FROM THE EDITORWITH MUCH TONGUES IN CHEEK
I am purrrr-ed to announce that this issue presents poetry books that, for the first time in Galatea Resurrects (GR), are receiving their third reviews or engagements. I am open to GR publishing more than one review of the same publication because I believe that such deepens the engagement with the work. The first publications to get reviewed for the third time in GR are:
UNPROTECTED TEXTS: Selected Poems 1978–2006 by Tom Beckett
Museum of Absences by Luis H. Francia
OPERA: Poems 1981-2002 by Barry Schwabsky
Tom's UNPROTECTED TEXTS holds the special charm of receiving three reviews in one issue -- and in the issue released right after his book's release! I can attest that two reviewers said that the book's unique bookmark, which is accompanied by a condom, helped interest them into reading the book...upon which the reviewers discovered much poems to respect! Transparency Alert: My press, Meritage Press, is the fortunate publisher of Tom's book -- so, I need to preen as I obviously hit on a successful marketing tactic for the poetry book: the condom. Whatever. As Madison Avenue long has proven: Sex sells.
As books receive more engagements, it's logical that not all will be positive. Response to poetry is sufficiently subjective that different readers can disagree on the same work. Still, I know that negative reviews can hurt the authors. So, as an experiment a few months ago, I commissioned seven million of my best friends to write a negative review on one of my books. I asked seven million as I found it difficult to imagine how anyone could have anything negative to say about my poems (pause to delicately sip the hot coffee). Much to my surprise, all seven million replied they could do it -- these are the same best friends who've always complimented my work. Hmmm, I thought. Still, the distinct majority of my friends recovered from insanity before this issue's deadline, such that only one person became lucid enough to send me a review. Thank you, I think, to John Bloomberg-Rissman for reviewing my Reproductions of The Empty Flagpole.
Although, I have to say that now that I see what John says about my book (and Reproductions happens to be the most favorably reviewed ever of my 14 poetry collections to date), I see the wisdom of continuing my original policy of not having my books eligible for review in GR since I edit it. John's review (under the one-time "Roast The Editor" section) is the last review to be featured in this issue -- may your reading eyes get too tired to scroll down there. But seriously, this is to suggest to poets who've experienced criticism: don't be discouraged; look at the company with which you're sharing the Sun's heat ... and light! (Hmm: now why is that coffee getting hotter, rather than cooling down, over time?)
As I continue to sing about Moiself, I am also delighted to announce that I WON MY BET! I won my bet with Senor Cynic-You-Know-Who-You-Are. To wit, this issue of GR presents more new reviews than did the third issue! Here are the purrr-generating stats:
Issue 1: 27 reviews
Issue 2: 39 new reviews (one book was reviewed twice by different reviewers)
Issue 3: 49 new reviews (two books were each reviewed twice by different reviewers)
Issue 4: 61 new reviews (one book was reviewed thrice, and three books were each reviewed twice by different reviewers)
I love upward trajectories -- thank you to all the volunteer reviewers for making this possible. I would have thought it'd be difficult to beat the third issue's 49 new reviews -- and it was. I even snared my own mother to do a "review" (so to speak), and it turns out that I didn't need her. This, of course, is my poetics -- be blind if you're going to play poetry poker. Which is to say, I feel that Poetry is also about Faith.
Of the new reviews, the following were generated from review copies sent to GR:
Issue 1: 9 out of 27 new reviews
Issue 2: 25 out of 39 new reviews
Issue 3: 27 out of 49 new reviews
Issue 4: 41 out of 61 new reviews
So I continue to encourage publishers and authors to send in review copies -- reviewers from around the world are paying attention (indeed, this issue presents the first participation from writers living in France, Australia and Canada). For information on submission and review copies, go check out Galatea's Purse.
This issue also presents, for the first time, reviews written as poems. But of course!
Lastly, please feel free to email me or put in Comments section any errors or publisher web sites information related to the books. I might have been distracted by the newly-started Holiday Season as I was working with this issue. Speaking of which, do you think that, maybe, Gabriela and Achilles don't like these red deer antlers?
I certainly hope reading through this issue will elicit different responses than those absolutely tortured expressions on Moi puppies' faces!
With much Love, Fur and Poetry,
St. Helena, CA
November 30, 2006