I plan to honor poetry every day by reading it every day. Especially poets new to me. I bought two new books by poets friends recommended: Edgar Bowers and Henry Rago. Both write in ways that move me and illuminate the way poetry lives around and through us, whenever we have eyes to see.
I can’t claim that my twelve potted roses have been dessicated over the past three years, but California surely has been dessicated. I’ve worried about friendly trees and watched lawns become weed patches. So early this morning, the sound of a steady, soaking rain (as we used to call it back when we had rain) was pure Chopin to my ears. It induced in me a kind of quiet I haven’t felt for months. A wish to just sit and think my thoughts.
May the rain dancing around California continue! North and South are for once united, sharing a group wish for moderate (not flooding) downpours. Feeling generously hopeful at the sight of every cloud.
And while it’s wet and smelling of petrichor and fertile soil, I’m feeling generous. For a few days, I’m offering my book Gods of Water and Air, my collection of poetry, prose, and short drama, at a deep discount to anyone who wants a print version.
For today through September 30, it’s $10 + $2 shipping for Gods of Water and Air. Email me if you want one: email@example.com.
I’m happy to celebrate the one-year anniversary of my collection of poetry, prose, and short drama, Gods of Water and Air. Thanks to Karen Kelsay and Aldrich Press (an imprint of Kelsay Books) for creating a beautiful print book from my manuscript and supporting it! And thanks to all of you who bought a copy and read it. I’m going to make my book a little cake for its birthday, which I’m calling September 4 (the day I got my first copies). Here are the candles — I wish it to reach more of you in this coming year! You can get it at Amazon, or if you order from me directly (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org), I’ll offer a 10% discount from the Amazon price for this month.
|Asilomar Beach, Photo by Heather Osborne|
Jeannine Hall Gailey responded to Timothy Green‘s Facebook about the responsibilities (and guilt and anxiety) of a poet in promoting a book. Jeannine’s post encourages us to forgive ourselves for not doing everything imaginable at our own cost: organizing cross-country book tours, banner ads, local readings, mailing out dozens of reviews copies, etc. Tim’s post lamented the lack of support from his publisher. He gave numbers: 105 sold by the publisher, 200+ sold by the poet. Around 305 total books sold. There you have it: about 300 sales is what you can expect as a poet with a good audience.
I don’t do readings. Well, I do if invited, but I don’t go out of my way to get invited, and that’s because though I enjoy doing them, it involves some anxiety and preparation and I have a very busy life. I like to give my free time to writing new things. I can’t afford book tours and ads. And I’m very grateful to my publisher, The Aldrich Press (Karen Kelsay Davis, an imprint of Kelsay Books) for supporting my book by making a trailer and sending out review copies.
So how do I promote Gods of Water and Air? I blog. I tweet. I offer discounts. I’m an active presence on social media, posting poems from the books, news, and anecdotes that connect with it. I never stop. And I don’t beat myself up for having sold or given away (yes, I make gifts of books) under 150 in a year. I think it’s a pretty good number and it will grow. It’s a good book.
I do what I can and subscribe to Jeannine’s philosophy. Also, I’m going to take Gods of Water and Air to e-book soon. I just bought Mary Oliver’s new one on Kindle. I don’t bring paper books into the house much. I don’t care about sales, I just care that my work gets read.
Here’s a poem from my book:
with the grasses today, their herringbone
weaves and golds, purples, and greens,
the seed pods floating
like butterflies on tall stems.
at sunset, among its moving flecks
and hues, rocked by the wind
with tangled bird trills,
and tongued my neck.
My speech came in medleys
of mood. I swayed
saying the Beloved’s name
with endless vowels.
to the bone-clean rock
owned by a tiny lizard blinking
with its pebbled lid,
and when it slunk down,
hugging its planet, I went
home hugging my heart.
