Monday, November 27, 2006

Gifts for writers: cheap, easy, pleasing

He's not a writer, but he lives with one. Shadow likes opening his gift each Christmas, and he always appreciates whatever he gets, especially if it's edible.

There are a number of writers on my gift list, and I thought I’d share some of the more successful gifts I’ve given friends and associates in the past.

Most writers will appreciate paper. Although we’re supposed to be moving towards a paperless society, I feed my printer more often than I feed my dog. I even use both sides of the paper for rough drafts and business records. Still, I buy more paper than I like to.

Office supplies are useful—notebooks, large paper clips, file folders.

Writers like pens. Good pens—black, red, or blue.

Many of us like coffee or tea. My daughter’s boyfriend gave me a Starbucks gift card for my birthday, and I really liked that gift. There’s also a great new book out by Travis Arndorfer and Kristine Hansen: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Coffee & Tea. I bought a copy for myself and have enjoyed learning about the beverages I drink too much of.

Then there’s postage. Email has definitely reduced my postage bill, but I still use stamps. A sheet or two of stamps will be appreciated by anyone.

Subscriptions to magazines are a treat that will last the whole year. In my last post I noted my own favorites.

There are several books a writer may find useful. Here are a few:
The Renegade Writer by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell (great resource);Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg (for inspiration and crafting);The Brand Called You by Peter Montoya (for promoting your book).

For inspiration, consider giving your friend (writers and non-writers) a book of poetry. Any book of poetry. (We poets are famous for begging).

Some of us like wine. I picked up a copy of Wine: The 8,000 Year-Old Story of the Wine Trade by Thomas Pellechia. This is one of the liveliest, most interesting books on wine I’ve read. It’s a lovely, hardcover book with neat illustrations.

All the books mentioned here are available at a number of online sites.

Last but not least, invite your writing friend out for a cup of coffee or for lunch. We stay cooped up too much if we do this full-time.--Happy Shopping! Kay Day (11-27-06)

Because of the reading next week at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., my next post will be delayed.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Subscriptions to mags: what to do

I was talking to my friend Dorothy Fletcher this morning about magazine subscriptions. I have too many. So this is the season, as the fiscal year ends, to take a look at my subs and decide who stays and who goes.

Dorothy's a writer, so we talked about a few publications she might subscribe to. I told her if I had only one subscription to a writing magazine, it'd be to The Writer. Before you proceed, I disclose I've written for the magazine, the handbook, and currently do a Net column "Poetry Beat."

But I can share the magazine has been on my desk since I was a 17-year-old in a small Southern town, dreaming of being a writer. There was a newsstand in my town. I'd leave my job as a dime store clerk each Friday afternoon and head for the newsstand. I'd always purchase a magazine. One week I'd buy The Writer. The next, I'd pick up The Atlantic. Then it'd be The New Yorker.

Many years later, the newsstand is gone. I subscribe to a number of magazines for different reasons.

The Writer is one I rely on for news, articles on crafting, information on publishing, contest announcements. I found a treasure trove of information by writers like W. Somerset Maugham and George Bernard Shaw. They were published in past issues of this magazine that's been a friend to writers since 1887.

I subscribe to Christian Science Monitor for their balanced news coverage, interesting features, and poetry. I write for them sometimes too.

I've never written for Time or the Weekly Standard. I buy the first for liberal news and the second for conservative news. Nor have I submitted to National Geographic, but it's a sub I can't do without.

I get the daily newspaper here because I start my day with it and like to read it with my coffee.

I get Health because I'd like to submit to them if an idea strikes and I like their articles on fitness and women's issues. I almost forgot to add Poetry. There's at least one poem that really sticks with me in each issue.

Those are the subs I'm sticking with. They've served me well.

--posted 11-18-06 by Kay B. Day

Note (11-21-06):Sigh. A dear one wrote to remind me I also write for the daily newspaper sometimes. See what happens when you try to disclose everything? Since I didn't mention it by name, I figured I'd done things up right. But my dear one is wise, so be aware: the Times Union has published my freelance articles in the local sections.


I've signed up for something called Technorati Profile . So I have to put a link here. Dunno why, but I "claimed" my blog.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Poetry Beat at The Writer goes live

My first Poetry Beat column for The Writer is now live. Read about poet Lee Slonimsky and how his poems are woven into his wife’s popular mysteries. I discovered Slonimsky’s sonnets while reading Carol Goodman’s The Ghost Orchid.

I talked about the book here on my blog. One of the poet’s workshop students read the blog. Soon I was corresponding with Lee Slonimsky. Concurrently, we were developing plans for Poetry Beat at The Writer. It was so fortuitous, the timing, because I can’t think of a better poet to launch the column.

Do have a read, and see who’s up next. And send me your story tips or post them on the special forum for Poetry Beat.

Note: I learned the column is premium content, so it can only be read if you're a subscriber to the magazine.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Poems that go bump in the brain

Each month when my issue of Poetry comes, I keep it on my desk. When I take a break or have lunch, I like to thumb through the magazine and enjoy the poems. In the November, 2006, issue, there’s a poem that stopped me in my tracks. It’s one of those poems that lingers like the scent of a garden rose, powerful yet delicate and pleasing.

I’ve read it to my daughters, my husband, and visitors. Everyone who knows me is accustomed to my commanding them, “Listen to this!” I’ve shared poems by many writers with that command, including my own work.

This poet is Reginald Shepherd. The poem is “My Mother Was No White Dove.” This is a blow-your-mind poem, ripe with lines like, “My mother was the clouded-over night/a moon swims through…” This poem alone is worth the price of a subscription.

The bio note says all of Shepherd’s books are published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. His fifth, Fata Morgana, is due out this spring.

I don’t know the poet, but I’m grateful to him. His poem took me away for awhile, and those moments have a value that only a lover of poetry can understand.

And in the interest of disclosure, I can rave about the magazine because I've never been published there and I never will be.

So there you go.

Note: Thanks to all of you who've emailed me with news tips for my new column at The Writer. We have some sensational stories lined up. Column will debut mid-November. And continue to send me those tips!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

New poetry column to debut at The Writer

My new bimonthly column Poetry Beat will launch in mid-November at the Internet site for The Writer magazine. The column will focus on the topical aspects of poetry. We’ll feature esteemed poets who’ve made their mark in the canon, as well as emerging poets who are taking poetry to the people in unusual ways. Opportunities, contests, and events will all be part of our coverage. A special discussion thread will be available on the forum so readers can send tips or post comments.

Poets House in New York showcased over 2,000 new poetry titles last year, according to information on the Net site. Those are just the collections in the showcase. Many others were published by independent presses and individuals.

We hope this column will grow into a forum for all poets, and a resource as well. Do visit often as we journey through Po-Biz together.—Best to all, Kay Day