You may have seen that the NEA/Blazevox controversy was recently mentioned in the Huffington Post. In a post that hit the web yesterday, Geoffrey Gatza was interviewed by Anis Shivani.
After reading the interview, I wanted to address one portion of the interview.
About halfway through, Mr. Gatza says:
I would like to make it known that in our offer to publish books with a co-operative donation, if the author did not want to participate in this we also made an offer to publish their work as an ebook in Kindle and EPUB and PDF format and have it available on Amazon.com and iBooks. And if that was still not acceptable, we could wait until our financial outlook was stable and we would then publish their book without a donation. I think that this is a fair arrangement, as do many writers. I think that this is a very successful program and we were able to promote good writers. (Note: Emphasis is mine)
The problem is, he’s not telling the truth.
In my correspondence with him, I specifically asked him if my book would be published if I did not contribute. After I got Gatza’s initial acceptance, I emailed a few pals and they said that they had been given the “offer” and declined, and Mr. Gatza had published their book later, sans donation. I was hoping that this would be the case. (I would have been fine waiting.)
Instead, when I asked him if my work would be published if I did not donate, his response was “No of course not.”
I point this out, not as an accusation, but as a matter of fact. On this matter, Mr. Gatza is simply not telling the truth. I feel obliged to correct him, not because it speaks to his veracity, but my own.
Many in the poetry community seem to view Mr. Gatza as something like a saint. Given his substantial contributions, that may be justified, but even saints are capable of lying.