Saturday, January 7, 2012

**2012: Year of the Chapbooks!**

            2011 ended on something of a downbeat. In October, I was "let go" from my job as manager at the Inquiring Minds Bookstore in Saugerties. This was not a surprise, and I should have been preparing for it long before it happened. And it’s not without a little satisfaction that I now learn that I was replaced by a part-time manager! Onward and upward!

            Eligible for unemployment, I have spent a good portion of the last three months organizing my life. After last summer's horrific storms, I was inspired to begin tackling the piles of goods I have managed to store up in the basement of Casa Diva in the ten years I've been here, and the five my boyfriend has spent here as well. Consolidation, charity, out in the trash-- all options have been exercised. I don't ever want to move as much stuff as I did when I moved in here. The thing is, this house was the first place I was able to have all my possessions in at one time since I lived with my parents. It is time to let go of so much.

            I have also used the time to put together a couple of chapbooks, mainly from existing work, and I'm pleased to announce that I have TWO chapbooks scheduled for publication in 2012. In December, I put together a small chaplet through my own Flying Monkey Press as well. "Coast to Coast" is only $3, and believe me when I say quantities are limited. I'm not trying to be cute; only sixteen of them came out well enough to sell!! The chaplet is an homage to a special person who inspired a number of poems over the years, and although not enough to qualify as a full blown chapbook, I felt I wanted to get what work I had regarding this person out there, and in some kind of collected form.

            I sent a manuscript titled, "My Minnesota Boyhood" to Finishing Line Press back in February for their New Women’s Voices contest and heard nothing about the outcome until just a few days ago. An email informed me that the book had been accepted for publication, outside of the contest. Attached was their standard contract, requiring a presale of fifty-five copies for the minimum press run. Although satisfied that my work was in fact acceptable, I was somewhat annoyed at their total lack of communication beforehand. I had to keep checking their website to find out when a winner had been declared in the contest. In this age of email, I don't see any excuse for not sending a quick note to contestants.

            My friend Guy Reed had a book published by Finishing Line last year, and neither of us was altogether thrilled with the experience. Strange delays, oddly impersonal, form-type emails-- one had to wonder if his manuscript had been read at all. The final product was very nice, though in my opinion a bit overpriced at $12 for a stapled binding, but the content is of course excellent. I highly recommend "The Effort to Hold Light," and it's available through either Finishing Line or Amazon.

            In the meantime, I offered the same manuscript to Dayl Wise at Post Traumatic Press, based in Woodstock, NY. He had already put two months work into the book when I got the email from Finishing Line. He thought I was crazy to turn them down, I supposed because in some circles they might qualify as a "real" publisher. Dayl's press, started to in part provide a forum for the writings of military veterans, is as real as it gets. If I was to receive some sort of cash prize, I would have had second thoughts (see above). But all things being equal, I will continue to "dance with them that brung me," and "My Minnesota Boyhood" will be coming out in the next couple of months.

            A second manuscript, this one a collection of poems inspired by the city of Albany, NY and my experiences there over the last twenty-plus years, is in the works. Dan Wilcox is the proprietor at APD Press in Albany, and a longtime friend. He puts out few chapbooks these days, what with demonstrating and reigning as the Capitol District's Old Beatnik of Letters, but what he does do is carefully selected work. I am honored that he's accepted my work. I think we might be looking at fall for this one, and it's as yet untitled, but I will keep you posted on its whereabouts. 

            In the meantime, I'm writing, revising, and oh yeah, looking for a day job. I in no way believe that I'll be able to earn a living as a poet, and frankly, this gives me the freedom to write what I like, instead of what others assign to me. Better for my art, better for my mental health. Pass along any leads on work, and let me know if anything sounds interesting... anything, really!! It's been too long and I have no excuses for getting at least one update a month up here. Mea Culpa, as the overeducated say.


            Happy 2012!!

1 comment:

Dan Wilcox said...

"Moses Parts the Tulips" is a fine title, better than "Moses Farts Among the Tulips". from A.P.D. (Another Poetry Diva)