Wednesday, January 26, 2005


A month or so from now, my book Femme au chapeau will be out. Dread is mixing with anticipation in about the ratio of gin to vermouth in a good martini. There's so much to do to support a book! It's truly frightening. First, there's compiling the mailing list. Then comes the dread prospective reviewers list. Then the chilling media contacts list. Actually, I'm inserting these links as notes to myself on resources. I've discovered a good reason to blog is just to keep track of your currently needed links.

The title poem, based on Matisse's painting at the San Francisco MOMA, has a lot of portrait poems in it. I was wrestling with an outline of things to include in a press release, and in so doing kind of reviewing my own book, and I noticed that it includes 8 poems on portraits -- almost all of women -- and 15 poems about art and artists, whether painting, music or writing. I'm glad that I picked one of the portrait poems as the title for this collection, so I can angle one version of the press release in that direction, and maybe send it to art reviewers as well as literary critics.

The process of marketing is so discouraging, even though it is my day job. It's so antithetical to the creative play- space. It makes poetry into packaged meat. And then there are the readings to set up. At first I hated it, but I'm getting to like reading in public. In the past year, I read at Primo's Poets and the Second Sunday series at Valona Deli in Crockett, where they also have jazz. I read as part of The Pedestal Magazine reading in San Francisco, along with poets like Ruth Daigon (lovely reader!) and Ilya Kaminsky. So the readings will be fun.

Self-promotion is the most peculiar thing. It's why people hire people like me to write their mailings and brochures, to devise promotional campaigns and plan their mailings. No one wants to have to do this for themselves, but increasingly authors are being asked by their publishers to take "an active role." But if you love your book, you will do anything for it. Am I right? Someone recently called me a "tireless self-promoter." I think he meant it as an insult. But I'm that far along the curve that I took it as an inadvertent compliment.

Anyone want to exchange book reviews? Write to me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Morning Blog

Unearthly flickers, like steam snaking
off the cup, new words stretch
their dancers' legs, impossible
angles all fluid yet geometric, as a horse
in the first stretch around the fogbound track.
All the way up to the balcony, ideas
limber up the way I once heard arias
rising from the steaming espresso machines
as they wheezed into production at seven,
when even the campanile hadn't yet penetrated
the haze. Morning thought
hasn't fully emerged, world compressed
in the unsaid machinery of so many cold
parts poking into word, stretching
toward the top note and you,
from the balcony, steam away
and around the first lap.