My Broken Promise


Earlier this year, San Francisco poet, Kurt Lipschutz sent me a pdf of his new book, The Drawn and Quartered Moon, in lieu of a review copy. Faced with a choice between seeking a review vs. a sale, he compromised.

I commented (not a review):

“I read the book. It’s a very good book, per usual. It’s cerebral, sardonic, wry. It’s very much a San Francisco book, but not overly so, and those parts contain a lot of the kind of universality readers will recognize in their own natural cultural habitats. It reveals the extent to which you are a highly literate poet, yet not a showoff in it. It’s cool, but not cold. It’s warm, comfortable to the hand, with just the occasional hint of radioactivity.

If there is one thing I like best about it, it would be that I got through it without becoming aware of a single word or punctuation mark that I would change, move, replace or omit. You don’t know me that well, but if you did, you’d know I’ve no memory of saying that about the writing of any other contemporary. It’s not sloppy, or sappy or insipid. It’s realistically pessimistic without being hopeless. It’s full of surprises, and I finished reading it wondering how many of them are still left for me to discover the next time I read, and that may be the most important thing I can say about it. I’ll read it again, when the conditions are just right (which is necessary) to see what I missed.

At some point in our communications, I wrote that I would buy the book when I recovered from losses to a burglar while traveling in Australia. Since I will not ever recover, I must withdraw the offer. Sorry, klip. I do still stand by every word I commented about your book. You’re a fine poet.

I know my words (and the time it takes to write them) are small compensation for the loss of an expected sale, but in a world where the international shipping cost of a book is greater than its purchase price, and while there are several hundred volumes in each of five rooms and a hallway of my residence that I would hand on to anyone who would come for them, to purchase and have shipped to me a book I have already read (and commented on), would strike those who today see me pleading for the funds required to scan a couple thousand film photos before committing them to an archive, would look silly (scanner+Photoshop+rewards=$2500.)

I’m not against purposeful clowning, but accidental clowning I’m trying to quit.

Since the only form in which the book exists here is the pdf, which I didn’t pay to receive, I will do you the courtesy of not reading it again, as pledged. Since my memory is fading along with my eyes, I can’t even re-read my own stuff, because like your pdf, I can’t remember where I put it.

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