Halloween news, treats but no tricks

Probably the biggest news is our own Stuart Kestenbaum is the new Maine Poet Laureate. His titles continue to be popular. This and other news can be found on the new Website.

Other news includes a new review for No Passing Zone also reviewed in the American Book Review, along with Wars Don’t Happen Anymore and links to that review, as well as poems appearing in journals, are on the Website page. Take a look at the new Website with new navigation features like drop-down menus, pages for author’s info and books, and of course free shipping in the US when you order from the Website. In the past 16 months, twelve new titles have been added to the list, so check out the quality work.

Lots of new books from 2015 & 2016: check the site for the latest titles

The Vagabond's Book Shelf by Dawn Potter

The Vagabond’s Book Shelf by Dawn Potter

F.Fields cover grab

Richard Kostelanetz

Wars Don't happen Anymore by Sarah White

Wars Don’t happen Anymore by Sarah White


Descent & Other Poems

The Conversation by Dawn Potter

The Conversation by Dawn Potter

A passing

A Passing by Joan Siegel

Beautiful Day by JR Solonche

Beautiful Day by JR Solonche

Middle of the Night

Middle of the Night prose & poetry by HC Hsu

Once It Stops by Florence Fogelin

Once It Stops by Florence Fogelin Cover photo by Rosamond Orford

Yellow Horses by Martin Steingesser

Yellow Horses by Martin Steingesser

The Congress of Human Oddities by Teresa Carson

The Congress of Human Oddities by Teresa Carson

The World Disguised as This One by Mimi White

The World Disguised as This One by Mimi White

For Readers, Writers, and Teachers

A new book by Dawn Potter is for those interested in the language of writing, yes, but since the author and endorsers of the book avoid presenting it as a text-book per se,  what The Conversation does, perhaps as inspired work book, is address issues of both writing and close and considered reading. Chapters focus on specific elements of poetic language and structure and offer writing exercises—which include both poetry and personal essays—that link directly to the featured works and the accompanying discussions.

author Dawn Potter

Dawn Potter

Not only is Dawn the director of the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching, she is a crafts-person, an avid reader, editor by trade, who prepares texts for university presses, and an author of several books  that have won awards or been finalists for awards. See the bio below.

The Conversation cov draft

The Conversation: Learning to Be a Poet by Dawn Potter

Poet and master teacher Dawn Potter shares a dozen craft essays on poems by luminaries such as William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, and Robert Hayden. Her detailed yet accessible discussions offer readers, writers, and teachers new approaches for engaging adventurously with both canonical and contemporary poetry.

As she writes in her introduction, “to be a writer, one must be a questing reader, forever seeking closer intimacy with the art; and talking about its details, whether in actual conversation or merely to oneself, can lead a reader down unexpected imaginative paths.”

Praise for Potter’s Other Books                 

On Same Old Story: “[Her] sustained acts of synthesis and transformation are an astonishing achievement.”                                                                       —Gray Jacobik

On A Poet’s Sourcebook: Writings about Poetry from the Ancient World to the Present: “What [she] has amassed here is a reflective guidebook, one that covers her journey as a poet and writer through the voice of those poets who have help mold her over the course of her writing life.”                              —Jason Carney, Poets’ Quarterly

A similar tract of this text is here on our Website where you can purchase the book.

About the book

The Conversation: Learning to Be a Poet is a book for readers, writers, and teachers of poetry. It serves as both an introduction and a companion to the pedagogy that Dawn has helped to hone at the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching. That teaching approach focuses on a holistic approach to teaching and learning about poetry—what she calls the reading-conversation-writing cycle. As Dawn writes in her introduction,

To be a writer, one must be a questing reader, forever seeking closer intimacy with the art; and talking about its details, whether in actual conversation or merely to oneself, can lead a reader down unexpected imaginative paths. The three actions are entwined: one leads to the other, leads to the other, leads to the other. Even if you think of yourself as more reader than poet, more teacher than reader, participating in all elements of the reading-conversation-writing cycle will help you become a more concentrated and flexible practitioner.

An important goal of this book is to coax readers into more adventurous engagements with both canonical and contemporary poetry. Dawn’s intent is to show that it is possible, even necessary, for us to converse with poets who are historically and aesthetically distinct from ourselves and that they have the power to speak to us as individual human beings and fellow artists. At the same time she works to demonstrate the organic relationship between emotional and intellectual reactions to poetry, and she offers writing suggestions that are directly linked to the featured works and the chapter discussions. The book’s first section, “Watching a Poet Make a Poem,” addresses specific elements of poetic language or structure. The second, “Writing about Poets and Poetry,” centers on writing personal literary essays about poetry. Finally, the third, “Meeting a Poem in Its Context,” focuses on the way in which poets choose to combine individual poems into a larger work of art.

