Prizewinning poet Peter M. Gordon, our August 1 Guest Blogger, offers five tips for marketing your poetry in the August 1 version of Late Last Night Books. His poems have appeared in Slipstream, 34th Parallel, the Provo Canyon Review, 5-2 Crime Poetry, Cultural Weekly, and several other magazines and websites. He’s President of the Orlando Area Poets and teaches in Full Sail University’s Film Production MFA program. His collection, Two Car Garage, was published by CHB Media and is available on Amazon.com and other bookselling sites.
When I was growing up, I wanted only two things in a future house: a swimming pool and a library. I never thought much about style, size, decor, or even location, location, location. I just wanted a pool so I could swim daily laps and a library like the one Professor Henry Higgins had in My Fair Lady.
06/04/15 – TO SAVE OR NOT TO SAVE?
My 83-year-old mother has always been a tosser, so it surprised me when she told me she had spent the past week reading her collection of old letters and short stories she had written in college. I was even more surprised when she offered to feed my hoarder habit by giving my grandparents’ love letters to me. She thought I might someday work them into a novel.
5/04/15 – THE RELUCTANT HEDGEHOG
“Too many books, too little time” is a truism that has plagued me for decades. It has forced me into the painful position of having to decide whether to be a fox or a hedgehog, either tasting a little of all the literary world has to offer, or focusing closely a small subset of it. For most of my life, the fox won out: there is simply too much to sample to dig myself into a hedgehog hole.
4/04/2015 – ENDINGS: MUSINGS ON STATION ELEVEN
As I pulled into the last paragraph of Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apocalyptic novel Station Eleven, I flipped to the last page to confirm I was nearing the end, trying to concentrate on every word and how it felt to read it because everything was about to change. I often play this game when nearing the end of an engrossing novel, superimposing my awareness of the impending close over the experience of still being in the story, doing whatever I can to prolong the moment and appreciate the incompletion. I know that yet another world is about to end for me, and I want to savor every remaining moment before I am shut out forever.
3/04/2015 – REIMAGINING THE MOMENT
I’ve just finished reading two novels that re-envision a few days out of history, one about a famous battle, the other an obscure murder. Both novels include meticulously researched historical details, stretched here and there to fit the arc of a story and perhaps highlight a deeper truth, but still leaving readers with a fresh sense of worlds long vanished. More than that, though, both novels reminded me of the infinite richness in the smallness, shortest of moments, something all writers should remember.
2/04/2014 – ON ADDING TO THE WORLD’S BABBLE
It is easy to throw words down on the page. But how much more difficult it is to choose which of these words are worth keeping, worth sculpting, worth sharing.
1/04/2015 – LOST – AND FOUND – IN TRANSLATION
One of the great joys of literature is a chance to enter the world of another person, particularly one who would otherwise be completely inaccessible. So I was excited about reading Lady Murasaki’s classic novel The Tale of Genji, and immersing myself in the world of high courtiers during early 11th century Japan. Instead I ended up wondering if I should simply stop reading anything translated from another language.
In The Jane Austen Persuasion, I wondered how Jane Austen could be widely idolized by so many readers and yet at the same time dismissed, even despised, by other equally thoughtful, literate people. So I was delighted to have a chance to interview Sandy Ward Bell. As the author of Parked at the Mansfields’, a modern twist on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, I figured she could shed considerable light on this question, and I wasn’t disappointed.
11-04-14 – THE SHAME OF BOOK HAWKING
Running a booth at the Baltimore Book Festival last month taught me a hard truth: not only do I not write the kind of novels you can sell on the street, but I don’t have it in me to pretend that I do.
Serial novelist Pallas Snider Ziporyn (who, full disclosure, also happens to be my daughter) tells all about the trials and tribulations of “playing the indie publishing game” and trying to make her book free on Amazon.
10/04/14 – INTERVIEW WITH THE ANNAPOLIS BOOKSTORE’S JANICE HOLMES
We so often hear that the age of independent bookstores is over. With the rise of Amazon and other online sellers, we have even seen the fall of the very chains that were supposed to be putting small-town, independent bookstores out of business – putting the future of all physical bookstores, independent or otherwise, into question.
9/4/14 – A BREAK FROM READING NOVELS – BAD MISTAKE!
I have to take long breaks between writing novels. This summer, though, I went a month without reading one. Don’t let me do that again.
8/4/14 – THE JANE AUSTEN PERSUASION
When I told my adult daughters and son-in-law I’d be reading Jane Austen’s Persuasion for book club, all three pulled disgust faces. “Why?” groaned my older daughter, a Harvard graduate. “I couldn’t even finish Pride and Prejudice,” said my son-in-law, who had reveled in Plato and Cervantes and the rest of St. John’s Great Books curriculum. My younger daughter, another product of a Great Books curriculum, recalled that Harold Bloom had a reputation for droning on about Persuasion for reasons she was unable to fathom.
Ever since she sat beside me in 11th grade English class, I suspected that Judith Frank had something to tell the world – and the writing chops to tell it. Over the years Judy confirmed my suspicions repeatedly, winning prizes for her poignant poetry even back in high school and going on to become an author of both scholarly works and prize-winning fiction. If I had any lingering doubt, her new novel All I Love and Know, has shattered it.
6/4/14 – MAKING TIME FOR SERENDIPITY
Inexplicably, I found A.S.A. Harrison’s novel The Silent Wife, on my nightstand. Where did this book come from? Did my mother leave it for me? Did I buy it for a book club meeting I couldn’t attend and abandon it? I had no clue, but I picked it up and started reading.
5/4/14 – MY BURDENS, MYSELF: WHY I CAN’T GIVE AWAY BOOKS
My daughter is giving away her books. I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach.
4/4/14 – IN PRAISE OF THE LONG NOVEL
Pundits have it that the age of the long, rambling novel is over. Having just read two super long books with book clubs that couldn’t get enough of them, I beg to differ.
3/4/14 – REVIEW: THE DEATH LOTTERY BY GERALD M. WEINBERG
Full disclosure: I love books about serial killers. So I was destined to love The Death Lottery, Gerald M. Weinberg’s new novel about a serial killer randomly terrorizing Manhattan and a team of math geniuses determined to find a method to the madness.