Friday, April 27, 2007

Mississippians Love To Look for Poems

Mississippi has some poetry-loving citizens, according to a Yahoo! announcement that state residents conduct more online searches for poems than any other. It also turns out that Mississippians search for more love poems than any other states.

New Mexico ranked second. To find out who made it in the top 10, click here.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tynes Reviewed in GutCult

Jim Toweill writes: "Jen Tynes' book-length poem The End of Rude Handles explores a gothic world of spatial binaries, mediations between interior and exterior experiences, of networks of becoming that inhabit ambulatory flesh."

Read Toweill's entire review in a recent issue of GutCult.

To buy the book, visit the Red Morning Press website.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Poetic Journeys at UConn

The Poetic Journeys program at UConn has been going on since 2000 and allows students' work to be displayed on placards installed on buses. To read about it, click here.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

David Halberstam on Poetry

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist David Hablerstam died yesterday in a car crash. He's best known for his reporting on the Vietnam War, but he also happened to be very interested in poetry. Right before he died, Halberstam attended the Poetry & the Creative Mind benefit, which raises money for National Poetry Month. The Daily Intelligencer has an interview with him from that night that includes his thoughts on poetry. To read it, click here.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Body Blazon Poetry

Two writers combined dissection and poetry into a play called Corpus Delicti: Just Desserts. You can read about the play and the history of body blazons (poems that focus on specific parts of the body) by clicking here.

The article cites this poem as an example of a body blazon:

Mary's Ghost
by Thomas Hood

T'was in the middle of the night
To sleep young William tried
When Mary's ghost came stealing in
And stood by his bedside

Oh William dear, oh William dear,
My rest eternal ceases
For alas my everlasting peace
Is broken into pieces.

I thought the end of all my cares
would end with my last minute
But when I came to my last home
I didn't stay long in it

The body snatchers they have come
and made a snatch of me
Oh it's very hard those kind of men
won't let a body be.

The arm that used to take your arm
Is took by Dr. Weiss
And both my legs have gone
To walk the hospital at Guys.

As for my feet, my little feet
You used to call so pretty
There's one I know, in Bedford Row
The other's in the city.

I vowed that you should have my hand
and fate gave no denial
You find it there at Dr. Bell's
in spiritus and a vial.

I can't tell where my head is at
but Dr. Carpo can
As for my truck it's all packed up
to go by Pickford's van

I wish you'd go to Mr. P.
and save me such a ride
For I don't half like the outside place
he's picked for my inside.

The cock it crows, I must be gone
Dear William we must part
I'll be yours in death although
Sir Ashley has my heart.

Don't go to weep upon my grave
And think that there I'll be
For they haven't left an atom there
Of my Anatomy.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virginia Tech Shootings and Poetry

Nikki Giovanni had Cho Seung-Hui in a creative writing class at Virginia Tech two years before he went on his killing spree. Read about it here.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pultizer Goes to Trethewey

The winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry goes to Natasha Trethewey for "Native Guard." Here's a report from the Washington Post:

POETRY: "Native Guard," by Natasha Trethewey.

Trethewey, a creative writing professor at Emory University, imagined the life of a former slave stationed at a fort off the coast of Gulfport, Miss., a former Union prison housing Confederate prisoners. The slave was charged with writing letters home for illiterate POWs and fellow soldiers. Trethewey, a Gulfport native who was a daughter of a black woman and white man, said she used the racial legacy of the Civil War to honor her mother and her personal history.


Monday, April 16, 2007

DIY Publishing: Makeready

When we started this blog, I intended to write more about the publishing process than I have. If you have any questions about the process of starting your own press let me know. If you have questions about the printing process specifically, it’s a point of pride that I be able to answer them. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does. Demystifying the printing process is something I think will help DIY publishers, because once you know what it takes to print a book, doing it yourself doesn’t seem so hard.

Today’s topic: Makeready

Let’s say you get a quote from at printer for 500 books and 1,000 books. Let’s say the printer comes back to you and says they’ll print 500 books for $1,500 and 1,000 books for $2,000. Why does it cost relatively so little to print the extra 500 books?

One huge reason for the difference is the concept of “makeready.” Makeready is all the time and steps a printer takes to get the job set up and running. This includes getting the correct paper and printing plates on the press. Once that’s done, the pressman will start running the press, but the initial copies are waste (particularly on color jobs like book covers).

