Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"Auto- Bio"/ Dylan Thomas Poem/ Poets & Writers/ NYT/ Publisher's Weekly/ Po'Biz & Fooeey!

*UPDATE: I just fixed this link to the auto-bio. (1/19/06)
The first installment of my "Auto - Bio" is up at my other site, the LDC "Official Website", in answer to that eternal question I seem to get from students at all stages these years:

"Tell me something about your life."


And, a Dylan Thomas poem popped out today in answer to Didi's challenge at Cafe Cafe to write a "response poem" to one of his. I did a Dylan Thomas a la a Eskeletonada. Do you know I used to believe I was him reincarnated. He died around the same day as my conception. Seems darned dharma to be reborn a poor brown girl in the barrio with nothing with which to record it all but dirt and a leaf.


Someone from Poets & Writers emailed me for an interview last monday, which seemed weird since it was for a 20-page profile on my work that was to appear in the March-April issue, in time for the AWP. I had a photo shoot already scheduled for yesterday at 1 pm with a photographer from Denver. My publisher had been talking about it for months. I tried not to think about it. (blog link to follow) Same with the New York Times Book Review review that was supposed to run in December. (Do you know that they decide who gets reviewed before they even see copy or a byline? (?!) Not to mention, the Book.) My publisher was excited about it passing the second committee. But, no. So the Poets & Writers profile seemed a pretty sure thing, considering photo shoots and all. Well, I got a call in the afternoon from the same person at P & W who said that there had been a "scheduling problem" and that the profile would not appear in the Mar-April issue; and probably not at all. Ever. Evidently, the writer wrote a profile without ever having interviewed me and was now "out of the country." Okay, maybe it's quite possible to write a profile on my work based upon existing interviews and the book itself. After all, that's my whole intention -- the Book itself.

But, it sucks. Bums me out. Not as much as my publisher who had already taken out ads based upon the existence of the profile. For him, it's business. For me, well, it's not as if a profile (more maid & garbage man stuff?) in Poets & Writers is going to make or break my reputation as a poet -- at this point in my career. But, dang, that's the point, you know? It's hard not to have it become political. I had a sinking sense when I saw Sandra on the cover for National Hispanic Month. Yikes! That'll never do. The unspoken rule of the universe for "people of experience" (~ LDC circa 1968) is "Two's quota. Three's a horde." ("We just did one!")

Or, something.

I try not to think about it. It's the secret of my happiness.

I had just come back from taping some short poems and pieces from "Coffee" at KGNU for NPR's Latino USA to use as fillers in this week's show, or whenever the various affiliated stations choose to air them beginning this friday. So, had just opened the email about the interview. then the phone call. Bryce called later, bummed. He'd heard less than I about it, but he had an email in the end of December from P & W assuring him that the feature was definitely going to run in the Mar/Apr issue. It could have sold a lot of books for the press at the AWP, especially for a (dare i dare to say a word?) (an evidently) marginalized writer like myself.

So, well.

Truth is, to this old small pressman and former publisher, it's all sweetened with the review in Publisher Weekly. ("Publisher's Weekly!") A favorable review. Means more as it's a trade review. And upchuck the politics of po'biz. Bah! Hum bug.


So, yesterday, I spent the day mulling over Bryce's request to come up with names of people who can come up with a 20 page profile in a day, preferably by yesterday. (There are them, right away I suggested Roberta Fernandez (because she's good) and a new critic, the best when it comes to my work, and Helena Viramontez's former student at Cornell, Eliza Rodríguez y Gibson in San Bernadino. I thought of others later: Juan Bruce, Ray Gonzalez, Nick Kanellos, Alfred Arteaga, Jose Saldivar. . . . But who wants to impose? Not me.

So I wrote one myself. Besides, people keep asking.


I hope y'all are holding up well under the influence of submission season. "For now it is September/ And the killing has begun. . .". (song on the Isle of Man)


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