Richard Curtis Verses the Publishing Industry

For seven or eight years in the mid 1980s and early ’90s Publisher’s Weekly ran literary agent Richard Curtis’s end-of-the-year summary, in tongue-in-cheek verse, of the highlights of the year in the publishing industry. The annual rhymes carried such titles as, “Merger, He Wrote,” (1986), “Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Industry of Mine” (1989) and “Stop the Millennium, I Want to Get Off” (1990).

After a hiatus of some fifteen years, the verse-atile agent returned to PW in 2007 with “The Year of the Platform,” which boasted such lines as,

But are our values turning asswards
When opening books requires passwords?

PW’s 2008 year-end issue is out and carries Curtis’s latest poetic effusion, “The Coming of the POD People“. Here’s a taste:

Just when you feared you would be fired
Or simply forcibly retired,

Wait! Belay robe and pajamas —

Acquire books about Obamas!

First Puppy, Guppy, Daughter, Spouse,

A veritable Obama House.

Success? One thing alone is vital:

Just put the Big O in the title.

Curtis’s original verses as well as his prose spoofs are collected in The Client From Hell and Other Publishing Satires.

The only problem is that if you really enjoy his latest poem, you’ll have to wait a whole year before you get to read another new one.

John Douglas

Poem excerpts (c) Richard Curtis reprinted from Publishers Weekly, December 31 2007 and December 22 2008, Reed Elsevier Magazines.


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