Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Monday, June 08, 2020

Autobiography of a Book

The project I’m working hardest on finding a place for in the world is Autobiography of a Book.

Autobiography of a Book is the story of a book willing itself into existence. Every word Book presents brings it closer to its dream, its dream, that is, of being what it claims to be, a real, honest-to-goodness book. 

Book came to me as a voice and demanded I type as it spoke. I usually scoff at people who claim their writing is dictated by the muse, so I find it funny to be saying something like that myself. But Book is a character, in both senses of the word, and I was ready to listen and to work. Whatever it said, I was happy to go along. 

I did wonder during the process if Book would achieve a respectable book length. At almost 44,000 words, I think it did. Short for a novel these days. But then, is it a novel? I struggle with how to characterize Book. There's nothing fictional in it. Everything Book says happened because Book is all language and anything Book says is undeniably Book, even if impossible. Does Book have human arms and legs? Yes, when Book finds it convenient to imagine so; when imagination is defeated, Book borrows the reader’s hand, the reader’s heart. 

Book is written as prose, but it does read a bit like poetry. It must be prose poetry! 

Also unlike a novel (perhaps like a life?), Book does not have a plot. Book has ideas, actions. Book has thoughts and more thoughts and tries to work them out. Book’s parts often read as essays. Perhaps that’s the way Book would be most properly classified — as a collection of personal essays, the personal essays of someone whose person is no more (somehow more?) than those essays.

Because the essays usually read as separate propositions I am submitting them in small batches to literary magazines and ezines and trying to convince editors that the excerpts can stand alone. I usually send out three pieces at a time. Although I think Book is best understood in more than one dose, I do occasionally send to sites that will only allow one piece at a time. 

Except for a live reading series, the places that have chosen Book excerpts have so far published all I sent them. I expected more picking and choosing. The editors seem to treat the submission as one unit. As I said, each piece of Book will try out a particular proposition. Yet the pieces don’t always come to the same conclusions. Book changes its mind, attempts to reinvent itself, gets confused, forges forth, raves, whines, whispers, wants not to be too seriously — because Book wants to live a full life.  

Four online journals have included Book excerpts:


The curated reading series Quiet Lightning also included an excerpt that was previously published in Hawai’i Pacific Review.

More excerpts are forthcoming in Witty Partition and Ginosko Literary Journal

How many places have rejected at least one piece of Book? 70.

I have submissions out to more. I expect more rejections (got another as I prepped this post). Yet I know Book is good, interesting, weird, funny, sad. I know somebody else will decide it fits with what they want. I owe it to Book to find that editor.

When Book is read that is when Book really lives. That is the true life of Autobiography of a Book — a reader making it part of theirs. 

Whether an editor accepts or rejects, is delighted or bored, confused or enthralled, so long as they have been a reader, they have given Book life. 

Book thanks them, as it thanks every reader, for its life. 

[blog post updated 6/24/20]

Saturday, June 06, 2020

“I Want” at Cacti Fur

is up at Cacti Fur
posted May 27, 2020

“I Want,” was, I believe, the first of the poems I “found” in the UC Berkeley library catalog. I was so delighted with it that I squeezed out of the library catalog many further list poems. At last someone else likes it too!

Friday, April 17, 2020

Two found poems at Cabildo Quarterly

“I did not interview the dead”
“The ‘Where is it’ index showing the geographical positions of all the important localities”

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Glenn Ingersoll page at Living Senryu Anthology

There is now a page of Glenn Ingersoll poems at the Living Senryu Anthology

If you are familiar with haiku, you’ve got a start on senryu. In fact, much of what we think of haiku in the West is, according to anthology’s editors, actually senryu. Do visit the page at the anthology that both describes senryu and distinguishes it from haiku. 

I first discovered the Living Haiku Anthology and a couple of months ago I applied to be included. Editor Don Baird wrote back to say many of the poems struck him as senryu, though he did say that there is overlap in the two forms. I followed the link he provided to the Living Senryu Anthology and enjoyed browsing the poems collected there. Today I am happy to learn that my work has been included in it. 

My thanks to Bryan Rickert and the rest of the editorial board.  

At present I have the “I” section of the index all to myself

Saturday, March 14, 2020

two one-line haiku at Bones

Two one-line haiku in the March 15, 2020 issue of Bones: journal for the short verse (no. 19).

In issue 19 the poems are arranged by each poet's first name; mine appear on p. 59 & 60.

This is the second time my haiku have appeared in Bones. I never posted a link to the first, so I'll do that now. Back then it was called Bones: journal for contemporary haiku:

The poems appear on pages 3 and 38. They are rather weirder than the newer poems. It’s pretty cool that Bones remains open to poems that are rather weird. 

Friday, March 06, 2020

Six chapters from “Autobiography of a Book” at Inverse Journal

At Inverse Journal you can now read
these six chapters of “Autobiography of a Book”:

“in which the book’s thought presents horns and a cymbal”
“in which the book compares its words to yours”
“in which the book sees the reader come to a similar fate
“in which the book releases the kickstand” 
“in which the book’s efforts are exhausted, temporarily” 
“in which the book goes from house to house” 

Inverse Journal is an international literary journal based in Kashmir. Last year the Indian government cracked down harshly on Kashmir. Editor/publisher Amjad Majid shifted the focus of the journal to getting word out about what’s been happening there. You can read some of this information on the homepage under “Kashmir 2019 Siege.” 
Though the siege continues, the editor has decided to put energy anew into literature, thus this publication of excerpts from “Autobiography of a Book.” 

Monday, January 13, 2020

—ah: anthology of American Haiku, Mondo edition

—ah: anthology of American Haiku, edited by Jonathan Hayes and Richard Lopez, published by Poems-for-All Press, San Diego, California, was originally printed in 2016 in a very small format, that is, it was about the size of a matchbook. 

I just received in the mail the second edition, the Mondo edition, so called because it is three or four times the size of the first, that is, about the dimensions of a postcard. 

Fun that my haiku get the last page, the last words, as it were. 

If you want to write to editor Jonathan Hayes: