jueves, 29 de octubre de 2009

The Maximus Miracle Virtual Book Tour Has Landed...

...at Arlene's Blog and boy has it landed with a whoosh and a bang and a whatever-you-are-having-yourself. It is 'Days of Wine and Roses' (Tom Waits...love that song and this first day of 'Maximus Miracle' has brought it to mind...see table-ful of drink at Arlene's place!)

We talk about g/God and war and protected valleys and unprotected rabbits and writing in the dark and 'settling' oneself and trumpets and bad and good habits while writing and Ireland and isolation and relationships to poetry ….all between sipfuls of drink and....then....to get the catch of the day for my next tour stop at Brenda's...we go.....fishing! Because we know Brenda is a fantastic cook and has a few very special fish (y) recipes up her sleeve for us....hello! Brenda ...looking forward to landing in Texas with you...: )

martes, 16 de junio de 2009

Book Cover is Ready

This is the book cover for The Wrong Miracle...gorgeous, isn't it? Chris at Salt did the choosing and I'm really happy with it. There was the possibility of a different style cover too but I couldn't quite click with it and Chris came to the rescue with this new cover.

The webpage is nearly up at Salt. We just have to sort out the photos as I have been having some problems zipping them....!

More later...

miércoles, 18 de marzo de 2009

Pretending Not To Be Me...

The latest on the book-front is that the second proofs are done and sent back to Salt. It took a while to corner all those devil-may-care commas etc that were lying in wait to shout ‘Can’t find me, I’m your gingerbread comma…’ It was nearly always a case of me saying ‘ok that’s done, but I won’t send it in just yet’ and I’d wait a day or so and then on that day or so I would re-read the whole book again just ‘to be sure, to be sure’ and sure enough, something out of place was always found….I was amazed at the two pages or so of changes I had listed.

I am now at the stage of ‘Lift-up-your-book-,only-it-is-not-your-book-and-you-are-not- you-, you-are-a-casual-reader-with-no-connections-to-the-author’ This is called ‘Fooling Oneself Briefly Into Thinking You Can Be Objective’ – yes, I want to pretend that it’s not me nor my book and try to eek out an objective opinion out of myself about my book – the talking-to-oneself approach goes something like this:

Two characters: Pretending-Not-To-Be-Me (PNTBM) and Me (M)

PNTBM That’s about Flamenco dancing, isn’t it?

M It is and it isn’t.

PNTBM For me it’s about Flamenco dancing, it has to be, can’t see what else it would be about.

M It does have another level too though.

PNTBM Isn’t one level good enough?

M Right-oh! What about that next one?

PNTBM That’s about sunglasses.

M Yes and …

PNTBM Like the inclusion of the song ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme, a home after mid-night’

M Does that fit ok with the idea of sunglasses and the dark and darkly comic stuff like that?

PNTBM Maybe – Madam X and incognito – didn’t you used to play a game of being Madam X when you were a kid and I remember you wore lucky-bag sunglasses and faked accents and tried to make your brothers believe that you were an elusive film star who just happened to be out for a walk in the country and decided to drop in on their sand-box while they were there with buckets and spades and not exactly open to the idea of a Madam X with sunglasses calling on them.

M (stamps foot and says something along the lines of:) Hey, PNTBM, pack it in, remember you know nothing about me, ‘Nothing’- stop slipping back into the M role – you are PNTBM and I am M. Let’s begin again…

(To be continued…)

* Normal, run-of-the-mill, first-book type of talk, isn't it? Do share if you have ever had anything to do with your own PNTBM character... : )

jueves, 5 de marzo de 2009

Mind, Match and Game to …the Inner-Critic

(Dick by the chimney)

(Hanging up the handbag)

It might be a slight exaggeration to say that ‘practically’ every spare minute I have is taken up with tasks all associated with the forthcoming book, but it sometimes feels like that... – I never knew it would be so time-consuming or that indeed I would end up working finger-to-bone to make sure that I get all the things on the ‘Salt - To Do’ list done in time for the book to be published in September. It’s like entering a totally new world – and I’m stalling and sinking and spinning and sending things flying and flying too...it is exciting even if I know that the part that I’m most looking forward to is just being able to get back to writing again – in the dark, incognito with the inner-critic safely tucked up in her bunk bed on the highest rung of my head-ladder…at the moment, she is in her element, high-fiving, high-dohing and generally whipping up a frenzy with her pointy ruler and red pen….saying ‘get to it, get to it’ as she snaps her snazzy fingers in front of my eyes…

Even in sleep, peace can be hard to come by – the other night I dreamt that the book title was no longer The Wrong Miracle but The Christmas Pig and that the cover consisted of a woodcutter and axe and a piglet with a look of terror on his face – my mission was to stop the publication of said-book as there were thousands of copies all flying out of the printers…luckily, in the nightmare, Salt came to the rescue – we had a massive bonfire to get rid of the The Christmas Pig books and started from scratch with The Wrong Miracle! Revealing or what…?

