Learning to promote a poetry book

This is the cover of one of my poetry books, Where the Opium Cactus Grows. It contains most of my earlier poetic output. I used to think my poems were humorous because some of them make me laugh like a loon, but this book made my mother cry. So I don’t really know how to evaluate it.

When I came out with this book I didn’t know much about how any self-published book could be promoted, much less how to do it with a poetry book. I’ve read a lot of how-to-promote-books info since then. But I’ve been shy about applying it to my poetry, because, well, it’s poetry. And as I put the books together myself, I can see all the things I should have done better.

One of the problems is that I need to gain some fans for my blog and social media accounts who like poetry. On Twitter I have been following accounts that tweet haikus and other short poetry. I also have changed the title of my account there to “Nissa Annakindt, poet, Aspie and cat person.” Which is also the title of my Facebook author page.

One thing I have learned that the self-published authors who gain readers don’t publish just one book and wait for it to sell. You have to keep producing. To that end I am determined to come out with my next poetry book, Waiting for the Poison Shot, sometime this year. To make my life really impossible, I also seem to be committed to a book of found poetry created from the speeches of annoying Left-wing people. I think this will be an anthology with other conservative poets involved.

The main think I believe is that we shouldn’t be ashamed of the fact that our poetry books are— poetry. Yeah, some people don’t like poetry. There are also some people that hate romance novels, but that doesn’t stop romance writers from promoting their books. Be brave and find your ‘tribe’— a group of people who actually appreciates your work.

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eggs in a cool place

This is another post in Poets United’s Poetry Pantry. Go to their site to read more.

eggs in a cool place

A stale egg rises in water
fresh eggs are heavy
and sink to the bottom
farewell I gladly bid thee

Eggs should be well covered
and kept in a cool place
wash eggs just before using
thy life is vain and sinful

Eggs should never be boiled
as that renders them tough
they should be cooked
just under the boiling point
I long to be in heaven

In the early spring or fall
when eggs are plentiful at at their best,
pack them away for future use
where they will be rewarded.

1-4-18 (c) Nissa Annakindt

This is an example of found poetry inspired by a poetry book I have just purchased, ‘Mornings Like This’ by Annie Dillard.
My main source was an old cookbook of mine, ‘The Settlement Cook Book’ by Mrs Simon Kander, 1947 edition. The last line in each stanza was from a hymn, Farewell I Gladly Give Thee, (Valet will ich dir geben) written by Valerius Herberger, 1613, translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1863.

Since this is a very newly written poem, some things are uncertain. I don’t really know what I am going to do about capitalizations and punctuations, for example. I don’t really know whether this poem is more than temporary amusement for me. I like to let a poem ‘cook’ for a while before I make final revisions. A lot of hard work ahead, like putting a comma in and then later taking it out. 😉

Buying Poetry Books:

I believe every poet would do well to buy books by other poets— or poetry magazines or anthologies— on a regular basis. We learn more from each poem we write. I bought the Annie Dillard book ‘Mornings Like This’ because it is found poetry, and because I am working on a major poetic project based on found poetry. I didn’t expect much and was quite pleased I was more inspired by it than I ever thought possible.

Future blog post project

I am planning a future blog post with a title ‘How to teach students to hate poetry.’ My contention is that school poetry lessons in most schools do a lot to make students hate poetry, rather than like it or read it. Since I suspect today’s blog post may be visited by a number of poets and poetry lovers, I would welcome your opinions on the teaching of poetry.

Conservative Hispanic Writer Jon Del Arroz banned from Worldcon Sci-Fi convention

I just found out one of my favorite authors, Jon Del Arroz, has been discriminated against by ‘Worldcon’, an alleged science fiction convention. I have interacted with Jon online and he’s a decent human being and kind to weird people like me. But someone doesn’t like the fact that he’s conservative. Or Hispanic. Or Christian. Or that he wears a USA ball cap sometimes. Or that his name means ‘Jon with rice’ in Spanish.

According to Megan Fox of PJ Media, Jon Del Arroz has been banned from Worldcon 76 even though he is the leading Hispanic voice in science fiction, and that he bought a ticket. They are not even refunding his money.

Their reason is that they are mind-readers and somehow know that he is planning to ‘engender a hostile environment.’ Actually, they are engendering hostility when they ban probably the only Hispanic conservative sci-fi author that had paid to attend.

