Friday, December 31, 2010

Last post of 2010

I should have a plan for this last post of the year. Maybe a resolution or two. Okay: Write poems, get more exercise. That's enough. Maybe a summation of the year: a good one, from a personal perspective. Each of us got a book out. Stayed well. Traveled. Plans for the new year: each of us has another book to get out. John is excited about his class. Hopes for the new year: a job? a solution to our money problems? Dog to stay with us a little bit longer.

I don't know where this blog fits in with the new year. I met a few who read it, this year. But I'm not sure it's contributing much to the universe or even this small planet.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Magpie Beauty

This morning we packed up all the Xmas candy and put it in the kitchen cabinets. That doesn't mean I haven't visited those cabinets today, but at least one is less likely to grab handfuls.

This poem was in Poetry Daily, the poem from last year.  I love the "magpie beauty" and the first stanza, especially. Gonna use that for a title. I'm going to try, anyway. Here's the poem, by Frank Bidart:

For an Unwritten Opera

Once you had a secret love: seeing
even his photo, a window is flung open
high in the airless edifice that is you.

Though everything looks as if it is continuing
just as before, it is not, it is continuing
in a new way (sweet lingo O'Hara and Ashbery

teach). That's not how you naturally speak:
you tell yourself, first, that he is not the air
you need; second, that you loathe air.

As a boy you despised the world for replacing
God with another addiction, love.
Despised yourself. Was there no third thing?

But every blue moon the skeptical, the adamantly
disabused find themselves, like you,
returned to life by a secret: like him, in you.

Now you understand Janácek at
seventy, in love with a much younger
married woman, chastely writing her.

As in Mozart song remains no matter how
ordinary, how flawed the personae. For us poor
mortals: private accommodations. Magpie beauty.

Frank Bidart 
The Threepenny Review 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Latest Adventure

I suddenly (as in a few days ago) woke up to the concept of entering my book — and asking my publisher to enter my book in various contests for best poetry books of 2010. It's not that I really think I stand a chance (and I missed a lot of the biggies anyway), but why not try? You gotta be in it to win it, as my mother-in-law says, though she is probably talking about the lottery.

Most of the contests I hadn't already missed had end-of-year or even end-of-January deadlines, so here I was entering information in an online form for one of them, not really pressed. And then I got stuck when they wanted my publisher's phone number, which I'd never used. So I emailed him, John and I had dinner, and we settled into our respective laptops in the living room. Not having that much else to do, I looked through old email and found my publisher's phone number, and entered it in the form and hit Send. At which point, I got a reply that the form went through and I should now see to it that six copies of my book were sent by a midnight December 17 postmark. This was at around 8:30 in the evening on December 17! I uttered a few choice words and thought that was that. But then I got an idea. Lo, Google told me that there was a San Francisco post office near the airport open until midnight.

It was pouring rain. I don't drive at night, definitely don't drive at night in the rain (unless someone's life depends on it) and I'd had a glass and a half of 2-buck Chuck to boot. But thanks to John and our GPS, we made it. Hurray and then some! Not that it matters in the least, as I said, but small victories count for something in this dice-loaded-against-you world.

Yes, and I'm happy to celebrate the repeal of DADT from this "liberal bastion," though it seems to me that the right to fight in a war is a strange right indeed. On the personal side, yay for unemployment benefits extension, though I applied for a wonderful job the other day, and would like very much to be working again in 2011.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hollow days

Okay, despite my cute and totally gloomy title here, things could be worse. We're hoping the extension of unemployment benefits doesn't get lost in the arguments about what should or should not be under the rich folks' Christmas trees. And a few job possibilities exist for me, of which the less said, the better.

Some bank business to take care of today. Other than that, I hope we'll spend some quality, if damp, time with the pooch. She's been so pathetic each time we've left her lately. Last night, she wasn't hoarsely barking when we got back, as she was Saturday, just looking reproachful and putting her head up for a scritch. Greta is on her way to 16 now, and pretty blind, we think, and sad, and she can't get up without us. We walk her with the old red wagon, and when she stops and is totally outta gas, we plunk her in the wagon and give her a roll around the block. She still looks beautiful, her fur still lovely.

