can seem counter-intuitive: they should give their work away.
Using an extended metaphor, I believe that publishing practices and assertions of copyright is akin to contemporary zoos. Throughout the world zoos are struggling to maintain attendance rates which allow economic sustainability. Zoos require that visitors come to them, pay a fee and view the animals from a safe distance. The animals are kept behind bars (figurative or literal) and are out of contact; they are mere displays. I playfully propose that in order for zoos (and, by metaphorical extension, authors) to assert a new relevance they should release a breeding pair of underfed animals upon the general populace once a month. Each month this breeding pair would wreak havoc on the city. The population would want to learn everything they could about the rampaging animals. The animals meanwhile would devour passersby, breed and evolve unexpectedly. These animals would be joined by other competitive—and equally aggressive—members of the evolutionary food chain (a pride of lions and a dale of hippopotami for example).
In other courses, my students are taught to “professionalize,” to build marketability, and to treat their work with a sense of exclusivity. I completely disagree. By treating their work like my metaphorical zoos, they will allow their art to metastasize in unpredictable and exciting means, interacting with the digital landscape in ways that are truly contemporary.
With these releases in to the contemporary ‘wild,’ zoos and zookeepers would be a radically new, and slightly dangerous, resource. The best way of creating an audience for contemporary poetics is to release work online, giving the audience unfettered access to the text’s future.
In the last few days I’ve started posting free downloadable PDFs of many of my publications, including most of my full-length books. I believe that today’s reader seeks their writing in different forms and that reading has taken on different shapes, by releasing books as PDFs in to the collective commons, writing can better engage with new, liquid, forms of reading.
I believe that this will encourage new readers (and may even lead to increased sales of physical copies).
I believe that releasing my writing online for free encourages new and unexpected ways of people engaging and responding with the writing; it will encourage experimentation and reaction. Its kinda like a student going off to university and leaving the nest: they live in residence, they get a piercing, they dye their hair, they learn and grow and change — and they become different people. They return home changed, with new ways of seeing the world. I’m excited to see what my writing learns when it travels and returns home.
I’ve seen this in action — the day after I started to release my writing as downloadable PDFs, a fibre artist in eastern Canada wrote to ask if she could embroider my poems on the side of her high-top sneakers … something I would have never thought of.
I encourage every author i’ve published through housepress or no press (and everyone else too) to scan your publications & release them online as a free PDFs.
So here you go, I’m giving it all away.
Links to free downloadable PDFs of some of my publications, help yourself:
Distorted Underwood. Calgary: housepress, November 1997. [postcard]
IV. 08/13/97 (“her fear of the silence after she spoke”). Ottawa: above/ground, 1998. [broadside]
A/ ‘AH’. Ocean Grove, Australia: Mighty Thin Books, 1998. [chapbook]
portrait 4. Ottawa: above/ground Press, 1999. [broadside]
bash(o)ful pondifications. Toronto: Kitsch In Ink, 1999. [chapbook]
[ ]. Toronto: bookthug, 2002. [chapbook]
velvet touch lettering. Calgary: yardpress, 2002. [chapbook]
“State of the (E)Art: or, what’s wrong with internet poetry?”Object 10, 2002. [article, co-written with Russ Rickey] (courtesy UBUWeb)
with wax. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2003. [9 page excerpt only, courtesy Coach House Books]
split 7″: two poems. Calgary: housepress / yardpress, 2003. [with Jason Christie] [leaflet]
Stanzas #38 “Calcite Gours 1-19.” Ottawa: above/ground, 2004. [issue of poetry magazine]
TISH Magazine 1961-1969: another “sense of things.” [MA thesis, University of Calgary, 2004]
“an afterwords after words: notes towards a concrete poetic.” 2004. [article] (courtesy UBUWeb)
frogments from the frag pool: haiku after basho. Toronto: The Mercury Press, 2005. Co-written with Gary Barwin.
