It's been noted around the traps, starting in the Guardian and spreading through the mainstream press, that the French are concerned about corruption and collusion between larger publishers in the awarding of the main literary prizes in France. Big names like the Prix Goncourt are in the poo - (though according to the Grumpy Old Bookman, Balzac was saying much the same thing 150 years ago).
Over at The Reading Experience, some contentious discussion has arisen in a similar vein following an interview with Alan Cordle of Foetry.com in the LA Times , about corruption in American poetry
awards and publishing, and what he's let it do to his marriage and other people's positions in the American poetry scene.
See the comments at Dan's post for a heartfelt high-five for small journals from David Milofsky, ex-journal editor, and some incisive remarks from Jonathan Mayhew. It gets particularly ouchy when Mayhew suggests that
Poetry would continue to be published without contests--a good deal less of it, which would not be a bad thing necessarily.
I'm not quite sure what to make of it all, and in the spirit of wintry Melburnian cynicism will leave the last word with the prolific Balzac, who gave us 'Good Advice' in (Les?) Illusions Perdues through his character Etienne Lousteau,
'If you reckon to live on what your poetry brings in, you have time to die half a dozen deaths before you make your name.'
'Don't imagine that the political world is much cleaner than the literary world: in both of them bribery is the rule; every man bribes or is bribed. When a publisher is bringing out a more or less important work, he pays me not to attack it.'
'The experience of the first person who told me what I am now telling you was wasted on me, just as mine will no doubt be useless to you. It's always the same story, every year the same enthusiastic inrush of beardless ambition from the provinces to Paris.... They all fall into the pit of misery, the mire of journalism, the morass of the book-trade.'
(Thanks to the Grumpy One for the Balzacien quotations. And yes, since you ask, it is raining a little here. Rather pleasantly in fact, though true to form, there are floods in New South Wales.)