Sunday, February 17, 2019

What is a failed haiku?

Pat Daharsh lives in Florida and writes haiku. Recently she submitted another form of short poetry,  Senryū  to  

The editor liked her poems and published five of them. Pat says, "It’s an ‘acquired taste’ for some. I don’t write a lot of it, but now and then I realize that’s what I’ve written instead of haiku – and occasionally I write one or two on purpose." 

Senryū is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction. Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. 
This Editor says furtherMany years ago, at a haiku meeting, someone asked me what my definition of a senryu was, and I said: “It is just a failed haiku is all.” It was a flip answer, not particularly literary, but I have grown to like it for both its brevity and its lack of preciseness, both of which fit the spirit of senryu perfectly.”

bruised sky -
the lab tech searches
for a vein

the road less traveled

laundry day
grey sheets of rain

workday morning
the burnt toast odor
hitches a ride

always polite
a child waves goodbye
to the waves

Congratulations, Pat. I like these short poems. Readers, try writing some yourself. Send them to me and I will share them with the world. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Planning to Publish a Book?

Important decisions when you are planning to publish a book:
Don't skimp on cover design.

Cover design - Most important. If you want to use a picture or photograph, find a cover designer who can use your picture in the best way. You might find your photograph does not make the best cover. Look at the work of a cover designer online and find one whose work you like. Authors are not always the best judges of what makes a good cover. I learned the hard way. 
When I published my chapbook in 2009, I did not use color in my cover. What a mistake. My book that I worked on for years, gets lost on a book shelf. Make sure your cover is eye-catching and represents what your book has to say.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Second most popular post on Writers Circle around the Table

I recently met with a writer who brought along her first book. She had not published before and now wants to know how to sell her book. Luckily she knows many people, has tons of friends and will likely sell her first printing if she follows my guidelines.

I gave her pointers that I have learned over the years and we brainstormed ways she can reach her audience. Her finished product is a beautiful work of art. She is an artist (visual) and did her own illustrations and used her own
photographs. She published with a company called Blurb. She bought a finished copy first and then made some revisions before she bought more books. Her next order was 20 books and they costs her almost 20 dollars each. The more books you purchase the less the cost. 

The artist/writer had really planned to print only a few books for friends, but she has become enthusiastic after a few sales and compliments. Because this beautiful book is as much a work of art as it is a story, her audience will be wider than most. When she is ready to take orders for her book, I will announce it here and give you much more information.  
Meanwhile, if you want to publish a book, read this post from 2015. I think you will find it helpful.     Second Most Popular Post

Another post on publishing and marketing:      

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Poet, Michael Diebert is our guest today.

It is my pleasure to have back with us, Michael Diebert, Poetry editor for the Chattahoochee Review. His last post is very popular with my readers and I'm sure you will enjoy this one.

Gulf Shores, Alabama, January 19.  As I draft this, my feet are propped on a leather ottoman in a house not my own.  I face an empty fireplace.  I hear a pen scratching paper and the thwack of a knife chopping vegetables for dinner.  I see four fellow writers hunched over monitors and notebooks, in pursuit of the proper word.  Outside, Mobile Bay is our backyard.  There’s a pier over the water, a covered porch, a pool.  Pelicans roost on posts near shore.  Past the RV park next door is a little lagoon where mullet arc out of the water and herons troll the surface.  The Gulf of Mexico is near, but we’re not here for the big water or the beach.
I am here on a writers’ retreat with four dear friends; we have been retreating together since 2011.  Our travels have taken us to northeast Georgia and here to coastal Alabama.  We gather for a long weekend; we bring suitcases, food, and writing essentials.  We cook, laugh, go for walks, stare at the water, work on our writing, and share.  Sometimes we read other poets aloud.  Sometimes we fantasize about winning the Pulitzer.  One hard-and-fast rule: the TV stays off, and phones are set to silent.  The mood is relaxed, the body and the mind are receptive, and much gets done—more than can get done in our busy day-to-day lives.
The complaint is familiar: we live in a world where it’s hard to make the proper time for writing.  The common lament of our email correspondence to each other is “Man, am I ready for writing time!”  So we make the time.  We gather; we exit one world temporarily, and we enter another.  When we retreat, and when the writing is going well, we are, again, in that most exciting of places, the realm of receptivity.  And when I’m receptive, I’m nicer to others and to myself, and I become a better writer.
I was lucky to be asked to join this group eight years ago, and we have maintained the same core group since.  There have been necessary, regrettable absences—schedule conflicts, health scares, children moving off to college—but we continue to meet, write, and exist in each other’s company twice a year.  Chemistry, that ineffable ingredient, has been present in our group from the beginning. 

I write this post to encourage you to find your own group and cultivate it.  This takes time, but it’s essential.  You don’t necessarily need to retreat far—your house, your local coffee shop, a park.  The support of a few like-minded friends, engaged in the same pursuit you’re engaged in, can bolster your motivation and keep it going.  And above all, that’s the trick when our day-to-day comes calling again, all too soon: to keep the buzz alive, to be able to retreat to that place of receptivity even when we’re not there. 

Michael Diebert is the author of Life Outside the Set.  He serves as poetry editor for The Chattahoochee Review and teaches writing and literature at Perimeter College, Georgia State University.  In recent years he has led workshops for Writers Circle around the Table, the Chattahoochee Valley Writers' Conference, and the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference.  Recent poems have appeared in Free State Review and jmww.  A two-time cancer survivor, Michael lives in Avondale Estates, Georgia with his wife and dogs.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Read What a Literary Agent Says

I just discovered a blog by a literary agent, Janet Reid. With so many writers asking me about how to find an agent, I suggest novelists subscribe to Janet's blog and read it regularly. I did not know that agents sometimes revise a manuscript before they send it to a publisher. Did you?