Saturday, December 26, 2009

Planning the Days

Or daze, as the case may be. In any case, I was happy to receive my copy of A Working Writer's Daily Planner for 2010 from the good people at Small Beer Press. It's a deal at $13.95, a handsome spiral-bound notebook full of handsome photos, deadlines for various contests, prompts for writers, and so on. I had merely contributed a few choice excerpts from Rotten Reviews (Pushcart Press, 1986; a reminder of how wrong we editors can be, as if anyone reading this post needs reminding) and Small Beer comped me a planner. The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses is full of kind folks who help each other out--and fast. Here is where I should insert a few personal examples of blowing it (there are several) and subsequent speedy rescue, but I'd rather list some rotten reviews. Think of these when you get your next rejection letter.
  • Catch-22: "Heller wallows in his own laughter and finally drowns in it. What remains is a debris of sour jokes, stage anger, dirty words, synthetic looniness, and the sort of antic behavior the children fall into when they know they are losing our attention." ~The New Yorker
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: "A gross trifling with every fine feeling ... Mr. Clemens has no reliable sense of propriety." ~The Springfield Republican
  • Leaves of Grass: "Whitman is as unacquainted with art as a hog is with mathematics." ~The London Critic
  • To the Lighthouse: "Her work is poetry; it must be judged as poetry, and all the weaknesses of poetry are inherent in it." ~New York Evening Post
  • on Emily Dickinson: "An eccentric, dreamy, half-educated recluse in an out-of-the-way New England village--or anywhere else--cannot with impunity set at defiance the laws of gravitation and grammar .... Oblivion lingers in the immediate neighborhood." ~Atlantic Monthly

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Solipsist: a review

There's a sweet little review of Troy Jollimore's chapbook over on the CPITS blog, just the kind of thing the Bear likes to read in between the manuscripts she's evaluating. Yes, the Bear published it, so of course she thinks it's sweet. (You may have guessed by her profile that she likes sweets, period.) Please note the word "expansive" in the last line--that's an a four letters in, not an e. The Solipsist is perfectbound, with great cover art by Lyn Dillin.