It's been a very good year for acceptances for me — for individual poems — though one is never satisfied and I'd love to bring the grand total up to 25 before the year's end. As for Hue and Cry, it's out there, but I need to continue to work on it, make it better.

Friday, December 03, 2010


Oh, I'll take them. The fact that Congress has not voted to re-up Unemployment Benefits and we will probably be forced to sell our house is uppermost in my mind — things we counted on happening just haven't.

In the meantime, I'm working on revamping our second "bedroom," our office, to fit John's workstation and printers, so he won't have to work in the cold basement. See, I still hope for miracles.

And other crumbs: an acceptance of three more poems, bringing my unbelievable total for 2010 to 24! And a nomination for the Pushcart from Smartish Pace. You know, I'll take these small pieces of hope. An old friend was shot dead the other day. How is such a thing possible? But we're still alive.

N. helped us network the printers so that they can stay downstairs (one is large and the other is huge). We're still working things out so that we can continue here, continue working. Do we have our heads in the sand? Possibly.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Having experienced the amazing phenomenon of a full-night's sleep, I was a domestic whirlwind today. I made pumpkin muffins. I made lentil soup. The storm comes and goes: dark clouds, rain, and wind, then clearing, with a horizon that stretches out forever, blueish shadows in the underside of the clouds, and pink highlights above the cold, distant hills.

It is peaceful here, post holiday. It is warm enough inside. We are hunkering down. It will be a simple Christmas here, simply because there is no money. We are hanging on by a thread. If the banks restructure our loans, we will be able to hang on longer, maybe, but we simply need more income: jobs, grants, miracles. Let us know if you hear of any.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Rough night last night. Between the dog's tribulations and our financial worries, sleep just wouldn't arrive, no matter how tired I was. But I was also thinking about Hue and Cry. The first book took way too long to come out, with too goddamn many finalist notices. And the longer it took, the more problematic publishing became. I don't want this to happen with number two. But already, almost half the book has been taken by journals, and I'm confident that this time it will get some recognition (and money; I could really use some money!).

So when the rejection came this morning, I was ready for it, and not all that upset. I'm thinking this book has better things in store for it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Words into Air

Yesterday, I finished Words Into Air, the Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. A fascinating book, with more plot and suspense and more of history's pageant than any recently read novel. Beyond the history, the elections and coups and assassinations and protests, are the portraits of the writers of their day, from "that Catholic girl fiction writer," Flannery O'Conner, to Randall Jarrell, Marianne Moore, Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, WC Williams, Allen Tate, Dylan Thomas, Mary McCarthy, Auden, Plath, Sexton, Bidart, Rexroth … and more. For shoptalk alone (criticism of each other's work) the book was wonderful. Okay, I didn't buy it; I have it from the library and renewed it three times — it's 800 pages! But well worth the time.

In other news: dreamed last night I went downtown for a haircut and encountered a lingerie fashion show for brides — you know, all that naughty stuff. And I couldn't get the haircut because all the men who were there for the show were getting shaves and haircuts (2 bits) and nose hairs trimmed as well.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Texas is big, but California is GIANTS!

Heh heh, stole that from a poster photographed at the Giants' celebration and parade today and posted at Rather concentrate on this win than the election (but hey, goodbye Meg Whitman) and the rather negative subject of my recent job search.
Someone else pointed out on FB that it's rather standard for the party in power to lose the house in mid-term elections, but unusual to keep the Senate as we did. But that's as much politics as I want to offer.

Getting motivated (or trying to ) for my LA reading on Friday. If you are in the area, come hear me and Rick Bursky and Millicent Accardi. I think it will be fun.

Been reading the rather voluminous complete correspondence of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. It seems the whole of the literary world passes in front of them. It is amusing that the names we consider rock solid today were fresh faces then.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Back to California / normal

I am quite happy to be home and back in California. Since I grew up in the New York area and also spent some time in my youth in Boston, I couldn't help making comparisons, during my visit, wondering what it would be like to be living in those places. I liked my friend Dennis's neighborhood in Brooklyn as well as Manhattan, and I liked Belmont, Cambridge, Wellesley, Arlington, Somerville, and downtown Boston — all places I'm sure where I could live happily. But San Francisco definitely feels like home. Even on miserable wet days like today, the light is different; there's a sense of openness from the Pacific being out there. And people are more diverse here than anywhere, living more or less amicably, with some sense that we're all in this life business together.

