Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Author Bio

I've been reading a lot of bios lately and most are just a stream of literary journal titles.  Then when I'm not expecting it a really funny one will come in.  I love those.  They really make my day :)  Do you poets have any input on this one?  Would you rather list your publishing accomplishments or say something of your personality, or both?  I've had to write them, too and dread it every time.  (and it isn't only because I don't have one of those long lists...)  When the accaptances have been figured out for the anthology next month I am thinking of emailing those included and asking each to answer a question and to also submit a formal bio if they choose.  I'd like to make it completely optional.  Any thoughts?


William Keckler said...

They're a pill. It's like everybody lines up according to size after the performance of the poems. Presumably to get patted on the head. Gym class?

And it helps the editors who aren't that bright figure out whom they're going to publish. Because, like, they were already in....A B I should have them in MY mag.

Blurbs are even worse, though. Because there you're demonstrating whom you can take to the bank (except not really--it's just a blurb. They're not marrying you!).

Even today I hate doing blurbs. I was asked twice recently and I hope when I tried to politely decline and explain that I don't do blurbs anymore, they realized I was being honest and not saying in some effed up way, "You're not good enough for me to blurb."

The one person wrote back to me, after I begged off using illness, "I understand. When you're on your deathbed, doing a favor for someone else is the last thing on your mind."

I hadn't said I was on my deathbed.

She diagnosed me. With the sarcasm of your average doctor, too!

And she threw in karma. She went there. I need good karma. I'm dying so I should fix my karma.

By blurbing her book.

I had just met her four hours before.

And we were supposed to be blurbing.

My view is more, "Who the eff am I to act like my judgment should be hung on your book for people to listen to?"

I just think it's hubris on the part of the blurber. I realize it means someone cares enough to ask you, but I still feel weird.

I think every blurb should just say: "If you're dumb enough to need a blurb to help you on what to decide about this book, you shouldn't read it. I trust your judgment. Read it and tell me what YOU think. Just don't write it permanently on the book or in the margins of its pages. Nobody likes to find a snowy field with tracks all through it."

Sort of like the "You're too close" bumper sticker.

Because many of the blurbs out there say the opposite thing: "You're not good enough for this book. Go home now."

And then of course the codependent people want to buy the book right away.

And 99% of poets are codependent.


Soz I wrote a book.

But I'm "on my deathbed." People there talk a lot.

Rachel said...

I just had a flash of inspiration from the heavens! I should ask some deceased poets do the blurbs! I mean, It is an anthology of the afterlife and I am a medium. I am not sure if everyone involved in the project would appreciate my humor/reverence all in one but I think it's a great idea. I bet it would be blasphemy though. Cause the poets picking up the book would think it's a joke. And I wouldn't do it as a joke. Dead people have opinions, too. And I would have to find out who I could even contact. One poet I've spoken with was very wordy still! Recited a new poem and everything, very surreal. I asked him to make something move just so I could be sure I wasn't making it up and then the vacuum fell over. What an amazing night that was. Who knows if I'll decide to do this or not but it sounds like loads of fun. And instead of a blurb, cause the title is pretty self-explanatory, maybe they could just say how they are enjoying the afterlife. That'd be awesome.

Thank you for sharing your opinions with me. I'll have you know, I was eating cold chicken tenders when I came upon

"And she threw in karma. She went there. I need good karma. I'm dying so I should fix my karma.

By blurbing her book.

I had just met her four hours before.

And we were supposed to be blurbing."

I nearly choked from laughing!!

People are strange.

William Keckler said...


I liked your loopy post too.

You made me giggle there.

And the keyboard sounds luverly, but I'm bipolar so don't get me started about shopping and impulse control...

The last trip to the grocery store on a manic jag I was putting things like Goya Mole in the shopping cart because I felt I just had to see what it would be like on ice cream, and I was looking for churros.

In Walmart. At 3 am...churros....

I was talking a mile a minute and Lee looked at me like I was going to explode....

I would look at the Pulpo (Octopus) and think I needed it....

Candy Bars and Pulpo.

The new Smores.

William Keckler said...

And I love the idea of dead people blurbing.

You should do it.

I think it would be hilarious.

Especially if they ended their critical statements with comments like "My feet are cold" or "Where did I leave my right hand?"


Rachel Andrews said...

Thank you for your blessing :) I agree that it would be super funny. I like to have a mix of incredible poetry and funny; it lightens things up. Especially since a book about the afterlife can seem dark, even though in my opinion it's the opposite of that. We'll see what happens with this, I have to 'ask around.' lol...

Churros at 3am at Walmart. You're something! I didn't buy the keyboard phone, but I did end up with a green phone. It's cheaper but just as awesome, has a little video recorder, a radio, mp3 storage space and cool music instrument stuff like a database of guitar chords. The only downside is that I can't text...but that's another issue. You read the loopy post.