Read more here: https://pjmedia.com/trending/sjws-bar-conservative-hispanic-writer-worldcon-claiming-racist-bully/

I have recently read Jon Del Arroz’s book, For Steam and Country. It is a steampunk novel with a female main character and other characters who are females in powerful positions. I could well imagine a good liberal teacher reading the book, noting the Hispanic author and strong female characters, recommending the book to students. The book can be enjoyed by various political points of view. Here is the link to the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071JNR9HB

I’m asking all the readers of this: if you like science fiction, or even if you just like not discriminating against the leading Hispanic voice in science fiction just because he is conservative, or Christian, or allegedly planning a thoughtcrime, PLEASE do something to help. Spread this blog post at Megan Fox’s article over all your social media.

You can also get in contact with Jon Del Arroz.

Web Page/Blog: http://delarroz.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jondelarroz

GAB (a free-speech alternative to Twitter): https://gab.ai/otomo

NOTE: Jon Del Arroz is a nice guy who is nice to me even though I have Asperger Syndrome. So if you go online to bully him, I’m getting out the big guns: I’m calling out the SAINTS on you. So if you bully, expect to become a Catholic.

Interview with Moira Greyland, daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley

I am excited and pleased to have an interview with Moira Greyland, daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley and author of the new book The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon, which tells the story of Marion Zimmer Bradley and her husband, Walter Breen. I am a very former Marion Zimmer Bradley fan, since learning about MZB’s misdeeds made me aware of all the questionable content in her books. In case you are unaware of Marion Zimmer Bradley, she was the author of the Darkover series, which I liked, and the Mists of Avalon, an Arthurian legend I didn’t much care for. And now, here is the interview. My questions are in bold.
Please tell a little of what your new book is about.

My book is a biography of my famous gay parents, Marion Zimmer Bradley, author of The Mists of Avalon, and Walter Breen, coin expert and convicted pedophile.  It is about how being raised by gay people who have a sex-positive philosophy affected my life, and that of the other children in their orbit.

It seems like other people knew about your father’s sexual attraction to kids but figured that it wasn’t proven to have really harmed the kids. Do you feel they are guilty/responsible for protecting your father?
Anyone who did not stop my father when they had direct knowledge of his crimes will have to answer to a higher court than any of us here.  I do understand how hard it is to swim against the tide.  The usual social consequence is ostracism, and worse, not being believed.

 

Do you feel legalized gay marriage is harmful or helpful to the children of such marriages?

Gay marriage puts children into a situation where normalizing non-mainstream forms of sex is the basis for the relationship.  It denies children a normal model of male-female relationships, and puts undue pressure on them to imitate their parents.  Even if the pressure is tacit, it can be nearly impossible to avoid.  The children of gays I have spoken with have almost invariably been molested, and have tried to become either gay or trans themselves.  Even in the best case, where a child is not molested or openly pressured, children imitate their parents, since our parents are our models for humanity.  Also, since our parents will have openly rejected either a male or a female, we can struggle with the rejection either of our sex or the other sex.

Do you feel that the ‘Free Amazon’ storylines in your mother’s books were intended to wean women away from traditional ideas about marriage?

Yes, of course they were.  Between that and a host of other feminist books, women were meant to abandon husband and family in favor of “meaningful work” and “self-actualization.”  This has led to a lot of unhappy women living alone, and unable to find a husband.  Many will struggle, as I did, between wanting the husband and kids and wanting the career.  We are supposed to be able to have both, but it is exhausting.  Women should not be shamed for wanting a family.

I have heard that you have PTSD. Did that make it harder to write this book?

Yes.  My Complex PTSD symptoms made writing this book nearly impossible at times.  Between flashbacks, panic attacks, and periods of incapacitating depression, it is certain that the book would have been finished much sooner if I had had no symptoms.

In your book you tell you became a Christian. Has your faith made it easier to come to terms with your past?
Yes, I am a Christian.  I am not certain what coming to terms with my past means though.  I am focused on the present and on the future.  The past mostly intrudes in my life through symptoms, and I try not to dwell on it, the book notwithstanding.  My faith in God is the core of strength in my life, and His love for me reminds me that I have things to do, places to be, and most importantly, people to love.

 

Do you have a favorite poet, author, composer, book? Please share.

Too many to name.  Poets?  My taste runs to song lyrics for the songs of Debussy and Richard Strauss.  Ordinary poets I love include Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edward Gorey, and Ogden Nash, to name a very few.  Authors I love include C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engel, Charles Dickens, Tolstoy, Georgette Heyer, Tom Clancy, and Brad Thor. Composers I love include Puccini, Verdi, Brahms, Mozart, Mahler, Beethoven and Howard Shore.  My favorite book is the Bible.  Other books on that list would make it too long of a list.

