Thursday, February 4, 2010

Silent Stanzas: The Book?

My dream, when I first started this project, was to turn it into a book - a lovely glossy coffee-table tome filled with beautiful pictures. Something you could leave out as a conversation piece, and maybe open the world of silent film to someone new.

Dear Readers, would you be interested in such a book? Why or why not? The poetry would not merely be this website on paper - it would be new pieces, new stars. I'd love your opinion on this.

12 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I love the idea! I would absolutely love a book of your poetry!

Chris Edwards said...

Go for it, definitely, but do you think the glossy coffee-table approach is best, Jen? Unless you actually own a lot of silent movie images (that is, in hardcopy), I'm not sure what the restrictions would be on publishing them.

Publishing a silent-themed poetry collection, on the other hand, is entirely feasible. You can self-publish, or even make your own books. There are also many poetry publishers out there (I know of several here in Toronto)--the trick is, of course, that you'll make no money. That's how it goes, unless you happen to be Margaret Atwood, or Jewel. But none of us write to get rich, right? ;)

Avalon76 said...

Thanks guys!

Chris, I've spoken to a few people about it, and they say that no credit is needed to post photos that are used to illustrate the poems. (I've had offers from reputable sources of high-quality scans.) If for some reason I can't use the photos, then I'll definitely look into just the poetry. ^_^

Lolita said...

I think I came with that wish as soon as I had read a couple of your poems! DEFINITELY a book! Why? Because your poems are both spot-on descriptions of the movie stars, and they are lovely.

Matthew Coniam said...

Definitely a book, but not ENTIRELY new ones - there are a few here that are crying out for a more tangible immortalisation...
I say a mixture of maybe 75% new and 25% old...
and ask me to write the foreword!

Avalon76 said...

Matthew darling, just find me a publisher and we'll talk!

Mythical Monkey said...

Pardon the lateness of my reply. I've been pondering your question for a while in the context of how to write about cinema -- it occurred to me that the difference between a book and a movie is the way we experience the two. A book, the best of them anyway, we experience first with our frontal lobes; we understand what the author is saying and the reaction to that understand flows into our limbic system then down our brain stem into our body. We understand, then we feel. Pure cinema works pretty much in the opposite direction, bypassing the rational part of our brain, flowing up the brain stem into our limbic system and finally into our frontal lobes where we process what we're feeling -- we feel, then we understand.

And I think of all the written forms, poetry comes the closest to mimicking the process of feeling then understanding.

Or in other words, poetry might be the best way to analyze a movie.

Now, I don't know how the legality of using photographs works but I would think what you might do is pitch this idea to someone who owns a cache of silent era photographs; partner up with them, select your photos and poems, polish them up and then approach a literary agent with the idea. I think you could pitch it as "the best way to enjoy a movie outside of buying a ticket and a bucket of popcorn."

In any event, when you approach an agent, (1) have the polished manuscript ready and (2) make it sound like the most important thing to happen in publishing since the Gutenberg bible. They like that. Then assure them that you already have the photos in hand and any question of rights taken care of.

Then you suffer for a while until you find the agent who responds enthusiastically (without asking you for money) and bingo, you're in business. It's a good idea, which means there's an agent out there. It's just a question of finding them and helping them find you.

Anyway, that's my two cents ...

Avalon76 said...

MM, thank you so very much for those two cents. What you've said makes a lot of sense...I've also wondered if it wouldn't make a good project for collaborating with an artist. As far as photos go, someone proficient in film collecting has told me photo rights would be unnecessary for a project like this.

The Kid In The Front Row said...

YES. Do it. Do it now.

Avalon76 said...

Thanks Kid! I'm working hard to try and get it noticed. So far there's positive feedback, but publishers are skittish about a poetry project. Keep your fingers crossed though, and thanks for the support! ^_^

Gori Chori said...

You know I've been hot for this idea since the beginning. I like the glossy coffeetable book idea, myself. The poems are fine, but most people don't know much about Silent Pictures. The photos will bring context to the words. Plus, people who would not be interested in books of poems might be interested in books of movie star photos with poems.

Avalon76 said...

Thank you Gori Chori! That was my idea - sometimes a book of poetry by itself can be a bit dry. Partner them with gorgeous photos and people would definitely stop and look! Especially the way they took studio portraits back then...just delicious. ^_^