Home-Schooled By a Cackling Jackal
2004 - 2009
Thursday, November 30, 2006
I Love Surprises!
Susana Gardner writes an awesome review of The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel in the brand new and mammoth edition of Galatea Resurrects. Tons of great readings.
"I think it would be interesting to have a booth at the next AWP: “POD or NOT?” I am wagering most readers would not be able to identify which new books were published via POD as they are essentially the same if not better looking, depending on the press and editor. A huge wave, a revolution, if you will, is occurring. All of those unemployed or underemployed/underpaid writers with MFAs who also gained typesetting experience at the press of their Alma Mater are taking off, no holds barred, experimentally perhaps as the writing which they hope to publish."
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Trying to get my house/life ready for the release party and reading tour. If you're in the DC area and want to attend the party, back channel and I'll send you the info.
Had two dreams about the party. The first one, nobody showed up, not even PF or Bruce. The second one, people showed, but I had no books or food or anything to drink. Spent the evening explaining and apologizing. Guess I have some anxiety although I'm not conscious of it.
What I am conscious of is that my house is a mess and the floors need a serious scrubbing. But I did buy some book displayers to stand some copies upright, you know, for that professional look that tells folks I'm making an effort.
This week I've been a little self-conscious of being perceived as the crazy lady publishing out of her attic. Not that such a perception is so far off. First there was the bookstore placing an order and wanted a fax number (need to bite the bullet and get one of those Internet fax deals, ugh, faxing seems so 20th century). Then she wanted to pay via credit card (sans Pay Pal). I asked for a check, but she needed the books right away and couldn't get a check out until next week. No problem, I said, I'll ship them today. I trust I'll get the check. She thought that was awfully kind. Didn't bother mentioning that her 10 book order was my second largest order to date and that qualified her for premiere customer status. Oh and when the buyer called she thought she had the wrong number since I just answered "hello" because NTB's number is my cell and I thought it was just my usual 12:00 heavy breather. I explained NTB is a very new press and it was just me in a room in my house and she was like Oh wow.
Today I received good news that one of NTB's chapbooks will be reviewed in a regional style magazine (with a circulation of 100,000 -- woo-hoo), but became worried the editor was going to change her mind after she couldn't find the title on Amazon. I explained that it was a chapbook and how they generally don't have ISBNs but it could be purchased online, and how chapbooks are great for general and new readers to poetry because they're shorter and less intimidating, an inexpensive introduction, etc. etc. The editor responded positively so all seems well and good. I shouldn't be defensive, there's nothing to be defensive about. But when dealing with people who aren't poets, people with expectations of how bigger publishing houses are run, sometimes I get a little squeak!
Writing a big holiday shopping guide for The Happy Booker. Hope to finish it tomorrow or Thursday. Pushing for tomorrow.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I tried for the Deb & Reb Spanking Show, but somebody was all like "we're people's mothers" and wasn't having any of it. Oh well, D.C.'s loss!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Where I'll Be Tonight
Listening to Amy King, Harriet Levin and Deborah Ager take it off for the last Burlesque Poetry Hour of 2006.
This Week at No Tell
Cheryl Pallant is miles from home and left her mind on broil this week at No Tell Motel.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Williamson on Covey
Dustin Williamson reviews Bruce Covey's Elapsing Speedway Organism.
"ESO, not to be confused w/ ELO, is the kind of poetry book that reminds you that the New York School style still has a reason to be pursued. And I don’t mean the John Ashbery by way of James Tate elliptical mess that young MFA’d poets produce because they don’t want to take the time to edit, but rather the “poem showing its structure on its sleeve” style of Kenneth Koch or early Ron Padgett. Many of the poems in ESO will remind you of exercises or games, but it would be silly for you to write them off as such. I admit to being totally wary when I came across an early poem in the collection titled “Odds” that uses the overt and seemingly insurmountable conceit of listing the odds of certain events or people. A typical stanza in “Odds” is a list of related items, either by category (such as types of candy) or associated things (like names with “George” in them) with their odds in descending probability. There is no context for the odds other than what the relations in the stanzas provide. This would appear to be a tiresome structure to a poem, especially over two pages; however, Covey pulls it off w/ typical NYS aplomb."
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Discreet Holiday Shopping: We Won't Tell!
