Sunday, February 28, 2010

Poetic Death

There are few things I enjoy more than opening a package and finding my contributor copies of a new book featuring my work. Yesterday, I excitedly ripped open an envelope containing a hot-off-the-presses copy of DEATH IN COMMON: POEMS FROM UNLIKELY VICTIMS. My involvement in this project is especially exciting because it marks my professional poetry debut.

Taking his cue from the Edgar Lee Masters' classic SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY, Rich Ristow, the editor of the project, pitched an irresistible concept: a collection of poems told from the viewpoints of the victims of a fictional mass murderer. The collection would begin with a faux news story detailing the gruesome discovery of countless bodies in the basement of one Charles Lee Eaton, a 62-year-old loner. The victims were to vary across a broad demographic range, with no commonality except for wadded up pieces of paper with handwriting stuffed into their mouths. Creepy, right?

So, thanks to Rich's patience and excellent editorial guidance, my two contributions - "Tyro" and "Chatroom Hustler" - sit alongside accomplished, award-winning poets like Michael Arnzen and Marge Simon and Christopher Conlon. In "Tyro", I imagined that Eaton had an apprentice, while "Chatroom Hustler" is told from the point-of-view of a teenage male prostitute who is lured into the mass murderer's den via an Internet chatroom.

In reading the collection last night, I'm impressed by the quality of the poems Rich accepted and how that one unifying faux news story held these wildly divergent poems together so well. If you've never had an interest in poetry but like horror, then DEATH IN COMMON would be an excellent starting point in what could turn out to be a rich and rewarding reading experience for those open to gettings their goosebumps in new ways.

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Ristow (along with new business partner Scott Colbert) went the distance with this collection, rescuing the project from its former publisher who rushed out an earlier (and reportedly inferior) product. Both gents have formed the fledgling Bandersnatch Books, and I'd encourage my readers to support these guys by pre-ordering a copy of DEATH IN COMMON.

"Here's a link to make it easy," he offers, smiling.


Pax Romano said...

You just know I am going to have to order this and add it to the collected works of Vince Liaguno - well, at least along with the other book of yours that I have.

Congratz on being a published poet.

Vince Liaguno said...

Thanks, Pax!

"The collected works of Vince Liaguno"...

Makes me sound like a writer or something. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Vince,

Rich did an amazing job of not only saving this wonderful collection from the purgatory of unpublished books, but he made it even better.

I'm proud of this collection, not because our company is putting it out, but it also has my first pro paying sale in it as well. I'm honored and humbled by my inclusion with some great writers. Thanks for letting others know about this.

rich said...

Well, thank you Vince. As I've said to many others, it's you -- not me -- that makes this book work. For all my poetry WONKery, you helped provide the striking content. I only helped you in articulating it.