“Petrichor Rising” and how the Twitterverse birthed friendships that in turn birthed a poetry collection

This collaboration by the Grass Roots Poetry Group is a wonderful example of how social networking can work at its very best. This feature is the companion piece to John Anstie’s Bardo post on Monday, “To Edit, Perchance to Publish …” and includes an interesting interview with John as well as a brief review of the book. Several take-away lessons from the GRPG collaboration. Enjoy! Jamie

THE POET BY DAY

product_thumbnail-3.php“I always had this notion that you earned your living and that poetry was a grace.” Seamus Heaney (1939-2013), Irish, poet, playwright, translator, educator and Nobel Prize winner

I’m sure my friend, John Anstie, poet and renaissance man, The Bardo Group core team member, and editor of and contributor to Petrichor Rising (eBook and paperback), a 2013 poetry collection of The Grass Roots Poetry Group (GRPG), would prefer that I focused on the poems and the collection. The former feature-writer in me still loves a good story though. (Forgive me, John!) The coming together of this group and the publication of their collection is as good a story as any and better than most … and hence, I break my usual self-imposed word limit on posts. Read on … You may recognize yourself in some of this …

“I do accounting. I am a writer.” an…

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To Edit, Perchance to Publish …

(On use of the English language)

” … To edit perchance to publish: ay, there’s the rub;

For in that edit of death what publishings may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause … “

(Editing liberties taken with Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, with thanks and apologies to William Shakespeare)

Jamie Dedes suggested that I should write about my experience of publishing.  I thought about this, but came to a conclusion that it would be pretentious to do so, because it would appear like someone, who had just successfully completed their first length of the swimming pool, writing a book on swimming the English channel!  However, there is something to write about in any experience, however humble.  So, I decided instead to write about it from a perspective, where I have a little more to offer.  This is the business of writing the English language.

Designing the book’s layout, selecting and agreeing cover designs, which fonts to use, finding someone to write a foreword, or not, decide who should write the introduction is much to do with publishing.  Reading it all front to back, back to front, several times over, has more to do with being competent in the language and brings much to bear on the business editing!

product_thumbnail-3.phpTo cast a glance at the experience I had in publishing “Petrichor Rising“, before the publisher came along, thinking that we might have to self-publish, I designed the layout, asked one of the group to write the introduction and, after playing with the idea of asking an award winning published poet I know to write a foreword (with the vain idea that it might give the book some kudos), eventually decided to write it myself.  All that remained was to get the covers designed and … Edit!

After several runs through it, I got to a point where I needed to ask ‘editorial questions’ of the contributing poets, which were in a variety of different forms. I felt sure that, if I were to uphold the integrity of the book, I was compelled to verify some of the simplest things, like spelling, grammar, English usage, the odd neologism and even the position of punctuation marks.

My golden rule was always that I should change not one single word without the consent of any of the authors.  So, I grabbed the horns!  Accordingly, I received a variety of responses, which ranged from unquestioning acceptance of my suggested edits, through “no that’s the way I intended it” to a significant re-editing of a poem. This was, or so I thought, one of the final hurdles to publication.

I eventually submitted the whole book to the publisher, who, within a short time had clearly read it through very thoroughly, because they returned it with a whole list of further edits, which comprised of spelling errors, general typo’s, even punctuation and the odd grammatical error!  An even greater shock to my pride was that a number of them were within my own writings! I had to agree with almost all of them!  What am I like! Evidently rather poor at self-editing!

As for English grammar, there are some rules that I’m keen on.  Even in poetry, I prefer to write English in complete sentences between full stops, with any main or subordinate clauses that have a subject and a predicate, any phrases suitably punctuated, words chosen for their proper meaning, as defined by a recognised dictionary (my preferred backstop is Fowler’s Concise Oxford English Dictionary) spelled correctly and, particularly in poetry, with no unnecessary repetition.

Amongst the rules I use, that I can rarely bring myself to break, include the use, in comparisons, of certain prepositions after the word ‘different’.  My personal loyalty lies with the traditional ‘from’; there are no circumstances under which ‘from’ cannot be used in this context; the alternatives used are ‘to’ (don’t know where this came from, but it is widely used in the media) and ‘than’ (more popular in North America), which sometimes permits a greater economy of words when ‘different’ is followed by a clause. So, in my book, it should be “different from”.

