Michael Meyerhofer reviews Won’t Be Long

This is honestly one of the best and most enjoyable books of poetry I’ve ever read.

—Michel Meyerhofer

As someone who cut his teeth on “eastern” verse, I’m no stranger to shorter poems. I’ve often heard it said that less time on stage means less can go wrong, i.e. shorter poems are somehow easier to write–an idea that I’ve always found ridiculous. With shorter poetry, there’s actually a lot more riding on every word, every syllable. But J.R. Solonche is more than up to the challenge. In this book, Solonche is sharing a lifetime of wit and experience, a whole library of bittersweet moments and insights–and all of it, free of pretension.

I can’t stress this enough: this is honestly one of the best and most enjoyable books of poetry I’ve ever read, and I’ve read thousands. This is also the rare sort of book that you could hand either to a factory worker or a gilded academic and both would be left speechless. The playfulness, humor, and accessibility of these poems blend so perfectly with the underlying brilliance and craft that these poems seem effortless, though they’re anything but. As I was reading this, I kept asking myself, “How is this poem NOT being taught in classrooms all around the world? And what about that one? And this one? And that one?!”

I used to teach a class on Zen poetry, where we frequently read stuff by the ancient Chinese poets, as well as contemporaries like Billy Collins, Kenneth Rexroth, etc. I wish I were still teaching that class because I can guarantee that this book would be a class favorite. It’s certainly a favorite of mine.

Won't Be Long

In search of market

Publishing can be interesting and even fun, sometimes rewarding, sometimes frustrating. With the state of things online and the World Wide Web publishing has taken on something of a new shape. Perhaps it is still morphing. The big sites like Facebook are frequently adding new interactivity. When any of these giants experiences a glitch it makes me wonder if all the interconnectedness doesn’t allow for more cracking and disruption to occur. Just since the start of the holiday weekend I have noticed more glitches. Facebook recently added Branchout and WordPress now has also connected with LinkedIn. Perhaps since some recent surveys showed LinkedIn was the most effective media for finding work and other professionals.

With the economic downturn everyone is experiencing some difficulty financially. This means buyers are more selective and with good reason. Fuel prices effect all markets. The United States Post Office has been losing money and changing the way it functions and I would venture to guess fuel costs are one of the largest factors. And shipping is one of publishing’s biggest expenses. Especially for small presses. When things are good for a book, places like amazon stock books in quantity so it is less so. But single title orders are not cost effective. A book that sells at discount like a poetry book, the publisher gets something like $7.50 for the sale, but then there is the shipping which theoretically gets subtracted from the income, for media mail of one book is around $2.38. Do the math, barely a profit when you consider production costs, marketing, promotion etc.

So when things like social media sites are down I contemplate various pictures. How does a literary press find its customers? There are good books on publishing and marketing in the new age. How do small presses find ways to make marketing on the Web work. It used to be that author readings and signings were the best way to sell books. It was true for Deerbrook Editions, especially when most of the authors were in state or right next door.

Today I decided to investigate poetry blogs. My first page turned up some interesting sites. Something for everybody goes without saying. What I found on top was a site accreditedonlinecolleges.com with 100 best blogs. It offers more than that. I was not sure what to make of the art section which had encouraging heads but only illustrations on a page with mostly unrelated possibilities. On the Blog 30 Thriving Careers Your Children Should Consider, number 13 – Art, lead to my question.

There are an amazing number of blogs. Diane Lockward has a site that is probably the example of how to promote. She listed a lot of writers where I found Dawn Potter  and Michael Meyerhofer included in the list. People I am familiar with. Interestingly enough I didn’t easily find any poems, but Diane’s books were there and the coverage of readings and signings .

I found Thethe poetry site with lots of elaborate motion and videos and content including writing. Another everypoet for people to join and post work. This idea I had been mulling over, an interactive writing blog as a way to get more exposure and social capital for Deerbrook Editions. But there is not much that has not been done, and there are multiples of everything.

So the world of writing has gotten even bigger just as publishing has gotten new realms. It has been said that computers encourage people to over-write. There is a lot of uninteresting work / content  out there, but the Web is a good way to find decent content and connect with interesting authors of all forms of art and literature. It helps to have some experience and judgment when going around and leaving information.

Here are some of the links I found, beginning with the first search page and then some of the ones I looked up.

search page


100 best poetry blogs ?

Art  ?

Diane Lockward site, the way to launch

Thethe   elaborate


everypoet ?  idea?


