Everybody knows, that ”it´s impossible to make a living out of poetry”. According to the European comission the official poverty line in Finland is today 1080 € per month. One poetry book sells in average 200-400 copies. The Union of Finnish Writers recommends that author should get copy right income 21 % of the profits of the work, that is about 2 euros per each book that has been sold. If an average poet would want to earn her living purely from copy right incomes, she would have to write around 24 books of poetry each year.
Print on demand – technology and different kind of digital ways of publishing have made the situation a little more hopefull for the poet. You don´t necessarily need capital in advance to publish poetry books. Because the financial resources of the commercial publishing houses are no longer necessary, poetry can become independent and truly start to earn the name ”ultimate small busines” characterized by Charles Bernstein. If a poet for example uses some on demand-servise to print her books and does the layout herself, she may cross the poverty line by publishing one work of poetry every month, 12 books a year.
The thought experiment above frames the conceptual work (or project) ”12”. The work will consist of 12 books of poetry (or works investigating and experimenting with the book form), which will come out monthly during the year 2012. Each book will be named after the month it was written: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December. Each book should be written during a calender month and it must be a high-level literary work. The work will be published during the next month and then it´s possible to make small changes to it. The timelimit is – in addition to the literary quality the only restriction that I will use in the whole series. The literary quality will be garanteed by my trusted and competent colleagues, who will work as editors of the works.
The cooperative Poesia will publish the series in 2012 and 2013.