Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jarrell's Rilke

Going through the 18 versions of Rilke in Randall Jarrell's Collected this morning,

I thought of how convenient it would be to read these 18 poems if they were printed together in a small volume,

and I remembered seeing oh decades ago a squib about how some press was planning to publish Lowell's and Snodgrass's versions from Rilke in a single volume with illustrations by Klee—

a book which to my regret never appeared.

But why was it never published?

And why for example has their publisher Farrar Straus and Giroux

never put out a Rilke selection with all the Lowell and Jarrell versions in it?

And then I thought: well, what's stopping me from publishing that book?

What's stopping me from scanning all the Rilkes from the Lowell and Jarrell Collecteds into a print file,

and then privately printing (via some P-O-D place) copies of it

for myself and my friends?

The print quality of books produced by POD services equals or betters that of most publishers—

( the Farrar Straus Giroux printjob of Lowell's Imitations for example is blurred and muddy in every edition of it I've ever owned)—

Yes, what's stopping me from creating and printing out for myself a book I want to read,

a book which should exist—

I can't be the only one who has realized that with the new availability of private "print on demand" venues,

anybody anywhere can create

their own personal edition of any author they want to—

Via the private POD process, I can publish and have my own copy of Philip Larkin's Complete Sonnets

(at a cost of around five bucks)

and to hell with the executors/publishers who "own" the copyright!

As I say, I can't be the only one who's come to this realization:

there must be many readers out there who have collated edited and privately p-o-d'd

such books for their own pleasure and purpose . . .

I wonder how many "books" of this sort already exist!

An underground movement of such readers must exist out there already—

I can't be the only one.


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