Moira Greyland

End of Interview.

I might mention that I have read Moira Greyland’s book. It deals with a very adult subject, the sexual abuse of children. But I feel Moira Greyland did a good job of tackling this subject without dwelling too much on sexual details that many readers might not like being exposed to. I think it is a good book that can make the reader more aware of sexual child abuse and the problems in some Gay households. And it also tells us a bit of the history of science fiction and fandom in the era when her mother was active it it. I hope many who read this blog post will buy a copy. Just don’t let your nine-year-old read it.

Why German (Protestant) Bibles are bigger than English ones #Bible

Recently I finished reading the book ‘Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger’ by Gary G. Michuta. It tells the story of some Old Testament books not found in many ordinary Protestant Bibles. These books are called the Deuterocanonical books. Protestants today call them Apocrypha, which confuses these books with a whole set of ancient books such as the Gospel of Thomas.

An interesting point is that the Protestant reformers did not remove these books at the time of the Reformation. Martin Luther, who started the Protestant Schism and translated the Scriptures into his native German, translated the whole Bible, including the Deuterocanonical books, which he questioned. He also disliked the New Testament books of James, Hebrews, and Revelation. But he translated them anyway, and when I bought a Martin Luther translation of the Bible in Germany, it had ‘die Apokryphen’ tucked away in a special section between the older Old Testament books and the New Testament.

In England, the famous King James Version translation of the Bible included the Deuterocanonical books. But the KJV Bibles I grew up with lacked these books. Why, if the KJV translators took the trouble to translate them?

It started in 1804, when the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed. They did not have a high opinion of the Deuterocanonical books. Plus, it was cheaper to print Bibles without them. They decided to cut funding to foreign Bible societies that were printing complete Bibles with the Deuterocanonical books left in. There was a controversy for some time over this, since the foreign Bible societies being helped often did not want to provide people with partial Bibles. But in time British opinion hardened against the Deuterocanonical books and no Bibles would be printed in any language that contained the Deuterocanonical books. There were some that feared these books taught ‘popish’ doctrine and might make people Catholics.

Interestingly, this tradition of the English Bible society affected the Esperanto translation of the Bible. The English and Foreign Bible Society did the translation of the New Testament, L. L. Zamenhof, inventor of Esperanto and a Jewish man, translated the accepted books of the Jewish Bible— which does not contain the Deuterocanonical books. Since the English and Foreign Bible Society did the printing, Esperanto Bibles containing the Deuterocanon were not available until recently.

Although I am now a Catholic, even when I was Protestant I didn’t believe that the British Bible Society was an authority chosen by God to make the final decision as to which books are in the Bible. I felt that since the early church, including the Apostles, seemed to favor the Septuagint, a Greek language Old Testament translation which included the Deuterocanon, that was a good argument for those books being included in the Bible. Why, if they were bad books, wouldn’t Jesus have had something negative to say about them rather than making reference to them?

If you have any curiosity about how it got determined which books are in the Bible, Michuta’s book is a good place to get started. His ‘Selected Bibliography’ includes works by Protestants as well as Catholics.

I personally prefer the KJV Bible when I read the Bible in English. For some years I used my old KJV Bibles along with a copy of just the KJV ‘apocrypha’ in paperback form. I now have a leather-bound complete KJV Bible for my personal Bible reading.

Why Poets & Writers must work to Believe in themselves

Somedays when we sit down at our keyboard to do our word-stint for the day, it is hard. We have an abusive Inner Critic who is laughing and saying, ‘What, YOU a poet or writer? Give me a break! You can’t even write a grocery list!’

But it is an essential thing for poets and writers to believe in themselves. If you don’t believe you are a ‘real’ poet or writer, how can you con someone else— like an editor— into believing it? No one wants to buy a story or novel from a ‘fake’ writer. No one rushes out to purchase the latest book by a ‘fake’ writer. And the first step toward becoming a real boy— excuse me, a real writer— is believing you are one, yourself.

You may be saying, ‘Yeah, I should believe in myself as a writer, but what about that hopeless writer-wannabe over there. You don’t think HE should believe in HIMSELF, do you?’

