Home Career Antennae, Connections and Kindness in Publishing – LESLIE WHEELER

Antennae, Connections and Kindness in Publishing – LESLIE WHEELER


Yesterday we arrived in Virginia to a home landscape that is lusher and wetter. I went to the weekly farmer’s market this morning and the produce has changed: zucchini, beets and cherry tomatoes have replaced strawberries, tender greens and slices. Afterwards, my son and I took a walk and discovered that the vines were tendrils reaching into our airspace, reminding me of how I wrote in the poem “Spirals” in The state she is in that “even outside I am in the forest.” I was tired of traveling (broken flights, long lines at the airport, other worries), but the trip was restorative in other ways.

The 3 1/2 novels I read purely for pleasure on the trip were strong, including Jason Mott’s deeply moving literary fiction (Infernal book) and Emily St. John Mandel (Sea of ​​calm). Museums always nourish me, and they especially pleased me “The Enchanted Present” exhibition at the Guggenheim in Venice (lots of poetry, plus tarot!). There were also small moments where people were kind to each other: the two women at the airport who rebooked us after Expedia’s big mistake (I uncharacteristically yelled, “You’re angels!”). The owner of a hot chocolate shop in Budapest quizzed each of us at length about what our ideal cups would be (and then delivered them – they were delicious). People who are careful about public transport, imagine. And of course, after my son’s four-month study abroad, my family of four is together.

Finally, although I spent a lot less time on social media or email than I did during my book launch in May, I continued to receive nice notifications about Possible worlds of poetry. I was feeling a little disappointed before the trip because it’s very difficult to get media attention for a book and I was furiously rushing. Then I read a description of the grueling, demoralizing book tours of bestselling authors Infernal book and Sea of ​​calm –just a coincidence, I chose the books for other reasons – and I was reminded that great writing success has flaws. When your work becomes a “product” that makes money for corporations, it’s both happiness and a lot of work and pressure (and media training – hooray). The gift economy involving lesser-known authors has many problems, but it’s also better. The fictional writers Mott and Mandela are, in fact, throwing away the brass ring they’ve grasped for the human connection they need to survive in this stupid world. I noticed that Mott and Mandel do not make this choice themselves! But it does suggest that both look back on their former small-press careers with nostalgia, perhaps even a little regret.

Some kindness I’ve been appreciating lately from other writers: the surprisingly generous reviews of Possible worlds of poetry by Jane Zwart sr The plume and Jane Satterfield at Common. Jeanine Hall Gailey wrote generously about it on her blog. A few new reviews that are shorter but also very useful Amazon and Goodreads. Readers and future readers have tweeted some great stuff. And as my wife was driving us home from The Dulles, two emails popped up on my phone: a confirmation from Poetry and commission of essays from Poets and writers. I may never get out of this email trip, but those tendrils of communication gave me heart.

Now it’s more work, sleep, and hopefully back to work on my next poetry book and materials. The universe seems to be encouraging me to keep reaching.

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