Ah, alpha sort. At first, I kept detailed notes on what broadsides I stuck on what date, but later got sloppy and just loaded them into any book that looked like a good candidate with no record. Mainly in the library, but also in a couple bookstores. I think I still have some undistributed broadsides. Next trip to the library, maybe I'll restock the shelves. I always felt vaguely guilty while placing GPP broadsides. I'm sure there must be some law being broken. Tampering with public property? Unauthorized advertising in a public place?
It was an interesting project, but it turned out to be an overwhelming amount of work. There were four or five of us doing the heavy lifting (mainly our primary printer bospress.net), and we figured that once we got going, got noticed and got some press, others would be happy to take on some of the work. But that didn't turn out to be the case.
Plenty of people wanted to write the poems, no problem there, but not many wanted to do more than that. We should have seen that coming, but it was such a great idea that we assumed that everyone would be into it, and didn't see how it could possibly fail. Not that it failed, exactly, but it didn't attract enough activists to sustain it.
So it's very unlikely that it will come back as it was, under that name (even though the technical infrastructure is still there). If someone else wants to take a stab at the concept they're welcome to it. But fair warning: it's a lot more complicated (and a lot more work) than it may seem.
It occurs to me that I probably shouldn't speak for everyone involved, but I did anyway. All the other principals are rattling around here, so they are free to dispute or correct.
If I'd been printing at the time I'd have loved to have covered the european market. Postal costs to the US are what impact my costs, and I'm sure that works the other way round too. There's now two Vandercooks, the Swiss FAG press and two reconditioned Adana presses at my studio, plus about 100 trays of type. If this ever starts up again I'm ready to get my hands dirty, just so you know.
I helped distribute the broadsides, and although it was work, it was fun, and I'd do it again. Probably the most clandestine thing I've ever been involved in (well, since the 60s, but those files are locked). And of course I loved having a couple poems published this way. If it came back, why not using the same name? That way the new project would build on the legend of the old one. Why reinvent the wheel? I always thought it was wildly optimistic, to give away free letter-pressed poems, but that is half the charm -- the optimism of it. I can believe it was a ton of work printing and mailing the poems. If the project comes back, put me down as someone who will distribute broadsides.
Unless the same people were involved, I'd argue against letting anyone else use the name. But ultimately it would be up to the old core members to make that decision. One person doesn't "own" the name or concept.
Personally, I wouldn't want some cheap shit ink-jet printed second-rate crap poetry being associated with the original GPP. And honestly, I wouldn't hand the existing site/database over to someone to mangle and destroy. Too much sweat and blood there, yo. What you see on the site ain't exactly beautiful, but it's quite beautiful under the covers. So anyone who wanted to resurrect the GPP would have to start from scratch.
But really, I don't see that anything has changed in the world, and that suddenly the idea could work now when it didn't work a few years ago. It's a great concept that would likely always fail because people are people. And poets (great and not so) die in steaming pots of shit.
I agree with mjp on everything that he said. I hope that someone picks up where we left off, but they will have to do it without our name. We cannot guarantee that they will not start putting out poorly printed broadsides and cannot guarantee that it will not become an avenue for someone to publish themselves and their friends. We (Especially our webmaster, MJP) spent a LOT of time and effort to make sure that poems were chosen by the members and without any names attached, so the best poem always won. All that we did is now for the ages. We cannot take a chance that our massive effort over those years will be ruined by something beyond our control.
That being said, please email me if you want to distribute some broadsides. We still have a bunch left and will send them out if you'll stick them. Someone still checks the site from time to time and approves valid finds (and rejects spam), so any broadsides placed will be found.
I loved doing it at times, and am really glad that we did it, but there is NO chance that I will print another GPP broadside...
I was in Schooner Books yesterday, a local used shop (bought 11 books, good stuff) and a GPP broadside I slipped into a copy of Dylan Thomas in America is still there. that was what, 2 or 3 years ago? clearly, Halifax hates Dylan Thomas.
I was assuming a new project would be the same high quality, letterpress work as the original. But, you're right, mjp. There's no guarantee new people would honor the original values or do a decent job of executing them, and, like you say, they may print crap poems that trade on the reputation of the original project. So, I agree. They shouldn't use the same name or website.
