Monday, April 15, 2013

The Poet as 21st Century Bookseller: A note on Frank X. Walker

Frank X. Walker's setup for books

A couple of days ago in Lexington, Kentucky, at the College Language Association meeting, I got a chance to talk with poet Frank X. Walker. Hold up...I got a chance to talk with the Poet Laureate of Kentucky, Frank X. Walker. At one point, Walker had set up a spot on a table to display and sell his books as well as the magazine Pluck!, which he founds and edits.   

It's really something to witness this side of the work or workings of poet. So often, the image that comes to mind of poets involves them writing, reading, or signing autographs. I saw Walker carrying boxes, arranging books on a table, and setting up his laptop computer (or maybe he was using an iPad) to accept credit card payments.   

Walker's newest book Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers will be officially released on May 1st. However, he made arrangements with his publisher to obtain a couple hundred of the books to take on the road for April; it's National Poetry Month, thus a busy time for poets. Making that arrangement with his publisher revealed the impulses of a writer who not sit idly by and wait on something as like an official publication date.

Frank X. Walker is a poet, sure. But he was also demonstrating his efforts as a bookseller, one comfortable with carrying boxes of books and with operating the new technologies necessary to carry out digital transactions. The category of "writer" might be too limiting to describe what some writers are up to these days.      

Digital Humanities at CLA 2013  

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