Get all the following No Tell Books titles for the low price of $45 (plus postage):
The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel edited by Reb Livingston & Molly Arden
Elapsing Speedway Organism by Bruce Covey
The Attention Lesson by PF Potvin
Navigate, Amelia Earhart's Letters Home by Rebecca Loudon
Subscription orders placed by December 15, 2006 are guaranteed to arrive by Christmas.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Gideon is thankful for his new laptop.
Shhh, don't tell him that it's really old and can be purchased on eBay for $9.
And I'm thankful that perhaps this will spare my laptop an untimely and unfortunate accident.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
via Slant Truth (cause I want him to keep his B-list status -- and hold open the back door and get me into a really cool party)
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Next Week at the Burlesque Poetry Hour
Amy King, Harriet Levin and Deborah Ager are the last readers for 2006.
No Tell Motel Announces Its Pushcart Nominations
Check out Jill Alexander Essbaum's poems at 42opus.
Monday, November 20, 2006
In case you haven't been to the other Rebecca's blog, you know, the author of Navigate, Amelia Earhart's Letters Home, now might be a good time to pop over. Free booze.
She's having a hot year, her collection Radish King from Ravenna Press has been nominated for a Pulitzer.
I recently received my copy -- and what I've read so far is outstanding. Not that I expected any less.
This Week at No Tell
Elisa Gabbert is on the verge of snapping gloriously like Achilles' tendons this week at No Tell Motel.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
A Willingness to Kiss
As a poetry publisher, I would kill (originally mistyped "kiss" -- a more likely scenerio) for these pre-nomination sales numbers of the National Book Award fiction titles. That aside, it goes to show that a great deal of "literary" publishing (not JUST poetry) is dealing with very small sales numbers. Fiction has what is called the ever-shrinking mid-list that bigger publishers handle less and less to instead focus their capital and energy on offensive, repugnant "let's just pretend that I did hack my ex-wife and lover" and "I've done nothing, have nothing to say, I've never even read a book, but I'm really rich and thin and the tabloids love me" books they gamble will sell a lot of copies. Such is capitalism. I accept it. And I point this out to my Libertarian uncle who is always complaining about how there's no decent popular music being made these days. Sure there is -- but he's listening to the radio and that's not where it's being played.
So I acknowledge capitalism, in the sense I know it, is not particularly good for art, or perhaps more the selection and distribution. I also don't think it's a good model for running a government or university.
That doesn't mean I don't value fiscal responsibility and ingenuity. I do. Very much.
And I can see that many great inventions and products that make our lives better and easier had their impetus in people or companies seeing a demand and figuring if they fill that demand they could make a lot of money.
But when we're talking about governing or educating or making art -- making money should not be a primary focus (which is not the same as spending wisely or taking an opportunity to acquire needed funds). We're seeing what's happening to our country since it's been "run as a business" by a commander-in-chief whose initial campaign was that he was going to be the the country's CEO. I cringe everytime I receive my alumni newsletter since the new university CEO, er president has taken over. Yeah, he's making a TON of money for the college and trust me, it SHOWS. So much that I don't bother with my yearly alumni donation anymore. And yes, I'm the family CFO and I could definitely run a tighter a ship to maximize our funds better, but there would be other costs, more important non-financial costs. I didn't get married, have a child so I could become become powerful and wealthy. For the most part. I do get off on saying Cause I'm the mom and I AM the boss of you!
That doesn't mean if I become fiscally irresponsible we'd still be just as happy living in a homeless shelter. I'm quite sure we would not and my check writing days would cease. And while there is the implication (and studies to show) that getting a degree increases opportunities and earning power, I went to college to get an EDUCATION that I beleive has many additional benefits than earning power.
And yes, a wealthy, powerful government can do a lot more for it's people, but it has to have the people in mind . . .
I'm really rambling, but back to poetry making and publishing.
Last month I was on the train coming back from a NYC reading. I was talking to a gentleman who worked in the entertainment industry, knew a screenwriter who also wrote poetry. We talked about No Tell Books, my goals, how I managed to do it and after all that, he still said, "Have you considered publishing a celebrity's poetry book? Those sales could fund all of your other books."
Ugh -- nothing I said made any impression on him, we were looking at it completely differently.
