Broadsides for Poetry

January 28, 2015 — Leave a comment

broadside5 **

As part of book promotions, I am considering printing a broadside of a poem or two to make available online and at readings. Some poet friends have reported they had great success with this, particularly when an individual enjoys your poetry but might not want to purchase an entire book. There are presses where you can pay for your work to be custom designed and printed, and there are also presses that will allow you to submit work, and your work will be produced as a broadside if chosen.


City Lights Books has broadsides for purchase on their website, and I’ve been able to get an idea of how different the combination of art and text can be. This is an example of a poem, “Pity the Nation (After Khalil Gibran),” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. This particular broadside sells for $40.00. I’ve seen broadsides at readings sell for much less.


Here is a more colorful example, “Manatee/Humanity” by Anne Waldman.



Smokey Road Press is an organization that will print your broadside for you, and design it as well.


This broadside features is a quote from Carl Sagan about books.

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”


In another approach, will take poetry submissions of 25 lines or less (and prose of 300 lines or less) and produce a broadside for you if your work fits their aesthetic, matching your work up with an artist. It works like a literary journal submission process, in other words.


This is a broadside of a poem by Laura Kasischke, “Owls.” (Closer view here.) Anyone can download and print these images.

From the Broadsided Press website, here is the monthly plan of how your work would be distributed:

On the first of every month, a new Broadsided literary/visual collaboration will be posted here for you to download.

What’s more, Vectors (this could be you!) will post them in cafes, hallways, and elsewhere. See where Vectors are posting and add your town.

Writing is chosen through submissions sent to Broadsided. Artists allied with Broadsided are emailed the selected writing. They then “dibs” what resonates for them and respond visually.

The resulting letter-sized pdf is designed to be downloaded and printed by anyone with a computer and printer.

Our goal is to create something both gorgeous and cheap.

We want to put words and art on the streets.


So many opportunities worth exploring!


** “2013 Haiku Year-in-Review” broadside from Broadside Press, featuring the poets Beth Feldman Brandt (Winter), Michael Rutledge Riley (Spring), Catherine R. Cryan (Summer), and Ron Levitsky (Fall).

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