I’m posting promotion for a “new” author to Reading Recommendations today, because I wanted to share information about a Canadian poet who has discovered a unique way to “publish” his work that does not involve either print or electronic books. But I’ll let him explain … “
What is your latest release and what genre is it? Poems visually presented as shadow-box art . . . entitled The Coffee Shop Mysteries
Quick description: In 2011, I won third place in the Coffee Shop Author Contest. My submission was a collection of poems written to the theme of coffee shop related sights, sounds, smells and experiences. After winning the contest I wanted to share with the regulars at the sponsoring coffee shop, The Black Walnut Bakery and Café in Wortley Village, London, Ontario, my poems about this place that we knew so well. Rather than just print off the poems on a computer and perhaps post them on the bulletin board I came up with a novel presentation. I gave the printed poems to a calligrapher who copied them in black ink onto wooden coffee stir sticks. I took burlap coffee bean bag material and covered the mats in black shadow-boxes with the colorful graphics-laden fabric. Then I mounted the lines of poetry to the burlap . . . out of those stir sticks and coffee bean bags came these poetic creations in shadow-boxes.
Frank Beltrano has written a poem and folded it into a paper airplane that was found and read and liked. That summer men landed on the moon. More recently, he has had two poems “ride” the London, Ontario buses, had a poem printed on a postcard, had the same award winning poem printed on 1,000 posters. He has been published in journals, read poetry in bars, coffee shops, library basements and art galleries. Last year he erased his way to second place in Geist magazine, and for three years he has tasted the cold Atlantic ocean dripping off a fingertip in January at a poets’ getaway in New Jersey. This past July, with several other London Poets, he watched the sun set on Lake Huron again and again until he had to write a sonnet about it. Frank Beltrano puts a lot of himself into his writing, and nothing makes him happier than making art.
Links to buy Frank’s shadow boxes:
Patina Studios, Bayfield, Ontario
What are you working on now?
Two submissions for the Square Foot Exhibition at the Westland Gallery in Wortley Village, London, Ontario. Continually writing poems. Preparing a poetry manuscript to be work-shopped at the Murphy Writing Seminars in New Jersey in Jan. of 2015 and then sent out to publishers.
Frank’s reading recommendation:
Recently blown away by Xu Bing’s Book from the Ground, a novel written completely in pictograms. Check it out at MIT Press.
Also reading In Beauty Bright, a book of poetry by Gerald Stern, Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi Wa Thong’o, Trust Your Vibes by Sonia Choquette, Quiet by Susan Cain, and, and, and . . . I probably have too many books on the go.
And, on a personal note, not only do Frank and I share the experience of Coffee Shop Author, the writing contest I administered, but we also discovered we shared the same childhood pony! These photos were taken a couple of years apart as well as many miles (I was in Toronto and Frank was in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario), but it is most definitely the SAME pony!
As Frank said when he discovered we’d had similar pictures taken: “That pony sure did get around!”