Small-Press Shoutout: Overlook Press!

Stop me… stop me before I small-press shoutout again!

I know, I know. I promised one last shoutout before the holidays. But then I ran across Overlook Press. They are bigger than some of our other shoutoutees, but I’m not holding that against them. They have that indie spirit – and if anything, their size is a testament to the success you can have if you publish good things and hang around for a while.

Founded by a publishing bigshot who wanted to give overlooked titles a chance (I guess the name really should have been “No Longer Overlooked Press,” which is obviously not as catchy), Overlook’s catalog of authors is self-described as eclectic. I would describe it as the deep-dive authors.

What do I mean by that?

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Charlie Brown Is Alive and Well

Apparently he’s now running a Travelodge:

I notice the lights are plugged in but aren’t on.

Glad to see the sly dog still has the Christmas spirit!

Image Credit:

Kafka: The Videogame

Definitely will need to get this when it comes out

National Nightmare Alert: Why Haiku Fails in America

Still thinking about yesterday’s Terrible Poem Breakdown entry, which I compared to haiku, which led me to think about the role of haiku in America. Haiku in America is terrible and I think I know why.

I don’t mean there aren’t (a small number of) Americans who truly get haiku. There is some good haiku out there, to be sure. Robert Hass should probably be given a Japanese passport for his efforts.

What I mean is that every time I see some kind of contest in America for writing haiku I cringe. Because inevitably someone writes something like this in the comments:

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Terrible Poem Breakdown: “May Day”

The Terrible Poem Breakdown series looks at terrible poems written by earnest but talentless poets. The only criteria is that the poems cannot be willfully bad and that the poets must be eager to have their poems critiqued.

The usual disclaimer: I am not a poet or a critic of poetry, and I am not qualified to comment on any of the poem’s formal qualities. I read only for content and the effect the poem has on me, as a reader. Off we go!

May Day

The doorbell rings

A basket of flowers on the step

Outside, the neighbor boy runs up the street:

The thrill of anonymity

Jacke’s Analysis:

I wouldn’t call this one terrible! One of the better ones of the lot. In fact, I’m not so sure why this one’s even a candidate, unless the poet things it’s not significant enough to be terrible. But if it’s too insignificant to be poetry, then so is most haiku. (And I love haiku, so that can’t be right, or if it is right then I don’t care.)

Look, maybe it’s the last word – anonymity? Does that clang a little? Too Latinate for the rest of the poem?

Or maybe it’s the undeniable Norman Rockwellishness: a little boy, a neighborhood, a basket of flowers, the innocence of thinking he’s anonymous when he’s spotted and recognized. Very easy to picture that in Norman Rockwell figures.

In any case, I’m going to say I don’t hate this one, or at least the terrible doesn’t jump out at me. I hope the poet is happy for ruining my series!

My thanks to the author for being a good sport etc. etc.


Small Press Shout-Outs: Last Call for the Holidays!

With a week left until the Great Opening of The Presents Day, just a very quick reminder of all the holiday gift ideas we’ve had here lately:

And finally: check out Jacke’s suggestion for the greatest gift idea ever for a writer.

Carry on, people. Happy shopping!

Three Bits of Holiday Cheer

Okay, enough with the bad news. The doom and gloom. The oh-so-bleak writing. Let’s bring ourselves into the proper mood for a December post!

How about this?

And this?

Or this?

We’re getting there, people… turning things around… and check back tomorrow for (hopefully) some good news from Jacke… some developments brewing…