HAIL, FRIENDS!: A Poem Celebrating the Year in Publishing

In News by Roger Tagholm

In the tradition of the annual New Yorker Christmas poem, Roger Tagholm serves up some verse to celebrate the year in publishing passed.

By Roger Tagholm

Roger Tagholm

Roger Tagholm

Welcome book folk and with no further ado

(save thanks to the New Yorker who began this in ’32)

Let’s begin this run ‘cross the year’s snowy slopes

Hold on to your tablets!  You may even need ropes!

Which name to begin our special journey?

Choose carefully — don’t want court, or worse, a gurney!

A seasonal cocktail please, that’s full on zowey,

For journalists’ friend, quote-worthy Hugh Howey.

She sorted it with Am’zon, made negotiatin’ easy

Some Veuve Clicquot please, for dear Carolyn Reidy!

The bubbling ‘neuf-du-Pape is for Nobel’s top bro’

Mysterious, reclusive, Patrick Modiano!

Step forward if you will, legal eagle of note

That’s rulin’, non-colludin’ Judge Denise Cote!

You’ve heard her talk, now she’s pulling a cracker,

Get led to the source with Dominique Raccah.

Let’s ride up high on our trusty sleigh

Better to see who else is coming our way;

Why from here we can see so much of the trade

Arrayed in splendour like Macy’s parade.

Back there is someone smiling, not in a hurry

It’s tall, Antipodean charmer, Brian Murray;

Don’t just stand and stare — get him a beer!

Don’t you know he’s PW’s Man of the Year?

Next to him, and as lofty again,

Is that Simon Cowell? No, it’s Charlie Redmayne!

The year’s been tough, not dollars but dolour —

So here cop a hug from Markus Dohle!

If your apps always fail to go with a bang

Wheel ‘em up for this man — it’s cool Eric Huang!

Next up is the peachiest peach that ever did preach

It’s the independents’ friend, Michael Pietsch!

Mid-way ‘long there’s a group excited

It’s Dougie Preston and his Authors United!

There’s Jay McInerney — Bright Lights, Big Protest —

George Pelecanos, Grisham and Suri Hustvedt,

Ruth Ozeki, Sara Paretsky and Linwood Barclay,

Each of them championing another way

All marching ‘less there’s no tomorrow

Because Bezos will make the pub’ business Caputo.

Talking of Jeff, who’s that with him looking swell?

Why it’s that Brit from the Farm, Georgie Orwell!

Four legs good, two legs bad,

Ebooks should be cheaper — God we get so mad!

Some say that dispute was rather petty

But try telling that to Russ Grandinetti;

Fair play to Seattle they’ve been nimble

And turned their devices into glowing KrisKindles;

Christopher North holds his aloft

An aid to writers who are lost,

And Michael Tamblyn fires up his Kobo

He ain’t gonna be left like no wandering hobo!

Behind them too, another throng,

One that recently has been growing strong;

Indies fall in to follow a fighter,

Some warming grog please for Oren Teicher!

Duckin’ and weavin’ there’s Stevie Rosato,

Deliverin’ stands with a cheery ho ho ho.

From Justo Hidalgo to Nathan Hull

Where digital will go next, who can tell?

Scribd or Oyster, it’s all a content cache

And here comes the Irishman Richard Nash.

Look down yon Open Road for tinselly Jane Friedman;

Problems with wolves?  Jane’s head of the clan!

A skirmish with Harper was good for the soul

Being an indie is much more rock ‘n roll.

Your pad or my pad, iPad or Wattpad,

Content swirls and makes us all glad;

If at times it means we have to work harder

New models abound cries Ashleigh Gardner.

So who’s at the head of this joyous cavalcade?

Who leads the dance of such splendour arrayed?

Why surely you know, it’s generosity’s scattergun,

Ad man-turned-writer man, ‘little’ Jimmy Patterson.

So if your ROI pleases the IRS,

And you can put up with DRM like all the rest,

Wrap up your presents in glittering Epub3

And put them ‘round your Christmas Tree;

Don’t forget the gift that’s gentle like a dove

Terms/schmerms — what matters is love.

So from all at PP we wish you Godspeed

A joyous Noel (and slap-up feed),

Whatever your faith — or if you have none –

May peace find you all and we’ll see you anon.

(Publishing Perspective returns on January 5 )

About the Author

Roger Tagholm


Roger Tagholm is based in London and has been writing about the book industry for more than 20 years. He is the former Deputy Editor of Publishing News and the author of Walking Literary London (New Holland) and Poems NOT on the Underground (Windrush Press).