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).