February 24, 2008
Australian poet and critic Les Murray has offered a deal to any publisher who wants a "blurb" from him on a new poetry book. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, on February 13th, Murray wrote to the poetry editor of the Puncher and Wattman publishing house and offered to write a blurb for J.K. Murphy's new book of poems on condition that Puncher and Wattman would agree to publish Murray's wife's manuscript. When interviewed in connection with his contract offer, Murray claimed that it was not made in earnest. While an objective third-party might read Murray's letter as constituting an offer, he claims that his intended meaning was "piss off."
Imagine that! Asking a publishing house to publish a manuscript in exchange for a blurb. The nerve!! Mutuality of obligation becomes a real issue there. My wife's poetry book has already been published, so I am in a position to make a much better offer: If you want me to promote your scholarship on this blog all you have to do is buy my wife's book.
I wonder if West will agree to publish my Limericks for Lawyers if I write a blurb for their next Contracts casebook. Hmmmm.