50 impressive writers




The Last Island in San Francisco, May 28th

Next week Mimi White will read from her book The Last Island, Deerbrook Editions 2008, in San Francisco, CA,  May 28th, at Cover to Cover, a friendly community oriented bookstore; address: 1307 Castro Street.

The Last Island received the Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poetry from the New Hampshire Writers Project in 2009. Below are two favorite poems from the book.

Mimi White also received the Philbrick Poetry Award in 2000, and this is what Robert Creeley said about her winning chapbook, ” These are poems of a deceptive quiet and simplicity, just that they make, together, a landscape of painful, almost surreal insistence.”

Mimi will also be reading at the Ogunquit Art Museum, Ogunquit, Maine, July 27 at 7 PM.

In the Mineral Dark

In the cold petals of sleep,
without fear or trepidation,
angels fly.  Fastened to whiteness,
fugitive stars guide them
to my empty meadows.

They brush my eyes
with their heated bodies
and forests rise from stone,
the radiant flux of history
written in flecks and swirls.

They trace the mineral dark
with their soft wings
and leaf by leaf trees root
in the freshet of the night.
Blackbird by blackbird,

branches feather
the unfurnished dream.
A small stream rises,
ample, impossibly clear.

Schoodic Peninsula

When the moon hung its nail
at the end of the world
we turned off the lights
and let the stars
replace what we had been saying.
Then a deer (which was once
darkness) stepped
across the road
and became forest
again.  If I practice
walking I am footsteps
on the lively fungus.
When I gaze at the white
lichen I am the moon.
When blackberries
print seeds on my lips
I am the sweet season
that houses summer,
fragrant, waiting to close.

Reprise & Overture

“Reprise & Overture,” a program of poems and music by Martin Steingesser and friends for the publication of the second edition of his book Brothers of Morning will be presented at Longfellow Books, One Monument Way, Portland, Maine, on Thursday, May 20, at 7 pm.

Poets, musicians and friends of Martin Steingesser will join to read poems from his book Brothers of Morning, followed by a presentation of new poems by the author. Readers include flutists Carl Dimow and Judy Cormier, singer, guitarist and composer Con Fullam, poet Bruce Spang, co-manager-owner of Longfellow Books Chris Bowe and performer Judy Tierney. The ensemble also will be joined by percussionist Rick Cormier.

Martin Steingesser “is a musician and acrobat, his book Brothers of Morning, ablaze with imagination,” says poet Laure-Anne Bosselaar. “A burning, tender voice,” said former Maine Poet Laureate Baron Wormser. Individual poems have appeared in the national magazines The Sun, The Progressive and the Humanist (spring 2010), and in literary publications like American Poetry Review, Hanging Loose, Rattle, The Ohio Review, Nimrod International Journal, Inkwell Journal, The Beloit Poetry Journal and Poetry East (forthcoming). His poems have received a number of awards, including First Place in Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance 2008 Maine Literary Awards. They are represented in several anthologies, such as Four Seasons, edited by Wesley McNair (Downeast Books: 2010), The Maine Poets, edited by Wesley McNair (Down East Books: 2003); Motion: American Sports Poems (University of Iowa Press, 2001); Poetry Comes Up Where It Can: Poems from The Amicus Journal, 1900-2000 (University of Utah Press, 2000); Speaking of New England  (North Country Press: Belfast, ME, 1993); Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust  (Time Being Books, St. Louis, MO, 2007); and Naming the World (Heinemann Publishers: Portsmouth, NH, 2006).
He is Portland, Maine’s first Poet Laureate (2007-09).
Brothers of Morning was originally published by Deerbrook Editions, of Cumberland, Maine, in 2002. The second edition, with revisions by the author, was re-issued by Deerbrook this April.

Sometimes a Poem Ripens in Me,

and I think I’ll split my skin
if I don’t have a plate
on which to offer it,
some altar from which to sing.
Interminable are the days, months,
years my poems wander
searching a page
you might turn to find them.
All morning
I’ve worked on and off on one,
stumbling over new gifts,
as if words,
phrases, images, were windfall apples,
this old heart among them
glad as a fawn again.

Copyright © 2010 Martin Steingesser

For Additional Information Contact
Longfellow Books; One Monument Way, Portland, Maine; 207-772-4045;<Lfbooks@maine.rr.com>
Martin Steingesser, Author & Participating Poet; 207-828-9937;