Publishing collectives/collaboratives -- loose, formed to meet immediate needs, or structured, to meet long-term goals, to deal with systematic deficiencies -- can work.
Writing To Be Seen, the first major anthology of concrete/visual poetry to be published in over twenty years, appeared through the beneficence of a publishing collective. Neither Runaway Spoon Press nor Score on its own could publish the work of ten major concrete/visual poets from the 1970s -- over 300 pages of commentary and poetry. Together, though, with contributions from the ten poets included, Runaway Spoon and Score completed this landmark project.
In 1993, Generator and Score collaborated on a symposium on contemporary visual poetry, a 156 page volume -- Core -- that was beyond the resources of either press. And there must be many other examples of such successes.
When collectives/collaboratives do work they challenge, they critique, the inherent competitive blood-lust of commercial printing. Small press can do what large for-profit publishing houses seem to forget: work together to serve, to pique, to nurture, the needs and interests of all readers.
Yesterday's blog gained a couple pledges toward a publishing collective. I toss the glove down again: let's form a loose collective that seeks to publish a full-length collection of an eminently deserving writer. Who's ready?