Another thing my inner-critic has made me do is reduce all capitals in ‘God’ to lower case letters – ‘god’. I’ve noticed that God does pop up in my poems quite a bit, but in very strange situations that are not at all God-like so in order not to cause consternation to my folks, I’ve ended up demoting ‘God’ so that ‘god’ won’t appear as …well, you know...irreverent or something... Is this a cowardly act? Should I stick to my poetry-guns and forget about my inner-critic?

So have others noticed weird things happening in the mind at pre-book stage? (or at any stage, actually…) And proofing – not my forté at all - I skive off whenever I can and when I'm at it, it's a consistent comma-alert act…(but colons are not getting a look-in…no way…) Just wondering what your experiences are if you're working up to having a book coming out or if you have a book out or whatever...what is it that you like least or best about it all? And is it worth it? (or should I just beg, steal or borrow a 1000 € and buy all the books myself and keep them in the basement, thus avoiding having to promote the book...? It's looking like a tempting option... (just joking, honestly!...; ))

martes, 24 de febrero de 2009

Odd Things in Odd Places (or Compartmentalise)

(For the Chop - A Puss in Boots on a Snow Day)

(The Freeze is On)

Compartmentalise is a poem about un-rechargeable batteries and what I do with them until I find a safe-place to leave them. I seem to carry them with me and forget I have them stuffed in some front pocket of my rucksack alongside out-of-date lottery tickets that I’ve forgotten to check or crinkled up notepaper with words that I thought would come in handy some time…the Dark Knight and Joker, a nerdish fringe and a kinder egg all make an appearance too. There is gasping and weakening and chaos and me still coming and going from my house with un-rechargeable batteries in the front pocket of my rucksack or in the glove compartment of the car which contains maps from previous holiday spots, a knife I keep to peel apples while away from my kitchen, a few sets of Penney’s sunglasses and possibly the phone number of the plumber we keep needing but never ring because we never have the phone number at hand …. What do you do with un-rechargeable batteries until you get to designated 'safe-spot' (if ever...)or what are you prone to hoarding in strange places...and what are those strange places? Do you ever reach your goal and take the hoarded items to where you once thought you would take them...? Just curiosity...: )

jueves, 5 de febrero de 2009

A Rooster and a Blind Corner

(Meanwhile, A Cacti Rooster)

One of the poems in the book that I'm hoping to do audio on (if courage plus price of ¡phone can be mustered up) is 'Rooster on a Dangerous Bend (Or There Is No Satisfaction in Losing One’s Hat)'

A true story about a rooster on a dangerous bend! It is nearly all blind corners where I live and on one particular bad bend there is a rooster that has been hanging out there for what must be 10 years because from day one of my driving I have seen ‘him’ or if not ‘him’, a close relative. I don’t know how long roosters live but I imagine ten years is a long time so would bet that it is a rooster tradition that has been taken up by the original rooster’s descendents. : ) This poem accounts my thoughts on encountering him and leads to questions about moons, and the joke about why the chicken crossed the road and about losing one’s hat as opposed to one’s rag and there are references to the eternal dance of Mulligan’s ball and the song sugar, sugar and this poem ends up thinking about purgatory for some reason.

I am hoping to actually get a photo of this rooster over the week-end – it’s a tricky one as with the dangerous bend and me in the car, there is never a moment to lose….it looks as if I’ll have to either walk the bend (which may cause him to scamper) or actually stop the car at the dangerous bend – who said poetry was a safe act done while snuggled up in bed and giving in to introspection! ; )

lunes, 2 de febrero de 2009

Readings - Into the West and Heading South

(Life on the Rocks)

Thanks to Barbara for passing me on the e-mail addresses of the poetry reading places in Ireland. I knew of them but had not got the contact info. and I didn’t realise that they get booked up really quickly, so once again kudos to Barbara for also forewarning me of that.

I’ve been really lucky and have ended up with three readings within a week – because
of my living-abroad circumstances,the only times that would be suitable for me to do readings in Ireland would be August and September.I am also in Ireland in April and possibly end of May/June/July but it would be practically impossible to have the book by then but I am hoping to have the book by mid-Sept. Nothing is confirmed yet though.

The three places are:

Sheridan’s Wine Bar,Galway 11th of Sept (Friday)

Ó Bhéal, Cork 14th of Sept. (Monday)

The White House, Limerick 16th of Sept. (Wednesday)

Paul in Ó Bhéal has also asked if I would be interested in giving a workshop
earlier on in the evening.
I am really delighted about that and looking forward to it.

