Posted by: Rosemary Badcoe | August 4, 2013

Long or short?

Just reading an article here by Gareth Prior on the advantages of poetry pamphlets over full collections. I think he’s right about the comparative ease of selling pamphlets – I’m beginning to believe that, apart from the major publishers, more poetry is sold at readings and other events than formally through booksellers. On the whole I’m still a fan of the small collection for new poets. I like seeing the variety a poet can produce, and production values seem more reliable (though I have seen some very attractive pamphlets recently). Pamphlets come into their own for poems around a single theme, but I’m sometimes left wondering if the work presented is fully representative of the poet’s style. What do you think – would you rather buy pamphlets or a full, even if shortish, collection?



  1. I love collections. I also love collections of various poets, like Poetry, Cider Press Review, and enjoy chapbooks as well – currently have about 15 to get through!

  2. Both. That’s the simple answer. I enjoy pamphlets for their immediacy and there are some with excellent production values. Blackheath Books springs to mind, I have several of theirs sitting in front of me now, all hand made, all letter-pressed with block-print covers. Lovely things to handle.
    Full collections are, of course, meatier. Something to linger over. I prefer collections with some sort of structure or which follow a vague theme. Or those which form a complete narrative, like Martin Figura’s ‘Whistle’.
    Then there are those collections which are split into separate parts, essentially making them three or four pamphlets bound together (Burnside’s ‘Black Cat Bone’ possibly).
    Buy pamphlets, buy collections, buy more.

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