Especially in a country run by Donald Trump’s administration, I think poetry and art are more important now than ever. Unfortunately the truth of the matter is that artists need money to survive and to continue creating art. I hope that Ghost City can help poets do that.
The issue with reading fees and book costs and who pays what is that there are far more writers who want to submit than there are writers who want to read. I still don’t think that should be an invitation to only publish solicited work or take donations and not use it to support the writers you’re only paying via lip service. If you don’t agree with me, reconcile this double-bind: most small press editors reach prospective contributors online. That means editors expect writers to have regular access to a computer. But computers aren’t cheap and neither is internet access. And we talk all the time about diversity. As well we should: diversity matters. But elevating every voice means acknowledging the readers and writers who can only afford books from a library. Not everybody can afford to drop money on a reading fee. Not every writer can afford to keep writing when they need to pay to submit work. This is especially true for writers whose gender and race means they make less money per hour. It’s especially true for writers who are disabled or ill, and whose medical bills are prohibitively expensive. And it’s especially true for writers who are just starting out—all those young, emerging writers we talk about with stars in our eyes. Emerging writers are often saddled with debt and they worry about how to make ends meet.