Maybe I'm crazy and imagining all this … But anyway, GO GIANTS! During yesterday's SF Opera dress rehearsal (standing room only because of the presence of Placido Domingo), there was an undercurrent of excitement about the game, and, during the intermission, people turning on their phones frantically to find out the score. Of course, the Giants did not clinch last last, but that's just typical Giants. Winning in a clean sweep would be too easy. They have to drag it out and make us sweat!

I should say the readings in NYC and Boston went well. Attendance was a little underwhelming, but then I'm hardly a headliner. Those who did come seemed to like what they heard.

Next reading is Beyond Baroque, Friday, November 5th, at 7:30 PM. We are more than broke right now; we are in deep debt, definitely up a creek though perhaps not yet without a paddle. But I'm flying down for this reading, because it was planned in the hopeful days of early summer. I'm reading with two fabulous poets, Millicent Accardi and Rick Bursky. So come on out!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Uh oh

Was innocently walking Greta on Ocean by Miramar, one of our old hangouts (yes, Greta is now somewhat — 4-blocks — ambient), when we passed by a small poster for the Friends of the San Francisco Library Book Sale. Now, we're talking about a household that should be selling, not buying books. And I'm unemployed! But, because I'm unemployed, I can go early. And often.

See you there!

Gonna concentrate on the poetry books. And I'll look at the photography books for John. Hey, it's September. It's almost Christmas.

Now, I don't know why the link didn't come through, showed like a big hole in this post. I've re-inserted it, but with no confidence.

Anyway, scored big at the sale, so big that I had an agonizing walk back to my car with several large heavy bags. Had to park up the street on my hill all day because of PG&E shenanigans. It's not been fun carrying a 40-pound dog, and I couldn't deal with the books. Hence they were still in the car until this morning, when I got them here.

Let's see: several photo books for John, a large Blake-illustrated version of Dante, and poems by: A. Sexton, J. Ashbery, C. Dennis, T. Lux, N. Flynn, E. Montale, M. Peacock, D. Baker, R. Dove., Y. Komunyakaa, P. Neruda, W. Stevens, R.M., Rilke, C. Twichell, L. Gluck, A. Rich, C.P. Cavafy, B. Collins, M. O'Rourke, O. De La Paz, C. Marvin, the Vintage anthology, ed. by McClatchey, and The Metaphysical Poets, ed. by Helen Gardner.

I'm sure I could get more today, only I'm not going back, unless someone else is carrying!

Saw Lisa and Erich.

[Link does not show. If someone knows why, tell me!]

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mixed Blessings

[photo of Greta on a happier day]

First, in the you never know department … My entire section of Picasso women poems has been taken. Details to come, as I haven't signed a contract yet and an approval is involved. But I'm very thrilled. I sent out four of these as part of a 15-page query to a poetry publisher, in hopes of placing HUE AND CRY, and the book wasn't taken but these were. Probably the best rejection I've got, if not ever, in a long time.

Meanwhile, John is away at VCCA (and I haven't told him this yet, but I doubt he reads my blog), and Greta Garbo, our 15-year-old dog, is sick. She has an ear infection that is apparently giving her vertigo and makes her tilt. Poor little baby! I'm leaving in about an hour to attend Melissa Stein's reading, but then I have to rush home to wash Greta's ear with an earwash and give her some pills. (She hasn't eaten anything all day, and her favorite treat, a strip of dried chicken, sits untouched by her left foot. It's very sad.)

N&J helped me enormously last night, confirming that Greta wasn't just being weird 'cause John was gone, and drove and carried her into the all-night pet hospital for me. This ain't an Academy Award-type thank you: I could not have done it without them.

More later …


Update on the above: I've signed an agreement with Narrative Magazine to publish all 12 of my "Picasso Women" poems, an entire section of my new manuscript (and they pay!). This brings my acceptance rate for 2010 to 19 poems! This is unbelievable! I'm so thrilled.

