1) September: Poems by Rachel Jamison Webster, TriQuarterly Books. I published some of Rachel's poems in the online magazine I edit, M Review, and her work is beautiful, weird, OPEN. It does not shy away from despair, from joy, from human mystery, from the expressions of deep grief, of childlike wonder. Look at some of her poems from the recent issue of Poetry magazine, and click here to listen to a recording of three poems from her forthcoming book.
2) Trances of the Blast by Mary Ruefle, Wave Books. Enough said.
3) Zibaldone by Giacomo Leopardi (translated by Michael Caesar and Franco D'Intino), Farrar, Straus and Giroux. This is like a gazillion-page prose journal by the Romantic Italian poet Leopardi, one that Italo Calvino quotes from generously in his eloquent, elliptical book of lectures on writing, Six Memos for the Next Millennium.
Today I find Plastic Indigenous Man by Sarah Arvio's new book of poems, Night Thoughts: 70 Dream Poems and Notes from an Analysis. Clearly it's a sign I should purchase this book. I offer the plastic peoples coffee from the Brown Room (World Cup café!), and it turns out all three of them — before being deployed to Powell's — were in a writer's group together, working on short, tiny novels.
I asked them what they've been reading, and they say, "We are reading the books great writers have yet to write."
"Whatever," I say.
On February 26, 2013, at 1:29 pm, Kevin Sampsell (see yesterday's post) sent me the following text message: "Your book is here!!" That's right. Two exclamation points. The next day, after my latte at Coffeehouse NW, I drove to Powell's and found my memoir Wedlocked not in the Blue Room but in the Green Room, where Powell's promotes upcoming author events (book launch last Friday), and there it was. Just like that. My book, my inside skin, my various faces, terrible and lovely, right there, available, communing with others (my friend's book The Next Scott Nadelson), and now, a month later, Wedlocked has found its place in the Blue Room,
where it communes with Proust and Pritchett, where it calls out to Mary Ruefle, Ginny Woolf, and Robert Walser or sneaks over to the poetry section (as I always do, sneaking with the softest of steps from the fiction camp to the poet's camp), doing this on its own, separate from me, for Wedlocked for me is history; it's yours now, and what's present for me, what belongs to me, is the composition of this very blog, this word in this blog.
If you see me in Powell's (you probably will), and if you happen to like Wedlocked too, feel free to ask me to read to you from the book on the spot.
I always have the desire to drop off thank you cards to the Blue Room booksellers but fear they'd think I was truly fucked up.
The Blue plastic soldiers type in .5 Helvetica font.
They don't revise their work, and it doesn't show.
Dear Powell's employees, thank you for your work.
More from Jay Ponteri on PowellsBooks.Blog:
- Let Me Introduce to You: Kevin Sampsell
- May I Recommend to You Some Books to Read?
- Tuesday’s My Favorite Day!
- Happy April Fools' Day!
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Jay Ponteri directs the undergraduate creative writing program at Marylhurst University and Show: Tell, the Workshop for Teen Writers and Artists. He is the founding editor of both the online literary magazine M Review and HABIT Books. Wedlocked: A Memoir is his first book.
Books mentioned in this post
Jay Ponteri is the author of Wedlocked: A Memoir