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Category Archives: Musings & Other Things

POETRY: Letting Go of Your Words

I was talking with a client recently who makes me smile when I recognize similarities that are both a blessing and a curse to poets: I’m talking about perfectionism and the obsessive nature that usually is a side-effect of perfectionism.

It’s really hard to “let go” of a poem for such a person. We are constantly changing words, lines, meaning (why?). It gets time-consuming for better or for worse. Sometimes it’s an improvement to us but not to our spouse or “second opinion”; other times it’s entirely destructive to the poem itself as we pick it apart without mercy for the process that shaped it in the first place until it’s foreign to its source.

At some point, five or ten years up the timeline as we evolve as poets and humans, our poems can make us cringe—either because of the subject (a negative or embarrassing wayward focus) or because we’ve realized a different “signature” and no longer sign our thoughts in formal blocks or whatever be the case.

Obsessing over our own poems causes us to throw out stacks of papers or documents at a whim and then regret it later. It makes us wonder how we can release our words at all, and more severely, it can make us wonder why we write and why we don’t do something else with our time.

Poems are like children. We create them. We love them in the moment, and then it’s best if we can let go of them and accept that they were perfect in their shining moment within the satisfied self, and in that, hopefully at least one other person can appreciate our poetry. That should make it worth the time spent fussing toward perfection of sound, structure, and meaning.

“Everything has a way of landing perfectly into place, like a leaf that lands exactly where the wind pulls it,” a wise poet once told me.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2016 in Musings & Other Things

 

Middle Island Press: Poetry Publishing

Middle Island Press

The early days of Middle Island Press looked a lot like this relaxing picture: lots of collating, folding, trimming that I took pride in and hope to return to soon, but for now, I’m enjoying the benefits of perfect-bound poetry publishing. I’m focusing on layout and design, feeling a bit less like a hands-on craft-person and a bit more like a publisher, but it’s all good.

It wasn’t so long ago that I reached timidly out to my first “stranger” who has become one of my greatest supporters over the years, and a fantastic poet and flash-fiction author (Salvatore Buttaci). One referral led to another and projects grew from quarterly to monthly, and sometimes two or more in a month, but one thing that hasn’t changed over these past seven years is the gratitude that I feel for the poets who have trusted me with their words, built me up with their praise until my head was swelling and my heart was glowing, and – I’ll say it again – kept the coffee flowing in this house.

Thank You, Poets. Your words are both my business and my pleasure!

Christina Anne Taylor

 

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2015 in Musings & Other Things

 

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West Virginia: Poetry of the Heavens

This qualifies for my poetry blog, right?

I Love West Virginia - Aug 2015

 

What about this one?

West Virginia - Deep Mauve Sky - Aug 2015

 

(Photos by Christina Anne Taylor, August 2015: Skyscape over the hills of Doddridge County, WV – poetry in frozen solar motion painting the sky in purple and mauve…)

 

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2015 in Musings & Other Things

 

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Editors Are Not Always Predators

As it is in nature, so it is in the hearts of human beings. Editors are not always Predators. This is a grave misconception that writers need to clear from their minds if ever most of them wish to see their words (perfectly) in print.

As writers multiply and flourish in their desire to express themselves in the angst and tension of the modern world, to be creative and original, so also have their opportunities blossomed. What was once a closed door except for a lucky one in a hundred is now a gathering room with many open doors.

Industries shift according to needs.

Just because an author pays for publishing services, that does not imply that his/her words are not worthy of reading. (It is ego and vanity that assume the worth of words according to who publishes them.) It only implies that he/she doesn’t have time to wait for that one-in-a-hundred chance, or that his/her words are worthy of sharing regardless of publishers’ opinions or judgments.

Let’s judge our own words firstly and act according to personal will. Let’s sweep that dark cloud to the wayside and focus on the silver lining of opportunity that comes by way of small publishers who aim to remove the clouds entirely and expose the light of the sun.

(Middle Island Press is the poetry publisher to prove the common misconception wrong. I’ve been known to edit free of charge simply because I care about how a friend presents himself/herself. By the way, we at Middle Island press are writers, too, and I am not embarrassed to say that I publish my own words.)

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Musings & Other Things

 

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There’s Nothing Quite Like a Chapbook.

The tech craze saddens me. Everyone wants to buy more, more, more; to upgrade more, more, more, even when it results in faulty communication of programs inserting the wrong words and making a mess of the sender’s thoughts and intentions. I hope to continue to get by without even a basic cellular phone. I also hope to continue to get by without a Kindle or any other reader of e-books. I’m just fine with paper. I don’t think Mother Earth takes quite the loss in paper production that she suffers with waves of technology bouncing all over her surface.

It is possible that Middle Island Press will offer e-book publishing up the timeline, but I just don’t see that yet. I enjoy specializing in chapbooks. There’s a certain sense of nostalgia in “sticking to the old ways” – ways that remain superior in many ways…

There’s nothing like actually holding a book and turning pages.
There’s little as personal as receiving a book as a gift.
There’s nothing like the look, smell, and feel of a library of books both old and new.

The only thing that I find missing in chapbooks is a sort of hollowness, an emptiness, a “lack of” that I can only imagine would be present in reading from an electronic pocket device of some sort. In that, I miss nothing and gain everything in my craft of setting words to paper, in publishing and printing actual books that don’t require frequent “recharges” to guarantee a good read.

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(Middle Island Press specializes in chapbook publishing. We make some of the finest chapbooks in America.)

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in Musings & Other Things

 

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“The Child” by Catherine Broughton

The sun slides off your fair hair

Touches your shoulder and falls

To the pebbles by your toes.

Wide-eyed, you clutch the leaf

Touch the caterpillar,

Hold it to your nose

And laugh. That laugh –

That fills my heart, little guy,

Tiny white teeth and chocolate

Around your mouth. And hugs.

Hugs for me with grubby hands

For life and laughter but most of all

The pleasure of finding bugs.

(Learn more about Catherine Broughton at her creative log, Turquoise Moon).

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2013 in Musings & Other Things

 

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All Words Are Worthy

(by Christina Anne Taylor)

It’s a no-brainer to me that a publisher publishes books, but I was once accused of not being a publisher by a “real publisher” who told me that “real publishers” are very busy – too busy to promote, too busy to do anything but publish; also that they turn people away (as though this were a virtue). Yet I have indeed been hand-wringingly busy at times, and I have indeed had the displeasure of turning people away due to anthology “quality control” or simply because a poet’s choice of content isn’t what I publish.

I sense that the “real publishers” who were publishing before a new wave of publishers stepped in to assist with the demand might not be happy with being less busy because (according to the “real publisher” definition that I received) having time for coffee would bring their “real publisher” status into question. They also might not be happy with sharing opportunities to know the joy of publishing. Naturally in business we would prefer to be one of several rather than one of countless and counting… I understand that. It’s about power, prestige, greed, envy, all parts of the dark underbelly of humanity.

But let’s consider that there are countless (and counting…) poets out there with words to share who need not stand in line forever to be turned away, to be told that their words are “not ready.” I have come to believe that ALL words are worth printing, worth solidifying if the writer has a desire to share them (though editing might be necessary). It takes a certain open-mindedness and maturity to accept this, or perhaps rather an open heart that derives joy in making others happy. Is it selfish? Maybe a tiny bit, but when dealing with a “real publisher” with an open heart, everyone moves merrily along their life path and that’s what really matters.

Middle Island Press is proud to be a Real Publisher.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Musings & Other Things

 

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