I still have some of the GPP broadsides that were not yet distributed when the project folded. I should get over to the library and stick them. There's also a bookstore or two where they would fit in nicely.
If folks still want to stick broadsides, order a random pack of 10 ($2.50), and go hide them. Or keep them for yourself. Or order 4 or 5 packs, and pick and choose what you keep and what you go hide.
It took the amazing talent and the selfless work of some solid folks to make it what it was. And until all broadsides are gone/out there/hidden, I feel like it should just keep on ticking along. I hope there's some additional printing done someday...but without an elegant solution to the old problems, any future printing/distribution would be on a dramatically smaller scale. And it must be to the standard we set -- no compromise there.
The internet makes some amazing things possible, so who knows what the future might hold. Until then, I suppose the goal is to keep searching for that potenial elegant solution.
We need to find a way to hack e-readers and insert high-quality scans of broadsides. Maybe that is the future. True outlaw guerillas. Something tells me that this is just taking the idea of pop-ups one step further and I don't know of anyone who enjoys pop-ups.....
i'm wondering if more people would have jumped on board if all the poems were anonymous, attributed only to the GPP. i'm all for giving writers credit, but the GPP was never about advancing anyone's career as much as poetry in general. of course, it's easy for me to say now, a few years after the project has gone into hibernation (and if i ever got published on a GPP broadside, i'm sure i would have wanted my name on there). still, it's worth considering, i think.
I have a few of the broadsides and it would be cool if they were credited to the GPP, but I also have found a lot more poetry because they had the poet's name on them. And I wouldn't have known I was reading the likes of Hosho McCreesh or Michael Phillips.
My feeling is fewer people would have been interested if there was no attribution.
People would contact us all the time saying they wanted to be "published" by the GPP. They figured it was a typical submission kind of deal, or worse, figured paying $25 entitled them to have poems published.
We spent a lot of time explaining the concept. I always thought the concept was simple, which is one of the things that attracted me to it.
Yeah, in an ideal world maybe, but mjp is right. There were also people who dropped out and requested a refund when they found out that their $25 was not a guarantee of publication.
The idea was to get people interested in small press writers, so it would have done no good to read a poem by Hosho, for example, and not know who wrote it so that they could check him out and support the small press publishers.
The only people that were anonymous were the group running it and the operatives.
and funny thing was that the $25 barely covered paper, printing plates and postage. There was no money left. This was not a profit making business and none of the money was used to pay anyone for their time, which was donated. The $25 was really just to cover actual hard costs to print and mail these..
A few cost highlights:
~Broadsides were at least a buck to ship in the states; all over the world -- as much as $3. 3 or 4 mailings a year = $9 to $12 in postage alone.
~The GPP Reader? It cost us $14 to ship a $15 book overseas.
~Broadsides: $25/year -- for 24 broadsides.
So PATRONS paid $1.04 per broadside. Is there anywhere else in the world where you could get a letterpressed broadside for a dollar?
Much less what OPERATIVES got: 1 of each broadside (for them to keep) + 10 more to go hide in bookstores = meaning 264 broadsides total, for every OPERATIVE who joined per year. (So, 9 and a half cents per broadside, for anyone -- besides me, that is -- keeping score)
I was always cheesed by the assertion that money was made by anyone anywhere when even the most cursory math would've proved how lean price vs costs were! I've spent a lot of years supporting small presses and I have never, ever seen a deal like the one the GPP delivered. Nor am I likely to ever see it again. That it was such a great deal for such beautiful work, and such a fantastic idea was the point...and it should've been revolutionary.
Instead, people bitched about "who was getting paid," and why the same people were published over and over. Ugh.
It was more than $1 to ship broadsides. Usually $2-$3, plus $4 or $5 overseas.
I never sent these media, as it would sometimes take WEEKS in the US and they do not do MEDIA overseas anymore. It would have been a bit cheaper for PARCEL POST, but to do parcel post, each piece has to be individually metered and rates change by zip code. It would have taken hours at the post office with people standing in line, they're eyes burning in the back of my head. The better solution was to figure out the weight, and have postage printed in advance. Then (our mailer) would spend 8-10 hours packing them up and bring them to the PO. International had to be metered individually with a customs form filled out. I hear that it was quite a pain....