Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Case of the Misspelled Spice

How does this happen?

While gathering up a few copies of our chapbooks, mine and Andrew’s and a copy of the excellent but moribund bimonthly poetry magazine Ephemeris, that we gave up in frustration at not being able to find enough good poems last year to publish, to take to my lunchdate with D… on Monday I opened Sixteen Poems and there on the first page the word cardamom (which is used three times in the poem is spelled two different ways! Eek. It is just one letter, but it is like wearing a huge flashing neon sign that says “Amateur!”

We had excellent copyediting. We both looked at the darn thing again and again and…this is from last November. No one pointed it out to us.

Actually, I just finished reading a murder mystery with worse typos but still…

After having spent what probably amounts to a year of my life at bad poetry readings by wildly ambitious moderately talented individuals who are all in the grip of this cluster of desires about their work and are sticking badly edited and lamely written chapbooks and anthologies and little magazines in my face and wanting me to buy them, (often at exorbitant prices) to validate their fantasy of being “real” and valued, the last thing in the world I want to do is to foist mine on you.

And I don’t want you to buy mine because you like me in the “real” world or think I am cute. (well, after having had a really bad driver’s license picture taken today that I have to live with for eight more years, I might make an exception to the “cute” excuse.)
The only reason I want you to put out the whopping $5 we price point our publications at is because you are interested in the poems!

We publish good poems.

And as far as I know, we spell all the exotic spice names properly… mostly.

And why am I all riled up about this? Because someone has asked Andrew to do the thing he is most gifted at in the whole world and revive Ephemeris from the dead and edit his heart out.

If you have a really really good poem that is looking for a publication home worthy of its quality, watch this space…

Keep in mind though, that you may have to market the thing yourself.
Obviously, we have an attitude problem.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Lupine Lapin

I used to live with a most remarkable cat. Some of you who know me know all about her because for eight years we were inseparable. Her name was Noko, she was a Norwegian Forrest Cat and she looked very much like the white cat in the upper left hand corner here on what is my primary residence on the web, my diary.

We first saw her way up in a tree in our backyard in Noe Valley in San Francisco. For me it was love at first sight. A few days later she ventured into our place, stepped into my lap, I was on the floor sorting recyclables, and I was a goner.

She was a tiny little thing, a stray that had been found hungry in Nevada City by the sister of our upstairs neighbor. She came complete with her name and for years I wondered about it, thinking it was some sort of Japanese something or other or a contraction of her Norwegianess or something.

Today I found out through an exceedingly circuitous and delightful route that the Playboy cartoonist Kliban lived with a cat, which he drew often, named Noko Marie! Twenty-five years ago!

This must be where she got her sense of humor from. Wow.

There are no rabbits in this post. I just liked the alliteration.
Marketing will have to wait until another day.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

But Then Again…

Little did I know that when I took this picture of a beautiful old stone church in downtown Portland last December that it would become my new work home! The church was built in the 1890s and has the most beautiful wood and windows I’ve seen in this city.

Yesterday was my last day at the temp job that has been sucking the life force, prana, right out of me and I start the permanent position at the church next Thursday.

This is all quite funny, as I had decided to pull up stakes and move to Seattle to be closer to a friend who has brain tumors and my most enchanting five-year-old great niece. Both ends of the life spectrum there…

Everybody knew, trucks were being discussed and I was days away from giving notice on my place when the call came in for the interview. I didn’t want the job but thought the interview might be good practice for me.

You turn your back and walk away and the thing you need comes calling after you.

Ah, but to have the courage to make that turning…

I think I’ll write a post this weekend about marketing, or our lack of it, but in the meantime do read this thoughtful review of our second chapbook, published just this last March here. It is the post called This Brave Bare World.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Everything With Intention

I decided to walk home a different way tonight and I glimpsed this garden, which I had never seen before. As I was taking the picture the gardener appeared, a women in love if ever there was one. The house built in 1903 suffered a terrible fire last year and they are not living there yet but she is working on the place.

This is the kind of encounter that is priceless to a poet. She brought me into the yard and just babbled at me nonstop for about twenty minutes about the Latvians who planted the pink Portland roses, almost wild and the blue ceramic pot that she broke and incorporated into the path, about the gypsies and serving vodka in tiny pine cups and the windows and the small pond and the electrician who killed her fish last week by feeding them too much…

She promised me a tour of the inside of the house someday and I would like that very much if I am to stay. Maybe if we move to Seattle, as we are planning, I may come back for it. My touchstone to this marvelous neighborhood I have loved so much.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Ambassador’s Wife

…is a bit of a feminist in the wonderfully written murder mystery Death in the Garden by Elizabeth Ironside.

I do find it a bit odd though that even though the main character in the story is a photographer, a camera is never once mentioned. Anyway, I enjoyed this more than any mystery I’ve read in a good while.

Here is the short review from The New York Times from last November.

“Regional crime novels may be getting grittier, but there's still comfort to be found in the civilized mysteries of the pseudonymous Elizabeth Ironside - recently revealed to be Catherine Manning, wife of the current British ambassador to the United States - that a new publishing house is making available here. An extremely stylish piece of writing, DEATH IN THE GARDEN (Felony and Mayhem, paper, $14.95) is a country-house mystery told in two parts, opening in 1925 on a gracious estate with a lively group of friends gathered for a birthday party that turns grim when the host is poisoned and his wife is arrested for the murder. The leisurely pace of the storytelling is perfectly pitched to that mannerly period between the two world wars when attractive people like George Pollexfen, an influential member of Parliament, and his charming wife, Diana, a "New Woman" with a vivid bohemian sensibility, could spend a weekend entertaining their clever friends from the city. The narrative maintains its appeal when the story shifts to the present day and the same country home, where Diana's great-niece, Helena, has called her cousins together to read through her late aunt's journals and absolve her of the suspicion that hung over her for the rest of her life.”

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Self Portrait With Fungus

Monday, May 01, 2006

Gerald Finzi

I heard on Performance Today on NPR this piece I loved last week called Ecologue for Piano & Strings by Gerald Finzi. What rock have I been hiding under that I have never heard of this guy before?

Anyway, I liked it very much. I have $30 in Gift Cards from Borders for Andrew’s and my readings at Borders. It just occurred to me yesterday that Borders sells music too…