Greta is doing a bit better. The problem is an old-dog vestibular ailment rather than an ear infection per se. Yesterday we even tried a slight walk at 6:00-ish. Then she woke in the middle of the night for what seemed like no reason but was this morning revealed to be a raccoon intruder in the basement. Muddy paw prints and water bowl, not from G., as she's been upstairs. Good for Greta, my old watchdog, but unfortunately, not easy to get back to sleep. As a result, I now feel like shit.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Following up

It's been almost three weeks since the fabulous events at Diesel Books and at Robert and Cheryl's. Everything went well, though I woke during the night after (did I actually sleep?) to realize I hadn't thanked Poetry Flash or Diesel Books aloud, during the reading. I hope they know how grateful I was …

I did thank Robert and Cheryl, at least on Facebook, though I can't really ever thank them enough. What a party! What a house! What a view! What a lucky person I am to have had all those people share the occasion of my book launch with me.

And now, moving on. The list of upcoming events is at right.

Can I say I wish I could move on. I'm ready to be living in my new book, Hue and Cry. Sure, there's more work to do before it's published, but I'm ready.

And I've been hard at work on a short story, a piece of fiction, set the summer of 1969.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I've been slow to record the latest events. With less than two weeks remaining to the big launch of Conjugated Visits at Diesel Books in Oakland and then the party at Robert's house, more readings have begun to pile up. That sounds like they just happened, while the truth is, multiple emails, phone calls, and other pestering has been involved with each of them. So now, in addition to Diesel and the group reading at Pegasus, September 18, I will be reading at:

Poetry Club at the Bowery in NYC on October 10, with Kyle McCord, Keith Montesano, and Amy Holman

Third Life, in Somerville, MA with Mary Alexandra Agner on October 16

Beyond Baroque in Venice CA with Rick Bursky and Millicent Accardi, November 5

Bird & Beckett Books in San Francisco with Robert Thomas, November 15

A multi-poet event in Corte Madera sometime in November/December

Poetry Santa Cruz, CA March 19th, 2011

Moonday in the Village, Pacific Palisades CA April 11th, 2011

I will eventually put all this in a neat list, with more accurate information. Do not fear. Right now, I'm just delaying getting back to a story I started writing. Yes! A short story!

You see, last Saturday, I went to Jon Carroll's workshop at Book Passages on writing the personal essay. I learned a lot (I think), not even counting my extra lesson on not to make a U-turn in a "business district." But Jon thought the idea I had for the essay was more suited to a short story. So I am trying. But it is haaaaard!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Noo Yawk, Noo Yawk

So I've got myself a reading in NYC, at Poetry Club of the Bowery. The date is Sunday, October 10, from 2–4 in the afternoon, and I will be reading with Kyle McCord, Keith Montesano, and Amy Holman, all of whom have been published by Dream Horse Press. I have found it much easier to get readings with at least one other reader. It seems that event coordinators are just happier to not put all their eggs in one unknown basket. I mean, god forbid you have the floor or the podium or the mike for one whole hour and no one shows up but your pet dog, wagging its tail. Oddly, though I've invited others to read with me, and they've been happy to, I've yet to get an actual invite from another. But in case you, out there, are looking for someone to share the spotlight with you in a little bookstore or poetry venue, I'm still eager to get something going in Boston, in Portland and Seattle or other towns in the Northwest, and in other places in California. Or your town. Try me!

Oh, it's not that I love flogging the book. Introvert that I am, I rather hate it. But it is what one does. Chances are I'm not going to get invited on Oprah, so it's up to me, isn't it, to give Conjugated Visits a life.

I want to publicly apologize for the whining and poor little me attitude above. Yes, this book thing is an uphill climb — or many uphill climbs — but that's just the way it is. And it's not true, either, that I haven't had any encouragement and offers to share the dance floor. Certainly, I've had people meeting me halfway!

So please (you know who you are) forgive me for kvetching. I was tired and tired of trying, that's all.

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Wrong Stuff

Woke up to a happy post from a friend that said a poem of mine was up at Verse Daily. Well, it turned out, they posted my poem with someone else's title (I don't know how you even do that!). Then it turns out they had someone else's bio, Wiki page, and website. Yeah, and they posted a link to two poems online that I didn't even remember existed. Well, at least they were mine, though rather old news.

