HOOKING THE AUDIENCE BY BEING A WRECK...!
Being prolific means it takes time for certain books to get any particular attention. So I'm pleased to share that my 2007 book, SILENCES: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF LOSS (published by poet-wise men Jukka Pekka Kervinen and Peter Ganick) just received a review in Litter Magazine (whose issues are being archived by the British Library--sorry, just getting a kick out of this detail!).
SILENCES is one of my "experimental" efforts and it was kewl to see such a fulsome read by the reviewer Nicholas Spatafora (who read it like it was an autobiography, indeed!). His own experimental, novelistic review is much appreciated. His is a legitimate reading even as it has nothing to do with (moi) authorial intent. I was surprised by but deem acceptable the leaps he made such that he concludes that the overall book is a
personal narrative of one woman’s plight to happiness and self-integrity in the aftermath of a shattered romantic involvement.
It's interesting to see how SILENCES' fragmented structure lends itself to such a "novelistic" read. For another type of review, but equally fulsome, Thomas Fink reviewed it in Otoliths. Hope these reads encourage more reads of SILENCES..., one of my more obscure (hah) books.
P.S. I'm honored that in response to an email thanking him for his review, Spatafora sent me an excerpt from a New York Times article quoting from (hello fello Marsh Hawk-er!) Philip Lopate:
The author Phillip Lopate complains that the problem with confessional writing is that people don’t confess enough. And I agree. The biggest mistake new writers make is going to the computer wearing a three-piece suit. They craft love letters about their wonderful parents, spouses, children and they share upbeat anecdotal slices of life. This rarely inspires brilliance or self-insight. Drama, conflict and tension are more compelling, especially when the piece starts with your “I” narrator about to fall off a cliff (metaphorically, of course). It’s counterintuitive, but qualities that make you likable and popular in real life — good looks, wild success, happy marriage, lovely home, healthy confidence — will make a reader despise you. The more of a wreck you are from the start, the more the audience is hooked.I guess I sufficiently portrayed "myself" in the book as a wreck! Woot!
P.P.S. I've written two (perhaps more; my memory is sketchy as, ahem, I've been prolific) books that use the words "autobiography" or "biography" and yet have nothing to do with moi life. But I'm not offended when reviewers can't separate the persona from the author (happens often with moi) -- I take that to mean something about the powered intimacy of what I wrote, even as I'm usually personally flustered by the effect (if not occasionally aghast). Comes with the territory and all that ... a point I'm belaboring now, by the by, because I can't tell you how many (so many!) conversations I've had with poets who simply can't abide a read of their work if it transcends their authorial intent....There's a Point 101 that's being missed here, ain't there...?