Every time I travel to another city, I locate the best used bookstores and go there so as to build my poetry book collection. I search for books under a number of criteria:
- Small press chapbooks published in the city or region where I am currently traveling (the goofier, smaller, more obscure the better).
- Books signed by the author, and hopefully personalized in a very intimate fashion. The best thing about these books is that the book was then sold by the book receiver for circa two dollars.
- Pretty much any oddly-designed book from the 1970s and 80s.
- The last thing I look for is any book written by me. The process for that is to go alphabetically in the Os. If I see a book by Michael Ondaatje next to one by Ovid, I know that they do not have any of my books for sale.
As you can imagine, this is almost always the case. But it wasn't yesterday. I was at Red Letter Book Store in Boulder, CO. an I found a review copy I sent out in 1995. I apparently *was* going to give the book to "Mark and Julie", and right now I can't remember who those people are (help?).
One cool thing is that it includes the two things I always put in my review copies-- the "coming soon" sheet for the new titles that were coming out soon (none of which ever came out, btw) and a promotional poster designed by Jonny Stepping.
Sometimes it's nice to have a background as a mildly successful but ultimately failed poet. Yesterday was one of those days.