Monday, February 22, 2016

Arlene Corwin writes

The Blurbing Game

Selling by a subtle yelling?
Ghosting, boasting, toasting as in ‘raise a glass
To sell your ass at market?’
Marketing; ‘to go to market
As in slaughtered,’
Do you falter
When you draft that cover
As you sell your soul, sold to
'The highest bidder’?
What’s in a blurb? Gibberish
And dreams.


1 comment:

  1. “I was simmering, simmering, simmering; Emerson brought me to a boil.” So said Walt Whitman, who proceeded to write, revise, edit, proof, design, and typeset a 95-page book of 12 untitled poems. He then sent a copy of "Leaves of Grass" to Emerson, who enthusiastically replied in a five-page letter, "I greet you at the beginning of a great career, which yet must have had a long foreground somewhere, for such a start. I rubbed my eyes a little to see if this sunbeam were no illusion; but the solid sense of the book is a sober certainty. It has the best merits, namely, of fortifying & encouraging." The next year Whitman, a shameless self-promoter, published the first of nine revised editions, 384 pages, with "I Greet You at the Beginning of a Great Career” printed in gold leaf on the cover. So Walt Whitman was not only the inventor of Modern Poetry but also of the blurb, though that word did not come into existence until 1907, when Gelett Burgess presented a limited edition of “Are You a Bromide?” to a trade association dinner. His publisher, B. W. Huebsch, had famously demanded that the dust jackets for such promotional presentations should have “the picture of a damsel—languishing, heroic, or coquettish—anyhow, a damsel on the jacket of every novel.” So Burgess’ dust jacket proclaimed "YES, this is a 'BLURB'!" and featured the picture of "Miss Belinda Blurb" shown "in the act of blurbing." The name and term stuck for any publisher's contents on a book's back cover, even after the picture was dropped and only the text remained.


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