Probably the most difficult thing about birthing a book is asking people to write blurbs. It’s an onerous task to push on someone, who is probably busy enough with her/his own work, and has a long list of things s/he’d like to be (or needs to be) reading besides your ink-jet-printed, unbound manuscript of questionable worth. To ask them to read it is bad enough. But then to ask them to form an eloquent, pithy opinion about it to be printed on the back cover, that’s too much! I know someone, an editor and poet, who hates writing blurbs so much that he has a blanket policy against it. He’s publishing his next book of poems without them (he likes asking people for them as little as he likes writing them).
But he’s not a first-time poet. A first book of poems really NEEDS blurbs. Potential readers can flip the book over and see the praise of qualified folk; they can take someone else’s word for it: this is something you should read. For the past several months I’ve had my manuscript in the hands of several such qualified people, and I’m happy to report that this morning I got in my email my very first blurb, from Tim Horvath, author of Circulation. Here’s one of the blurbs written for his novella: “Tim Horvath is a writer of encyclopedic knowledge, generous wit, and a master of the artful digression. Circulation is, to borrow from its very pages, ‘marvelous, intricate, globetrotting.’ Horvath writes with great compassion and an embracing love for the world and all traveling in it.” (Alexander Parsons). That sounds like someone who’s approval I can be proud to have attained for my little book. Here’s what he had to say:
Wendy Babiak’s Conspiracy of Leaves feels like a mixetape made by a dear friend who wants to stir up your endorphins but also challenge you to think. Her poems are at once deeply personal and resolutely political, direct and ornate, conversant in the language of science but unafraid of the spiritual and ecstatic. She’ll teach your brain myriad new ways to juggle.
Thanks again, Tim!