Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kylie Minogue, Poetry and Purity

Following the Kylie Minogue post below, I had a vision this morning and immediately felt shocked by my own thoughts, tainted as they were by the celebrity-fuelled commercialism I claim to despise (although I somehow seem to know far more about the lives of celebrities than I ought to).

This was the vision – a poetry collection (with my name on it, as author, I suspect) called I Should Be So Lucky with a big picture of a smiling Kylie on the front. How would that affect sales? Would it fly off the shelves, or would people throw it down in disgust when they realised it contained poems? Would habitual poetry fans warm to the whole idea of selling poetry by this method, or would they organise book-burning parties (no, these poets wouldn't go to 'parties' - book-burning rallies then), enraged at such a crass marketing ploy? Such a book would certainly stand out a mile on the poetry shelves.

Of course, I realise that it couldn’t happen. Kylie (or, more likely, Kylie’s agent) wouldn’t allow it, certainly not without far more cash changing hands than any poetry press is worth. But in any case, I then felt appalled at myself for even thinking it. This is poetry, not some cheap hairspray a celebrity wouldn’t dream of using, other than during the TV ad.

But, on the other hand, if Kylie offered her photo free for a front cover, would (or should) a poetry press refuse it – if it puts poetry books in the hands of people who would normally never think of reading any? Or are other considerations more important?

with grateful thanks to Dick Jones for directing me to this excellent video clip.


BarbaraS said...

I think there's a lot to be said for commercial crassness: it all depends on how you're willing to view it.
If it's a case of getting poetry into more people's hands then what's wrong with that?
Unfortunately, we are judged by the bold strokes that help to move books - it's a business, publishing, and whatever shifts the books is whatever will be considered.
I think it's quite funny, in a way... plus, you've now got the title poem ;)

Colin Will said...

I liked that Rob. There's an interesting echo of the discussion on POF about actors reading poems.
Incidentally, I started writing a poem last night which picks up on Dido's White Flag song. We'll see where it goes, and it may eventually lose the Dido lines, but thank you for putting the thought in my head.

Rob said...

"you've now got the title poem "

Barbara, I already have a title for my current ms (and the Kylie poem isn't in it). But I have an idea for a second book (before even submitting the first one to publishers - there's forward planning) and the Kylie poem might fit into that. Not the proposed cover though - it could never happen, not without an immediate lawsuit.

Colin - maybe we could be in an anthology of poems incorporating song lyrics.

BarbaraS said...

I hope that my irony wasn't lost in the internet ether...

Rob said...

Possibly. But it's clear now.

I thought the irony in my poem might not have quite come over either, but that's life...