Thursday, October 1, 2009


when I was young I used to mail inscribed copies of my books to poets I admired, until i started finding those profusely-signed copies in used bookstores and realized that of course those famous poets disposed of the books i sent them as quick-riddancely as all the other junk freebies they received . . .

at which point i decided to cut out the middleman:

i still inscribed my books to famous poets but rather than mail the books to those famous poets, i would instead simply leave the books inscribed to them on the shelves of secondhand bookstores or in Goodwill bookbins,

and if you look on abebooks today you'll see booksellers hawking those copies inscribed to famous poets

at ridiculous prices, prices based not on the merit of my books or me, but based on their "association" with those famous poets . . .

anybody who buys my dead tree volumes from abebooks is a sucker anyway when they can read and or download all my work for free at via the link on this blog!

But there was one famous poet i really did continue to mail inscribed books to:

James Tate . . .

—until, that is, one of his ex-students confided to me what Tate did with the books I sent him—

(and they deserved the fate he dealt them:)

he used them as door-stops—that's right,

he would wedge them in under the door of his office at UMass Amherst,

(He liked to kick at 'em as he went in and out)

and he would point them out to his students, saying isn't that a good way to recycle wastepaper?

Plus it had the added pedagogical benefit of acting as a lesson warning to those students:

'See where you'll be if you don't do what I tell you to do!

You wanna be a failure, you wanna end up like that, that knottwad?'



some of those books on abebooks i may have actually mailed to those famous poets who then jettisoned them to the used books store etcet,

because although i resolved with native hue to stop sending out such inscribed books, the reality heft of the new book in my hand sometimes sicklied me o'er with cowardly hope that famous poet A or X might, might this time be receptive to my obsequiously offered tome . . .

so some of those association-books may be "authentic", but which is and which ain't is anybody's guess . . .