‘Whale Sound’ hiatus

It’s been a terrific year at Whale Sound but it’s time to take a break. Going forward, we may occasionally solicit a poem for reading, but we will not be accepting submissions for the foreseeable future. Activity on this blog and on Facebook/Twitter activity will slow down as well.

A few highlights from the Whale Sound year:

- Whale Sound started up a year and one month ago in August 2010
– Published readings of poems by 212 poets
– Published 7 audio chapbooks in multiple formats – website, e-book, PDF and print – most of them free
– Coordinated and participated in 8 group readings
– Established Voice Alpha, a group blog focusing on the art of reading poetry aloud for an audience (I will continue to post here occasionally and hope my fellow contributors will do the same)
– Collaborated on two videopoem tryptich projects with film-maker Swoon – Night Vision and Propolis (the latter also with Kathy MacTavish)
– Established videpoetry channels on You Tube and Vimeo (videpoetry is an area that continues to fascinate us and we will continue to post at these channels)

Meanwhile, these are the 20 Whale Sound posts receiving the most listener clicks – check them out!

  1. If You Were A Bird‘ by Aditi Machado
  2. Infinity‘ by Tess Kincaid
  3. [a group of jellyfish is called a ‘smack.’ a group of lapwings is called a ‘deceit.’] by Chella Courington
  4. Something Brighter Than Pity‘ by Carolina Ebeid
  5. A Different Leaving‘ by Terresa Wellborn
  6. A Week Before You Die, You Are Singing’ by Erin Elizabeth Smith
  7. Sometimes I Still Dream About Their Pink Bodies‘ by Kelli Russell Agodon
  8. Lament‘ by Jill Alexander Essbaum
  9. The Trains‘ by Adele Kenny
  10. A Bigfoot Poem‘ by Dave Bonta
  11. Group reading: ‘The Slender Scent’ by James Robison
  12. Ode to Drunkenness and Other Criminal Activities‘ by Rebecca Loudon
  13. At Ruby’s Diner‘ by Sherry O’Keefe
  14. Sink or Float [quick fix witch]‘ by Juliet Cook
  15. How To Fall In Love‘ by Susan Elbe
  16. The Way Back‘ by Kathleen Kirk
  17. In Which Christina Imagines That Different Types Of Alcohol Are Men And She Is Seeing Them All‘ by Christina Olson
  18. For The Woman On The Boulevard‘ by Emma Trelles
  19. Group reading: ‘Acceptance is to her a phenomenon’ by Ann Bogle
  20. About a Fish‘ by Ana Božičević

New audio chapbook: ‘Abrupt Hybrids’ by Felino A. Soriano

Whale Sound Audio Chapbooks is delighted to announce the publication of Abrupt Hybrids by Felino Soriano. This is Whale Sound’s seventh audio chapbook and one that, like all those before it, was selected because it represented an opportunity to explore an aspect of reading cool poetry that was new and/or challenging to me.

As readers of this blog know, one of the reasons I started Whale Sound was to push my own boundaries and feel what it’s like to read all kinds of poetry. The first time I went way out of my comfort zone was with a poem submitted by Dave Tomaloff, who writes in the experimental vein. (I had a long conversation with David about poem-as-page and poem-as-voice here.) David then pointed me towards Felino Soriano’s work, and I solicited this poem of Felino’s for Whale Sound. Later on still, we featured one of Ann Bogle’s pieces as a group reading.

I don’t know how to technically characterize my experience of such poems as these – what I feel is an absence of that concrete (dare I say ‘emotionally guttural’..?) image-ruled poetry universe in which I was raised. In that universe, abstractions and ‘Latinate’ words are to be approached warily, if at all. In this, very different, universe it’s all about abstractions and Latinate words and it feels different – like language talking to itself but pulling all sorts of conceptions unsettlingly after it. The experience is more in one’s brain than in one’s senses but, paradoxically, reading these poems aloud, I feel much closer to words as words in themselves, than I do reading what are more ‘usual’ poems for me. Usually the connection with what the words represent is as strong, or stronger.

Anyhow, I don’t think I really can explain myself properly, so I’ll stop. I’d like to offer my warmest thanks to Felino, both for entrusting his work to me and for giving me the opportunity to feel and begin to think my way through experiencing poems such as those he writes – it’s been wonderful and eye-opening in many ways.