The reason is that when the paper starts running through the press and ink is applied, it takes time for the pressman to adjust ink levels to match the proof that the client (you) have approved. These “makeready” copies aren’t counted as part of your order. You typically never see them, but they are factored into the printer’s cost of doing business.

Once the ink levels are up and the order is being printed, the quantity is a small cost for the printer. The presses run so quickly that it could take only minutes to print an extra 500 copies. The bulk of the cost is incurred by the printer up front, during makeready, and, except for paper costs, not so much during the actual printing.

The concept of makeready has a number of consequences for DIY publishers. For example, you can design a print job to run on your printer’s particular presses so you optimize factors like makeready. Or you can design a print job and then find the printer with the best equipment for that job. Not all presses run the same jobs equally, and not all printers are created equal.

The reason I thought about makereadies is because you rarely see the copies, but a printer my employer uses to print brochures recently sent us some with our regular job order. He probably did it by accident because makeready copies are generally unusable. They often look washed out, streaky and non-vibrant. For book publishers, this is mostly an issue with color covers, but even the black and white body of your books should have strong, crisp ink coverage.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Poetry is for Babies

As I haven't posted anything here (or updated the RMP site) in weeks, I figured I'd post a photo of my excuse, Amelia, who was born on March 26th and has been keeping me from entering REM sleep since.

Web site updates are coming, I promise -- not least among them the long-awaited preview of Mortal. We're also (hopefully) going to be switching servers soon and updating our catalog to allow for a more shopping-cart-like experience.



If you haven't done it yet, go buy a copy of Jason Bredle's "Standing in Line for the Beast," put out by New Issues Press earlier this year.

Pain Fantasy, to be published by us imminently, will be Jason's second book. Check here often for updates.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Yo Yo Yo, Whassup Cloud?

Welcome to the intersection of marketing and poetry. A British town decided to center its marketing campaign on William Wordsworth's "I wandered lonely as a cloud," but the actual poem wasn't good enough, so a rap version was rendered. Naturally.

Click here to read the story.
Click here to watch the actual music video.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Against National Poetry Month

Every story has (at least) two sides, doesn't it? Here's an essay by Charles Bernstein, published in 1999 called "Against National Poetry Month As Such." He argues that it promotes bland poetry.

Personally, I think he's overreacting. Even if you accept that National Poetry Month doesn't effectively support poetry, the idea that it actively hurts the genre is a stretch. In this essay, I think National Poetry Month is just a starting point for Bernstein, an excuse to criticize poetry that he doesn't like. What do you think?


Monday, April 9, 2007

Update to Murderer Identified in Poem

In an earlier post, I linked to the story about an anonymous poet who allegedly knows the identity of a local murderer and revealed as much in a poem he plastered on telephone poles around town. Police haven't been able to find or convince the poet to come forward with the murderer's identity, presumably because he's afraid of retribution. Read the latest update here.

Here's a writing exercise: Write a poem in which the speaker of your poem witnessed a murder but is afraid to reveal the identity of the killer.


Thursday, April 5, 2007

More Poetry News

Click on the links to read the latest news about

1) Art Exhibit Dedicated to the Worst Scottish Poet Ever

2) New Film About Life of Dylan Thomas

3) Owner of Prescott Street Press Dies at 90


Those Wacky Canadians

Two Canadian poets face off in some sort of winner-takes-all poetry "battle," conceived and implemented by the local governments. It's Vancouver vs. Owen Sound in Round 1. Read about it here.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Poetry Foundation--At It Again

Some recent news from the Poetry Foundation: Joint readings featuring U.S. and British Poet Laureates. Read about it here.

The one in Washington, DC take place on May 10. Anyone want to go?


Tuesday, April 3, 2007


Write a (draft of a) poem a day for the duration of National Poetry Month. All the cool kids are doing it. Learn more about it here.


Monday, April 2, 2007

Getting an MFA to Pay for Itself

In case you want to see what kind of writing gigs an MFA will get you, here are two wildly different magazine stories I’ve written recently. One is for my regular employer, and the other is a freelance column I do monthly.

On Tap: “Party Crasher: St. Patrick’s Day 2007
Print Solutions: “Health Care Forms Undergo Revision"

P.S. If you’re having a party and live in the D.C. area, email me so I can crash it :)