I’m thrilled and honored to be the Featured Poet in the September Issue of Blue Heron Speaks. This wonderful online poetry journal has a goal of presenting “messages of inspiration, support, and nourishment for the soul.”And they really do offer heart-centered poems that speak to seekers after beauty and peace. My three poems include the title poem from my forthcoming collection, Arabesque. An excerpt from the poem treats the word “arabesque” in its other meaning, a calligraphic figure: More
It was great fun to correspond with Matisse’s great grandson in order to obtain rights to use this image on the cover of my poetry collection Femme au chapeau. Happy to say it will be available as an eBook in September! Pre-order price for you is $2.99, until 9/26/16. You can go here to pre-order: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/657130.
Poet Barbara Crooker did a wonderful review of the book on Smartish Pace, mentioning “exquisite figurative language throughout”. She cited my “unusual and surprising subject choices”, such as “the differences between men and women, as revealed in their choice of razors and bathroom accessories (“The Difference”), the unattainable/remote mother (“Piano Lessons,” “Apple Pie Order,” “Laparoscopy,” “Beauty by a Sideboard”), the self-explanatory “Ode to My Purse,” the olfactory genius of dogs (“Dog Sniffing”), the state fish of Hawai’i (“A Pot of Humuhumunukunukuapua’a”), manual typewriters (the hilarious “Ode to a Smith-Corona” which has to be explained by its equally funny end note).”
Best of all, this quintessential ekphrastic poet — check out Crooker’s books, especially her New and Selected — said of my poems about paintings: “Dacus embodies the best of ekphrastic work, which doesn’t merely describe works of art, but responds to them, allows the paintings to take her someplace else, and brings us along with her.”
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.
That’s perennial question, along with its corollary: Should writers be sane? Or is crazy really better for the work. If there’s one thing that drives every writer and poet I know crazy it’s the topic of publishing. Publishing is like hunting dragons — you’re not even sure they exist, you know you need some magical arrow that’s not in your quiver, and really you don’t have a killer’s heart. Especially the poets. It’s such a contradiction to be the introvert who grew up turning inward, turning to the page, and be expected to do things like:
* Give readings
* Build an author platform (my brother the musician built himself a backyard stage — I wish building my platform were that easy!)
* Doing (getting) interviews
* Contributing to the writing community by giving of your (nonexistent) time and energy
And all the other recommended author stuff. Having just completed a final-ish draft of my novel, I again read all the books and articles. They all say: Become an extrovert! Reading these lists, I feel slightly overwhelmed. I just want to stay here on my deck, ignoring the beautiful view of trees waving their branches in a soft breeze, ignoring the birdsong that spills out like Mozart improvising, and write words that take me into my own imagined world, where I imagine being a lot of people I’m not. How crazy is that.
I’m happy to report that I have a poem featured today on Your Daily Poem. My “Apple Pie Order” (from my book Femme au chapeau) is a poem very close to me. It’s about my 91-year-old mother and was a gift to receive and then be able to give to her on a birthday. Thank you, Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, for featuring my poem today, and for your great inspiration to bring more poetry into our daily lives!
Now to my latest bloghopping. The generosity of blog writers amazes me. People review books, post poems and sections of their novels, and tell me about their lives, and so I get to enter he gardens of writers I might never otherwise meet.
Kate Campbell’s Word Garden has a lot of the things I love — poetry, fiction, flowers, and birds — and most specially today it features a thoughtful review of a wonderful book by a friend of mine. Grand Slam by Alan Kleiman is one of the most playful, wild, and enjoyable chapbooks I’ve ever read. From its original cover art by artist John Newsom, to its evocations of baseball, kisses, barbecues, and marshland views, this book is a total kick. Grand Slam is reviewed on Kate’s terrific blog today, along with a generous essay on the art of the humble chapbook. Enjoy the read — and order Alan’s book too!
It’s something only you can give yourself: a space to create, sweet as ripe cherries. To find it, buy it with love for your creative self, wrap it in ethereal sheets of time, and then unwrap it as though you deserve every crinkle of the delicate paper and every silky ribbon of ink. You give yourself permission to NOT write a word. Not even think. To drift, a poet in poet time with the willingness to do absolutely nothing if that’s what comes. To think about writing without necessarily saying anything is permission. Here’s a poem about it from my book Gods of Water and Air.
I’m offering a 10% discount off the Amazon price of Gods of Water and Air during September. Write to me if you want one!
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, 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 (email@example.com) 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:
I’m thinking of doing a series of small video readings, just for fun, from my book Gods of Water and Air. And maybe I should put it to a vote: which poems would be best to read? Here’s one I’m considering.Thoughts? Advice?