Well, maybe he should. Let’s look at the example of Andrew. Andrew cannot seem to write one sentence without a mistake in spelling, grammar or punctuation. His plots are stereotypes. OLD stereotypes. And his characters are unlovable robots moving through predictable plots without doing anything to attract the readers.

Now, let us divide Andrew into TWO bad writers. Andrew 1 does not believe in himself as a writer. Andrew 2 is starting to believe in himself as a writer. What will happen when the Andrews both get writing reviews complaining of the spelling, grammar and punctuation? Andrew 1 gets offended at the reviewer and does nothing to change. He knows deep down he’s pretty hopeless as a writer, so why bother spending time trying to improve his skills?

Andrew 2, on the other hand, notices that this review is bringing up a topic that other reviewers have often complained about. So he sets out to improve on these points— because he thinks he is a good writer, he has every reason to improve his skills.

The same thing will happen on the other topics. Andrew 1 will not feel, in his heart, it is worth while to improve as a writer when he knows he’s hopeless. Andrew 2 ‘knows’ he’s a ‘real’ writer, and has read that real writers are always working to improve their craft. So Andrew 2 keeps trying to improve. And maybe he will become the good writer he thinks he is. Or maybe he will just be a more skilled bad writer. Either outcome is an improvement.

So— you have got to believe in yourself. What is one thing you can do today that shows you believe that you are a writer and/or poet? To believe in yourself you have to act like you believe in yourself. One author says he bought himself a coffee mug that said ‘writer’ on it. What I did was add the word ‘poet’ to several titles of my social media pages.

So, what will YOU do?

Ethics and Political Found Poetry

Recently I bought a book which was titled ‘The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump’ which was, according to the book cover, ‘created by Rob Sears.’ According to the inside flap, Rob Sears lives in Great Britain and has written fiction and comedy. Not poetry, evidently.

Creating poems from other people’s words is called found poetry. I haven’t done much pure found poetry, but I have mixed in a lot of found words and phrases from various sources into my poems.

Political found poetry seems to be a form of political mockery mostly. There was a ‘poet’ who created found poetry from the words of Donald Rumsfeld. He won a court case which found his work was his own creation and not just ripping off Donald Rumsfeld’s words.

One good thing Rob Sears did was document the source of every line from the utterances of Donald Trump. Sadly, most of these sources were tweets. Usually very well publicised tweets. One alleged haiku had 4 different sources. Four sources for a three lined poem? Sears adds TITLES to his ‘haiku’, and they also have their own sources.

His sources for lines in each individual found poem can be decades apart and on differing topics. This bothers me. He is basically asserting that Trump said certain things about one topic while he actually said them about another. If you are going that route, you might as well take words from various subjects one at a time and you can make your subject say any stupid thing you like. But then it isn’t truly a found poem. It’s a concocted poem which falsely represents your subject-person.

Ethical rule: no matter how much a found poet may dislike his subject, the poet must not intentionally misrepresent that subject’s real stated viewpoints and ideas. You cannot turn Donald Trump into a hard-core anti-semite, for example, because of all the Jewish relatives he has. You cannot turn Elizabeth Warren into someone who hates American Indians, because she claims to be one.

Another ethical rule: Write found political poems about the leaders of your own country, if you please. It’s kind of dirty pool if you write about a foreign leader when you don’t fully understand both sides of the political equation in that country. It’s also just cruel to the citizens of your target nation. Making fun of their politics is another way to make fun of THEM. Mocking people for coming from a different nation than yours is a form of prejudice. You have the freedom of speech to utter prejudiced thoughts— but I have the freedom not to read them.

I am writing some political found poems myself lately— most of them derived from the speeches of Nancy Pelosi. I disagree with Miss Pelosi on many issues, and I’m appalled she considers herself Catholic. But I don’t feel that I can, as a Christian, hate her or any of her supporters. When I write a poem based on her speeches I take 1 speech, and I don’t introduce any opinions of my own intentionally. I’m trying to write about what she really says, not what I think she should have said.

 

Here is a short poem, called a Collom or Collom lune, taken from a Nancy Pelosi speech. It is from a gun control speech. I don’t agree with her speech. But I don’t wish to distort anything she says, either. (Colloms really shouldn’t have titles, so I just repeat the first line. I use the titles for filing purposes, mainly. I handle haiku the same way.)

Commonsense Gun Violence

Commonsense gun violence
Legislation – all over the country
Every single day

Source:
Nancy Pelosi speech
07-14-16

You can look up the full text of the speech on Pelosi’s official web page.