Aside from the fact that I could never come up with a celebrity-level advance, that completely defeats what I'm trying to do with No Tell Books. Sure, I could try to create a massive cash-cow that I knew was crap in hopes of generating nutty sales, but then I'd be spending the majority of my energy on that -- and not on what I supposedly care about: the books I love and believe should be in print. The goal of the press.
I don't want to spend any energy on tacky books. There are already plenty who do and God bless them, they don't need my help.
Do we lack "ambition" if it's not put towards making money or acquiring power? Are we foolish for not "half-way" selling out for the "greater good?"
Would I publish a book, a book I really loved, if the author upfront told me he wasn't going to promote it all, do any readings or anything to help get the word out?
I need to sell books to continue publishing, not thousands per title although yes, I'm willing to kiss for those kinds of sales. Poetry books don't magically sell themselves.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
You scored 54 Demeanour, 59 Debauchery, 54 Traditionalism, and 80 Expression!
Man! Do you love to party or what! If it's not fun, you probably haven't done it in a while. But that doesn't mean you're not serious about some things. You are a person with deep passions and a respect for beauty and craft. The world is a better place for having you in it. Too bad you won't be around that long. Drink up! You're masterpiece is "Under Milkwood".
|Link: The Which Famous Poet Are You Test|
Monday, November 13, 2006
This Week at No Tell
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Jen Knox Interview
"This is no big revelation, but funny, dirty poems--which account for about one-third of the book--aren't well accepted by academic presses. I've actually had people tell me they don't like funny poems. Period. It's weird to me, but it's not a rare opinion. My thesis advisor at NYU told me that no contest judge would ever go out on a limb for me--that no one would risk their professional reputation on poems that were profane, scatological, and blasphemous. He was absolutely right. But still I kept trying the contest route.
I thought I was cleverly "tailoring" the manuscript to fit the tastes of the different presses. I would take out all the really dirty, funny poems for things like the Three Lesbians Press First Annual Global Anti-Torture First Book Award. Over time, the manuscript became more and more anemic. . . .
. . . Now I know I wasn't really hiding my hot ass from judges at Three Lesbians Press, or the Harpoon Prize Southern Alaska Community College Northeast. Those presses all knew a hot ass was hiding in there, and they didn't want it hanging out of their catalog. You can't hide the shape of your soul, or lack of it."
Friday, November 10, 2006
A month ago I found a pair of boots I liked, they were very pricey, so I did what I always do and waited for the sale. Usually this results in the store no longer having my size come sale time or my opinion changes after trying them on. But yesterday was different, the boots went on sale (that very day), my size was available and I liked them on. Got the boots 40% off plus an additional 20% (cause the salesman found me so adorable).
This is my first pair of flat boots (aside from snow boots) since childhood, but as a busy mom -- yeah yeah, all my beautiful stilt-like shoes aren't getting much use these days. I would prefer heels, but I need something I can wear while whisking away a 30 pound sack-like creature pitching his obligatory public fit.
Let it stand on record I am pro-comfortable shoes, despite my visual aesthetic preferences.
But that does not excuse one of the latest boot fashion trends that has been around for several years and shows no sign of waning. Yep, that's right, I'm talking about UGGs -- and the name describes it perfectly, UGH! These unattractive, shapeless, hunks of blah on way too many women's feet are not flattering. They're about as cute as overalls, meaning if you're over the age of 10 and you're not doing farm work (or in the outback throwing shrimps on the barbie), you look ridiculous.
What I'm saying is this: I don't care how warm or comfortable UGGs are, I don't care if Jackie O pulls herself out of her grave for the sole purpose of donning a pair -- you won't ever find those monstrosities on my feet.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
From Betsy Wheeler:
Pilot is an online magazine of poetry and poetics, with an affinity for collaboration. Issue #1 features poems by Cynthia Arrieu-King; Heather Christle; Adam Clay; Paula Cisewski; Kathy Fagan; Sean Flanigan; Ron Klassnik; Alex Phillips; David Rivard; Andrew Michael Roberts; Anthony Robinson; Jeremy Schmall; Zachary Schomburg; Lori Shine; collaborations by Karla Kelsey & Peter Yumi; Friedrich Kerksieck & Aaron James McNally; as well as an interview on collaboration with Joshua Beckman & Matthew Rohrer.
