Before this blog goes all out in promoting Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth, I should take a moment to mention something that got lost in all the excitement of last autumn, something that for me caused part of that excitement.
In a good way.
The season marked the publication of my third collection of poetry, Labor Day at Venice Beach. A previous post mentions where some of the poems in the book originally appeared. This is probably a good time to note as well that the collection's title poem, also its last and longest, is based on actual events at Venice Beach on Labor Day of 1998. (For full details you may have to buy the book.)
I had the great good fortune of giving the debut reading at my first choice of venues, the Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center in Venice, California. Along with my wonderful wife Paula Van Lare, the audience included several poets who could easily have replaced me at the podium: Kevin Durkin, Leslie Monsour, Frank Osen and Timothy Steele, all of whom have shown me kindnesses too numerous to mention in this space. The audience also included debut author (and friend since the late 1970s) John Sandrolini, whose novel One for Our Baby will be published in April by the legendary Otto Penzler's Mysterious Press. The reading was videotaped for the Beyond Baroque archives.
As Don Marquis once noted, publishing a book of poetry is like throwing a rose petal into the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo. Which, of course, I am doing. No reviews have come out so far, and there is no guarantee that any review will be what I want to hear. Then again, as Hyman Roth told Michael Corleone, "This is the business we have chosen."
Labor Day at Venice Beach is available from the bookstore at Beyond Baroque and from major online sellers, as well as some minor ones. It might find its place on a bookshelf near you.