Friday, November 05, 2010

Reading and Bloghopping

Reading C.K. Williams luminous book On Whitman. Few seem to get the spirituality of Whitman, the layered use of the first person, stretching from the earthly to the divine, but Williams does. Of course, his own work has a layered, luminously spiritual quality that balances, as Whitman's does, the divine with the quotidian.

Also reading the fascinating and poetic novel Tinkers, and wondering how someone got a first novel so short published. It's only 191 pages. Excellence in the writing, I suppose, is the answer, though I'm skeptical that New York editors these days would even notice that dimension in a book. Color me jaundiced by my own adventures with agents and publishers and efforts to get a book accepted.

One of the pleasures of "friending" writers and poets on Facebook is discovering and connecting to their blogs, for fascinating reading such as Nic Sebastien's Very Like a Whale and Diane Lockward's Blogalicious. Ah, too much to read, too little time to read it all!


  1. Hi Rachel--yes, when I was up at Tomales Bay Writers Workshop recently, it came up a couple of times that Tinkers was NOT published by a traditional house--it's from Bellevue Literary Press--and yet it won big prizes and received a lot of notice. People seemed to feel quite optimistic about it, and eager to take it as a sign that smaller publishers, new formats, and new models like POD finally are coming into their own.

  2. Chris -- Interesting that this book is a topic of discussion as an example of new trends. I was just invited to submit for an e-anthology of poetry sponsored by a print publisher. I think the fact that e-Readers are surging in popularity is going to drive publishing to invent new forms. As I finished my paperback version of Tinkers today, I was thoughtful about the quiet and slowness of turning pages. And yet my avid reader friends who own Kindles and such are fanatics about them.

    I never have understood why POD was discredited as a new form of publishing. With poets and literary authors deploring the lack of niche marketing in publishing, why wouldn't they want POD publishing to thrive so an author doesn't have to sell 10,000 copies just to get a second book contract.