September 23rd, 2006

Egrets Reading

Membership Anthologies

Today I received a copy of fish in love, the latest HSA membership anthology, this one edited by Roberta Beary and Ellen Compton.

It has haiku by approximate 230 of the 900+ members of the Haiku Society of America. My local haiku group is well represented with haiku by Jerry Ball, Darrell Byrd, Vic Gendrano, and myself. In addition to me, there are a couple scifaiku poets represented with haiku by Ann K Schwader and Jim Applegate. The rest of the anthology is filled with other familiar names from the haiku community and it's been a good read so far. Copies are $10 (US) or $12 (international) postpaid from Paul Miller, HSA Treasurer, 31 Seal Island Road, Bristol, Rhode Island 02809-5186.

I enjoy the membership anthology because I see it as a sort of society yearbook showing some of the range of voices within the HSA. I only wish a few more would participate.

I once brought up the idea of a SFPA membership anthology on SFPANet but it didn't go over too well. Some felt it would take away from the Rhysling Anthology and I can understand the concern there. Some were concerned with the cost. The HSA basically has everyone who submits to it pay $10 which buys them a copy of the anthology. Again, because I see this as a sort of yearbook, I don't have a problem with this practice, but I respect those who have inhibitions against "paying to be published." Truthfully, I am totally against the idea of "paying to be published," however I think there's a big difference between an International Library of Poetry or some sort of publisher trying to take advantage of poet gullibility and an organization simply trying to fund a member anthology of the members' own poetry.

In the member anthology model, I think it only makes sense to make the members pay for it since it is their own organization producing it. Now, of course, the organization could raise dues to cover costs, but there could be members for some reason who have little or no interest in a membership anthology and perhaps couldn't afford a potential $10 dues hike. This is why having it set up as a sort of optional activity makes sense to me.

As for the SFPA, speaking with my SFPA hat on, we have less poets but we write far longer poetry and we do have an obligation to the Rhysling Anthology, not to mention the new Dwarf Stars Anthology that I'm currently working on, and we publish Star*Line six times a year so the bottom line is I'm not sure it works for us at this point in time. This is why I'm not going to bring it up on SFPANet again for a while and have no plans to mention it officially during my term as President. I do think it's something to perhaps revisit in a couple of years or so. I'm only mentioning it here now because it's on my mind tonight as I read through fish in love and find myself wondering what a SFPA membership anthology would be like...