If you haven’t got a copy of my new book, Gods of Water and Air, I’m offering a hefty discount. It’s a book with poetry, prose, and even This collection has prose a once-act play (about the afterlife of dogs). 135 pages of summer reading — a deal!
This price is good through July 31! Email me (email@example.com) to order one direct, for only $11.00 + shipping. (Amazon charges $2 more.) Here’s a taste.
–>Life Can’t Be Art You Say
Happy Fourth! If you haven’t got a copy of my new book, Gods of Water and Air, I’m offering a hefty discount on Gods of Water and Air to celebrate midsummer. This collection has prose as well — even a small play. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to order one direct from me, for only $11.00 + shipping (135 pages — a deal!). Or you can get it from Amazon. Here’s a taste.
Prayers for the volcanoes
that need garlands when they erupt
and prayers for the freeways
you never drive them the same twice,
prayers for the buds
that look like babies’ faces
as they open next week and for the blossoms
opening their soft legs to the bees.
Prayers for everything the soul
must reluctantly or passionately kiss:
rain-running gutters, a pebble in the shoe,
the silt gritty on your ocean-washed lips.
Because what is a prayer
but a laugh that can’t be formed
in letters, but only heard
in that place that, praised, lights up.
So prayers for everywhere
that needs them.
DISCOUNT — I decided that Midsummer Metaphors discount didn’t go far — or long — enough. I’m lowering the special price for now on my book GODS OF WATER AND AIR through the end of July to just $10. And offering a sample of the memoir and poems in it here — below. Just email me at email@example.com if you want to grab one!
I love writing in the summer, so the title Midsummer Metaphors is literally what I’m doing in these mild months — often outdoors, in a nearby field or on my decks overlooking trees full of birds and squirrels and breezes. The flow of nature encourages my creative work in a way that being cooped up inside in the winter does not. Childhood in southern California is to blame, where we opened up all the doors and windows and ate outside on the patio every night. I didn’t know a house was meant to contain everything a family does. And the beach. Lots of beach time changes you.
So her’s the taste — “Eight en Croix,” a story of growing up as the bipolar rocket scientist’s kid.
If you haven’t got a copy of my new book, out last fall from Aldrich Press, I’m offering a hefty discount on Gods of Water and Air to celebrate midsummer. Madness indeed, but it’s not about money, it’s about poetry. This collection has prose as well — even a small play. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to order one direct from me, for only $11.00 (135 pages — a deal!). Here’s a taste — animated and read by the fabulous Nic Sebastian:
Last night I saw the best play about Emily Dickinson I could imagine. It was a musical, and it was performed by fifth grade actors who brought this luminous ecstatic poet (“the Myth” as she was sometimes called) to life. It also brought to vivid life her bustling, growing Amherst (“the only thing silent in Amherst is the ‘h'”). Written by my brilliant playwright friend Judith Nielsen, music composed by a young and talented composer, Laura Reed, “The House of Emily D” is, fittingly, a play in verse.
It made me remember how much I love the surprising and mystical figures in ED’s verse. The play well portrayed her outwardly quiet and inwardly exciting life, the way she engaged with children as she couldn’t always with adults. Made me want to write more poems springing from her verses, like this from my book Gods of Water and Air.
Was like the other Days —
Until the Coronation came —
And then — ’twas Otherwise —
Thanks to all who participated in my Great Poetry Book Giveaway this year! I picked names out of the numerical hat and sent a copy of my Gods of Water and Air to one winner and Stanley Kunitz’s book Passing Through. I noticed we all entered each other’s Poetry Book Giveaways. It was a pleasure to read blogs I hadn’t visited and learn about books I will now buy. In the giving spirit, I’m offering a discount on Gods of Water and Air during June: just $11 — or 18% off the Amazon list price, if you purchase directly from me. Email me at email@example.com and we’ll make arrangements.
Here’s a poem from the book. It’s about Emily Dickinson:
Was like the other Days —
Until the Coronation came —
And then — ’twas Otherwise —