Why This Book Matters

One of the greatest strengths of the reading-writing-conversation approach is its applicability at many levels and in many contexts. Dawn’s book should attract a broad range of readers, including high school and college teachers, MFA students, workshop leaders, as well as poets or people who are simply curious about poetry. Carlene Gadapee, a long-time high school English teacher, writes:

I feel quite strongly that this new book will fill a niche that has long been neglected. The book addresses issues of both writing and close and considered reading, and is not to be taken as a “teaching manual” or a handbook, per se. I envision the intended readership as people who (a) are intelligent, (b) wish to improve their own writing and craft, (c) are interested in knowing more about poetry and the craft of how poetry is developed, (d) love reading well-written and engaging narrative, (e) college students in writing courses, (f) writing instructors looking to find a fresh and accessible approach. The list, you see, goes on. In sum, the readership for this manuscript is a thinking person who wants to or loves to engage in poetry and writing. I would hate to see this book relegated to the status oftextbook, although it could (and definitely should) be used as a text for writing courses, but it’s also a thinking text. By this, I mean that a person, not necessarily a student or teacher, could quite easily pick this book up, and get lost in the wondering about poetry, and could begin to see the world and the way we comment on it as intelligent and observant people in new ways. Sadly, this kind of consideration of literature is a rare occasion, in large part due to the thrust for over-testing and teaching only what is needed to get by and get a job. We have forgotten what makes us both human and humane, and I posit that this text can help steer people back to center.

Author bio

Dawn Potter directs the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching, held each summer at Robert Frost’s home in Franconia, New Hampshire. She is the author or editor of seven books of prose and poetry. Same Old Story, her most recent poetry collection, is a nominee for the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry. Her memoir, Tracing Paradise: Two Years in Harmony with John Milton, won the 2010 Maine Literary Award in Nonfiction; and she has also received grants and fellowships from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Writer’s Center, and the Maine Arts Commission. New poems and essays appear in the Beloit Poetry Journal, the Sewanee Review, the Threepenny Review, and many other journals in the United States and abroad.
In addition to writing, editing, and teaching, Dawn sings and plays fiddle with the band Doughty Hill. She lives in Harmony, Maine, with photographer Thomas Birtwistle and their two sons. For more about Dawn and her work, visit her blog.

Take it back

Tad Hargrave is a different kind of marketing coach.  His latest news on marketing deflects a list of the sound bites for headings that can cause panic, and his message is, “panic is not a business strategy. What if we all . . . slowed . . . down? I don’t know if panic is a norm for small businesses, maybe just for those earning less than 35,000.00 a year. We certainly can feel subject to the trends and leveraged markets of the powerful. So often we see how it works, creating the impression of how their products or services feed individualism. Maybe it’s time to take back our taste.

It often seems like so many things in life make us feel invisible, less of an individual. So it follows that marketing, in an almost subliminal way, offers us back our individuality. Are we falling into a place where we can’t read something abstract like poetry, we cannot look at abstract art, or look at conceptual art, because we may be losing our capacity for understanding, our lives are so filled with time and work and chores, there seems little space for the quiet and the slow, for contemplating what others are saying.

The World Disguised as This One

A new work by Mimi White, a year in Tanka.

I have a writer friend who has consciously taken herself off-grid intellectually, so to speak. She is very concerned with language and communication of a personal level, teaching creative writing and with the act of writing, how forms of communicating have changed not only technically but by effecting language, expression, and imagination. We often talk about the imagination. How having everything served up to our senses might be effecting imagination.

Consider the world of the late nineteenth century, the Civil War and after, if you have ever taken time or been shown the letters from that time, experienced through them the thoughts and feelings of the people writing, it’s no surprise to mention the fact that writing was how the world communicated, putting pen to paper, hand and eye coordination while imagining, a rather quiet undertaking. You may think that writing via keyboard and desktop is the same but is it?

The World Disguised as This One will be available soon, sometime in early July,; also The Conversation: Learning to Be a Poet by Dawn Potter will be available in about one week from the Website, just so you know.

Did you know that Schubert might be considered the father of modern song?

What does it mean when a retired director of the Met says, “I don’t believe art has redemptive qualities.”

Three Tankas, and what’s to come

Please consider picking up the newest books on the Website, Wars Don’t Happen Anymore by Sarah White, A Passing by Joan I. Siegel, and Beautiful Day by JR Solonche.

A passing  Middle of the Night by HC HsuBeautiful Day by JR Solonche

Wars Don't happen Anymore by Sarah White

In the works are at least two books of poetry; available now – Wars Don’t Happen Anymore  poems by Sarah White of N.Y. City; another called Once it Stops, poems by Florence Fogelin of Vermont due in summer; one book of fiction called Middle of the Night by HC HSu due later in the summer; and a book of tankas called A World Disguised As This One by Mimi White of New Hampshire; a new book os poems by Martin Steingesser called Yellow Horses will be out late July. Also very soon The Conversation: Learning to be a Poet by Dawn Potter. I know we’ve all been waiting for this one and you can find more about it here on the blog head.

Today I want to post a poem by Martina Reisz Newberry from her book Where it Goes called Three Tankas. 

