Saturday, October 16, 2010


The appearance of online publishers struck me rather suddenly. Probably I was too busy reshaping my schnozz on the grindstone to look up and see them looming over me. Once I looked up, though, I saw that a number of presses were publishing ebooks by many poets whose work I enjoy and respect tremendously, but never find in bookstores, new or used. As fond as I am of the book, and the feel of bound paper in my hands or on my lap, I realized I had to update my toy collection so that I could read the books published online. Now that I've invested in an iPad, I can read writers I've enjoyed in the past and discover new writers whose work brings me fresh discoveries. I've also learned that electronic publishing is a useful publishing vehicle for my own work. Andrew Topel's Avantacular Press has published two books for me, and I took advantage of Scribd's open publishing policy to post a copy of IMPROVISATIONS

so that more people could read it.

One of the presses that made a strong impression on me was Jeffrey Side's Argotist Ebooks, a publishing arm of Side's excellent literary magazine The Argotist Online. It has an impressive and diverse roster of contemporary poets. A few days ago, Side made me part of his roster. He published Margin L, a collection of poems in which I write from the left margin instead of a variety of positions and angles on the page. The books's blurb reads:

The roots of Vernon Frazer's textual poetry lie as much in the free jazz of John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor and their successors as they do in language-centered poetry, Surrealism, Dada and abstract expressionism. In Margin L, Frazer's words and concepts play over the page until they create a sense that something has happened during each poem’s movement. The poems, however, leave their interpretation of what precisely has happened up to the reader.”

You can read Margin L at:

While reading Argotist's Ebooks, I discovered the work of Felino Soriano, a poet whose ekphrastic poetry captures the mood of the jazz tune and the style of the musicians playing it with perfect poetic pitch.He writes with an ear finely tuned to the jazz idiom, employing space on the page the way Miles Davis employed it in his solos or Keith Jarrett in building complex lines and tone clusters. Soriano captures the music with an accuracy that many poets aspire to but don't achieve. I recommend his Portions of Conversational Assemblies very highly. Here's the link

After reading Sorianos' work, I discovered he had previously published my work in his ezine

Counterexample Poetics

When I submitted new work, he asked me for additional material so that he could present me as a featured writer. Naturally, I'm very pleased to find someone who regards my work highly enough to feature it. You can read it at:

I'm not ready to discuss the question of ebooks in depth, although their presence has made me start to reassess my earlier comments on self-publishing. But when I notice that exponentially more readers are looking at—if not actually reading—my work, I have to consider electronic publishing a positive event, considering the quality of the work Publisher's Row produces in its endless quest for a fast buck.