Pilot Books publishes affordable, handmade chapbooks and broadsides in small editions. For season #1 we are proud to present three titles:
_Cruel, Yes, but Company_, a collection of postcards by Friedrich Kerksieck and Aaron James McNally; _Brief Weather & I Guess a Sort of Vision_, a chapbook by Anthony Robinson; and "Coming Down in White," a broadside by Lori Shine. A $30 subscription gets you copies of every chap and side for a year!
Check out the books site for more info on these, as well as to see what books we have lined up for season #2:
Only When Dealing with Poets
Tonight I started opening and recording the big pile of Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel - 2nd Floor contracts accumulating on my desk.
One contributor kindly included 2 condoms promoting one of her press' new titles. Unforunately, one of the packages broke in the envelope and now there's lube all over the contract and my fingers.
Well, that's what I get for publishing the sexy people.
Adam's Books Grand Opening Party
From Adam Tobin:
If you haven't visited the store recently, you might be surprised at how grand it has become. The shelves are full. The books are sorted and alphabetized. There are soft, comfortable chairs. There are more and better and grander books than ever before.
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 12: all afternoon and evening, from 12 to 10 pm, the GRAND OPENING party to celebrate ADAM'S BOOKS. There will be balloons.
Also: short readings by several of the neighborhood's finest writers. (See below for schedule.)
You can dance if you want to. This will be a party.
ADAM'S BOOKS is located at 456 Bergen St., between 5th Avenue and Flatbush.
That's north Park Slope, Brooklyn, just around the corner from the Atlantic Yards landgrab.
Steps from the 2,3 Bergen St. subway; a short walk from the MNQBRW2345 Atlantic Ave subway hub.
12 pm – 3 pm: COFFEE & MUFFINS
12:00 – 1:00 : Rick Pernod, Andrea Baker, Bronwen Tate
1:00 – 2:00 : Jenn Guitart, Tisa Bryant, Lynn Xu
2:00 – 3:00 : Christopher Myers, Erika Howsare, Jackie Delamatre
3 pm – 6 pm: BEER & PRETZELS
3:00 – 4:00 : Will Hubbard, Jess DeCourcy Hinds, Amber West
4:00 – 5:00 : Eve Packer, Holly Tavel, Fred Schmalz
5:00 – 6:00 : Mac Wellman, Erin Courtney, Scott Adkins, Jonathan Ceniceroz
6 pm – 10 pm: WINE & CHEESE
6:00 – 7:00 : Anika Haynes, Gareth Lee, Brenda Iijima
7:00 – 8:00 : Luisa Giugliano, Jennifer Hayashida, Christopher Stackhouse
8:00 – 9:00 : Bonnie Emerick, Amy King, Adam Tobin
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Your Red State Update
Just got back from standing in line with my freedom-hating, fit-pitching son. I asked him if he wanted the terrorists to win and explained how mommy wasn't a cut and runner and she'd be staying the course until she got her chance to vote.
Everyone loved us, wanted us to stick around and vote all day long, I think. Went at 11 a.m., hoping I'd miss the long wait, but didn't. Well, it might not really have been that long, might have only felt like it with the agony of democracy nipping at my ankles.
Other Reston celebrities (aside from Gideon) seen in line: Robert E. Smith, the town founder (yeah, our town founder is still alive).
Big turn-out in my precinct, 25% voted by 9 a.m.
Monday, November 06, 2006
This Week at No Tell
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Ah, but POD has no returns!
Mr. [Viggo] Mortensen, 48, says he learned about publishing from practical experience. He has seen what happens when small presses are bought by bigger publishers and then lose control of the decision-making process. He has also experimented with using a distributor for Perceval’s products, which include CDs and T-shirts as well as books.
“We had a distributor,” he said. “And it’s kind of become like the movies, where they’ll say, O.K., Barnes & Noble will take X amount. They put the books out, and then they get sent to the back of the store if they don’t sell. If it doesn’t do very well, boom, then you’re out. Plus you’re paying a lot just to get them in the store.” Perceval is now back to distributing its own books.
Above NY Times article found via POD-DY Mouth:
"And why, for the love of rocks, does the NY Times tout Viggo's literary attempts as Indie when the rest of the self-published world is viewed as vanity (or worse)?"