I'm not in a good mood. I haven't really been doing any marketing for the book, am still two and two (two readings in SF and two in LA). I need to get some more things happening, but it feels so uphill. But for those who are interested (and not on Facebook), you should know that after the August 1 reading at Diesel, there will be a big party at Robert's house for my book. Directions to the party will be available at the Diesel/ Poetry Flash reading. If you just want to come to the party, well, okay, email me at dianekmartin (at) gmail (dot) com for directions.

Yeah, I've moved my email address to gmail.

N&J are moving to San Bruno. That means, when J and I move to Sebastopol, we won't have anyone with SF priority for Camp Mather booking. Oh well. It's been a long time and will probably be a long time yet. I need a job before we move anywhere.

Here's a super poem:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cezanne's still life and mine

Maybe it's all this wet drippy fog (yes, a typical June). Maybe it's just the expected. But I am experiencing a definite letdown, anticlimax, maybe even depression. Conjugated Visits is out, and so what? I've done a bit to stir the waters; I'm sure I could do more.

I'm still awaiting delivery of my second box of books, having used up the first. If I promised you a book and/or you sent me your address, don't fret. I will send it.

I have sent off the new manuscript, Hue and Cry, to three places. While I was working on it, getting it ready to go out, I still felt productive and creative. Now, waiting, Conjugated Visits feels more than ever like history.

Did see the show of masterpieces from the d'Orsay that is now in SF at the de Young. That helped keep my mind off marketing and so forth for a while. BTW, has anyone out there ever worked as a museum guard? How long are the shifts, typically? No, not looking for this type of work, but could use the info for a new poem.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Socked-in Summer

So here I am doing an interview / reading on KKUP 91.5, last Wednesday. The radio host was none other than my publisher, J.P. Dancing Bear. It was a pleasant enough experience, especially since John drove me to San Jose and probably no one I knew was listening. (The station is hard to get in many places.) I'll let all my fans know when the show will be posted on iTunes.

Today, we are socked in with fog, the usual summer weather in this part of San Francisco. It's hard to remember, on days like this, that it is summer elsewhere. We had the heat on this morning and the dog didn't want to go out, just to stay in front of the heating vent. So I sit here like a little ol' lady in my cardigan and shawl, trying to stay warm.

I know I should be trying to push my book more. I need to get more/earlier readings in the Bay Area, especially San Francisco, I need to work at getting readings in NYC and Boston and Seattle and Portland. But hey, if you want me to come to your town, just give a holler!

Waiting for a new supply of books so I can send more out, so if you're expecting one from me, don't worry, I haven't forgotten!

In the meantime, I sent out the first Hue and Cry manuscript this morning. I liked that.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Back in the saddle, more or less

So we are back from Paris. Yes, it was wonderful. All the time I took reviewing and updating my French paid off. For the most part, I could partake in conversation and make myself understood. When I was tired, hurried, or hassled, my skills fell off. But for the most part, I did well.

We managed to do almost everything we needed to do and most of what we wanted to do. And the weather was mostly good.

I did take the computer but was very far away from personal and public realities for all ten days. I did not pay much attention to the news; I did not think about marketing my book. I didn't really write anything either — there wasn't time — although I did take notes for a new poem.

I was kind of hoping my box of books would be waiting here for me, but it's not. It should be here within a day or two. So the next thing I have to do is send out books to people on my acknowledgment page and give a price to other people who want to order through me because they want my signature. (I only get 20 free books and will have to pay shipping, so I can't give the book to everyone for free.)

I have lined up two readings in L.A. (fairly far into the future) and two in the Bay Area. I need to get more happening here, preferably in July or August, and I would really like to do readings in the NYC area (October is best), in Boston, and in Portland and Seattle. If you are reading in one of those places and think I might share billing, let me know. I will be eternally grateful.

I came home to a poem accepted by Harvard Review. That was heartwarming. I would just love to bury myself in the Hue and Cry manuscript and get it ready to send out. It's already almost there.

