Why collect original poetry publications, or any first editions for that matter? If you accept literature as an art form, and the process of creative writing, then the explanation is simple. Artists, in whatever medium, produce their first original of any given piece of art after working through a series of sketches, drawings, and trial plans. For a painter it may be in preparation of an oil painting or a watercolor. A fiber artist may be composing a geometric arrangement, and a sculptor may be planning a statue in clay or bronze. The author, on the other hand, may control the development of a manuscript in the form of a hand written document on a yellow legal pad, or perhaps a hand typed draft annotated throughout with marginal notes in pencil or ink. Indeed, today for many authors, a manuscript might be shaped by using an electronic tool such as a word processor or computer. By any of these means for the "author artist," the finished manuscript is the author's original creation and it is from this creation that the first publication is made possible.
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Collecting Books: A Gentle Madness
Robert Frost is a good place to start. My master's degree in creative writing was winding down, with only eight more credit hours to complete, plus the thesis... there was daylight in the academic tunnel. What would happen professionally after graduation was up to the heavens. My dream was typical: a creative writing post at some small college to cover living expenses, while I wrote the world's best poetry to be auctioned off to the highest bidder among the major publishers. It was a simple dream.
Read more of Jett's thoughts on Collecting Books