_Here at Phoenicia, we're always going to value lasting quality over quick success, and to understand that our authors are artists whose work doesn't always fit into an obvious niche -- because real artists grow and change over their lifetimes, and need the freedom to do so.
Upcoming Phoenicia author Marly Youmans, (Thaliad) who already has a number of notable books to her name, has an interest in marketing in the brave new online world. On her blog, she's recently published a "conversation" with marketing guru Seth Godin, in which she quote some of his pronouncements and comments on them. Here's a sample, but please go read the whole thing!
SETH: I think it’s a fading of the power of a published book to influence the conversation. When anyone can publish an ebook, anyone will.
MARLY: Nevertheless, Seth, I still believe that there a secret world tucked inside our big, fat, hyper-materialist, and often-tasteless world--a world of people who care about beauty and rightness and all the golden things handed down to us by the Gawain poet and Shakespeare and Herbert and Austen and Dickinson and Dickens and more. And maybe that hidden world is enough to sustain a lot of us who are seeking to make something worthy."
SETH: An author starting out today needs to pick herself, establish a niche, become truly the best at it and relentlessly and generously give it all away as a way of leading and making a ruckus.
MARLY: ... Seth, I find that writing the strong, beautiful book I always dream of writing and that having a position of humility before the great masters of the past is more to me than having a niche and so gaining numbers. I like “increasing readership”: yes, I do. But I love the tradition and the burning image of the strong, beautiful book more. And if I must choose, I choose the image and the masters.
...Give me "a great book" over making "a great living." I have that choice, and I choose. The attempt to write true books is labor and play in the vale of soul-making.
The conversation ends with a critical question:
MARLY: How will we know when books are great, Seth? Tell me that? When everybody has an e-book, and Babel is a nest of clamor, how will we find those voices?
One answer to that is "right here." Thanks for this thoughtful look at marketing and writing today, Marly.
"There are so many good poems with so many important insights it is hard to know where to start..." says Rabbi Adam Fisher in his lengthy appreciation of Rachel Barenblat's 70 Faces: Torah Poems. Writing in the current issue of The CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly (published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis), the journal's poetry editor praises Barenblat's writing and her approach to the texts, especially those that are difficult to deal with.
We've been enjoying a number of books on our mobile devices, and are pleased to be able to offer the first two Phoenicia ebooks:Odes to Tools, by Dave Bonta, and Ice and Gaywings, by Ken Pobo. Both are available in .MOBI format, for the Kindle, and .EPUB format for most other e-book readers, at the attractive price of $2.99!
In the comments, below, we'd love to hear about your experience reading chapbooks and poetry books on your mobile devices. Poetry e-books have lagged behind prose because of difficult formatting issues. We're wondering: Have you bought poetry e-books in the past? Is this something you'd like to see for all Phoenicia titles?
Poet Nicelle Davis started 2012 with a resolution to take poetry with her wherever she goes, sharing her love with her community. As her first effort in her Living Poetry Project, she hand-copied individual poems from Dave Bonta's Odes to Tools onto thank-you notes, and gave them to workers in her community. On her blog, Nicelle has posted a number of photos of the recipients with Dave's book. She writes:
"While [in 2011] I never lost hope for the magic of poetry, I did begin to question its function in the world. Why poetry? Seemed to be my daily mantra. At the arrival of the New Year—I found my answer--because poetry is beautiful. The world can always use a little more beauty—or rather, a reminder from poetry that life is beautiful.
My resolution for 2012—to enjoy time—to run with it—live with it—and be “in love” with poetry. This is my goal: to physically take poetry everywhere I go and share it...
I met many kind, generous, and funny people while sharing Odes To Tools with my community. For this (and many other reasons), I’m grateful to Dave Bonta. His book has helped me connect with the physical, intellectual, and emotional aspects of my home–it has helped bring poetry closer to those who construct the home I love. Odes to Toolsis a tribute to the makers of this world—a testament for beauty."
Of course, Dave is delighted, and so are we at Phoenicia. Thank YOU, Nicelle, for your generosity of spirit in thanking the people who build our homes and communities, and for sharing Dave's Odes with them!
We were delighted to receive a copy of the latest issue of Lilith, which calls itself "Independent, Jewish, and Frankly Feminist:" in other words, a most appropriate place for a review of Rachel Barenblat's 70 Faces: Torah Poems. The reviewer, Marina Blitshteyn, writes:
"Barenblat turns through the old characters and narratives of the Torah as though she is holding a prism in light: her modes are distinctly personal and shine with her understanding of life as a woman, rabbi, wife and mother. She places herself in the predominantly male tradition of midrash (exigetical stories that seek to understand scripture), and she asserts her own voice in this rich lineage. What unfolds is a set of poems, one for each Torah portion, that speaks to body, ritual, complex familial relationships, and the very act of writing..."
Phoenicia Publishing would like to thank you for making 2011 our best year ever! More than we can possibly express in words, we appreciate your support of our authors and what we're trying to do here -- and we promise to continue our best efforts in the coming year.
We wish you a happy, healthy 2012 filled with exciting, meaningful, moving and thought-provoking reading. As always, we're delighted to hear from our readers, and very appreciative of your comments and reviews. Thank you so much!
Five Phoenicia authors have just been nominated by small presses for the 2011 Pushcart Prize, and we're delighted to congratulate them and share the news with you!
We're delighted to be able to congratulate Dave Bonta on winning the 2011 Keystone Chapbook Contest for his manuscript Breakdown: Banjo Poems. Dave won in the division for authors who've already had a published chapbook - which is, of course, his Odes to Tools, published by Phoenicia. The banjo poems, which appeared in serialized fashion on Dave's blog, bear his signature style, weaving in information and ideas from many traditions and disciplines. Congratulations, Dave, and to Keystone Press and their guest judge, Sascha Feinstein, for selecting this excellent collection.
William Woolfitt’s The Salvager’s Arts won in the category for manuscripts by new writers (no previous book or chapbook publication).
Breakdown: Banjo Poems will be published in May of 2012 as #9 in the Keystone Chapbook Series.
The latest news and commentary about our plans, events, authors, and titles!