Oh, the photo (John's shot) is from Au Lapin Agile, the bar where Picasso et al. hung out in Montmartre.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Getting close

I heard from my publisher that he has a copy of my book. I will see it tomorrow. I'm excited … and scared. I don't know quite what I'm scared for or of, but I'm scared.

But you know, I want to be done with this. After I get back from Paris, I'm going to start re-working Book Next. I don't have to call it Book Next, because I have a title: Hue and Cry.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rilke pep talk

Will get around (soon) to posting about my trip to LA and any news about upcoming readings. But in the meantime … the following advice from Rilke was posted on Facebook by the awesome Cheryl Strayed. I think I needed to read this right now. And maybe often.

Your work needs to be independent of others' work.
You must not compare yourself to others.
No one can help you. You have to help yourself.
Criticism leads to misunderstandings and defeatism.
Work from necessity and your compulsion to do it.
Work on what you know and what you are sure you love.
Don't observe yourself too closely, just let it happen.
Don't let yourself be controlled by too much irony.
Live in and love the activity of your work.
Be free of thoughts of sin, guilt and misgiving.
Be touched by the beautiful anxiety of life.
Be patient with the unresolved in your heart.
Try to be in love with the questions themselves.
Love your solitude and try to sing with its pain.
Be gentle to all of those who stay behind.
Your inner self is worth your entire concentration.
Allow your art to make extraordinary demands on you.
Bear your sadness with greater trust than your joy.
Do not persecute yourself with how things are going.
It's good to be solitary, because solitude is difficult.
It's good to love, because love is difficult.
You are not a prisoner of anything or anyone.


Friday, April 30, 2010

Postcards: ✓

I'm not exactly sure of the logic behind it, but I had postcards printed. Front has a picture of the book cover, back has part of one blurb and ordering info for bookstores. Since this is a piece of paper, a hard copy, and will be a leave-behind for bookstores, I did not put much in the way of online ordering (except for my publisher's website and this blog and my email). Tomorrow, I hope to leave a stack in local independent bookstores and, if the appropriate people are approachable, try and get a reading here and there. I don't think it will be easy, but if you have a better way, let me know!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Some small progress

Yessirree, we're getting there. Just seventeen days to official publication, and I'm finally getting some momentum. Today I sent my publisher a corrected proof with only two tiny annoying not-really-errors (which I almost decided to skip, but then changed my mind). I'm sure there will be other errors I don't find. That's the way it is when humans do things.

But I've made my Facebook page. And a postcard with ordering information will be ready for me to pick up on Friday. Starting Saturday, I'm visiting Bay Area bookstores in hopes of lining up readings or at least finding out whom to talk to about such. I'm flying down to L.A. next week (got a $85 round trip — including taxes — flight). My sister has offered to shuttle me to bookstores there for the same purpose.

John and I are discussing a book launch party in a local coffeehouse. I admit I didn't want to have to do this; I wanted it to just happen. But this book hasn't been like that. It needs me to make things happen.

In other news: we've rescheduled the trip to Paris that the volcano cancelled. We're taking off May 26 now, though the question of who will mind the dog is not yet answered. Hard to concentrate on Paris when I'm launching the book. Hard to launch the book when I want to put energy toward being ready for Paris. But somehow it will all come together.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Time for a new post

… though I can't say I have much poetry news. I've been consoling myself over not having gone to AWP with the thought that we're going to Paris. Yes, indeedy, and we leave in three days. I'm totally freaking, though. Even though I've shopped 'till I dropped, arranged for a dogsitter, contacted my bank, learned how to turn off data on my iPhone, downloaded podcasts (and even Kindle for the Mac), and been practicing my French for months, I'm still freaking. I think I'm nervous that it won't turn out to be every little thing I want it to be. I'm worried that the four pair of shoes I'm taking for 10 days won't be the right shoes. I'm not even allowing myself to think of the money we're spending. We're going to Paris! I won't say how long it's been since I've gone to Paris, but let's just say that last time I went to Paris, my parents were paying!

