Friday, March 30, 2007
How would this work in the United States? Which B- or C-list celebrity would host? Any suggestions? Maybe we should put together a pitch for Fox.
I thought some of you might get a kick out of this story about the company naming itself Poet. I didn't actually read much of the article, so if anyone finds the rationale behind the name-change, please eduate me.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Just reading this story in P&W tired me out. The spotlight is on Tupelo Press and its contest shenanigans. (I call them shenanigans, but read the story and decide for yourself.)
The clue was something like "In 2005, a Library of Congress exhibit on this poet included a display called 'Wound Dresser.'"
If you know the answer, be the first to put it in the comments below, and we'll send you a free copy of Sean, Jen or Ivy's book.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Mean time waiting for luggage at bag claim: 30 minutes
Gross earnings from gambling (poker): $75
Gross losses from gambling (slots): $30
Average margaritas per hour: 3.5
Number of poems read by me: 0
The wedding was nice, a blend of African and Japanese traditions to reflect the bride and groom's heritage. To make this relate somehow to poetry, I was going to include a blessing from Ghana that was part of the ceremony, but I forgot to get a copy of it. Instead, here's a poem by Lynn Emanuel called "Inventing Father in Las Vegas."
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
The relationship between copyright/trademark/patent laws and creativity is something that fascinates me. On one hand, the laws can be overly protective. On the other, they can be the only protection an artist has. One deviation from the often black-and-white discussions about copyright--especially as they pertain to music--can be found at the Creative Commons web site. The idea here is that you can share some of your rights without giving them all away.
Monday, March 19, 2007
[Edit -- I'm bored this morning and figured I'd weigh in... I’m embarrassed to admit I just read the first article Andy posted, so now at least I know what everybody at AWP was talking about. But frankly, I’m not sure I see what all the controversy is about. Poetry got a lot of money, and it now wants to spend lots of it in silly ways to try to make poetry more appealing to ordinary people. Let me look into my crystal ball for a second… oh, ok, it’s a spectacular failure.
I mean, it’s no secret that poetry ain’t popular. It was once, sure, but that was when people who were educated were actually taught how to engage with a poem. I think back to my K-12 education, and I remember only one class in which we were taught to read and write poems: It was in first or second grade, in a “gifted and talented” class, and I was encouraged to write little poems about things like dinosaurs and ghosts.
And there was one day when we were taught about simile. I wrote a poem called “Winter,” in which I said something like “it tastes like chocolate cake, sounds [or looks?] like the ocean.” The cake thing was because my birthday is in December (I guess I should have known my audience and said “tastes like candy canes”); I don’t remember what was going on with the ocean part, but I know I was mocked mercilessly by a neighbor kid, who was not in said GT class. Even years later, when I bumped into the guy, he said something like, “Hey, remember when you wrote a poem about how winter tasted like cake? That was so gay.”
So there you have it. I was given an introduction on how to read and write poems by a teacher who knew how to read and write poems. He was not. I stayed interested in poetry. I think it’s safe to say he’s not a fan. Getting a poem or an essay on poetry placed in Maxim isn’t going to change his mind, unless maybe it’s tattooed on Fergie, who is fergalicious.
You know, that's not a bad idea. Note to self: draft grant proposal and perform legal research on avoiding restraining orders.
This (the poetry thing, not Fergie) is something I was talking about with some folks at AWP. If they want to make poetry more popular, they should spend the money paying me a salary in the low six figures (I’ve got law school loans, you know) to travel the country and teach first and second graders how to read and write little poems. Or hire someone else to do it and pay them less; I know plenty of good writers cheaper than me who would probably do a great job teaching the kiddies (that is, not opening with, “Do you like iambs, Jimmy?” or otherwise turning poems into the literary equivalent of brussel sprouts).
But that’s, as far as I can tell, not what they’re doing, and I’m not too upset about it. Based on what I’ve now read, the Poetry Foundation is a little like Richard Pryor in Brewster’s Millions, in which Pryor’s character inherits millions and has to spend it all in a week without accumulating any assets. So he buys icebergs that are going to melt and million-dollar stamps, which he then uses to mail postcards. In the end, it’s their money. If they want to spend it giving awards for funny poems, I guess that’s fine by me. I'm way more annoyed by the New Yorker's process for selecting its poems, though I guess I really shouldn't be.
