Friday, August 31, 2007

What is a Chapbook?

When I first delved into serious poetry reading, exploring book-stores and web-sites I kept seeing the word "chapbook" having no clue what it was.
So if you are unfamiliar with it, now is your chance to find out. A chapbook is a very short collection of poems by a poet. Usually less than 30 pages long. They are very thin, sometimes flimsy books. They can be professionally bound although some are actually stapled together--and yes, they are sold in book-stores that way.
Chapbooks are also a popular way for beginning poets to get their start in publishing. I highly recommend reading chapbooks first when you encounter one, if you like the poems you can buy them and make a beginning writer's heart soar. If you like it a whole lot, see if you can find a way to write a fan letter.
Poets love to know their hard work has paid off. Hundreds of thousands of poets a year compete against each other trying to get published and usually have only small windows of opportunity to submit their volume of work. The slim little volume of poetry you are reading in a chapbook has beat innumerable odds, the poets deserve a ton of credit and I hope you will spend a little more time gazing among the poetry shelves of any book-store with those odds of publication in mind.
P.S. I will be on vacation this Labor Day Week-end and will not be bringing my computer with me. So there will be a two-day lull here at Poet Hound. Thanks for stopping by and we'll meet again soon.

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