Having been asked to respond to any missteps that might have been made with the publication of my first book, I'd begin by saying that as a poet, I find it hard for me to answer this question in great detail. THE GIRL IN THE MIDST OF THE HARVEST was an Associated Writing Programs Selection, chosen by John Frederick Nims, and published by Texas Tech University Press; we never really expected huge sales, because---well, it was poetry. Not a novel. Not a memoir. I chafe at the very small niche into which poetry is placed in this country. There are books of poems that are better than any best-selling, prize-winning novel, but, then, who cares as much about a book of poetry as about a novel or memoir?
To be honest, I blame myself for any misstep with my first book. I could have done a better job of scheduling readings and having the book publicized. I was new to the game of po-biz. Now, years later, I'm more and more distrustful of that "biz." It's the biz that pushes books like Michael Dickman's first collection, despite its sophomoric verse, for example. (I just read his first book while in Portland.) The "biz" that hews to the New Yorker/APR/Eastern-or Western (Graywolf/Copper Canyon) biases and network. Not to mention Language Poetry and other assorteds chools of what the upper East coast calls "poetry." And yet there are local audiences that are grateful for poems that speak to their lives. These are the readers to whom a savvy poet will direct her promotional attention once her book is published. She probably won't win a Guggenheim or a Pulitzer for doing so, but she will know that she has conncected with a real audience for her work. And that she has helped keep the art of poetry alive.
Causes Kathryn Byer Supports
Any environmental causes to keep our Southern mountains and our planet from devastation. Conservation Trust of North Carolina Nature Conservancy ADC,com...