Thursday, February 27, 2014

Happy birthday, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow!

207 years ago today, an American literary icon was born: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow! Today, Longfellow is known for reinventing the lyric poem and creating modern poetry. You might know him as the poet behind “Paul Revere’s Ride,” or you might recognize his name from one of our own Godine titles. The Song of Hiawatha is a collection of Longfellow’s poetry about an American Indian, and The Children’s Hour is a fantastic children’s book based on Longfellow’s relationship with his three daughters. 

In honor of Henry Wadswortth Longfellow’s birthday, why not read one of his pieces yourself? Here is his famous poem “February Afternoon” for a delightful February afternoon. We hope you enjoy it!

The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.

The snow recommences;
The buried fences
Mark no longer
The road o'er the plain;

While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
Slowly passes
A funeral train.

The bell is pealing,
And every feeling
Within me responds
To the dismal knell;

Shadows are trailing,
My heart is bewailing
And tolling within

Like a funeral bell.

If you would like to learn more about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's books, click here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Superior Person's Tuesday!

Qhythsontyd, n. Whether it's for fitting something into a seemingly impossible situation on a crowded Scrabble board, or nonplussing the smart alecks in a spelling competition, or meeting the challenge to produce yet another "Q" word without a "u" after the "Q," or discountenancing someone who claims she can pronounce anything...The meaning hardly matters, does it? But just to prove it isn't made up: qhythsontyd is an obsolete form of the rather better-known "whitsuntide," i.e., Whit Sunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter.

Keep "qhythsontyd" in your back pocket during family game night

Each Tuesday, we’ll offer up a Superior Word for the edification of our Superior Readers, via the volumes of the inimitable Peter Bowler. You can purchase all or any of the four Superior Person’s Books of Words from the Godine website. Qhythsontyd  appears in the first.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Literary Happenings

Here at Godine we realize the importance of participating in a literary community. Luckily our home city of Boston is full of great book readings, lectures, poetry slams, and book groups. If you're looking for things to do this week, why not check out some of these events, free unless otherwise noted!:

Monday 2/24

Tuesday 2/25

Wednesday 2/26

Thursday 2/27

Friday 2/28

 If you know of a literary event we overlooked, add it in the comments below! If you'd like to spread the word about upcoming events to be included in our weekly Literary Happenings, please e-mail us at

Remembering Richard Grossman

From the desk of David R. Godine: 

Back in the seventies, when I was starting Godine and thinking of what would be required to be a publisher, there were plenty of role models and small houses around to provide examples. Walker and Company, Horizon Press, Atheneum, Holiday House, Capra, Black Sparrow, among many others, were all active and competing successfully for both reviews and space on booksellers' shelves. Even the larger houses that had been absorbed or bought outright--Knopf, Pantheon, Little Brown--managed to maintain their own character, almost always a reflection and under the benign dictatorship of a single visionary editor.

Two of my favorites were The Eakins Press with Leslie Katz at the helm and Grossman Publishers, which followed the lead of its founder Richard Grossman. Leslie died in the eighties, although his press carries on. But Dick Grossman, who had his roots at the Simon and Schuster, the house that spun off the trio that revitalized Knopf, Bob Gottlieb, Nina Bourne, and Tony Schulte, died just last month. Like Leslie, he published a general trade list, conspicuously to the left of other houses and willing to take risks on books like Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed, an unlikely bestseller that had been rejected by at least a dozen houses (one of which thought it would be of interest only to insurance adjusters) before Dick stepped up to the plate. But he also was loyal to poets  like Louis Zukovsky, to photographers, musicians (his edition of The Blues Line, edited by Eric Sackheim, is easily the most beautiful tribute to blues lyrics ever published), to artists, and to investigative reporters of any stripe. His editions of Japanese and  Far Eastern poetry, initiated with Mushinsha and printed letterpress in Japan, were among the most handsome productions on the trade market. And they still hold up.

He surrounded himself with talented and loyal people, among them his supportive partner, the soft spoken Michael Loeb, who I got the impression was signing most of the checks out of his own pocket. His first wife, Elizabeth Heiden I never knew, but his last two were both women of singular accomplishment and intelligence; Jill Kneerim, presently an agent here in Boston, brought us his book on Emerson, and Ann Arensberg is an excellent  and sensitive novelist.

Like most people I harbored the illusion that publishers lived lives of unfettered luxury. Visiting both Dick and Michael at Grossman and Leslie Katz and Harvey Simmons at Eakins quickly dispelled the notion. They were both working out of offices that would make the average corporate bathroom look palatial. And what they wanted to talk about were not profits, or the size of the press runs, or the reviews and sales figures they anticipated, but the books themselves. They lived for their books. And they made you believe they were worth living for.

