Blurbs & Jackets

Did you know that poets write the vast majority of their pr material, including the copy on their book jackets and their bio?

I honestly did not know this until a few months ago.
Cheating a Review, Part II

Retrofitting a review is using the poet's not-poetry writings (say, reviews) to illuminate the writing.

In some cases, this is just looking at what books the poet was assigned to review based on what the editors or publishers' publicists think the poet is good at writing about / knows a lot about. But, more often than not, you find very real opinions about poetry by looking at the reviews written (all you'd find about me at the moment).

If one were to look at my reviews, for example, one would see that I went off on Thalia Field for having no music whatsoever in her poetry, and that I praise one of my blurbers for the music in her poems. Then, you would go back to my book, and you would note that I quote a lot of music lyrics and that I have some poems that have a great deal of poetry-music and other poems that have *no* poetry-music. Thus, even before knowing quite what it is that I am trying to do, you know that some of it has to do with music, and with music and words together. So, you look closely at that. You might note that one of the poems with no music in it whatsoever is about a deaf woman. You might decide to do a review on this issue.
Cheating a Review, Part I

Where to find reviews online as examples, to cheat from:

Do you still have your LA Public Library cards? The *best* place to find reviews is Pro-Quest. However, if you're writing a capsule review, since library journal and publisher's weekly capsules are on amazon and barnes & Noble, try there too.

I.e., google the poet.


type in your Los Angeles Public Library card #

search for a periodical (Chicago Review, American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, etc. are all indexed here)

note: who reviewed this poet? a mainstream reviewer? a mainstream periodical?

OR type in the name of the poet you're searching on -- definitely the publisher's weekly review will come up, if there is one, and any major periodical publications

who likes this poet? who doesn't like this poet?

if your poet hasn't been reviewed, look up similar poets --

who is the poet like and unlike? what is her relationship to the canon? contemporaries? who likes this poet?

Celia: who influenced him? what's his stance re: ancient greek homoerotic poetry? camp? formalism/world war I homoerotic poetry? the new york school?

Jay: Stephanie Strickland, Pattie McCarthy, Cole Swensen, Anne Carson...