The next one is the split infinitive.  Once again, I would argue that there are no circumstances in which the infinitive form of a verb has to be separated from its preposition (‘to’) by any other word. The only possible exception could be in poetry, where one might want to split the infinitive for the sake of maintaining consistent scansion.  Even then, I would argue that there is no sentence that cannot be re-written in a different way, expressed with different words, to achieve the same effect; such is the variety of the English language.

Poets and writers have a great responsibility to communicate accurately, however perverse, complex or deep the story line. This super-fast digital age, with its plethora of social communication devices, has encouraged a laziness in the use of language and, therefore, a greater risk of misinterpretation, which transfers to our working lives too.  In the last twenty-five years of my working life, I witnessed a tendency for the generation, who have grown up with the digital computer age, to be ‘quick’, to empty the overloaded inbox as fast as they can and, in so doing, often write incomplete sentences that are easily misunderstood and that consequently waste time in clarification or, worse still, cause decisions to be wrong!

Economy of words is important in all writing, particularly poetry, which can only be enhanced by choosing the right words and concatenating them so as to achieve the meaning intended and, in this way, one should always aspire to achieve synergy, which is to say making the whole, the final result, greater than the sum of its parts. Shortening sentences, however, for the sake of speed is just lazy and symptomatic of an unwillingness to think more carefully about the language.

I hope, in any future attempt to publish a book, that I will remember this; remember how important it is to communicate our meaning accurately, and, thereby, truthfully.  As far as I am concerned, I am still learning.

– John Anstie

© John Anstie, essay, all rights reserved

RELATED FEATURE:

“Petrichor Rising” and how the Twitterverse birthed friendships that in turn birthed a poetry collection, by Jamie Dedes, The Poet by Day, the journey in poem

John_in_Pose_Half_Face351w-rH34dTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British poet and writer, a member of the core team here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer. John participates in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. John is also an active member of The Poetry Society (UK).

John has been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited the  anthology, “Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears in The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

BARDO NEWS: What Leibniz Never Learned; Paula’s “three minutes” of fame; Niamh’s new FB page; an opportunity for women poets … and more

sllwomanreverseVia contributing poet and good friend to Bardo, Myra Schneider for Second Light Network of Women Poets: AN INVITATION TO WOMEN POETS TO SUBMIT TO A MAJOR NEW ANTHOLOGY FUNDED BY THE ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND and open to contributions from any women anywhere in the world …

The Second Light Network of Women Poets have recently received Arts Council funding to bring out an anthology of poetry by women poets. It will be called Wings of Glass. The book will focus on ambitious writing and be published next autumn 2014 and launched at the Second Light Festival in central London in late November. The editors are Penelope ShuttleMyra Schneider and Dilys Wood. Submissions will be accepted between 15th November and 15th January. Please see full details for submitting : www.secondlightlive.co.uk

51rk8frRwfL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Her Wings of Glass (the title a quotation from Sylvia Plath) is to be a 200 page anthology that will complement but not repeat Second Light’s previous anthology (with Arrowhead Books), Images of Women. The focus of this anthology is ‘big issues’, for example the future of the planet, good and evil aspects of our relationship with the natural world and with each other, different aspects of our imaginative understanding of ‘who we are’.

The invitation is for up to six poems per submission, not more than 200 lines in total, with three copies of each poem to Dilys Wood at 3, Springfield Close, East Preston, West Sussex, BN16 2SZ, by January 15th 2014 together with the administrative fee of £5 (Second Light members) or £8 (non-members). Cheques payable to ‘Second Light’ or pay online at the poetry p f (online shop (filter to ‘Wings’). Non-UK submissions may be sent by e-mail as .doc or .pdf attachments, only to Second Light Administrator (poet Anne Stewart. ) Anne Stewart is a fabulous help with your technical questions. [Check out Anne’s poems HERE.]

The adjudicators will advise those selected by 30th June 2014 and those poets whose work is selected will receive a copy of the anthology when published. Submitted poems may be published (details on poem please) or unpublished or otherwise out in submission. Second Light may also publish a short spin-off anthology if funds allow.

