Pumpkin, Pumpkin: Folklore, History, Planting Hints and Good Eating

Noteworthy comments on publishing experience, which you will see if you link through to Anne’s site. (The automatic reblog feature didn’t pick up on that part of the article.)  Thank you, Anne Copeland. Well done.

All in a Day's Breath

Courtesy Amazon.com

Pumpkins are magical. They herald in the autumn; they fulfill our needs to create art related to the season and to celebrate it. We fill them with light to welcome others to our homes, and to provide the way from home to home as we gather treats for the season. We have all kinds of celebrations for them from competitions for the largest or best pumpkin to the best decorated pumpkins to pie baking and pie eating competitions. We listen in awe to their amazing history and laugh at their folklore. We begin to invite friends and relatives to luscious dinners featuring this wonderful orange treat. Pumpkins warm our hearts as the autumn begins to bring the chill air. We invite you into the welcoming pages of this book, and to fill your souls with all the good things you remember, and your stomachs with the most delightful…

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What are you going to do when you finish your 2018 NaNoWriMo? / Some thoughts on self-publishing, a fine Whitmanesque publishing tradition

Public domain photograph of American poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892) This image was made in 1887 in New York, by photographer George C. Cox. The image is said to have been Whitman’s favorite from the photo-session; Cox published about seven images for Whitman, who so admired this image that he even sent a copy to the poet Tennyson in England.

This is a much expanded version of an old post. In light of so many working on novels for [inter]National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), it seems a good idea to explore this topic again.   

To self-publish or not: It’s an important consideration. Some people are against it. They seek out agents and publishers and we can’t blame them. There’s validation and credibility there. Maybe though, we should weigh our circumstances and the nature of our book before making a decision.

I have an elderly friend who has struggled for years to get a book published by an academic press. She’s a good writer and it’s a good book, expertly researched.  Because her subject will appeal to the unique interest of a narrow population, an easily targeted audience, I suspect she might find her perspective readers and they her without too much trouble.  This would bring her enormous pleasure and no doubt would please her prospective audience as well. As it is, she’s not open to self-publishing. The gift of her book is languishing in a file drawer where, given her circumstances and the nature of her book, it is likely to stay.

No matter how we feel about self-publishing books and those publishers we once called “vanity press,” one thing’s for sure, if we are blogging and/or posting our poems on Facebook, we’re already self-publishing. And why not? If we don’t believe in ourselves, who else will? (I rarely post a poem to Facebook, not because I think it’s bad but because the visual aesthetic – or rather lack of – doesn’t appeal to me.)

Frontispiece from Common Sense first edition, 1776

We writers have long and principled tradition of self-publishing that didn’t wait for blogging technology or Amazon self-publish, CreateSpace or Lulu. The American poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892) and the first edition of his Leaves of Grass always comes to mind when I think of self-published work. There’s also the English-American “pamphleteer” – Thomas Paine (1737-1809) – who anonymously self-published Common Sensean American pro-independence monograph. It was a best-seller in its day.

Self-publishing is a tradition that spans the globe and started long before Paine and Whitman. Self-published books have been known to sell well, to get picked up by publishers and to win awards. My only suggestion would be to find a good editor to work with you. We all need an editor – a second set of eyes – to ensure logic, flow, and accuracy.

Here for hope and inspiration is a partial list of books that started out self-published:

  • No Thanks, e.e. cummings
  • Still Alice, Lisa Genova
  • My Blood Approves, Amanda Hocking
  • Dust, Hugh Howey
  • Eragon, Christopher Paolini
  • Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter
  • The Celestine Prophecy, An Adventure, James Redfield
  • The Riyria Revelations, Michael J. Sullivan
  • Ten Tiny Breaths, K.A. Tucker
  • Damaged, H.M. Ward

Started self-publishing after being traditionally published:

c Barbara Freethy / from her Amazon Page

“In 2011 I decided it was time to start publishing my own books. The digital revolution had made that possible with retailers like Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Google and Kobo opening their doors to authors. I formed Fog City Publishing and became my own publisher. It’s been a thrilling few years since then. I’ve sold over 7 million books since going out on my own. I hit #1 on the NY Times Bestseller List  with my novel Summer Secrets and since then twenty-two other titles have hit both the NYT and USA Today Bestseller Lists. In July 2014, I was named the Amazon KDP Bestselling Author of All Time! Did I say it’s been a thrilling few years?”  Barbara Freethy (Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance, and Romantic Suspense / four star reads.) Read more HERE.

Barbara Freethy on Facebook




The women and men at their devices …
In fine Whitmanesque publishing tradition
Put out newfangled electronic edition
A word symphonic record to leave behind
Carefully tweaked, tempered and timed
Baring witness to love, history, and crime
All good-natured, well-reasoned, and rhymed

© 2018, text and poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; frontispiece from Leaves of Grass (1883) and the cover of  Common Sense (1775) in the U.S. Public Domain; Newstand Chapbook illustration by J.C. Leyendecker circa 1899, Public Domain.






Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”

* The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 10 … celebrating women poets …

artemisOne of the things I appreciate about this particular poetry magazine – to me this is no small thing – the print is a reasonable size. I can enjoy it without wearing readers … unlike my also much appreciated Poetry Magazine (Poetry Foundation), which necessitates 3.50 readers. Yikes! Having got that off my chest . . .

Opening the cover of Issue 10 of ARTEMIS poetry (Second Light Network) was like unwrapping caramels: one chewy gem after another from the editorial by Myra Schneider and Dilys Wood to the back cover, which featured three poems by Alison Brackenbury, one of the two featured poets. The magazine is a celebration of poetry and women poets and artists and I found myself being introduced to more than the usual number of new-to-me women poets.

“2012-2013 is proving an annus mirabilis for the publication of poetry by women,” write Myra and Dilys in their editorial, “appropriately since we are on the fiftieth anniversary of Sylvia Plath‘s final burst of writing and her death in January 1962.”

Indeed, far more women poets are being published today than in my own youth (50s and early 60s) and a fair share are “celebrity” poets; not that I think that is necessarily the hallmark of the best, but it would seem to indicate a happy breakdown of barriers.

Of special interest was Adele Ward’s short feature on her experience starting and running a publishing company: Ward Wood Publishing. As a poet, writer and former columnist, I have followed the industry for years and find the developments evolving out of  the recession and new technologies an odd mix of fascinating, promising and distressing. Adele addresses women’s roles in publishing and the desire to keep traditional outlets open:.

“Initially, It surprised me that I was regularly congratulated on being a woman starting a publishing company because I hadn’t realized this was still an issue. I don’t see any obstacles to women starting and running this kind of business, but it’s certainly the hardest work I have ever had to do and I’ve had tough jobs in publishing, journalism, and distribution throughout my career. It can also be physically demanding work, as I’m often expected to move the furniture around at venues for events and to carry  a suitcase fill of books to launches, together with bottles of wine . . .

“There weren’t even a lot of women poets on our school curriculum in the 1970s. Times have changed and there are not only more women poets around, there are also more women wanting to face the challenge of keeping publishing outlets open. If we support each other by sharing our experiences and advice on how we have tackled the most difficult problems, poetry publishing will continue to thrive as we move out of recession?”

stainerThe second featured poet in this issue is Pauline Stainer, whose work has been likened to that of Ted Hughes, Frederico García Lorca, and Kathleen Raine. I particularly enjoyed the six poems and this little excerpt from one will give you an inkling why …

“They wear silk
shear as woven wind,
while the bells sewn
into their hems
sound like colours
in rippled water . . . “

The winners of the 2012 Poetry Competition were announced along with a sampling of poems and there was an interview of Mimi Khalvati by Ruth O’Callaghan. This is an organization that goes a long way toward encouraging narrative and long poems in both the content of the publication and in their poetry competitions. I found Myra Schneider’s piece, The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Narrative, worthwhile and I asked for permission to publish the entire piece HERE and extend my thanks once again to Myra for that gift.

With the generous permission of ARTEMISpoetry and poet Wendy Klein, I am able to share her poem with you this evening:

anything in turquiose ffront 2Bird 

….Installation by Anselm Kiefer

Even if you hate installations
there’s an element of purity
about this mammoth recycling of books
…………………………….as bird
………..its wings tatty notebooks
the pages torn or falling out
their whiff of damp or char
…………like scorched feathers

…………reminding me of the fire sales
she took me to as a child
..my sewing grandma the one
who made things

………..There were shelves and tables
covered with tall bolts of cloth their edges
hideously singed her hands reverent
as she unrolled each unpromising bundle
planning curtains    planning
voluminous skirts
………..chintz-covered cushions
………………….rose covered coats
….their blossoms
bursting to escape
…………and in her eyes
the pride of the scavenger

……..Think road-kill red-tailed kites
their wing-span a fraction
the size of this ragged specimen
but functional earning their right
to the sky the planet

– Wendy Klein

In close, here is a bit more of Myra and Dily’s editorial. They address the concerns that all of us have who love, read and write poetry, regardless of our gender:

“The problem remains of how widely our excitement about women’s poetry – and all poetry – can be spread. The cultural revolution that is contemporary poetry – rich in voices that express all human concerns – has already happened. It needs to be recognised. So much poetry is vivid, accessible, meaningful. But the outreach is too small. We feel it is a great loss that such poetry is not reaching the many devourers of novels and biographies, far less winning its way to the attention of a broad base of young and old readers …

“It seems therefore extremely important that poetry and what it has to offer is promoted by the pressure of smaller initiatives. It can be done by modest acts of courage – who dares to suggest a poetry book to their Book Club? And generosity – when did you last buy a poetry book, two poetry books? And initiative – do you aim to put your poems on internet sites, write and submit a review of a book you admire? …

On that note: I am proud of all our poet-bloggers and their efforts to educate, support one another, and promote poetry. Thank you! and Bravo!

…. and thus we begin another week …

The work quoted from ARTEMIS poetry is under copyright by the magazine or the author/s and used here with permission.