There’s nothing especially unique about this news story about Eureka Books celebrating national poetry month. I mean, many poets (including me) have their plans for getting through April. But reading the article kickstarted my brain into motion: Can poetry be a collectible commodity?
It’s so obvious that the answer is yes. But even with my background in collecting bubble gum cards and comics I still had trouble seeing the forest from the trees. I, of course, know the value of a first edition of books, but most trade books are not printed with the intent of becoming a collectible–it’s just something that happens when an unknown author suddenly finds him or her self in the position of being Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. If the publishers knew they were going to sell 500,000 copies initially, then they would’ve printed them up that way (notice the difference in how many first edition copies of Harry Potter were printed between Potter’s first year and seventh at Hogwarts).
Anyway, I’m getting off topic. In the article above, Jack Irvine says, “Broadsides have become very popular among collectors, because it’s an affordable way to get a signed, limited edition work by a favorite author. It’s a great way to display a work of literature on the wall, and they do frame up very nicely.”
I found speaking about poetry in this way very interesting. It sounds as if the broadsides could be framed as works of art. Imagine someone visiting your house and admiring your framed paintings and then stopping to read a very moving poem–with maybe some cool design elements to complement the work. Now that’s art! And that’s a collectible, for sure.
So maybe this is yet another avenue for poetry. I know savvy publishers have been going this route for ages, but still. Let me have my epiphanic moment. Okay. Done.
I just wonder if we can ever get to a point where 10-year-old boys and girls are swapping a Bob Hicok and Gwendolyn Brooks for a Louis Gluck and William Carlos Williams. One can always hope.