Tag Archives: Ben Mirov

Shelf Talker Shelf Talker Shelf Talker…

What the heck is a Shelf Talker you ask?

It’s one of those pieces of cardstock paper you see on a bookstore’s shelf that tells you when an employee really loves a book and wants to draw attention to it. I think the best bookstores are the ones full of passionate readers always willing to share their literary discoveries while also cultivating a sense of community. You can learn a lot about a bookstore’s collective personality by scanning what they choose to give shelf talkers to. I have been to a couple of bookstores where there are NO shelf talkers at all and it always jars me a little, like the store is saying: “You’re on your own here. We are not excited about anything and we have no opinions.”

Oof. What a downer.

Bookstores: Show us your shelf talkers!!

Last year, at work, we introduced a whole line of new shelf talker designs to freshen up the look of the store. That’s cool and everything, but (like a bibliophile hoarder) I am a little sad about throwing away some of my old stand-bys. I love making shelf talkers for my small press section. I think it has really helped a lot of readers discover new talent through the past fourteen years I’ve been in charge of it.

So before I tossed them in the recycling, I took photos of some of my favorites and decided I’d post them here (about 140 more are not pictured). That way, they live FOREVER! Enjoy this journey–and read these books!

(click on the pic to make it bigger)

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For Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City (Dark Sky Press)

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The first shelf talker I wrote for Gary Lutz, when 3rd Bed republished Stories In the Worst Way.

The first shelf talker I wrote for Gary Lutz, when 3rd Bed republished Stories In the Worst Way.

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Another book that we've sold a ton of at Powell's.

Another book that we’ve sold a ton of at Powell’s.

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Zachary Lipez, Stacey Wakefield, and Nick Zinner did a great reading for this book at Powell’s back in 2010.

I was so excited to introduce Chelsea Martin's magic to the world.

I was so excited to introduce Chelsea Martin’s magic to the world.

I think this was for Greg's first book, I Have Touched You.

I think this was for Greg’s first book, I Have Touched You.

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For CA Conrad

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I love Spork Books!

I love Spork Books!

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Proof of my early love of all things Iredell.

Proof of my early love of all things Iredell.

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My favorite literary journal.

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We've sold so many copies of Ghost Machine. One of my all-time faves.

We’ve sold so many copies of Ghost Machine. One of my all-time faves.

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Still pretty obscure, SJB was one of my first writing influences.

Still pretty obscure, SJB was one of my first writing influences.

I still think this is kind of a minimalist classic.

I still think this is kind of a minimalist classic. By Paul Fattarusso.

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Like how I burned the edges?

Like how I burned the edges?

The first shelf talker for Chloe's classic.

The first shelf talker for Chloe’s classic.

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I Have Never Won a Super Bowl But I Have Won Some Poetry Slams

Hi friends,

As many of you know, I have a love/hate relationship with poetry. Or maybe I should say a get it/don’t get it relationship. But poetry has made a comeback in my life the past couple of years. Take a look at my Goodreads page! It’s chock full of the stuff. I even started writing and publishing some again. This after claiming “retirement” from poetry in the late-90s, after a few years of being a Portland Poetry Slam regular (I was on the team from 94-96 and was even on the cover of the Willamette Week once).

Some of the folks who’ve inspired my new interest in poetry are hot new bloods like Ben Mirov, Zachary Schomburg, Gregory Sherl, Ariana Reines, Emily Kendal Frey, Mark Leidner, Sommer Browning, and Jenny Zhang. Not to mention my recent discovery of the legendary Sharon Olds.

Reading more poetry in the past year or two has also been a big influence on how I’ve been writing my novel, This Is Between Us, which I just finished a first draft of. Hooray for me! I hope to get it polished up over the summer and then submit it to publishers at that time. Stay tuned for more news about that.

For now though, I’m excited to announce a couple of my new poems today at Metazen. And look–I’m even growing out my “beard” so I can even look like a real poet!

The Poet at his home, June 2012.

Whenever I write poetry, I think/worry about a few things:

1. Is this worth anything? Will it ever be in a book, or does it hold the artistic longevity of a tweet or Facebook  status update?

2. Will other poets like me or do they just think of me as a poser?

3. Should I be studying what makes poetry good, like in an academic setting, and should I be trying harder at this?

4. By putting in a sports reference, am I ruining the form? Am I a ruiner?

5. How much honesty should I mix in with shenanigans?

6. What is the difference between a really good haiku and an advertisement for liquor?

7. How much longer should I not shave?

I will try to stop worrying. In all honesty though, I do write poetry to convey something and I hope you enjoy it.

What else is happening?

