The post below about the quality of soft skull's books (as objects) has caused some controversey--folks from Soft Skull have written in to explain their printing practices (see comments). I don't want to remove it, but I do want to make clear that I think soft skull is doing wonderful work right now and that I'm excited and honored to be able to read and write about the books mentioned here. My anxiety about the quality of the books has much to do with anxiety about the perminance of contemporary poetry, about wanting to make sure that great books by young poets can be taken seriously when put next to books by older poets who've already stood up to the weathering of time, and who, perhaps had someone, or some institution, with a luxuriously fat purse paying for their books. This is a complicated problem for the poetry community, because we love our books more than anything, but our patronage is hardly enough to support the business end of poetry. Something's got to give. Certainly I'd prefer to have poetry in whatever kind of book is economically feasable than not have it at all. The rise of so much online publishing frees poetry from economic contrsaints, but it also deprives us of our beloved books. Somewhere alogn the line it seems we have to settle for the better of a number of evils.
Also, please see the comments for the post about soft skull below for a breakdown by soft skull's publisher of the economics of publishing a poetry collection.