“New & Selected Poems” (cover teaser)

Ho ho, what’s this?

Why, it’s the cover art for the next release from Black Dog Press, my New & Selected Poems. Our pal Chris Kent concocted it in a fit of creativity that would’ve made Chip Kidd swoon.  I was quite vague in my directions to Chris this time around.  I wanted a minimalist cover, two blocks of color, no blurbs, no jacket copy beyond the title and author’s name. The colors couldn’t be garish but nothing neutral either (that must have been a head-scratcher). I supplied him with a photo taken in one of my jaunts and asked if it could somehow be incorporated.

Chris managed to decipher my thoroughly unhelpful suggestions and produce a cover that is dignified, restrained and gorgeous.

Another winner from the big man.  Did he do a killer job or what?

I’ll have the interior (text) files off to my pal Daniel at Scribe Freelance in the next twenty-four hours…so I think it’s safe to say that New & Selected Poems will make its appearance somewhere around mid-July.

I have decided that, at least for the time being, my poetry collection will be offered in print form only.  You heard right:  no Kindle or e-book. To me, my book is an artifact, a throwback to another time when, to paraphrase Samuel Johnson, “the chief glory of every people arose from its authors”, an epoch when the printed word wasn’t used as a sanitary napkin by the likes of E.L. James and Stephenie Meyer.

If authors are no longer held in high esteem, then poets have fallen even farther.  A great art form reduced to doggerel, greeting card sentiments and self-indulgent incontinence.  Poetry used to be the conscience of civilization; now it is nothing more than tuneless Muzak.

My poetry comes from a special place and demands a lot from me, taking a personal toll while pushing me to my limits as a writer, insisting on exactly the right word, a certain, precise cadence. There’s no room for error in verse, each and every beat must be accounted for and a tin ear is quickly exposed.  Courage is mandatory, a willingness to work without a net.  It has a special status in my heart and soul and deserves special treatment.

There are something like 100 poems in this volume—that’s drawn from over 25 years of work.  My selection process has been ruthless and, as a result, I think New & Selected Poems features my very best work, a roster of poems that are personal, shrapnel sharp and utterly merciless.

Make sure you browse the sample on my Scribd page…and if you like what you see, you’ll be able to order your personal copy next month.  Watch for updates.

It will be available through this site (if you’re looking for signed copies), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s…all the usual suspects.

Coming soon…and I’m as excited as an expectant father can be.  Pacing ruts in the carpet, eying the clock, constantly patting my breast pocket, making sure the cigars are still there…

4 comments

  1. nymith

    Cliff,

    This is just a head’s up. I’ll be buying a copy of your new and selected poems once they appear. Some of the sample poems brought tears to my eyes and that means they’re the genuine article. I don’t need further proof and I’ll keep an eye out for when this volume is available.

    nymith

  2. Cliff Burns

    I’m…wow. Thanks.

    My verse definitely comes with a warning sticker: dangerous for impressionable minds and/or anyone with live nerve endings.

    I’ll have ordering info up in the next two or three weeks, links to Amazon, B & N, etc.

    Appreciate the kind words re: my poems. A nice goose to my confidence. Sorely needed, as usual.

  3. Cliff Burns

    Gracias.

    It’s a pleasure to be surrounded by talented, committed folks like Chris Kent (design) and Daniel Middleton (interior layout); folks willing to go that extra mile to make my creations as eye-catching as possible.

    And let’s not forget Sherron, who serves as my first reader and consultant on all things aesthetic.

    These people help me look good.

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