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Of the making of books, there is no end


Yet another little poetry book!

They keep coming…

 But when it’s your own – now that’s a different matter.

And what a matter it is – to realise that a publisher has sufficient confidence in what you’ve written to print it.

So here I am, holding an admittedly very slim volume of poems with my name on it!

Sorry to sound so breathless, but it is exciting, and the journey’s been interesting – with some unexpected experiences and encounters I’d like to share.

To start with, I’d thought that poetry publishers would be earnest people, to say the least, if not somewhat intimidating.  Surely you’d have to be, when dealing with distinguished poets, along with pipsqueaks like me, deciding what and who to take on, critically assessing and (inevitably) declining so much poetry.

I know that Ronnie and Dawn at Indigo Dreams are seasoned publishers, I'm sure quite capable of being serious, but I was met with the warmest of welcomes, the broadest of smiles. And it went on like it started. My expectation was that the editing process would be painful, difficult and protracted.  In the event – for better or worse – we breezed through it.

But then came an awful bit.  I was asked to find commendations – endorsements was the actual word, which sounded almost worse. Of course, every book has to have a few sentences from one or two people you’ve heard of.  Naturally, the first thing we do when picking up a new book is turn it over to read what’s on the back.

The heart sank at the prospect of wondering who to approach, and how to ask them. But plucking up courage – I really found this embarrassingly difficult – I sent the pdf to a couple of well-known poets I’d had, I confess, only the slightest of contacts with.  This was the best that I could do.  I waited nervously.

Surprisingly quickly, both responded. Their lovely words were more than I’d ever hoped for.  I was bowled over by their generosity.  Generosity not just in their chosen words, but in the simple fact that they’d bothered to read and think about my poems.  It wasn’t so much having something nice to send to Ronnie to put on that back cover – though that was a huge relief – it was the encouragement, and support those warm words gave to me.  Thus one of the (what I’d thought would be) worst moments in the getting-published journey turned out to be one of the happiest.

A further heart-warming moment came when an eminent academic I’d only approached after another academic friend had paved the way with a helpful introduction responded with a very carefully considered and wonderful commendation.  I was brought up short by the realisation that he’d obviously spent some time reading and thinking about my poems.  I felt immensely grateful.

So, poetry books come.  And go. In their myriads.
But that experience of having to ask for endorsements – indeed the whole process of seeing my little collection turn into a book courtesy of Ronnie and Dawn’s kindly and good-natured professionalism – has reminded me of what is perhaps the real point of poetry. Very simple really.

It’s about communicating: saying something, in the best way you can, that you think is worth telling, which is then heard and considered by another.  Thus we meet, though separated in time and space, brought together through the magic of poetry.

So, thank you to Indigo Dreams not so much for publishing my little book – but a very big thank you for that! – but for setting me off on a personal journey of learning about poetry, about others, and myself.

And may there be many another poetry book – keep them coming!

http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/richard-westcott/4594230918

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