If you can buy Stephen King's new novel or John Grisham's 'Ford County' for $10, why would you buy a brilliant first novel for $25? ~David Gernert, agent for John Grisham
If you love good books, and why would you be reading this blog if you didn't, the ABA's letter to the Department of Justice is worth a skim. In essence, it asserts that independent bookstores are being asked to compete against stores for which books are being used as teaser items--loss leaders--to get customers in the door (or e-door) to buy other kinds of merchandise, thereby garnering WalMart, Target, et al, control of the hardcover market over time. That would spell outta business to independent stores and smaller publishers. The letter can be found here: http://news.bookweb.org/7130.html
On a more upbeat note, last night's reading by Gary Thompson and Quinton Duval at Chico State (closest college to my town) to a full house. Here's a poem by each of them.
NOTE TO KEATS
There isn't much to say about beauty
these days, except that it isn't truth,
unless truth is glossy
and monthly. This is America
the goddamned beautiful
in the twenty-first century,
not Hampstead Heath
in the nineteenth, and we know
the bride is ravished
long before the bridal shower, the tree
logged off before autumn even comes.
Beauty is money, John,
and you know what urns are for.
To the Archaeologist Who Finds Us (Turning Point, 2008)
And as the rain fell down, silver
dropped from the corrugated tin
roof edge, but there was no blue
to be had in any direction. "Degrees
of Gray" -- the poet said -- hung over
the sea, curtains on November's stage.
Last night we heard geese battling
their way through the storm
while satellite weather showed a mass
of rain and wind come from across the sea
(the Pacific, of all seas) sweeping east
to draw its veil over our house.
It was weather, just one more thing
to wash color from our lives.
I was blue and I don't know what
you were singing. In the grey
I tried not to show it, my cobalt blush
hidden in the dark. I felt I was from over
the sea -- oltremarino -- if that is blue,
if that is a feeling at all. Alien
is one word for it -- out of place and time --
wishing to go into the grey like those geese,
to wash clean in the weather, flying
by instinct and taut to the group
of strangers I travel with, all of us heading
to the place of instinct, to the reeds,
among islands that await our raucous calling.
Among Summer Pines (Rattlesnake Press, 2008)