Saturday, June 28, 2014

Caroline Kennedy Walks Ahead

Caroline Kennedy walks ahead, while her father, the most powerful man in the world, holds her doll.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Few Thoughts on My Book Tour-in-Progress - Delight or Dread?

The words Book Tour conjure up the Author Suite at the Alexis Hotel or at least a large cocktail by the beach. Sadly, this is not the Cloud Pharmacy poetry book tour that I've grown to love and dread in equal measure.  Maybe Billy Collins sleeps on 700 count sheets when he's on the road but not me.

What I do know is that I love using a book tour to see good friends and push myself out of my introverted shell. This May I spent 5 days in Massachusetts and did just as many events including readings, workshops, and a museum takeover at the Peabody Essex Museum.  My first rule of thumb: do as many events in one place as you can handle (and no more).

In Cambridge, Salem, and Newburyport I got to visit with old friends, including the poet Jennifer Markell who I first met in 4th grade and poet Kirun Kapur who I first met at Mass Poetry a few years ago. These two women are wonderful poets as well as being good friends. It's my favorite combination: to spend time talking about poetry and life --- eating good food --- and then giving a reading or workshop. Reading with friends who live in the place you read helps tremendously with creating an audience for the night. It also helps me to stay the night with friends rather than in a hotel. We go on the road to connect with readers; we crave connection for our work and for ourselves through our work.

Cloud Pharmacy (White Pine Press) has also taken me to the Skagit River Poetry Festival where I met wonderful poet Emily Warn when we were paired together for two panels on "Poetry and Technology" which I wrote about in a previous blog on Poet Technology. For this event I needed to push myself into new territory. Yes, Cloud Pharmacy is available as an e-book from TwoSylvias Press and I am the poetry editor of the (on-line) Human Journal out of Istanbul, Turkey. I publish this blog and I teach hybrid courses but I am no expert on technology.

I'm still on the road, looking to visit more museums, more bookstores, more colleges come next fall and winter. Certainly, wherever I go I plan to connect with good friends and also meet new people. Kirun was a new person when she met me at the airport in 2012, now she's a good friend. So what is the "dread" part I referenced earlier? It happens before I leave home. Will I remember all my handouts? Will people come to my event? Will I be my best self?

So far the answer has been yes! People do come, they write me emails and keep in touch, they become friends. And because I don't want to disappoint an organization that's paid my way, I am completely prepared, present, and in the moment. It's a good way to be -- on or off book tour.

Cloud Pharmacy, White Pine Press, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014

Readers' Guide to The Cartographer's Tongue / Poems of the World

The Mapparium in Boston, Massachusetts. Also, the title of a poem in The Cartographer's Tongue / Poems of the World

When The Cartographer's Tongue was published, nearly fifteen years ago, no one I knew had a web site and blogs were not yet invented. No wonder the Reader's Guide for The Cartographer's Tongue received very little attention. And yet, the intern working at Just Buffalo did a superb job. 

This summer I hope to create a Reader's Guide for Cloud Pharmacy that includes photographs by Hannah Maynard and other artists included in the book. I'll also have a Q and A with the author. 

If you've done a Reader's Guide for a poetry book I'd love to hear your ideas. I know it's very useful to include a recipe if there are any delicious foods (or drinks) mentioned in the book. Can't wait to think about something other than finishing the academic year. Soon. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

10 Poetry and Technology Ideas from the Web --- Post Panel

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be a featured poet at the Skagit River Poetry Festival in La Conner, WA. If you ever have the chance to come out north of Seattle for a beautiful May weekend, do it. The festival is a sister festival to the Geraldine Dodge Festival as it was literally co-founded by the sister of one of Dodge's founders.

Oddly enough, I was placed on two panels called "Poetry and Technology" alongside Emily Warn, a wonderful poet in her own right and the creator of the Poetry Foundation website. My first reaction was to ask to be switched to another panel. What did I know of technology?

And yet. I blog fairly regularly, I teach hybrid courses, and serve as an editor of an on-line journal. My skills are limited but I represent a certain kind of poet who participates in social media and who wants to make use of the amazing poetry resources found on the web.

At the Mass Poetry Festival this May (perhaps my favorite festival as it takes place in my home state and gets more inclusive each year) I heard Don Share speak of how T.S. Elliott's "The Wasteland" appeared in Poetry magazine at a time when the journal had only 200 subscribers. If everyone shared their journal with a friend, that means a 400 person readership for Elliott. Compare that to a poem on the Poetry Foundation web site which received 8,000 hits and counting just last month by Franny Choi, "To the Man Who Shouted ''I Like Pork Fried Rice' at Me on the Street."

The participants at  our panel were a bit suspicious of all this blogging and Facebooking, rightly so. What's the point? one woman asked. What is the point of chatting with friends over coffee or staring out at the garden each morning? We want to connect with each other, to learn something new, to participate in this thing called life. As a fifty-something woman I've made peace with technology. Like any new invention, what matters is how we use it.

My first e-book has just been published by Two Sylvias Press and so Cloud Pharmacy now rightly exists in The Cloud. You can read it for free for a few minutes and then, poof! Or you can buy it along side the paperback for a couple of dollars. The world is changing so quickly and although I will never catch up, I do hope to follow slowly along. If you want to add links to this -- just leave me a comment!

Diverse, Cool Websites for Poet Types

1. Poetry Daily --- a poem every day; diverse poems.

2. Poetry Foundation --- most comprehensive poetry resource on the web.

3. Poets.Org relaunched site -- looks good and very new

4. Favorite Poem Project – Anybody sends in their favorite poem – and why.

5. The Human Journal  – based in Istanbul, I am the poetry editor

6. The Poet Speaks of Art --- site on ekphrastic art (poems and visual art)

7.  Linebreak  - online “journal” where the poem includes a recording

8.  “Forgetfulness” by Billy Collins  - Animated Poetry (528,372)

9. Women’s Poetry Listserv – Contemporary Women’s Poetry

10. Motion Poems --- poems turned into short films.