So that’s the story there. I am hoping to check out more reading venues in Ireland and the UK for the Spring and Summer of 2010, if anyone has any ideas on where, that would be great. : )

domingo, 25 de enero de 2009

A Poem about Poems

(Things that Look Abandoned, (Vietnam, 06))

This poem won first place in the Inter Board Poetry Competition and the judge at the time was
David Kirby.

Here is the poem and David Kirby's comments.

A Poem That Thinks It Has Joined a Circus by Liz Gallagher

A handkerchief is not an emotional hold-all.
A cup of tea does not eradicate all-smothering sensations.
A hands-on approach is not the same as a hand-on-a-shoulder
willing a chin to lift and an upper lip to stiffen.
A forehead resting on fingers does not imply that the grains
of sand in an hourglass have filtered through.
A set of eyes staring into space is not an indictment that the sun
came crashing down in the middle of the night.
A sigh that causes trembling and wobbly knees should be
henceforth and without warning trapped in a bell jar and retrained
to come out tinkling ivories with every gasp.
A poem trying to turn a sad feeling on its head does not constitute
a real poem, it is a can-can poem dancing on a pin-head
and walking a tight-rope with arms pressed tightly by its sides.

David Kirby's Comments:

While some critics will tell you that movies about movies or plays about plays are self-involved and decadent, sometimes I feel as though poems about poems are the only ones worth writing. Why? Because, at the moment of "getting it," and this applies to the moment of reading the poem as well as writing it, there is no more electric charge than that which comes with seeing a poem strut its stuff. Of course, part of the poem's and the poet's and the reader's achievement is that none of these three essential elements of the artistic experience knows exactly how that experience works. Just as the tightrope walker has to wobble on the wire, so the poem has to shake and tremble in order to startle and amaze as much as this one does.

* I know that writing poems about poems or about writing is sometimes a no-go area for writers. I have to admit that I do have a stock of poems about this very theme...not sure why I am or maybe was prone to doing so...these poems aren't going to be in the book though, so this post is a sort of 'sorry for abandoning' you poems-about-writing poems...but there you go... : )

What are your thoughts on 'writing about writing'? Have you written any poems or short stories on writing? Do you think it is a case of being too 'decadent' or 'self-involved'? : )

jueves, 22 de enero de 2009

Begin with the Blurb

('Nothing to do with me, Babe' (Galway, Summer 07))

Blurb is a strange word! It doesn’t conjure up to me at all what it really means – I guess, for me, it appears too near, in sound and looks, to the words 'burp' and 'absurd' – I know – this is serious, but really, the word blurb brings out a certain giddiness – not sure why, maybe it’s attached to the fact that I have to ask for some.

One definition of a blurb in the free online dictionary is: ‘a brief publicity note or a promotional description …as on the jackets of books’ Love that word ‘jacket’ for book covers – I had completely forgotten about that.

Apparently, the first literary blurb in history was when Walt Whitman extracted a sentence from a private letter of Emerson’s and emblazoned the jacket of the 2nd edition of Leaves of Grass with the line: I greet you at the beginning of a great career – Emerson hadn’t actually meant an academic career but the choice of words proved quite truthful, in hindsight.

Some questions related to blurb writing that spring to mind are:

1) Does a blurb writer need access to the whole book in order to write a blurb for that particular book? or

2) Does it suffice to have a few sample poems and blurb based on those poems, generalising, somewhat, about the author?

Possibly, there are no hard or fast rules – I imagine it is the person who is writing the blurb who decides, accordingly.

And I’m wondering also if people in general like writing blurbs or is it viewed as an inconvenience? They do get their work cited so I suppose it can be a way of promoting their name and work too…if any one who has blurbed or who is in search of blurbs has anything they’d like to add, I’d love to hear it. : )

I don’t think I’ve ever had a blurb written about my work before …well, let’s see – I remember an unofficial one from Arsenic Lobster where I have my poem 'Small Acts' published…Lissa Kiernan said in her editorial titled: One Paints What One Hears:

‘The attention to detail in Liz Gallagher's "Small Acts" brings me to my knees just like a Catholic church Sunday, when I thought ...preparing for the Holy Ghost means short / lengths of white cloth are woven into strands of hair. ‘

This leads me to think that maybe there are more unofficial blurbs out there attached to my published poems than I hadn’t given consideration to before, I mean, I had read them and appreciated them at the time but had never thought of them as blurbs as such before…I think I will go on a blurb-search and maybe I will be back with more if/when I track them down… : )