My favorite piece in this collection is most definitely Booker’s Garden. The title is the name of a track on the album Rabo de Nube by Charles Lloyd (you can hear a short clip here). Knowing Felino is a big jazz aficionado, I downloaded the album when I first started working with his poems and saw the reference to Charles Lloyd. I would have loved to have recorded the reading of the poem using the album as quiet aural backdrop, but copyright issues made that impossible. Instead, I recorded two MP3 versions of the whole chapbook – one without soundtrack and one using a lovely jazz piano improvisation by Serge Robinson, who has an amazing amount of work up at Jamendo. A big thank you to poet, painter and photographer Duane Locke for letting us use his work as cover art.

So do go take a look/listen at Abrupt Hybrids. As usual, it’s available as free downloadable web-based text & audio; as free downloadable ePUB version and in print version for sale at cost-price at Lulu’s.

‘Handmade Boats’ now in e-book and print


The very first Whale Sound Audio Chapbook was Heather Hummel’s Handmade Boats, published way back in November 2010 (you can read Heather’s and my process notes here).

At that time, I was focused setting up a publication as a website-with-text-and-audio. Adding free PDF download and free audio download seemed to make perfect sense and was easy to do. But it wasn’t until a couple of chapbooks later that I was comfortable enough with Lulu’s POD site to offer a print version and a CD version. We also offered a Lulu e-book version, but that was really just a fancy PDF download. It wasn’t until the 5th and 6th chapbooks that I was comfortable enough with Smashwords e-book publishing to offer an honest-to-God genuine ePUB download. (The Kindle – aka MOBI – version at Smashwords is still sub-par, unfortunately – it’s those hanging indents you can’t do, Kindle!)

We’ve come all that way since Handmade Boats was first published as website-text-audio-PDF-download, and, what with one thing and another, it’s only now that Heather and I have focused on packaging Handmade Boats as an as ePUB file and as a print edition. As usual, the e-version is free, and the print edition available at cost-price from Lulu ($4.98 plus shipping in this instance).

We had to look for new artwork for the e-book and print versions, since the website cover art had limited permission on it. We were thrilled when U.K. photographer Paul Hurst gave us permission to use his lovely work as cover art.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out this awesomely eerie video by Swoon. It’s made from ‘On Edward Hopper’s Automat‘, one of the Handmade Boats poems.

another advantage of multi-format publishing

Here’s yet another advantage of multi-format publishing, people. As readers of this blog know, I’m a huge fan of multi-format publishing, since it increases potential readership by allowing readers/listeners to choose their preferred method of poetry delivery (including whether to pay for it or not). For me, the backbone of each multi-format publication is a website containing the full text of the published book or chapbook, while additional options include audio, e-book and print book versions.

While I was away on vacation, and to my great delight, five video poems were made and two reviews written about/from either work published by Whale Sound Audio Chapbooks, or my own work. Once stated it is immediately obvious, but I confess I hadn’t articulated to myself the fact that while the e-book, audio and print versions of these different collections are static/one-off publications, the website is not, and may constantly morph to include reactions of readers and listeners and so gain in texture. It seems to me there are advantages to publishing any given work in *both* static and flexible formats.

So, while I am listing these items together below, I have also added them as links to the respective websites of the different publications, where they provide an additional dimension for readers of the websites. Yay for the book-as-website model!

Whale Sound Audio Chapbooks

From Handmade Boats by H.K. Hummel:
video based on the poem On Edward Hopper’s ‘Automat‘, by Marc Swoon Bildos Ney

From Threatening Weather by Howie Good:
video based on the poem An Armed Man Lurks In Ambush, by Marc Swoon Bildos Ney
video based on the poem The Stockholm Syndrome, by Marc Swoon Bildos Ney

Nic’s work

From Dark And Like A Web:
review of the chapbook by Nancy Devine, blogging at Nancy Devine.
review of the chapbook by Rachel Barenblat, blogging at Velveteen Rabbi. (For all reviews of Dark and Like A Web, click here.)
video based on the poem ‘On Being Constantly Civil Towards Death’, by Dave Bonta
video by Swoon on the poem ‘There are howling wolves’

From Forever Will End On Thursday:
video based on the poem homesteader, by Dave Bonta
video based on the poem the wanderers’ blessing, by Dave Bonta

e-publishing awesomeness!

I actually read the Smashwords style guide to the end and discovered you can de-activate any dud e-book versions you don’t want your book downloaded in at Smashwords. So I’ve disabled everything except EPUB, MOBI and PDF at the baobab girl Smashwords page. MOBI still needs a small format fix, but I think I now understand why the first-line indent happened.

All this makes me a very happy poetry publisher!!