FULL SUBMISSIONS GUIDELINES HERE

artemisEditor’s note: Poets of the distaff side, don’t forget Second Light Network of Women Poets as a primary professional association with an excellent bi-annual journal ARTEMISpoetry, which is published in November and in May. Membership in Second Light network is not restricted to residents of England.

terriREV. TERRI STEWART (Cloaked Monk) is the founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition in Seattle, Washington. Don’t miss tomorrow’s post for details. You will find Terri’s philosophy of Extreme Accompaniment of interest and applicable to the many situations we encounter and have the impulse to heal.

PAULA KUITENBROUWER (Mindful Drawing) was honored by Boeddhistisch Dagblad, the premier Buddhist magazine of the Netherlands, with an interview and photographs … in Paula’s words her “three minutes of fame.” The feature is HERE in Dutch.

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1012862_450201838416190_1876830770_nNIAMH CLUNE (On the Plum Tree)  has set-off a virtual explosion of activity and inspiration on her Plum Tree Books Facebook Page.  She is hosting posts by a bevy artists and writers including Shawn MacKenzie (Dragonsnest) with Editor’s Corner and Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day , the journey in poem).  Jamie’s Corner, Soul Speak with Jamie Dedes, is about matters concerned with the inner life.

Niamh’s Plum Tree Books (PTB) is a small book publishing company and will publish material on FB based on the creative collaborations of team members. PTB encourages participation and comment on many subjects from technical advice on how to make a recording, to poetry, social comment, inspirational quotes to inspire your poetry, and how to illustrate children’s books. PTB is always looking for new talent to showcase.

twavatarKAREN FAYETH‘s (Oh Fair New Mexico) latest short story What Leibniz Never Learned was published by The Storyteller, a literary magazine of the print variety. Here’s a snippet with a link to the complete story:

“Anton dropped his head into his hands and, with a deep sigh, allowed frustration to wash over him. He had so many things to say, deep, powerful, urgent emotions, and all he could squeeze out on the pages of his quadrille lined laboratory notebook were gibberish lines and jumbled words.

If only expressing words of love was as simple as the calculus that flowed so easily for him. Figuring derivatives of complex equations happened with ease and grace. Math made sense. Feelings did not.

He turned to a clean page and wrote down a problem. He crafted the most difficult math he could think of and then solved the equation without breaking a mental sweat. Math – in particular, calculus – made him feel better.

That’s because: Math = Easy2 + Clean + Pure

Words sucked. They could be misinterpreted and get all jumbled up and used against a guy. Especially with girls.” MORE.

REENA PRASAD (Butterflies of Time, a convas of poety) ~ is an Indian poet, blogger, and blogging-community friend based in Sharjah. She works tirelessly on her poetry and on getting her work published. Congratulations to her on her most recent success, the publication of Seasons on Thanal Online.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: We are delighted to be introducing some new talent into the mix over the next few weeks and we continue to work on the submissions received from the Call for Submissions, which is now closed. If you have not heard from us yet, do not despair. The project is simply taking more time than anticipated.

POETS AGAINST WAR was certainly a successful effort and we continue to receive submissions, which will be posted and then also added to the collection Poets Against War, 2013 collection.

POETS AGAINST WAR, the book: Several among the Core Team members, contributors, readers and friends have indicated an interest in publishing the poems in anthology with the proceeds from sales going to an international charity to be named. We are researching the details on this and will share information and plans as they become clarified. The short-term plan is to host another peace event in September 2014 to include artists, photographers, story-tellers and essayists. It will be implemented in concert with the 2014 global 100,000 Poets for Change. If all works out, we’ll electronically publish the combined collection (2013, 2014) during the first quarter of 2015. If you have suggestions or technical skills to share, please let us know and they will be factored into our considerations and/or into the planning process. Just leave a note in the comments. Thank you!

BLOGGERS IN PLANET LOVE: This is a heads-up on an event in the planning for Valentine’s Day 2014. Details to be determined and announced. Look for more news about this collaborative effort addressing climate and environmental concerns and the meaning of nature in our lives.

NEWS TO SHARE?:  Please feel free to do so in the comment section.

– The Bardo Group