A sad adieu to three old friends (books)

Hi everyone,

Just as there is a feeling of euphoria when a new book comes out, a melancholy mood eventually follows when you get the note from your editor telling you that the book has had its day and is being declared out of print.
Yesterday I learned that three of my titles with Boyds Mills Press are going out. They are THE ALLIGATOR IN THE CLOSET (ISBN: 978-1-56397-994-1), DYLAN THE EAGLE-HEARTED CHICKEN (ISBN: 978-1-56397-982-8), and SOUNDS OF RAIN(ISBN: 978-1-59078-442-6). I’ve been watching their sales tail off and knew the time was coming when I would get that note. ALLIGATOR lasted 13 years; DYLAN made it 14; and SOUNDS lasted 10. If you’re interested in purchasing any of these titles before they disappear from stores and online services, I’ve included ISBN numbers.
I’ve asked for my rights back and will tuck them away in case I decide to do something else with the books. Most publishers aren’t interested in reintroducing someone else’s retired titles. It’s one possibility though. Bringing them back on my own via e-publishing is another. A third is to take favorite poems from the books and sprinkle them in other combinations of mostly new work. And yet another is to sniff and put the titles away for good. As for DYLAN, I’ve always liked that picture book and would love to see him pop up somewhere else. I’ll certainly try.
Sounds of Rain
As Kurt Vonnegut reminded us in, SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, “And so it goes.”


When history repeats itself

Hi everyone,

Wendy Murray, I hope you’re reading today’s post. One spring day in 2002 I found a dead wasp on a windowsill and wrote a poem about it, “Death of a Wasp.” It was for a collection you were editing for me at Boyds Mills called THE ALLIGATOR IN THE CLOSET (2003). You said it was the kind of poem that tugged at your heart and you wondered if I could write a whole book of poems that close to the bone. The result was CONNECTING DOTS (2004).

Two days ago I noticed a wasp bumping against the window next to where I was reading. I watched for a while and returned to my book. Yesterday I found the insect dead. It brought back memories of the original poem and the time.
by David L. Harrison

Bumping at the windowpane
He fought against the solid air
That held him as a prisoner there,
But all his struggles were in vain.

Never comprehending glass
Clear as air that stopped him hard
And blocked his freedom to the yard,
Repeatedly he tried to pass.

Eventually he lost his fight
And perished on a sunny sill
Facing toward his freedom still,
Wings awry in broken flight.

He had a name, Trypoxylon,
A small but vibrant living thing
Who came in by the door in spring
And in a day or two was gone.