Saturday, December 01, 2007

Bloghopping + Best Books

Interested in reviewing? Like free books? As Tim Green's blog title puts it, "Write a Review, Save a Book or Two." Cool idea, saving books by appreciating/analyzing them.

Am I the only one who hates those "Best Books of the Year" lists that appear at holiday time? They all read like ads from the publishing establishment.

In other blogs, the ever excellent Fringe has a new issue up, and also a list of alternative Best Books on their blog. And you can vote! I'd vote, but my Best Book author never changes from year to year: Jane Austen. I do, however, liberally rotate the titles around to Best Book. This year's Best Austen is Northanger Abbey. Try it. You'd forgotten how clever and sly it is.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

On Putting Together a Poetry Manuscript

Poet and novelist Cheryl Snell invited me to meditate on this process at her blog, Shiva's Arms. Today my essay "Soft Landing" went up. As I reread it, it occurred to me (a) how kind it was of Cheryl to invite me to guest-blog and (b) what a tough subject so little written about this is.

I have one book on the topic, Ordering the Storm. I recommend it, although I find its essays uneven and sometimes maddeningly self-referential. Most pieces come down to the famous "laying all the poems out on the floor and picking them up in the right order" recipe for manuscript development. One or two dare to point out the obvious: screeners in contests probably only skim the first and last few poems of your manuscript. But after reading this, I wanted much more on the topic. So I wrote my essay, and now I'm looking for others. Do you know of any?

Karen Weyant has a discussion of the above book and the ms. creation process on her blog.

And here's an idea: a poetry collection -- on the assembling of a poetry collection. (Kidding! Sort of.)