Dick, who really was the last refuge of the grasshopper mind, left publishing after selling his publishing house to Viking in 1968. I couldn't believe it. He wanted to start a new career as a psychotherapist. I still can't believe it. But evidently he was happy in this and it provided him plenty of scope for a mind that never stopped working or asking Big Questions. His hero was (naturally) Emerson and he could quote the Concord sage line for line. Even in his eighties. I last saw him at a celebration for his book at The Concord Inn. He was as sharp and as focussed as ever, still believing, with Emerson, "Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

All My Dogs: The Story of Marshmallow

Meet Marshmallow. He’s my 14-year-old Bichon Frise.

Marshmallow and I have been buddies since he was a beady eyed, waggly-tailed pup. He isn’t a just dog to me; Marshmallow is my best friend. Whenever I see him, we have conversations. I tell him how much I’ve missed him, how fuzzy his face is, and how I’d really like it if he stopped begging for treats. Then I get down on the floor and scratch his neck.

This is the story of pet ownership: learning responsibility, growing, and changing with a creature who will always be on your side. This is the premise of Bill Henderson’s All My Dogs, a memoir that details Henderson’s life in chapters divided by which dog lived with him at the time. Henderson’s book got me thinking. How have pets chronicled your life? 

Marshmallow represents my childhood, not just from his silly, sugary name, but from his eagerness and joy. He represents a real, genuine love that has guided me through two thirds of my life, and he's a happy little fellow whom I hope will continue to represent my life for many years to come.

We want to hear how pets have changed your lives, too. Comment with a description and a picture of Fido or Rex and be sure to check out Bill Henderson’s book, All My Dogs, by clicking here. Not to wag our own tails,  but we think it's doggone good.

- Erinn Pascal, Intern

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Office Opposites!

Is this blog post fun or boring? You tell us! Inspired by Max Dalton’s Extreme Opposites, the staff at Godine brings you the newest title in our blog-alogue*: Office Opposites!

*Office Opposites! is not actually being published (aside from here, of course)

Take a look at some of the opposites found around the Godine office: 
Old computer!
Little book...big book!
Messy books...organized books!
Old catalogue!
Now that you've seen our office opposites, check out Max Dalton's Extreme Opposites here. You'll also want to be on the lookout for his new book, The Lonely Typewriter, when it hits shelves later this year.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Superior Person's Tuesday!

NACKET, n. Superior Person's word for a tennis ball-boy.

At least it rhymes with racket.

Each Tuesday, we’ll offer up a Superior Word for the edification of our Superior Readers, via the volumes of the inimitable Peter Bowler. You can purchase all or any of the four Superior Person’s Books of Words from the Godine website. Nacket appears in the third.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A writing exercise in Georges Perec's "I Remember"

Here at Godine, we're all very excited to be publishing Georges Perec's I Remember (translated from the French by Philip Terry), set to be out later this spring. I Remember is the last of Perec's major works to be translated into English. It consists exclusively of 480 numbered statements, all beginning exactly the same way: "I remember..." 
For Perec, a member of the experimental writing group Oulipo, this began as a parlor game at a writer's retreat he went to, with particular restrictions for the players of the game: you had to remember something that other people could remember too, and the thing you remembered had to no longer exist.  This has since grown from a writing exercise to an expansive work of art, but because part of Oulipo's aim is to create tools for writing to be used by others, the "I remember" formula can be taken on by anyone who pleases. In fact, Perec requested that there be several blank pages at the end of the published edition "for readers to write their own 'I remembers' which the reading of these ones will hopefully have inspired."

So, filled with Perec's Oulipian inspiration, I share with you 12 of my own memories, following the same constraints:
1.       I remember a stranger's Florida license plate, 3UEU737.
2.       I remember Calvin and Hobbes in the Sunday funnies.
3.       I remember having a huge crush on Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You.
4.       I remember my kindergarten triumph as leader of the playground-wide dinosaur game.
5.       I remember 3.14 but never the rest.
6.       I remember Legends of the Hidden Temple and always rooting for the Blue Barracudas.
7.       I remember looking up movie show times in the local paper.
8.       I remember my parents' '97 Honda Accord with my name on the license plate.
9.       I remember memorizing every state capital in second grade.
10.     I remember the Great Beanie Baby Craze (and making my parents be a part of it).
11.     I remember my grandfather falling asleep with a kitten on his shoulder.
12.     I remember green ketchup. 

If you're feeling similarly inspired, we'd love to hear your memories in the comments! Just as I Remember has created a sort-of catalogue of the author's generation, we can gather a great picture of who all our readers are. We can't wait to share this with all of you, so be on the lookout for Perec's exciting work!   

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Peter Korn on Reddit r/books

Another one of our authors is making himself available to answer your questions on Reddit r/books! That's right, expert craftsman Peter Korn will be discussing anything and everything today at 11 a.m.

Do you need advice on a coffee table you're building? Did you read Why We Make Things and Why It Matters but are still wondering why it matters? Maybe you're curious about how Korn's thoughts on woodworking relate to your own craft as a painter or a writer? We can think of at least 20 questions we're dying to ask and we know you have some too. Don't miss out on the great opportunity to talk with Peter Korn!

