It’s official, and clinging to these new summer days is that summery languor, that eh, whatever, it can wait feeling. But I truly have done more than read novels and dip my toes in the kiddie pool, ensconced in my gestational cocoon — I have indeed read a lot of novels, but I had catching up to do! For a while I was reading nothing but poetry, and it’s mighty difficult to be a bookseller on a poetry-only diet.

But if you observed the several piles of books on the end table beside me, you’d see that, still, 90% of them are poetry-related. No photo, uh-uh, they’re far too ungainly and embarrassing, my piles of books. But I assure you it’s true. A few of the titles I’m leisurely reading: Colosseum, by Katie Ford; cloudlife, by Stefanie Marlis; Structure & Surprise: Engaging Poetic Turns, by Michael Theune; Things are Disappearing Here, by Kate Northrup; and Return to Calm, by Jacques Réda, translated by Aaron Prevots. So you can see I am not neglecting poetry.

I must confess that I also read an advanced copy of Elizabeth McCracken’s upcoming book, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, which is a memoir. A quote:

A child dies in this book: a baby. A baby is stillborn. You don’t have to tell me how sad that is: it happened to me and my husband, our baby, a son.

It’s a heart-rending book, and probably not the best reading choice for me at this time, but McCracken is an exquisite writer.

This is also the season for fall/winter frontlist orders for the bookshop, so I’ve been on major catalog duty also. There are definitely some exciting books coming up, but for the life of me I can’t remember what they are — I order them, and then promptly forget all about them — unless I read an advanced reader’s copy, that is. I’ll try to post some forthcoming poetry titles when I get the chance.

I’ve been productive in my own work as well. This weekend I reorganized my chapbook, removing some poems, adding others, fine-tuning its arc, and now it’s off to a new batch of contests. May it find more luck in this incarnation! And there’s a new poem, which is turning out to be rather long-ish, that I’m drafting. I’m trying not to be too fierce with my editing scissors this go-around, let it flesh out and see what happens.

And lastly, but most importantly, I’ve been swept up in keeping the supply of sweet tea abundant enough to meet the very high demand! I’ll tell you, it’s very hard to find a decent glass of iced tea around here unless you make it yourself. Even with all the great coffeehouses about. They just get all frou-frou with it and muck it up. Or they simply don’t know what they’re doing.

Last week I despaired that maybe I’d gone “off” iced tea, the way pregnancy makes me go “off” pasta and hamburgers. One glass I bought tasted sour. The next, from another place, tasted like cigars. Seriously. That one I didn’t finish. And then the next one, which came sweet, tasted cloying and suspiciously citrusy.

The perfect iced tea is sweet and strong, and not herbal — and if you add lemon you should be fined, or at the very least strongly chastised. Thank goodness I had a fresh batch at home, which was perfect and perfectly reassuring.

6 responses to “Sum-sum-summertime!”

  1. I’m glad that you’re at work on your own work — hooray! I can’t wait to see some, and I’m sure that chapbook will be gobbled up by hungry publishers soon. And I’m glad to hear that you haven’t gone off iced tea, which would be a tragic event indeed.

  2. Wouldn’t it be, though? I think it would create a crisis of self-identity, or even a fracture in the space-time continuum which could result in a multiple personality disorder. In a world that renders me incapable of enjoying iced tea, anything is possible!

    From your keyboard to the publishers’ ears… Henceforth known as “hungry hungry hippos”.

    And you look lovely in green — how’d you do that?

  3. Oh good luck with your chapbook!! I’m sure there will be news to celebrate on that score.

    As for the iced tea — recipe/guidelines/specifics, please.

  4. Gosh, I hope so, Lily — isn’t it amazing how hopeful & confident you begin?

    Iced tea general guidelines, because I don’t really measure:

    In a pitcher, tie together 8 teabags (I love Red Rose), clipping off the labels. Add about 2 1/2 cups of sugar — trial & error will be your only guide to what’s enough/too much for you here. Pour in hot water, enough to fill pitcher about a quarter to a third, stirring to melt the sugar. Steep for a few hours. Remove teabags, fill with cold water to the top. Best served the next day or thereafter.

    Whatever you do, don’t use Lipton!

  5. How did I miss this one? You go with your chapbook, Ms. G!! Somebody will scoop you up in no time. Why, they’d be embarassed and thickheaded not to. Besides, I need someone round bellied to go on a book tour with me!
    I won’t mention the iced tea conundrum as we are stiff competitors on THAT score, but I just drank my last glass. Can I come over? I do concede, that you make a mighty fine Southern iced and I’m so glad that you can still drink it. A real tragedy if you couldn’t.

  6. Divine Ms. L — how you honor me, my dear! I do believe, however, you will be headlining your readings with bigger names, if not bigger bellies, than mine!

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