“Fidgeting with the Scene of the Crime.”Open Letter, 12:7 (2005). [article] (courtesy UBUWeb)
chains. Calgary: No Press, 2005. [chapbook]
fractals. Calgary: No Press, 2005. [chapbook]
winnipeg suite. Calgary: No press, 2005. [chapbook]
fractals of conversation. Calgary: No Press, 2005. (with Jason Christie, Natalie Zina Walschots, Jordan Scott and Jill Hartman) [chapbook]
[the orange manifesto]. Calgary: ModL, 2005. [leaflet]
call & response. Calgary: Martian press, 2005 [chapbook] (with Jonathan Ball)
Spire Poetry Poster. Vol. 3 No. 8 (June 2006) [issue of poetry leaflet dedicated to beaulieu’s poetry]
Flatland No.1-10. Calgary: No Press, 2006. [chapbook]
flatland #21. Ottawa: Griddle Grin, 2006. [leaflet]
Bothboth. (May 2006) [issue of poetry magazine, dedicated to beaulieu’s and Justin Katko’s poetry]
8 prints. Calgary: No Press, 2006. [chapbook, inserted in the special edition of angela rawlings’ wide slumber for lepidopterists]
Flatland: a romance of many dimensions. York, UK: information as material, 2007. (courtesy UBUWeb)
Local Colour. Helsinki, Finland: ntamo, 2008. (courtesy Eclipse)
How to Write / How to Edit. UBUWeb: Publishing the Unpublishable, 2008 (courtesy UBUWeb)
chains. Kingston, PA: Paper Kite Press, 2008.
Hell Passport Volume 9. Vancouver: Perro Verlag Books by Artists, 2008 [chapbook]
Local Colour. Calgary: No Press, 2008. [chapbook]
I Don’t Read. Calgary: No Press, 2008. [leaflet]
ilthy. Jacksonville, IL: avantacular press, 2008. [chapbook]
“Linguistic Fragmentation as Political Intervention in Calgarian poetry.”Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, 56; April 2008. [article]
26 Alphabets (for Sol LeWitt). Ed. Derek Beaulieu. Calgary: No Press, 2009.
2 poems for Kristen. Calgary: No Press, 2009. [chapbook]
√. Cork, Ireland: default Press / dusie chaps, 2009. [chapbook]
wild rose country. Ottawa: above/ground Press, 2009. [broadside]
This is Visual Poetry. Kingston, PA: Paper Kite Press, 2010. [chapbook]
Silence. Ireland: redfoxpress, 2010.
How to Write. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2010.
Fierce Indulgence. Torino, Italy: Offerta Speciale, 2010. [chapbook]
Colours. Calgary: No press, 2010. [chapbook]
Kerned Alphabet. Calgary: No Press, 2010. [chapbook]
Quartet for 6 Voices. Mayne Island: perro verlag, 2010. [chapbook]
Speechless #1. Ed. Derek Beaulieu. Includes poetry by Eva Gonzalez, Rachelle Pinnow, Helen Hajnoczky, Mary Ellen Solt; criticism by Hajnoczky.
Speechless #2. Ed. Derek Beaulieu. Includes poetry by Giles Goodland, Jessica Smith, Billy Mavreas, Valerie Roybal, Emmett Williams; criticism by Kyle Larson.
Speechless #3. Ed. Derek Beaulieu. Includes poetry by Peter Ciccariello, Kelly Mark, Óttar M. Norðfjörð, Marilyn R. Rosenberg, Mike Cannell, Lola Galla; criticism by Christian Bök.
Speechless #4. Ed. Derek Beaulieu. Includes poetry by Cecil Touchon.
Speechless #5. Ed. Derek Beaulieu. Includes poetry by Silke Rath, Jesse Ferguson, Nico Vassilakis, Anni Albers, kevin mcpherson eckhoff, Carlyle Baker and Yass Nassiri.
Speechless #6. Ed. Derek Beaulieu. Includes poetry by Jen Bervin.
Speechless #7. Ed. Derek Beaulieu. Includes poetry by Dirk Krecker.
Speechless #8. Ed. Derek Beaulieu. Includes “Collaborations for Alaric Sumner” by Bob Cobbing and Lawrence Upton.
db. Schenectady: dbpq: 2011. [broadsheet]
Seen of the Crime: essays on Conceptual writing. Montréal: Snare, 2011. (courtesy UBUWeb)
A Print. Norway: Audiatur, 2011. [poster series]
Kern 12. Calgary: No Press, 2011. [leaflet]
Untitled (for Billy Mavreas). Toronto: puddles of sky press, 2012. [chapbook]
ECONOMIES OF SCALE: rob mclennan interviews derek beaulieu on NO PRESS / derek beaulieu interviews rob mclennan on above/ground press. Ottawa: above/ground press, 2012. [chapbook]
All work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy. Los Angeles: Insert Blanc Press, 2012. [chapbook]
RUSH: what fuckan theory; a study uv language. bill bissett. Toronto: Bookthug, 2012. (Co-edited with Gregory Betts.) [8 page excerpt only, courtesy Bookthug]
Kern. West Lima, WI: Xexoxial Editions, 2013. [chapbook]
The Design of Purposes. Calgary: No Press, 2013. [chapbook]
Please, No More Poetry: The Poetry of derek beaulieu. Ed. Kit Dobson. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013.