Now I’d better get back to my latest poetry manuscript, A Polack Walks Into a Bar // (ouch).
Friday, March 16, 2007
Today I finally visited PBS' Online News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. Our good friend Tom works for the show, and one of his responsibilities is to generate content for the program's Poetry Series web site.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Then someone sent an email and scolded us for being behind the times. The arguments for having email submissions made sense--less paper, easier to handle, etc.--so we made it happen.
It wasn't too long after that we realized what a hassle it was for us to accept paper submissions at all. With CP in a different state, transferring manuscripts cost us time and money. So we formally eliminated mail submissions, and overall it has been a good thing.
One side benefit that I didn't think about at the time is that it expands our pool of potential writers. For example, I wonder if Ivy would have sent us her manuscript if she had to mail a hard copy. We get manuscripts from people all over the world now, because emailing a manuscript from overseas cost the same as emailing it from the United States.
One downside to email is that it when you send an email from our server, you're never sure it's going to reach its destination. I guess that's true of a mailed letter also. Anyway, I'm sharing all this because I am still getting inquiries about manuscripts that we rejected months ago. The short answer to all these inquiries: If you submitted your manuscript before November 2006, then we won't be publishing it at this time. If you submitted it after November 2006, then expect to hear from us soon, one way or another.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Friday, March 9, 2007
The reading is on Friday, March 16th at Ada Books (2 Dean Street, Providence, RI). It starts at 6:00 p.m.
Have a drink. Buy a book.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Click here to read about Slamchops, a restaurant/slam poetry venue concept that three Rutgers' students entered in Microsoft's ideaWins contest (registration required).
Click here to read about a teacher who is on administrative leave for teaching a poem that some parents deemed offensive. The poem is unidentified in the story.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
I didn’t go to any sessions, seminars, presentations, panels--whatever you call them. So if that's what you want to hear about, you’ll have to ask someone else. I spent the entire time at the bookfair--at our table or looking at other tables. Dennis went to a reading by
Bookfair (and Books I Bought)
The bookfair was pretty solid. Last year, the convention center in
I spent more money buying books than buying booze this year. That's obviously not true, but you get the idea. Books I bought:
- Bone Pagoda by Susan Tichy (Ahsahta Press)
- Reliquaries by Eric Pankey (Ausable Press)
- Talk Shows by Monica de la Torre (Switchback Books)
- A bunch of chapbooks (Ocutpus Books)
I've read about half of Bone Pagoda so far. Susan was a teacher of ours at George Mason U, so I've been looking forward to her book coming out. Eric also was a teacher of ours, so that's another one I'm looking forward to reading.
I'm really interested in Talk Shows, because I'm excited about Switchback Books. When we met Brandi Homan in
The last thing I wanted to buy before I left was a chapbook by Jen and co-author Erika Howsare published by Octupus Books. I went to their table to buy it and came away with eight chapbooks instead. They all looked so good that I had to have them. Something I noticed at AWP (let’s call it a trend) is that a lot of people bought chapbooks. We had some of horse less press’ chapbooks on our table, and a few of Ivy’s and one of Jason’s—people were consistently drawn to them. I started seeing them everywhere. It made me wonder whether we should have been a chapbook publisher :)
More to come...
More to come...
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
The off-site readings are one of my favorite things about AWP. They're always more social and energetic than the keynote readings at the actual conference center. (Probably because you're within easy reach of a beer.) I'm glad that Switchback invited Jen and Jason to be part of their reading.
Except for the talented Miss Ivy Alvarez, (who lives in Wales), here's the entire RMP crew at AWP in Atlanta. Clockwise, from Jen, are Jason, Chris, Dennis, Sean and me.
Monday, March 5, 2007
If we ever release BWF in Germany, I think we'll have to go with this one. I'm pretty sure we can get the Hoff to give us permission in exchange for a warm bowl of soup or an enthusiastic compliment ("You should totally be in the Checkpoint Charlie museum, Hoff! Your voice helped bring down that wall!").
Actually, I really do like this cover. Really.
Speaking of fires, on the drive back from Atlanta, we saw a car burst into flames. It was parked on the side of the road, and someone was still in the car! A bunch of cars pulled over, and we called 911, but I'm not sure what happened after that.