Sunday, November 05, 2006

Linky bits

Nice article on Marge Piercy (who has just put out a new book of poetry) in this week's Provincetown Banner. I've felt that her last few volumes would have benefited from a heavier editing hand, but Piercy was a huge influence on me once upon a time so I continue to watch what she does with interest. Plus, she's a cat person.

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Sounds like William Styron lived much as I think I would like to, if I didn't have to have a job and stuff. From the New York Times' lengthy obituary:
... it was an unconventional routine he stuck to: sleep until noon; read and think in bed for another hour or so; lunch with Rose around 1:30; run errands, deal with the mail, listen to music, daydream and generally ease into work until 4. Then up to the workroom to write for four hours, perfecting each paragraph until 200 or 300 words are completed; have cocktails and dinner with the family and friends at 8 or 9; and stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning, drinking and reading and smoking and listening to music.
Honestly? That sounds perfect to me. Except for the smoking part. Doesn't mesh so well with the part where I have to work from 8 to 5 most days, but even if you're never going to get to live that way, I think it's always a good exercise to imagine your ideal life. I can imagine a lot of ideal lives, actually -- none of them perfect. But they all have writing at their center. And none of them involve being a morning person. Funny, that.

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Boutiques and other non-book retailers are now displaying and selling books as lifestyle accessories. I find this about equally funny, frightening, and oddly appealing.

Hell, if putting a margarita-and-sangria-colored cover on my book (er, if I had a book, that is) would get it into the hands of a few people who might not otherwise buy it, and if some of those people would actually read the thing -- I'm all in favor. Perhaps poetry publishers need to get on this trend, hm?

When I started a writing group many years ago, I put up flyers in bookstores, in the library, in laundromats. Which flyer brought me the most calls? Yep, the one from the laundromat. And the people who called me turned out to be good writers, too. Because even good writers do laundry sometimes. And even good readers go shopping in places other than bookstores, so why not sneak in a few books?

What do y'all think? Ignoring for the moment the fact that these venues would be more likely to stock "lowest common denominator" titles (kind of like what Starbucks has started selling, I guess) --if someone bought your book in a gas station or a trendy clothing store, would you feel weird about it?

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I put a search box over on the right-hand side of this here bloggity blog. You can use it to look up books and see if they're available at a library near you. Of course, you can also use it to plug in an author or a title and get bibliographic details: publisher, ISBN, sometimes the table of contents. I don't know how useful it will be for anyone, but what the heck -- I'm a library geek so I oughta act like one.

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Still toying with the idea of going to AWP. If I do, who's gonna buy me a drink? *grin*


Collin said...

What's your poison? :)

Lyle Daggett said...

Likewise for me about Marge Piercy. I read her much many many years ago (1970's), at that time her work was very important to me. Her poetry, and the novels from back then -- her early novel, Going Down Fast (about community organizers and neighborhood residents in Chicago trying to stop a university from tearing down affordable housing to expand the campus), was the first novel I read that had characters in it that reminded me of people I actually knew.

I heard Piercy read once in Minneapolis, it was shortly before the publication of her book of poems Living in the Open, and she was great. Went also to a couple of question/answer/talk sessions with her and found her very open and forthcoming, willing to engage pretty much any kind of question from anybody.

Her writing (poetry or prose) in more recent years hasn't reached me as much, feels at times too slack. But I still go back and read her early work from time to time.

The notion of trying to sell poetry books in unventional places is an interesting one -- and it wouldn't bother me a bit if somebody bought one of my books in a gas station or bowling alley or whatever. In Minneapolis there's a bowling alley that features live theater performances (mostly avant-garde-flavored experimental work) -- in an annex to the actual bowling alley (not in the same room where the bowling is, which would get a little noisy). They've been at it for a number of years. And a poet friend of mine here was for a little while, several years back, hosting a poetry open mike once a week at the laundromat where she did her laundry.

It might make an interesting game -- guessing which poet would have books selling at which place? Billy Collins at TGI Friday's? Jorie Graham at Victoria's Secret?

And thanks for the link to WorldCat -- I hadn't known about it before. I put a link to it in my blog.

Pamela said...

Anne, name it--I'll buy. I'm going to AWP, if I can juggle work, teaching and school substitutes.

Radish King said...

I'll buy you a drink if you come to Seattle. I'd rather poke my eyes out with a fork than attend AWP.

LitByFire said...

I would also rather poke Rebecca's eyes out with a fork than go to AWP-- n0 wait, that sounds hostile. I mean to say no harm to Rebecca, only that I won'to go to AWP but I am also a coward.
Love what you have but make it strange, make it strange...

LitByFire said...

But I'll buy you a drink, maybe in Provincetown someday.

Anne said...

People. PEOPLE. There will be no poking out of eyes on this blog.

I now have this image of flying around the country just to drink with various people. I'll add it to my "when I win the lottery" list. ;)

Looking at the AWP schedule, I think y'all are gonna have to buy me coffee, is what y'all are gonna have to buy me. I don't see "afternoon nap for the weary middle-aged poet" on that grid anywhere!