Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Terrapin Books News

Turtle slowly making its way to AWP
The first and only time I attended AWP was in 2007 when the conference was held in NYC. Though I had a good time, I didn’t think I’d ever go back. However, this year I was invited to be on a panel: "The Independent Press Anthology: Focusing, Editing, Organizing, Designing, Publishing, and Marketing," moderated by Lucille Lang Day, with Wendy Barker, Bryce Milligan, Claire Ortaldo, and me. Since I had recently begun Terrapin Books and had done our first anthology, The Doll Collection, I thought I might have a thing or two to say and also thought this seemed like a good opportunity to introduce the press to a larger group, so I said yes. I’ll be heading to the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Washington, DC, in February. The panel will be on Thursday from 4:30 - 5:45 PM.

Since I was already going to be there, I decided to book a table in the Book Fair. I’ll be sharing the space with Storyscape Journal. Having the table entitles Terrapin to hold book signings for its poets, so on Friday, I’ll be having signings for Christine Stewart-Nunez with Bluewords Greening, Jessica de Koninck with Cutting Room, and Patricia Clark whose book, The Canopy, will debut at the conference.

Then I also thought that as long as I was going to be there, I should also try to schedule a Terrapin reading. That was a significant challenge as I’m not at all familiar with the area. I contacted poet Kim Roberts, one of the poets in our anthology. She lives in DC and gave me a list of venues to try. They were all prohibitively expensive. One place on the list was the Methodist Church which seemed promising, but the person in charge of booking space was away. Weeks later Sandra Beasley and some other poets sent out a list of venues. I saw the Methodist Church listed so decided to try again. This time I got hold of the person in charge and was happy to learn that they had space and it wouldn’t put me in debtors’ prison.

So there will be a Terrapin Books reading on Thursday, 7:00 - 9:00 PM. The reading will include Christine Stewart-Nunez, Jessica de Koninck, and Patricia Clark, all reading from their Terrapin books. They will be followed by a group reading of close to twenty poets from The Doll Collection, each poet reading one poem. The poets scheduled to read include Meg Hurtado Bloom, Kim Bridgford, Jessica de Koninck, Roberta Feins, Kelly Fordon, Alice Friman, Richard Garcia, Meredith Davies Hadaway, Donna Hilbert, Christina Lovin, Jennifer Perrine, Susan Rich, Kim Roberts, Hayden Saunier, Enid Shomer, Elaine Terranova, J. C. Todd, and Kristin Zimet. Should be a fun, poetry-packed evening.

That’s going to be a very busy Thursday as I’ll be setting up the table and lugging in books in the morning, manning the table all day, doing the panel late afternoon, then hosting the reading in the evening—all in that one day.

Please come to the reading on Thursday evening! And stop by the Terrapin table. We'll be at table #525T. Stop by and say hello, especially on Friday around noon. All three poets will be doing their book signings on Friday.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Poetry Update

Since starting up Terrapin Books, my new small press for poetry books, I've been giving scant attention to my own poetry. The bulk of my time has been spent learning how to make the books happen, i.e., how to obtain the manuscripts, how to format a book, how to make a book cover—and a score of other tasks. But I've got the basics covered now, our first four books have been published and two more are underway, the original The Crafty Poet has been published in a revised edition by Terrapin, and the new The Crafty Poet II is out in the world. So I find myself with some free time! Time for poetry.

First an update on my own still new poetry collection, The Uneaten Carrots of Atonement.

Click Cover for Amazon
I've had several nice reviews to boast about.

Satire on the Menu
by Zara Raab  

Better View of the Moon
by Karen Craig 

Washington Independent Review of Books
by Grace Cavalieri, includes the poem "Your Blue Shirt" 

Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene
by David P. Miller

I was also interviewed about the book, about how it fits in with my earlier books, what my intentions were, and some craft issues.

The Schuylkill Valley Journal
by Adele Kenny

In September I drove up to Manchester, New Hampshire, to participate in The New Hampshire Poetry Festival organized by Jennifer Militello. I'd sent in a proposal to give a presentation about Terrapin Books, a kind of behind-the-scenes look at what's involved in beginning a new small press. The presentation was called "Terrapin Books: From Seed to First Fruit." The culmination was a group reading with poets from The Doll Collection, Terrapin's first publication, an anthology, the first-ever to focus on dolls. I had a great time!

In October I participated in the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, NJ. As a Dodge poet, I worked there on Thursday and Friday, hosting a few events. That's a great opportunity to hear some poets and do a bit of service for the poetry community. Friday was the most populated day as it was Student Day. Look at all these teenagers!

That's inside the Performing Arts Center. If the weather had been more cooperative, many of these kids would have been outside enjoying the food court, walking around, and sharing poetry. But trust me, they had a great time!

The highlight of the festival for me was reading on Saturday. I read in the beautiful Trinity & St Philips Cathedral, one of several festival locations. My co-readers were Robin Becker, Marty McConnell, Christian Campbell, and Aaron Smith. I last read at the 2006 festival, a whole decade ago. That time the venue was the Waterloo Village in Stanhope, NJ, a rural setting.

I was also happy to see that I sold a boatload of books in the B&N bookstore at the festival. Sold a bunch of my poetry collections and completely sold out of The Crafty Poet and The Crafty Poet II.

Here's a onesie I couldn't resist buying for my new granddaughter. Poet-in-training?

Now, of course, it's also time to pick up the pen and get back to writing new poems. I'm happy to say at least that these past few weeks have seen the completion of two poems that I started long ago—one 3 years ago and one maybe a year ago. That feels very good. I need more.

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