When I turned 60, after years of writing poetry and attending poetry workshops, I fell into a funk; I didn’t have a single book to show for all my work. But despair takes you just so far. With the help of a friend who was also a publisher, I put my first book together, found a striking cover, and voila—oh wait—my would-be publisher has gone bankrupt! This time despair got short shrift. I found a subsidy publisher, Fithian Press, people of integrity who published my book, housed it, got reviews and royalties for me, and my book sold out.
Now, at 86, I have been published by Chicory Blue Press, Red Hen Press, and my fourth and fifth books, by Tebot Bach. Hundreds of my poems have appeared in literary journals and anthologies. My second and third books were thematic, but I have more fun writing poems about whatever draws my attention: friends and oceans, family feuds and affections, lovers and scoundrel—all packed into my latest collection, Ghost Tattoo, just out from Tebot Bach.
Here’s what two prominent poets wrote about Ghost Tattoo:
Christopher Buckley, author of over twenty books: “Weinberger’s craft is exceptional and delightful, and helps us understand the small and large conundrums of living.”
David St. John, widely-published poet and Professor and Chair of English at USC: “This is a book that belongs at your bedside, for those moments the night grows far too long, and far too lonely."
I have friends who are fine poets, who never send their work out. When you’ve plunged into the deepest part of yourself, when you’ve worked to master your craft, and a cool email tells you “better luck elsewhere,” or your SASE comes back stuffed with the poems you’ve carefully selected and printed and mailed, there is that ping of pain, even when the day before you’ve gotten a thank you and acceptance. I once won a contest for the worst rejection ever; it had been written on the torn edge of a brown paper bag. Calling the editor arrogant or ignorant or plain sadistic, helps for a second, but like actors or artists, we can grow scar tissue, keep faith with what we have brought into this world, and love it enough to want to share it.
I want to share my books. Ghost Tattoo will be available November 11, 2018 at a reading scheduled for 11:30 AM at the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue, 24855 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, Ca. All are available on Amazon.com and the two published by Tebot Bach are also available from the publisher. The ones no longer in print are often sold as old and tattered copies. I hope their words have remained relevant.
Illustration by: Mary Ann Smith. Mary Ann Smith came to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design and made it her home. After earning a BFA degree she began illustrating and designing professionally. She has illustrated for magazines, newspapers, the web and book publishers. Her clients include The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The International Herald Tribune, GQ, BusinessWeek, Security Management Magazine, Bethesda and Arlington Magazines, Penguin Books and Simon & Schuster.