Such struggle gave these subjects to the queen
that consuming them with relish
gave her pleasure.
(olives, watercolor, 22 January 2010)
Beth: Marly, I don’t know that we have any “strength” at all – all publishers are having a hard time. But there are several things I’m able to do that bigger houses can’t. One is to have a fairly narrow focus about what I publish, so that over time Phoenicia’s list will, I hope, can have an identifiable integrity. This will only emerge slowly, but it’s something that matters to me.
|Her self-portrait from October, 2010.
I do know what I like and what I’m after. Some of that has come from a lifetime of reading and writing, but I think my skills and confidence as an editor have been honed by co-editing qarrtsiluni and working closely with my colleague and friend Dave Bonta. We see so much writing, poetry in particular, and have had to articulate to each other not only what we like and don’t like, but why. We almost always agree, but I know I’ve learned a huge amount and gained confidence through qarrtsiluni, and also through relationships with other writers that I’ve been fortunate to develop through eight years of blogging.
The main difference between a small house like Phoenicia and a large one is that we can afford to take risks on high-quality but quirky work that doesn’t fit elsewhere. If I see something that I’m crazy about and believe in, I can do it, while the big houses often can’t.
|Beth's "Vermont Autumn" (2010)
Come back for more of The House of Words on Monday. Up tomorrow: "The Marriage Bed"