For experienced Reddit users, you know what to do. But for our readers who are new to the site, no worries! You can join in on the conversation too. Go to, create a free account, and join the discussion board at  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Remembering Maxine Kumin (1925 – 2014)

Sad news in the Godine office today. We just learned that Maxine Kumin, Pulitzer prize winner and Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, passed away at 88 in her New England home.

Kumin was a real visionary. Her work dealt with birth, death, and inspiration. It detailed suicide, questioned muses, reinvented the pastoral, and pushed boundaries for how audiences perceive poetry. It was guided by what Kumin described as her “inner compass,” her mind being attentive to her poems’ desires.

Maxine Kumin, The Light With the Light.
Engraving by Barry Moser

We had the special delight of getting to know Kumin in our 2007 book, The Light With the Light by Jeanne Braham. At 81 years old Kumin was described as “slender, athletic, with chiseled features and a thick mane of salt and pepper hair”—she was a warrior and a poetic icon. Despite having her health damaged in a car accident, Kumin was sharp and able, working on the farm in which she lived and tending to her poems. She no doubt carried her strong, uplifting spirit into her final days on earth.

We would like to take this time to remember Maxine Kumin, her fiery persona and her breathtaking poetic work. Thank you Maxine for being an inspiration, a visionary, and an open soul—but most of all, thank you Maxine for bringing everyone you met into your light.

If you are interested in learning more about The Light Within the Light, click here.

Superior Person's Tuesday!

DEMOPHOBIA, n. The morbid dread of crowds. Most of us are demophobes at some time, or in some circumstances.
Authors are morbidly dreading that the Seattle airport will look something like this for AWP.

Each Tuesday, we’ll offer up a Superior Word for the edification of our Superior Readers, via the volumes of the inimitable Peter Bowler. You can purchase all or any of the four Superior Person’s Books of Words from the Godine website. Stegophilist appears in the Second.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Linda Bamber on Reddit r/books

We're very excited to announce that author Linda Bamber is going to be a featured Ask Me Anything on Reddit r/books tomorrow, Tuesday, February 11th at 11 a.m.

Now's the chance to literally ask her anything. Did you read these interviews and think something was missing? Are you dying to know about a certain character's motives, a little bit about where Bamber found her inspiration for her short story collection, Taking What I Like? Maybe you're a hopeful writer with questions about craft? Don't miss out on this opportunity to have your burning questions answered and chat with one of our beloved authors!
If you'd like to study up on Bamber before tomorrow, check out her personal homepage or read "Casting Call," the reinvented story of Othello and Desdemona, for free on our website.

For experienced Reddit users, you know what to do. But for our readers who are new to the site, no worries! You can join in on the conversation too. Go to, create a free account, and join the discussion board at  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Celebrating the love of literature!

Ah, February! More than just the cold, snowy month that stands between us and spring, it’s the month of Valentine’s Day, and a celebration of love. Here at Godine, we’re sharing our love of everything books with some lovely gift ideas.

For your book-loving sweetheart, either of these two reading-centric finds is sure to send sparks flying: 

1. The Open Door: When Writers First Learned to Read, edited by Steven Gilbar - This entertaining book is a reader's delight. Steven Gilbar has selected twenty-nine well-known writers, from Dickens to C.S. Lewis, Steinbeck, Stephen King and more, who share the memory of their first book. 


2. Reading in Bed: Personal Essays on the Glories of Reading, selected and edited by Steven Gilbar. Another collection by Steven Gilbar, Reading in Bed features passionate essays on books and reading from literary greats such as Nabokov, Calvino, Proust, and many, many more.

And if you're looking for something to inspire a little romance, take a look at these books: 

1. A Corner in the Marais: Memoir of a Paris Neighborhood, by Alex Karmel. If you can't dash off to Paris for a romantic weekend getaway, let Karmel lead you through the Marais, a charming and historic neighborhood in the heart of the City of Lights, and share his unique and engaging view of a well-loved city. 

2. Lovers of the Lost, by Wesley McNair. What could possibly be more romantic than poetry? Take a page from this collection of poems by McNair, a New England native, and read his "Love Poem" out loud to your beloved. How could you not fall in love to these words? 
"In the beautiful double light of the pond,
our day together has seemed more
than a single day, and now the sunset
clouds of the pond's second sky stretch
all the way from our dock chairs..."

Also keep an eye out for McNair's latest poetry book, The Lost Child, to be published this spring. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Superior Person's Tuesday!

STEGOPHILIST, n. One whose hobby is climbing the outside of tall buildings. "So you're suffering from fear of heights now, dearest? Hmm...have you thought of trying a little stegophily?"

King Kong: the most famous stegophilist

Each Tuesday, we’ll offer up a Superior Word for the edification of our Superior Readers, via the volumes of the inimitable Peter Bowler. You can purchase all or any of the four Superior Person’s Books of Words from the Godine website. Stegophilist appears in the Second.