Writing Surfaces: Selected Fiction of John Riddell. John Riddell. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013. (Co-edited with Lori Emerson.)
Please, No More Poetry. Edmonton: Red Nettle Press, April 2014. [letterpress broadside collection]
Kern. Los Angeles: Les Figues Press, 2014.
please, no more poetry. Italy: diyfferx, 2014 [leaflet]
a small stack. Digital chapbook, 2014. Co-written with Brian Larossa. [chapbook]
six ways to ruin your day. Portland: press-press-pull, 2014. [chapbook]
transcend transcribe transfigure transform transgress. Ottawa: above/ground, 2014. [chapbook]
Text Without Text: Concrete Poetry and Conceptual Writing. [PhD Dissertation, Roehampton University, 2014]
The Unbearable Contact with Poets. Manchester, UK: If P then Q, 2015. (courtesy If P then Q)
Game of Life: a user’s manual. Calgary: Space Craft Press, 2015. [chapbook]
SLOT no. 11. Stockholm, Sweden, November 2015. [chapbook]
I Dream of Bookstores. Calgary: Pages Press, 2015. [broadside]
Give ‘er. Ottawa: above/ground Press, 2015. [broadside]
Calgary Reads Little Free Library Passport. Calgary: Calgary Reads, 2015. [chapbook]
flatland. New Orleans: Language Foundry, 2015. [chapbook]
Since 2005 I have edited and published no press, a small press dedicated to publishing whatever the hell i feel like. Toulouse, France: ASMR Editions, 2015. [chapbook]
B&W 6&7. Barrie: afterwords, 2016. [chapbook]
En Vision av Linjeland. Stockholm: Chateaux, 2016. (translated by Peter Thörneby) [chapbook]
Erasing Warhol. Calgary: Spacecraft Press, 2016. [chapbook]
a a novel. Calgary: No Press, 2016. [chapbook]
The Duchamp Opening. Calgary: No Press, 2016. [broadside]
La Disparition. Calgary: No Press, 2016. [broadside]
ascender / descender. Ireland: redfoxpress, 2016.
Vexations Book 1: Lexmark XM9155. Calgary: No Press, 2016.
Vexations Book 2: Xerox Workcentre 5755. Calgary: No Press, 2016.
Vexations Book 2: Xerox Workcentre 5755. Kingston: Puddles of Sky Press, 2016. [chapbook]
GB3. Toronto: Flat Singles Press, 2016. [broadside]
inside drawer / outside wrap. Calgary: No Press, 2016. [leaflet]
Murchison and Lonewolf. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2016. [postcard, inserted in the special edition of Christian Bok’s The Xenotext Book 1]
We Were Never Intended to be Tied to Whatever Made Us. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2016. [postcard, inserted in the special edition of Christian Bok’s The Xenotext Book 1]
Quercus: “Nations hurled together so they might learn to know one another.” Ottawa: above/ground Press, 2016. [broadside]
Five Poems (for Leonard Dawe). Shropshire, UK: Pentaract, 2016. [leaflet]
Colour. Romania: Khora Impex, 2017. (with Yigru Zeltil)
In Memoriam, Bob Cobbing and Jennifer Pike Cobbing. Calgary: Blasted Tree, 2017. [leaflet]
Vexations 3: Lexmark XM5163. Calgary: No press, 2017.
a a novel 1-20. Ottawa: above/ground Press, 2017. [chapbook]
Openings (After Marcel Duchamp). Shropshire, UK: Pentaract, 2017. [leaflet]
TISH: another “sense of things.” Buffalo: Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, 2017. [monograph]
(thank you to Gregory Betts, Stephen Cain, Jordan Scott, Nikki Sheppy for the assistance…)