Meantime, I'm awaiting the imminent publication of my book. Well, if not imminent, forthcoming. Only one reading locked in so far, and that's in September (Pegasus Books, Berkeley, 9/18, mes fans). Still waiting to hear from a few others, but I haven't really gotten out there asking. In May, I will be going down to L.A. and touring the bookstores with my sister. I hope to have, if not the book, by then, or a review copy, at least a postcard with ISBN and release date. I need to make an attempt to visit the Seattle/Portland areas. And then there's NYC. I'd like to arrange readings at any friendly bookstores in NYC around October 8 and maybe a few readings in Boston before or after that. Leads, clues, warnings, advice — all welcome.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

No Foolin'

It's been two months since I was laid off, and I have not gotten very far. The blog is still rudimentary, the thoughts in my head about how to proceed with it and with debuting my book are still hazy. Sure, I've had a rather momentous birthday, and we've been getting ready to go away (later this month). But why is it so hard to organize my thoughts? Perhaps I'm used to working on deadline, and my publisher (whose computer died, last month, among other things) has yet to give me any real date for when I'll see my book. I'm working on a new computer too. And I'm sure there are other psychological reasons why the actuality of my book eludes me.

Well, I've seen the third proof today and will send it back to my publisher tomorrow. I'd like to get a mockup of my cover, the ISBN, and a date, and I'll make a postcard up to send to anyone I've ever met — and maybe a few people I haven't met.

Meanwhile, anyone who has any tips on how to customize this blog, let me know. Right now I'm wishing I left well enough alone.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Blackbird = Phoenix?

Perhaps that post title is a tad grandiose? Yet I have spring/renewal/rebirth or at least getting over this cold on my mind. I haven't been outside in two days and outside still seems a very far place to go. Yet, I'm a gonna make it, as the old widow at the bottom of the hill says every time I ask how's she doing. She's got her cataracts removed and a wig on her head, and it doesn't really matter how old she actually is.

Today I bought Bento, a database application to use with my new MacBook. My version of Filemaker Pro (5.5!) wasn't working very well with Snow Leopard, spinning beachballs with the slightest change and crashing without warning. I've imported all my old po biz submission data (support wasn't very helpful, butI figured it out), and I'm very happy with it.

I'm planning to create a database for marketing the new book. I'll put all the contacts people give me in there. (Call X in Y city at Z bookstore) and hopefully schedule reading events. I can import contacts to send out email reminders too.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Going Solo

When I started this blog (back in '05?), my idea was to have a shared podium for members of the poetry group 13 Ways. For a while, I was joined here by Robert Thomas, very occasionally by others in the group. But neither Robert nor anyone else is really interested in keeping this going. I'm not sure how much I'm interested in keeping it going. Like many others, I've found the drive-by posts on Facebook to be more than enough.

Recently, Blogger had me migrate my site so that I no longer publish it through FTP with the website 13 Ways. And so it seems a good time to make a break from the past. (Or as good a time as any.) I'm going to make this a solo blog, for now, on the subject of poetry and being a poet in the world and whatever else comes up. (The website, which I mean to entirely revamp as well, will continue to be about the group and the individual poets in it.)

So we'll see. I hope you will come here and comment and make this a conversation, or it's going to get very quiet. As I said recently, I'd like to collect some good ideas for marketing poetry books, as a start. ( I will attempt to be a better conversationalist too.)

That's enough for now, intent and direction. I think I'm coming down with something, so that's as ambitious as I want to be at the moment. Will turn in and read some of the 22 books beside my bed.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Now what?

It's a long time since I've posted, though I'm not much convinced that anyone cares. Nevertheless, I have plenty of time now that I'm unemployed, so methinks I will get back into the habit.

I'd like to start a discussion about marketing one's poetry books in this age of small presses and Print on Demand (POD). I've been researching the issue and welcome your first-person experiences.

No one is under the illusion that the publication of a book of poetry is going to result in fame, fortune, best-sellerdom, or even a ripple in the zeitgeist. Nevertheless, making some personal effort to stir the waters is bound to be better than nothing, as far as getting the book out there. And we all want the book out there, don't we?

Sure, this post and any comments that ensue will be self-serving, as my book, Conjugated Visits, will be out soon. But there's no reason why what I learn can't also serve you. In a sense, we're all in this together.