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John M. Bennett


(Editor, Luna Bisonte Prods)



John M. Bennett has published over 200 books and chapbooks of poetry and other materials. Among the most recent are rOlling COMBers (Potes & Poets Press), Mailer Leaves Ham (Pantograph Press), Loose Watch (Invisible Press), Chac Prostibulario (with Ivan Arguelles; Pavement Saw Press), Historietas Alfabeticas (Luna Bisonte Prods), Public Cube (Luna Bisonte Prods), The Peel (Anabasis Press), and Glue (xPress(ed)). He has published, exhibited and performed his word art worldwide in thousands of publications and venues. He was editor and publisher of Lost And Found Times (1975-2005), and is Curator of the Avant Writing Collection at The Ohio State University Libraries. Richard Kostelanetz has called him “the seminal American poet of my generation”. His work, publications, and papers are collected in several major institutions, including Washington University (St. Louis), SUNY Buffalo, The Ohio State University, The Museum of Modern Art, and other major libraries.   





Q: How has publishing changed with the advent of short-run printing and print-on-demand possibilities? Does this negate any need to sell a specific number of a title? Is this a freedom from traditional print expectations/values?


A: It has created a freedom to publish more material, but it has also greatly reduced the availability of certain materials - i.e., nowhere NEAR as many copies of something ever get produced, which means that good stuff will disappear.  Of course a lot of bad stuff will disappear as well.  But that tended to disappear anyway under the old system.


Q: Why does poetry continue to create schools and movements who feud?

A: It SHOULD create new schools and variety; otherwise you'd have everyone writing the same, which is a horrible idea. The feuding I could live without, but that comes with the territory in human interactions.

Q: With POD possibilities, including various organisations that will take on anything without a set-up fee and simply send royalties to the author, do poetry publishers need arts council subsidies any more?

I have always had mixed feeling regarding arts council grants, though I have benefited from them.  I don't think POD changes either the need or the problems associated with them (cronyism, mediocrity, corruption, etc.)


Q: If poetry presses are concerned with cultivating a wider readership, could this not be done more effectively via the Internet (where there are thousands of potential readers) rather than worrying about sales of printed poetry?

A: The Internet is fine, and it's wonderful for getting all kinds of stuff out there so people can see it if they want to. But the printed book and serial cannot be replaced - it's really how people read anything closely, and it's also how things will last.  The Internet is a kind of marketplace/exhibition/sample venue. The book is where you go to read something deeply.