“Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see.”—Arthur Schopenhauer (cf. Brian Eno: “Instead of shooting arrows at someone else’s target, which I’ve never been very good at, I make my own target around wherever my arrow happens to have landed. You shoot your arrow and then you paint your bulls eye around it, and therefore you have hit the target dead centre.”)
Thanks so much for writing me, and for your kind words about Big World. I really appreciate it. And congratulations on the publication of your collection! This is awesome news. I didn’t even start writing until I was 27 and often feel way behind. It’s great that you know what you love to do, and are doing it, at such a young age.
I read a few of your poems and really like them, but don’t have time to finish your manuscript/write a blurb right now. The end of the semester is always so crazy-busy.
As far as your questions, I guess I have a lot of advice, but it’s hard to synthesize it at 9 am on a Sunday when I hardly slept. Mostly, I’d advise you to work hard. Write a lot and read a lot and be nice to other writers, particularly those whose work you like because you will inevitably be asked to help your friends. I know quite a few writers who have gotten where they are, to a large degree, by being nice on the internet and linking to other people’s work and reviewing things kindly, etc. While I wouldn’t go this far, it is really necessary to be a good member of the community and to make friends. Enemies will come back. As far as agents, they aren’t necessary for poets unless you’re, like, Billy Collins-level or something. Do you write prose? If so, an agent is handy only once you have a completed, or nearly completed, novel to sell.
Dear Mary Miller, My name is Atticus Davis, I’m a 22 year old poet and aspiring novelist who recently finished your short story collection Big World. It’s so good! It’s one of the best books I’ve read all year, those stories made my hair stand on end. I have a couple of questions to ask you, understanding that you are probably very busy and am glad just hearing back from you. My first question is do you have any advice for navigating the world of literature? I have never considered myself a writer before my first collection being published, it was something that I did sporadically and finally came to see a strong potential in it as collected work. I wanted to know if you had any advice on navigating the world of literature, I am groping blindly with the hints I have from other only slightly older writers. I am wondering if you were or are currently being represented by an agent and what you think about literary agencies. Do you know of good magazines or websites to have review a poetry book?
I was also wondering if you would be interested in reading and potentially reviewing my collection of poetry. It’s 62 pages and is published through Bedouin Books, in Portland, Oregon. I am attaching a PDF version of the book, I would love to send you a hardcopy as soon as I receive mine! Here’s a link to the website:http://bedouinbooks.com/pamphletpoets-6-.htmlHearing back from you would mean a lot to me Mary Miller. Thanks for taking the time to read this! I don’t know where you are right now but if you happen to be in San Francisco, CA on December 1st, you should come out to my reading. Sincerely, Atticus Davis
Mary Miller is the author of Big World, I wanted to email her for some advice and a potential review. This was her response! Check her out, she has no idea who I am!http://maryumiller.com/books.html
this guy emailed Mary Miller, and she emailed him back…
A.S.: What is your relationship to critics? Or to your own reviews?
R.D.: What I say is, if you didn’t have critics — even though they can annoy you and upset you — if you didn’t have a critic, who would tell you how it is? Because people won’t tell you. When you do a movie and you’re showing it to people or audiences or friends, they’re never going to say that they dislike it. Because they’re with you and they know what you went through. So they’ll always find a positive thing to say. So the people who you’ll get real feedback from are critics. Especially good critics.
“Six feet tall and arms like bundled wire. He go strutting the length of the house. Bottle cap pried up with his long bad teeth, spitting tin and blood in the trashcan and turning to put that sweet mouth on me, saying, Heart, come closer. Come here. Loving in your wolfish, in your wicked.
I’ve known you and known you and known you. For always all cramped up in your bedroom like little. See this: this marks the sixteenth August what you told me it’s too toxic to go outside.”—
Like all Megaships, the Nadir has given each deck some 7NC-related name rather than a number, and already I am forgetting whether the Fantasy Deck is Deck 7 or 8. Deck 12 is called the Sun Deck; 11 is the Marina Deck and has the pool and café; 10 I forget; 9 is the Bahamas Deck; 8 is Fantasy and 7 ¡s Galaxy (or vice versa), and they contain all the venues for serious eating and dancing and casinoing and Headline Entertainment; 6 I never did get straight; 5 is the Europa Deck and comprises the Nadir’s corporate nerve center—a huge high-ceilinged bank-looking lobby with everything done in lemon and salmon and brass plating around the Guest Relations Desk and the Purser’s Desk and the Hotel Manager’s Desk, with water running down massive pillars with a sound that all but drives you to the nearest urinal; 4 is cabins; everything below is all business and off-limits.
with a certain cadence…
one one one cause you left me and Two two two for my family and 3 3 3 for my heartache and 4 4 4 for my headaches and 5 5 5 for my lonely and 6 6 6 for my sorrow and 7 7 for no tomorrow and 8 8 I forget what 8 was for and 9 9 9 for a lost god and 10 10 10 10 for everything everything everything everything
Jess Stoner has said, of composing I Have Blinded Myself Writing This in InDesign, “I wanted to control where the lines were broken in the prose and manage and measure, a bit compulsively, the white space,” and I don’t think she’s a rare case, or won’t be for long.
My self-summary I am a writer and poet, one, bear with me here, of the “major” writers of the late 20th century, though just typing that felt desperate. I received a B.A. in English at Humboldt State University, then went on to attend the esteemed Iowa Writers’ Workshop, thus launching my career. I also like to drink.
sometimes the mirrorings that happen when you read two things back-to-back for no reason other than they happened to fall next to one another for class are crazy (and also, well, creepy, given the below descriptions):
Witnesses to his body on the morgue table report that his prosthetic nose was missing. There were only holes in his face. A mummy. He was mostly bald and weighed scarcely more than 100 pounds.
Standing over their open caskets, staring at their panted faces, I thought that they didn’t look dead at all. They looked like mannequins. There was no part of them that seemed to have ever been alive.