I had to let go of my wonderful public relations person, as I will need the money for France this spring. (FYI, good pr is not cheap!) So I'm back to self-reliance about promoting the next book. Since this volume includes a distillation of 40 years of writing poetry, it's a big deal to me. Of course, we all feel that way about our books, no?
But poetry? Unless one is Billy Collins, would a trailer help sell poems? Or is that like trying to sell one's spiritual aura? I'm impressed by the trailers I see on Red Room, and by the quality of discussion surrounding them. They certainly seem to boost hits on the authors' web sites. But poetry, the movie?
My daughter's friend Doug makes movies professionally; he trained in film at UT, and could probably do a nice job for me. There goes another 2000 dollars down the commode?
Dana Gioia asked, "Can poetry matter?" It does, it's a vibrant, healing art, that lets us sing in times of crisis and in moments of ecstasy. The question now is, "Can poetry publicity matter?"
Once, when my daughter was young, we were assigned a "special project" at school--to make tea-box puppets about the main character of the student's current book in hand. (I say "we" because every parent knows that "special projects" meant that parents did the sewing and carpentry.) Heather was reading an autobiography of Helen Keller. We created a blind tea-box face of Helen, and by that time it was 9 p.m. and my daughter went on to bed. But the teacher's instructions said: "The grade will be based on the obvious amount of time and attention put into your puppet."
So I stayed up in the kitchen, putting lipstick and individual false eyelashes on Helen Keller. By 2 a.m., she looked like someone from the Folies Bergere!
Does hype sit poorly on poetry like Mango Sherbet lipstick on tea-box Helen Keller? Or is it by hype that our beloved Billy Collins became a star?
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.