Three Tankas by Martina Newberry

Three Tankas by Martina Newberry

As ever, the press needs your support; buy books (and I know somebody has on Amazon) but if you buy from the Website you do more to support the writers and the press, and you help us celebrate literature, because every book bought moves us closer to doing more books for deserving authors, every donation, no matter how small (if 40 people donate $10, it becomes $400, enough to help launch a new book) moves us closer to providing more for the authors, who by the way do a measurable amount in helping to get their books out there. If you can’t do these things right now, maybe you will later, or maybe you’ll help us get discovered by telling a friend about Deerbrook Editions, a friend that likes finding new independent presses like Deerbrook and the kinds of writers we publish.

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Thank you for visiting our blog and checking out books and writers.

Green is turning, turning, turning

From the editor at small, or at large, depending on the day.

One thing people do say is that Deerbrook books are good-looking, well designed, that I am doing a great thing, and words like these do not fall on deaf ears.

Actually I am excited about new books in the works for the coming season and for next year. It may sound like what people want to hear but actually it is true. New books of poetry will come out this fall, and others sometime next year as well.

I’m particularly excited about a book of fiction titled Middle of the Night by HC Hsu, that I might call experimental, for its mixture of fragments and short prose, even pieces of verse. His recent book Love is Sweeter, which I missed being able to publish but was impressed with reading, is available here, and his other news and samples can be found here: hchsu.wordpress.com  and  www.facebook.com/hchsu.author  and twitter.com/hchsu_author  and samples will be posted here in the future. He also has a translation of Chinese dissident and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo’s official biography coming out in 2015 by Rowman & Littlefield

I am also hoping that another prose writer or two will be joining the list but it’s too early to tell for sure. Short stories have always been of interest to me and often the ones I want are picked up so quickly it is with hope and effort these will happen. Taking on a new area for a small press like Deerbrook Editions can be accompanied by anxiety, for the usual way books happen is when sales are good or a literary angel donates enough to help launch a book, or several folks decide to make small donations that add up.

Anyone so inclined can go here to our fiscal sponsor.

The New York Review of Books has a review, Deep Into Green by Michael Gorra, on Green, a 239 page book by Michel Pastoureau translated by Jody Gladding. Yesterday I went to my local book store in Yarmouth, Royal River Books, ordered it, and look forward to getting into it because it is the history of the color green and should be fascinating based the other book blue, which I also have. The review speaks about green dyes, green formulations in early painting, its “sumptuous illustrations”, and that ‘the history of a color is “altogether more vast” than the history of painting’. My reading will probably be sporadic.

Where it Goes by Martina Reisz Newberry

Where it Goes features a photograph by Eleanor Bennett

Read a blog entry by Martina Reisz Newberry  , an author that has been going through immense pain. Almost finished with the edits on a 300-plus page book on learning to be a poet by Dawn Potter, a brilliant writer who I would call a polymath, in the sense of “renaissance man”,  don’t even know if it’s correct to say renaissance woman but feel it appropriate because of her energetic dedication to reading literature, writing, music, and teaching, and to learning. I do know that several followers are waiting patiently for The Conversation: Learning to be a Poet to come out.

Sample poems from Where it Goes, and several other books,  can be found here in previous posts and at issuu.com/deerbrookeditions



The Conversation cov draft

I am grateful that I am seemingly healthy for my age and can do the things I do. In spite of a sense of inadequacy as a publisher, I remain positive and continue to find ways to do more, to do what at times I think I cannot do. Some days it seems, the wading through emails, political parties and organizations wanting money, helpful hints on marketing and SEO, submissions, new info from authors, what to delete and what to save, this is a job for someone else, but there is no one else. The list goes on.

Even whether or not all this is unmentionable; do I admit to any personal struggles when so much of publishing is “image” and we have to live up to our image, content creation; since we are often led to believe what is below a surface is not important, or is it? (Pentimento comes to mind ; the alteration in a painting (shows on the surface) and a book by Lillian Hellman). Outward appearances, the illimitable superficial comparison, even on Facebook there are things we don’t talk about at lunch. Some people can write in such a way as to entertain delicious duality and perhaps reveal some personal secret by only making us think so, and thus it becomes a literary fragment.

Yet I may feel inadequate while also being successful. It is by comparing my work to the work of another press that these ideas can materialize. It is also what the outside world often hands us in criticism.


The Arnolfini Wedding by Jan Van Eyck, circa 1435

Curiously enough, at the Wikipedia page on pentimento is the painting, The Arnolfini Wedding by Jan Van Eyck, pictured in the book review I mention. The green dress; what does it mean, and against the red bed and drapery? Venture to surmise that the green paint might be an expression of wealth and prosperity as well as good luck. Green paint was hard to make. Malachite was favored but often turned black and was very expensive. Studying this painting’s reproduction I noticed there was little yellow in it. A painting instructor once told me that a painting with a lot of green had to have some yellow in it to balance out. This one does not seem to suffer for the seeming lack of yellow. Could it be the red in its hue somehow offers up yellow in some Albers visual play?

I ask questions not for answers but for more questions. All of these things aside, I guess I am feeling rather in the “pink” today because the air is fresh and sweet, the aromas of late summer are building, cool nights allow me to thoroughly enjoy the warmth of the sun. And I can sit here without any real physical pain and do what I think I might not be able to do.

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot. — Eleanor Roosevelt