Thursday, 5 February 2009

The love of small things - part 4 (Thursday)

This one is something I wrote for the back cover of my book just before it was published last year. I had been thinking how to get round the subject of the dreaded blurb...I'm not a fan of blurbs, generally speaking...and writing a poem seemed to be a good way out of the problem. Blurbs can be so...full of...let's avoid unnecessary expletives...nonsense, buzzwords, exaggeration and/or pseudo-academic waffle. I don't much like all the 'look someone famous loves me/knows my editor' quotes that get used either (though I understand why they are there...and I probably even fall for them sometimes myself...in fact I know I do...then I hate myself for it...).

So this was my blurb-not-blurb. It got mentioned in several reviews so I guess it did its job well and earned its own place in (or on) the book too. I have a certain fondness for it (and a person should be allowed to like their own poems at least some of the time, I feel). I like the fact that it's very honest and yet not completely so at the same time. I also like the Father Ted-ness of 'go on'....(as in 'go on, go on, go on'...and I do...).


Exposing

Does a blurb ever lie?
Can it tell what's inside?
Go on, open me up
I have nothing to hide


RF 2008

x

21 comments:

swiss said...

oh yes, i know this feeling. i hate those things. they're so mundane. i'm always amazed more people don't do more with them and i;m always annoyed when editor types don't like anything remotely creative in this wee bit

Rachel Fox said...

Now there's one benefit of not having an editor type! There may be down sides but there are plus sides too...I know my book isn't perfect but it's how I wanted it...rough edges, odd bits, complete publishing 'no-no's...I quite like taking a 'no-no' and trying to make it a 'maybe-maybe' or an 'oh-yes-oh-yes!'.
x

Dick said...

Perfect. The ideal antidote to the usual frothy wittering or indigestible analysis. You should copyright it, Rachel.

Dave King said...

Bravo! I have to say that blurb has put me off buying a book more times than it has achieved the reverse. Brilliant idea!

Rachel Fox said...

Thank-you, kind gentlemen of the south.

I'm not very good at grown-up things like law but if it's on my book and I put the copyright thing in the book (inside) then it is copyrighted isn't it? I think I need a manager or something...how would the ad read...'idle, head-in-clouds poet seeks someone else to deal with all the complicated bits of life'. What do you think?

x

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes I agree about blurbs Rachel. They can be quite sick-making - I like this little poem - it says quite enough.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Weaver. I think I took part inspiration from poet Matt Harvey whose book 'The whole in the sum of my parts' has a few lovely lines in the author info and blurb. In the author info it says 'He is married with one wife' which makes me smile every time I read it. These things can be done well. Doesn't happen often though...
x

Art Durkee said...

It's a bit of a risk in a small poem to settle for clever and aphoristic. That's not a criticism, but I do think it's something to think about. It's easy to go for the quick "aha!" sort of punchline since we might feel that's all there's time for. But even a shorter poem can contain something startling truth or observation or revelation that is grounded in experience, not merely philosophical thought. That's one reason I'm attracted to haiku, which are always grounded in the real, even if they're philosophical. I usually don't feel a poem of mine has succeeded until I can get something like that to emerge from the poem. Maybe it's that I think aphorism is too facile and too easy, and I like my poems to have some weight or meat on their bones. Of course, this could just be a matter of my subjective taste.

Rachel Fox said...

Is this poem aphoristic? A little bit maybe...but most of all it is a poem I think and it is the book talking (which I like) as opposed to an 'expert', or an 'academic' or a borrowed 'famous person'. I think poetry books need blurbs least of all...if you already have the book in your hand then all you need to do is open it and taste its flavours. You don't really need someone to tell you why you should like it.

Sorlil said...

Well you know I like your blurb, being that they are necessary evils is nice to have a fun, creative one.

SUSAN SONNEN said...

So very clever, Rachel! It is enticing because of its vagueness. It is almost like a dare..."You wanna know something about me? Open the book!"

SUSAN SONNEN said...

in fact, you have convinced me to cut my blog blurb in half... back to the original one sentence.

Rachel Fox said...

Ah ha! The power of the small poem...
x

Colin Will said...

When Jayne Wilding and I were working on her new book we agreed we wouldn't have a blurb at all, just a short poem. There's no publisher information, no price, no bar-code either. I'm biased, but I think it's beautiful.

Rachel Fox said...

Short poems...powerful and versatile!
x

Jim Murdoch said...

Yes, I liked that one. I also hate blurbs. You will have noted that I didn't bother with one. Why spoil a perfectly good cover?

hope said...

Who better to sell you than you? :)

Art Durkee said...

No, it works great as a blurb, or rather blurb-substitute. My thoughts were general, prompted by the poem itself, not by its context. Sorry that I wasn't clear before.

Liz said...

Hey, nice one, Rachel, says it all and works! As you know, I'm sort of 'sorting out' the 'ins and outs' of blurbs just now...I feel strange about asking for them (have only asked 2 folk so far)...am debating on whether to compose a like-wise nugget of my own...it is tempting. : )
x

Rachel Fox said...

I suppose it was partly reading your posts on the subject that prompted me to post this as one of the short poems this week, Liz.

Hope...yes, selling...it's funny too because when I worked in the ad agency all those years ago I wanted to have a go at being copywriter but there was no place for me. I was put in Research & Planning (deadly dull...questionnaires about biscuits...).

Art...I think an aphorism can seem facile and easy but that doesn't mean it is. Plus humour is really important to me...it might not seem as obviously philosophical as something more serious but that doesn't mean it isn't - it just appeals to a different kind of personality. I couldn't live in a humour-free world.

Jim - yes I think you were one of the reviewers that quoted this poem.

x

Art Durkee said...

No argument with you about humor. The world, and all of us in it, need more humor rather than less.