Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Random acts of poetry

Day 8 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project. I am stressing the "Why?" in hopes that more of you will explain yourselves in comments! (Easier to do now, I promise! Anybody can comment, but there is a type-in-these-words filter, and an "approval" process. If you are not mean or swearing, I will approve you.)

Yesterday I got a phone call at work from my friend Lorel, who was halfway through my book of poems and just had to call to tell me they were beautiful. Can you imagine how touched, moved, delighted I was? Wow! (Also, Michael and Kay, who answered the original "What are you reading?" question back on Facebook, are reading this same book, Broken Sonnets. They are hosting a birthday party, house concert, poetry reading, dance and guitar thing for me this Saturday. I am thrilled. I am going to see lots of old friends there, including Lorel, and meet some new ones, too! So I think we have an answer to the "Why?" question in this case.)

Two young women were in Babbitt's at the time, looking specifically for poetry, love poetry, and Lorel said it would be OK to hand them my book, and I did, and one of them bought it! Hilarious, and also moving. The other bought Vita Nova, by Louise Gluck, at my recommendation, a Robert Creeley book, and others. We have great stuff tucked away on our poetry shelves at Babbitt's. No Robert Burns handy at that moment, as I had snatched up one copy and handed another to a man seeking poetry to read through his wife's belly to the baby in her womb! How's that for a random act of poetry?

Lorel is also reading Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, a set of linked stories about a retired teacher. (By chance, I am today revising a story that is taking me years to write about a retiring woman!) I love linked stories, but it seemed like a trend in fiction that came and went...but maybe is back?

Let me know what you all think about linked stories, sort of a blur between a novel and a short story collection. What are the advantages and disadvantages, both of reading them and of writing them? I heard that agents/publishers are not so hot on them, but I don't know why. Might be one of those money-driven opinions, but short stories can be made into movies just as easily as novels can, in fact, more easily sometimes, yes?

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