Monday, January 10, 2005

Thoughts Upon My Recently Arrived Zach Schomburg American Poet Poster

Got my Zach Schomburg American Poet Poster in the mail today from Cafe Press. Didi was the artist/purchaser of the poster -- a public thank you to her. I'm super grateful to Didi for putting the effort into it and all the other posters she's done, but it is somehow strange to have a poster of oneself. I have no issues with modesty or self-loathing like several poets I'm aware of --I think I'm at a healthy balance between that and arrogance -- but to have a poster is funny. Not because I don't think I'm deserving (I know I'm not) but because being a poet is a funny reason for a poster. This kind of got me thinking of how we promote ourselves and where we fit into the pop culture. Posters are for teenagers mostly, or college students. They either have teenyboppers, naked chicks on cars, cars, naked chicks, comic book superheroes, or Jon Belushi in the "college" shirt on them. Icons on posters are reserved a little more for the rock'n'rollers. Who would buy a poet on a poster? People who consider themselves fans of a particular poet would be far less interested in the image of the poet (owning a poster) and associating themselves with that image (putting the poster on their wall) than reading the poet's book. We want the book, the words, not the face. The poet's book on the shelf is like our poster perhaps. "Look at my shelf...look who I'm a fan of" sort of thing. Whereas the teenage Aaron Carter fan is just as interested, if not more interested, in Aaron Carter's image than Aaron Carter's cd. So poet posters won't go far. And of course I'm fully aware that even if they would, I would most likely be the only owner of my poster, unless of course I posed half-nude on the hood of a Ferrari. In that case, Tost would probably buy one, maybe A-Rob.

Now that I'm thinking about it though, I think I want my own Zach Schomburg American Poet trapper keeper. That would be sweet. I want to day dream about that, walking into my first workshop this coming Fall, rippin' out the velcro on that bad boy, maybe casually pulling out my very own book (I'm counting on you for that Pavement Saw, Futurepoem, APR, New Issues, BOA, Walt Whitman or Alice James).

Thanks Didi.


Reb said...

I would bet your mom would buy a poster. Mine would. She'd buy a few just so she could show everyone how much better her daughter is than their crappy posterless offspring. Don't count out all the other people who use bragging about you as a vehicle for bragging about themselves. It doesn't get any healthier than that.

kate said...

Don't underestimate the potential of the poster, zach.
If you screenprinted that shit and added some reading dates people would be all over that...see

Poster art is huge...but the majority of the posters I am thinking of have NOTHING to do with the stereotypical ones that go on kids/teenagers/and college kids walls. (except for my aaron carter one above my bed...I think that is normal and plus Cliff likes it too)

and you KNOW that your mom would buy a zach schomburg american poet poster. She would love that! As my mom would if there were a Kate Bingaman american graphic designer poster floating around somewhere.

It is nice that poets only get judged by their bookshelves.
artists get judged by their bookshelves AND what is on their walls and in their flatfiles and how their house looks etc etc etc.
One of my favorite things to do is to look at other artists workspaces and bookshelves. I almost like it better than actually talking to them.
But I am superficial that way.

Zachary Schomburg said...


I'm in agreement with you. I'm so down with poster art--particularly like old timey WW2 bad guy propaganda and whatnot. The stuff that Denny ( does for concerts is beautiful, and what you do ( Plugs for everyone. Will you make me a reading date one if I ever have a reading date? I could ask Denny too, but I'm always asking him favors. That would be awesome--probably the best poster ever made (Napoleon voice).

I wasn't thinking poster art. I was just thinking posters. Which poster of my boy AC do you have? The one with fist to chin and a wry smile, or the one with the "mischeivious I broke some girls heart and am now available to feel you up" look?

Did you see my bookshelf a month or two back? You should show us yours on your blog. I agree, the bookshelf is the first place I go in a stranger's home. Usually, all the books suck though.

And yes, you are superficial.

Anonymous said...

I want a poster! Does it have your picture? I want to put it over my bed and use it as viewing material whilst I pleasure myself.

riley said...


I find your gratuitous use of the word whilst to be totally inappropriate in this day and age. You should be ashamed of yourself, using such outdated terminology in the presence of modern writers.

Also, Zach, I can't find your poster anywhere in the links you've provided. Please help!