Heading into Winter

november flowers.jpgThe last rose of summer, mums, echinops, statice, joe-pye weed, lady's tresses, and a very confused marsh marigold.



Ernest poets with an inflated sense of my knowledge often ask me for advice about getting published. First bit of advice, write the best poems you can. Second, read The Poets’ Touchstone. Third, subscribe to Poets and Writers magazine; a recent series of interviews by Jofie Ferrari-Adler of agents and writers makes a good vantage point from which to look down on the playing field.

Ferrari-Adler’s interview of Jonathan Galassi of Farrar, Straus, Giroux was like manna brought to a starving man. My high opinion of FSG was nailed irreversibly down years ago by reading The Man Who Planted Trees, one of the books that I buy as many copies of to give away as I can. There are a few others that fall into this category: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (drawn to this book on the used book table by the title), In the Lake of the Woods and Magic, two books which should be read together, and most recently Aniara, by Henry Martinson.

Galassi says that one of the frustrating things for writers and everyone else is the role of luck in publishing and selling books. No matter how good you are at what you do, fate will play a hand. The gods are still with us, toying with our lives. He says, "I like reading real books." He loves the look and feel of books, the textures.

Recently, a fellow who was visiting my home for the first time said, "This is the house of books." Like Galassi, I love books. My obsession with books, words, and letters feels ancient. I won’t be switching to Kindle any time soon. Call me archaic.