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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Postscript to "Precipitous slippage"

Illumination by Clive Hicks-Jenkins
 for Thaliad
I've really enjoyed the comments here and on Facebook about my "Precipitous slippage" post--the fun including meeting a poet I like and learning a lot more about other writer friends as well. And now look at this fine news about Thaliad, along with a wonderful, hopeful message about poetry from Phoenicia Publishing editor Beth Adams. Breaking the 400-mark was an initial dream goal for me, though it's often impossible for a poetry book. Truth to tell, I wasn't sure anyone would buy a wild, post-apocalyptic, book-length adventure in blank verse! So now I'm dreaming about 500, 600, more....

Beth Adams
Just for the record, sales of Thaliad are well over 400 copies - 425, in fact - and it continues to sell; it was the best seller at Phoenicia among our pre-2016 titles last year. This says to me that formalist poetry has lasting power in our time, and also it is well worthwhile to produce such books as the most beautifully designed and illustrated editions we can while making them affordable for ordinary readers.

Just before Christmas, I gave a copy to a friend who I thought might appreciate it. She ended up buying twelve copies to give to her own friends, and exclaimed over what an extraordinary work it is; she loved the edition and the artwork by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, but what struck her the most was the story Marly Youmans has told in the form of an epic poem for our time.

In other words, beautiful books with carefully wrought words and a timeless message are still sought out by certain readers, and we need to encourage their writing and making, because they will last.


  1. This is good news! I know my blog review sold at least one additional copy, plus I gave two copies as gifts. It's a special book that expanded my sense of what's viable in modern poetry, and I'll be happy if I can help it find a couple more satisfied readers.

    1. Tain't bad for any poetry book, but especially for a book-length poem. I am relieved.

      And hurrah for you--one by one by one is how we do it, we peddlers of poetry.

      "Expanded my sense of what's viable in modern poetry": I don't know exactly what you mean but like it anyway!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.