I am STILL talking about A Common Pornography to anyone who will listen! Hahaha. Recently, I spoke to a book club that met at the Powell’s Cafe. Photographic proof…

Some very nice Book Club members

If YOU want to talk about my book for a book club, I’m always game to come visit you and talk about it or even Skype with you! Don’t hesitate to ask: kevin@futuretensebooks.com

Also also–I’m hosting a super fun outdoor reading at the end of the month (June 26th at Colonel Summers Park at 7pm) with awesome writers Chloe Caldwell, Matthew Dickman, and Diana Salier. I hope to see you there. Maybe we can play some football in the grass before the reading.

Until later…bye bye.

AWP 4EVA

I had a great time at AWP this past week. There were so many people to see, meet, and say hello to that it’s really kind of an impossible mission to complete. Someone should make a video game out of it to inspire kids to become writers. It would be like: I have to make it to the Hobart table before they run out of magic juice (whiskey)…I have to make it to the Sun Magazine reading to see Cheryl Strayed and get 500 points…I have to find Lindsay Hunter and give her a high five…I have to avoid that dude with the long beard who keeps submitting manuscripts to me…I have to meet the guys from McSweeney’s and have a discussion about irony for 800 points and a bronze coin with Dave Eggers’s face on it…I have to try to remember who that guy is who wrote that poem I liked in that new lit journal…AAAAAARRRRRGGGH! I’ve been stabbed by Jamie Iredell!!

GAME OVER. (well, I imagine an AWP video game would be pretty close to that anyhow)

But AWP is also like a yearly class reunion made up mostly of your good friends and Internet celebrities.

Here are some of my AWP 2012 highlights in no particular order.

1. Seeing a killer line-up at the YesYes reading at Columbia, which included my pal Emily Kendal Frey and one of my favorite poets, Ben Mirov, whom I met for the first time. He was freaking great. He reads kind of like a loud robot (sorry, Ben, but it was AWESOME!) and I can’t wait for his next book from Octopus as well as this thing. Also reading that night was the surreal southern charmer Nate Slawson and the fantastic Mark Leidner, whose reading was the best I saw on the trip. His poem, Memoirs of a Secret Agent, was one of the weirdest and most entertaining things I’ve heard in a long time.

2. Chloe Caldwell’s book, Legs Get Led Astray, made its debut at the conference. CC and I hung out a lot and sold almost all of the copies we had of her book at the Future Tense table and at her readings. The book, which comes out officially next month on Future Tense, is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever edited. Here’s the happy author with one of our favorite people, Mark Cugini.

MC & CC

3. I rented a car for Chicago. I guess I didn’t realize that it costs like $50 an hour to park in Chicago. Plus, the lady voice in the GPS would often send me on the wrong route, which made me lost and late to a few events. In hindsight though, I guess it was pretty entertaining to drive around aimlessly in a huge white Dodge Charger with Chloe Caldwell and Bryan Coffelt punching buttons on the GPS.

4. I snagged my contributor copy of the new Fairy Tale Review at their booth and chatted with the lovely weirdos, Alissa Nutting and Kate Bernheimer.

I'm all up in this beautiful thing.

5. Met some awesome folks for the first time like Molly Gaudry (The Lit Pub), Jimmy Chen (HTMLGIANT), Matthew Salesses (PANK), Joseph Riippi (“A Cloth House”), Jen Companik (Triquarterly), Zach Wilson (musician/writer whose couch I crashed on), Andrew Shuta (Spork Press), Gary Sheppard (Kitty Snacks), xTx (“Normally Special”), Marion Winik (Above Us Only Sky), Lily Hoang (HTMLGIANT), Sy Safransky (The Sun Magazine), and Sam Pink (“No Hellos Diet”).

6. Books! I didn’t really get a ton of books but I did get the following: Meat Heart by Melissa Broder, Treesisters by Joseph Riippi, a bunch of stuff from Spork Press, and an issue of Oxford American.

7. My friend, Joseph Lappie (who used to work with me at Powell’s back in the day, but now lives and does book arts in Iowa) gave me a stack of these beautiful mini-broadsides.¬† I’m trying to figure out how to distribute these to interested folks. If you want one, let me know. We’ll work out a deal.

Printed by the amazing Joseph Lappie. He's also printed work by Aaron Burch and Farrah Field recently.

8. I got to be on a pretty fun panel about chapbook publishing (specifically fiction chapbooks) and I got to do a fun reading with Adam Robinson, Vanessa Place, Amelia Gray, and special surprise guests, Chloe Caldwell and Blake Butler. Thanks to the Ear Eater folks for that awesomeness.

Thanks for reading, folks! I hope to make it to next year’s AWP as well–in Boston. The year after that it’ll be in Seattle. That means no rental car. Hallelujah!