Saturday, February 2, 2008

the first annual Savannah Book Festival and an early Spring

the first Savannah Book Festival was held today, Groundhog's Day. (Punxutawney Phil saw his shadow: six more weeks of winter up north; General Beauregard Lee, as usual, did not: early spring for the South! Maybe General Lee has a sunnier disposition because he has honorary degrees, gets to eat treats and lives in a columned mansion, Weathering Heights!)

anyway, we had a lovely blue day for the book festival, and it seemed a great success. Jim and I enjoyed listening to various authors read and speak and topped off the day by meeting our friends Jerry and Mimi for dinner. here's a writerly bit from the festival:

Poet Alan Shapiro told a story about the first poem he sent out, to lit mag Quarterly West, years ago. It was rejected with some nice ink from the editor, offering several revision suggestions.

Shapiro, knowing from the Stanford Sequoia (mag) how little time editors really have to read subs and how arbitrary publication is, held onto the poem six months, then sent it back to QW, exactly the same version as the first time. However, he included a cover letter in which he thanked the editor for having so kindly helped him with revisions, saying he had made all of them.

The poem was immediately accepted, with a letter from the editor admiring Shapiro's "maturity" in taking editorial advice.

"Whether one is published or rejected," Shapiro said, "it's probably for the wrong reasons. Be cynical about publishing and idealistic about writing."


Lincoln Highwayman said...

"Be cynical about publishing and idealistic about writing."

What a great quote.

And what a great day.

Maryanne Stahl said...


Don Capone said...

That's a great story about Shapiro's poem. Just goes to show ya. Sounds like it was a great day.


PS-thanks for handing out the cards!

Sharon Hurlbut said...

I love that story! And it confirms what I've known all along - the writer needs to follow his/her own heart.