Elsewhere on the Internet: A little help from your friends

Tweeted by Jonathan Davies
Tweeted by Jonathan Davies

Melville House posted Margaret Atwood’s rhymed rejection of solicitations to blurb new books, which is great fun. As someone who frequently solicits blurbs for my press’s books, occasionally taking quite a long shot to do so, I very rarely get no for an answer and never mind when I do–unless the no started out as a yes and then dragged out beyond the ample schedule I provided.

To clarify, by blurb I mean quoted praise, also known as puffery. (Some people use blurb to denote the book description–which is what I call copy.) In Helpful Definitions for Modern Authors (NYTimes Opinionator), Steve Macone snarkily defines the word blurb as “the sound made by an author paying back a favor.”

Mental Floss describes  Ezra Pound’s proto-Kickstarter fundraiser which underwrote T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. (It would have been worth mentioning, I think, that Pound also re-wrote much of The Waste Land!) I have no great love for Ezra Pound’s poetry, politics, or philosophy, but I am quite fond of stories of his philantropy (such as it is). Pound’s greater talent was for shepherding poetic talent into the public light; without him we would never had made so much of Eliot or Langston Hughes among others. His friendship with William Carlos Williams was inspiration to the latter (c.f. “Transitional”) and Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast is smattered with stories of Pound tenderly nursing poets in various stages of dissipation.

Unrelated to the theme, but fun: Mental Floss also tipped me off to the existence of a classic game archive which includes a 1982 version of The Hobbit, if you’re in Tolkein Immersion Mode right now, and Adventure, in which I spent countless hours as a youth lost among twisty little passages.



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