review of ‘Forever Will End On Thursday’

Forever Will End On Thursday is reviewed at Verse Wisconsin by Sherry Chandler.

Frabjous! Very appreciative of the care and thought Sherry put into the review and particularly love that she focused on the multi-format nature of the collection – specifically, collection-as-paper vs collection-as-sound, and the fact that the poem-as-page is a different animal from the poem-as-voice.

Sherry writes: “The overlapping experiences of the two modes [reading & listening] served to illustrate how very different it is to see a poem and to hear a poem. My eye saw the strangeness in the verse; her voice enhanced the musicality of the lines. It’s not the same poem on the page that it is in the ear.”

Go read the whole thing and check out the rest of the riches (a great selection of poems, book reviews and essays) in this terrific issue of Verse Wisconsin.

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

‘Poetry Book Contests Should be Abolished’ & other matters

O ye oppressed contest-submitters of the MFA world, throw away your shackles and start your own collective with like-minded friends, publish poetry you want to immortalize you, not poetry with the maximum chance of pleasing screeners and judges! Start your own press! If nothing else, write on scrap paper and share it with your wife and dog, but don’t dilute your work to win contests!

From a HuffPo article by Anis Shivani entitled Poetry Book Contests Should be Abolished: Why Contests Are the Stupidest Way to Publish First Books. If you agree with Shivani and are looking to publish a first collection, try the nanopress model!

In other news, three nice things happened for me this past week:

1. Michael Wells wrote a very nice blog post about Forever Will End On Thursday. Thank-you, Michael!

2. YB issue 4 came out, including one of my Bad-Ass Mom poems (I have to write more of those) and my review of Ren Powell’s Mercy Island. A wonderful issue from editors Rose Hunter and Sherry O’Keefe – thanks for your work and the opportunity, guys!

3. I had a guest post at Marly Youman’s Palace at 2am blog – all about nanopress publishing, with some good discussion in the comments. Thanks, Marly – love your House of Words series!


Here’s a kind and thoughtful review of Forever Will End On Thursday from Peter Stephens. As I said about the last review of the collection: “it’s wonderful, it feels tender and respectful – and nourishing – when someone pauses in their life to make a moment of stillness and focus centered on your poems, gathers their thoughts on the poems, and writes them down.”

Beyond that, there are two things I especially like about Peter’s review. One is that he makes connections, as they present themselves to his mind, between my work and others’ work. It’s not really important for the purpose of marking this feeling to whom, or how, these connections are made. Just the fact of connections is very good. It’s a nice and new (for me) feeling to be ‘situated’ like that – as part of a tapestry, a stream, a wholeness, a poemy aural bigness.

Which sort of contradicts the second thing I especially like about Peter’s review, which is a lonelier and more separate thing, but – I don’t know – just as whole, too. Which is where he says:

There’s a longing to connect inherent in the act of creation, but it can’t come on the cheap. Poetry that fails to take risks or that papers over the inherently difficult relationship between author and reader is rarely worth reading. I don’t expect those issues to underlie a newspaper article, but I love it when I feel it in poetry. I want to feel in poetry a kind of existential tug, a sense that the writer is on her own, the poem is on its own, and I’m on my own, too. Only then can the three of us work to build real bridges.

Here is a a Peter poem at Whale Sound and there is also where Dave Bonta made it into a video poem. You can also hear Peter reading someone else’s poem in this Whale Sound group reading.


A review of Forever Will End On Thursday!

Note that Dave Bonta is reviewing a book a day for April. Those of you who have written thoughtful poetry book reviews know how much intellectual and emotional energy it takes to put together just one review, let alone one a day.

And those of you who have had reviews written about your collections know how much it means to have someone focus on, weigh, and carefully articulate their thoughts on your poems – whether they like them or have doubts about them, whether they are seasoned critics or not.

We’re in a lonely business, us poets, and although we do much general cheering on of each other, much of it is inevitably on principal, in the team spirit, driven by the conviction that putting in to the community is as important as taking from it.

We don’t often stop and stare at each other’s work, really look at it. So it’s wonderful, it feels tender and respectful – and nourishing – when someone pauses in their life to make a moment of stillness and focus centered on your poems, gathers their thoughts on the poems, and writes them down. And it seems to generate a particular kind of affirmative energy in the recipient, an energy that is thoughtful and reproductive, qualitatively different from run-of-the-mill self-promotion energy and from general rah-rah-team energy and more useful, I would argue, to poetry.

So huge kudos to Dave Bonta for his heroic undertaking this month! And while you’re giving those, do us all a favor and write a poetry review!

Those of you who are on Goodreads might enjoy the Poetry Readers Challenge, masterminded by Sarah Sloat, which challenges members to a) Read at least 20 poetry books a year and b) Review the books. Without sarcasm. Re-read, recommend, try a poet you’ve never heard of.

Forever Will End On Thursday – stats for first five days

Just reviewed stats at the Forever Will End On Thursday website and at Lulu & Smashwords, five days after launch. In addition to 955 overall views at the website, this is what I find:

ebook downloads – 25
PDF downloads – 16
print purchases – 6
MP3 downloads – 2
CD purchase – 1

Of course there is no way to tell whether obtaining the collection = actually reading the whole collection or even part of it, but still, the evidence indicates that 50 people have obtained the collection since it launched five days ago on March 21, presumably with the intention of reading it or listening to it.

I like those numbers, and I like even more the fact that they result from the ‘how do you like your poetry served?‘ publication package & philosophy we used for the collection, which specifically recognizes that different people like to read or hear their poetry in different forms, and that delivering the poetry in several different forms maximizes its overall chances of being read or heard. I’m particularly pleased at the e-book numbers – it was a lot of hard work and trial & error to get the e-book formats to a satisfactory level of quality, and am now so glad of that investment.

Warmest thanks to all of you who have taken the trouble to obtain a copy of Forever Will End On Thursday, in whichever form you chose….

Lordly Dish Nanopress gives birth

It’s been two years and seven months in the making. So pleased and proud to announce my first collection, Forever Will End On Thursday edited by Jill Alexander Essbaum and published by Lordly Dish Nanopress, our purpose-formed, single publication nanopress. Process notes here.

This is about encouraging each other to find creative and credible new ways to get the work of more dedicated poets out past existing publication bottle-necks, while still applying credible ‘quality control’ measures. I hope other poets and one-time editors will adopt the nanopress paradigm. I hope that others still will develop ever more creative publishing paradigms for the benefit of us.

A huge toast and much love to Jill Alexander Essbaum, without whom, none of this. Thank-you!!