Poets & Writers

This Is Not a Manifesto

SEVERAL years ago the poet and publisher Matvei Yankelevich and I offered a conference panel audience the spectacle of an actual disagreement. Not a fierce one but a firm one. We hugged afterward, to make clear that it was partly for show, but it remains a useful dispute to reflect upon, even now.

It began with my asserting that independent publishing, as broadly understood at the time, began in 1985 with desktop publishing (the kind of sweeping generalization of which I am fond). Why? Because if the printing press represented the first time in human history we could produce, at significant scale, perfect copies of anything, desktop publishing represented the first time in human history that a single individual,

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