“No matter how famous I become…”
by Marie Marshall
“No matter how famous I become I will never ask for nor accept, from any publisher or magazine editor, more than the standard fee for any piece accepted. If that means accepting no payment for a particular piece then I’ll accept no payment, and that’s all there is to it!”
I had been in conversation and the subject of a famous poet came up, one who had been asked by a magazine of which I was part of the editorial team if we could reproduce one of her already-published poems. Yes, said her agent, and named a substantial fee. Having recounted this in the conversation I made the declaration above. I said that no poet is greater than her audience, and that everyone has the right to beautiful, radiant things (to quote Emma Goldman).
“Put that on your web site,” came the reply to my declaration. “Look at it again in ten years’ time, and see if you have stuck by your principles!”
Well, there it is. Of course in ten years’ time we won’t have web-sites, we’ll be manifesting ourselves in holographic displays, triggered by our audience’s thought-waves. Or some such…
You may be asking what has happened to the many writing projects I have talked about over the past couple of years. Well, most of them have been shelved for one reason or another. Admitting this may make me seem like a writer who can’t stay the course. Well that’s a possibility, I suppose, but on the other hand this year I have completed a new collection of themed poems for submission, by invitation from a particular publisher. The shelved projects may remain shelved, or they may re-emerge later, as they are or reworked. I don’t know.
Meanwhile I’m about to add another project to the list. As a radical departure for me I am hoping to adapt another novelist’s book as a radio drama. That may end up on the shelf as well, but I’m willing to have a go. I shall let you know in due course.
Yes and no; principles are fine to have, but to extend them beyond the business aspect of selling poetry for a living makes the writer prone to compose for money and not for the love of poetry maybe; the question begs to know, is that good or bad…DW