Thursday, March 22, 2007

An auspicious debut

A bookseller in NY, who makes a decent living reading poorly-written Ph.D. dissertations in the field of Education, wrote to me to ask for the SPD (Small Press Distribution) catalog, that I had slipped into my conference bag at the AWP in Atlanta.  From his own funds, he plans to buy a selection of SPD books for spring, perhaps for Poetry Month.  His sales are woefully meager, though his designs for bookselling are exquisite.  He is a genius, a musical prodigy at age 3.  He wrote, conducted, and produced his compositions for orchestra in Pittsburgh, while he was yet a graduate student.  I say "yet a graduate student," because an auspicious debut, in a realistic world, would lead to a next life as a composer.  Unfortunately, ours is an unrealistic world.  With so much mediocrity in teaching & academe -- and who can deny it? -- the debut in certain very talented people is the finale.

I genuinely believe that poetry is better than that, that it is a better community, whether inside or outside academe, and that is probably why my prodigious composer friend has turned to it out of love.  I happily gathered up catalogs I had gleaned at the conference.  I took out a mailer, filled out the mailing sticker, selected the best materials, and prepared to ship them to him.  I was full of useful happiness because I get to go to the post office on official poetry business today.  I want to be a paid secretary in poetry (again -- ).

They laugh!  They always laugh.  I know who they are and they laugh.  I say "paid secretary," and they think of nothing but laughter.


acwo said...

I like your blog very much
keep it up!

Ann_Bogle said...

[He writes to me: "I wish you would fictionalize the account of your bookseller friend just a little more, and say he reads dissertations in ornithology or something. I really don't want any of these dissertators to find me. I must remain anonymous. Anyway, I am more amused than flattered, since so many of your claims about me as a musician are exaggerated. But, anyway, I know more than most of my countrymen, 'rich, proud of their tags and proud of me. Assemble all my bags!'"]