I’ve been relatively quiet on this blog for the past six months. I won’t issue any apologies. Some of my most vocal critics may be jumping for joy.
The reason I haven’t posted much in recent months is that I’ve been quite busy working on two projects, one of which is the publication of Rumsfeld’s Sandbox, my collection of poetry based on my experiences in the Iraq War. But let me qualify that statement.
I don’t consider myself a war poet. I am a poet. It’s true that I’ve been lunged onto a battlefield. But I didn’t go there willingly and I refuse to glorify a war effort with which I disagree. It is my firm position that the Iraq War – its conception and initiation – is unjust. So Rumsfeld’s Sandbox could be aptly called “unjust war poetry”.
Why I Chose To Publish Online
When you’ve been living with a group of poems for as long as I have, you are ready to unleash them. There is as much power in the unleashing as in the writing.
It’s been four years since I’ve returned from Iraq, five years since writing my first poem related to it. Some of the poems in Rumsfeld’s Sandbox had first drafts composed in the desert. Others didn’t make it to life until my return. But I have spent the last five years of my life living with these poems – sleeping with them, eating them, regurgitating them, playing with them, fighting with them, loving them and hating them.
I seriously considered seeking an established publisher. I’m confident I would have found one. But I’d have spent a lot of time looking. Honestly, I’m ready to give up the ghost.
I am fully confident the poems in Rumsfeld’s Sandbox are excellent work. But, of course, one cannot judge one’s own literary value. That judgment must come from the marketplace – the readers, who often can be more honest critics than the reviewers. Nevertheless, I chose to self-publish for a few good reason.
- No. 1, as noted, I was ready to get them out there. Expediency was a value that I held and still do. I didn’t want to spend an additional year looking for a publisher.
- More than that, I wanted to take a calculated risk, but I didn’t want to give my work away. Much of the poetry that is published online is published as a blog, with each blog post entered as an individual poem. Much of it is also quite maudlin.
- And finally, I am comfortable in certain formats and like to experiment in the age of the digital presentation. I thought I’d publish Rumsfeld’s Sandbox in a format that I have become familiar with but that would also afford me an opportunity to pave a new path for publishers. I found that in a blogging software I am familiar with called WordPress.
Once I decided to self publish, I thought I’d offer readers a chance to preview my poetry before committing a full $12-$15, which is the going price for a published book of poems these days. So Rumsfeld’s Sandbox is currently being offered as a paid subscription blog with the subscription price being attributed to the price of the print book when I make it available later this summer.
How Much Does Rumsfeld’s Sandbox Cost?
I wanted to make the digital version of Rumsfeld’s Sandbox affordable. After all, why offer a preview if it is too costly? The point is to provide an affordable alternative so that readers who do not want to purchase the entire book upon publication do not invest more than they are willing to part with. So I’ve decided to place the price for the online version of Rumsfeld’s Sandbox at $1.99. Again, for readers who will go on and purchase the book in print later, that will be attributed to the price of the print version so the blog is efectively free for them.
More Than Just A Blog
I am proud of the work I’ve done on Rumsfeld’s Sandbox. But it is more than just a group of poems on the Internet. It is a multimedia presentation. Subscribers will receive:
- Downloadable PDF broadsides
- Audio versions of the poems on the same page as the written poem (and you can also download these to distribute to your friends for free).
- Videos of me reading the poems (not all of these have been uploaded yet, but this is a benefit you don’t typically get from a poetry blog)
- Essays on Just War doctrine (again, not uploaded yet but these will shed light on Just War theory for those not familiar with it)
- The ability to respond to the poems with comments as you would any other blog. You can even enter into discussions with other subscribers.
I have gone to great extent to include as much value in Rumsfeld’s Sandbox as I could. I want subscribers to get all the benefit with little of the expense and I am so confident that you will like the poems that you will be interested in the book when it appears in print.
The official launch of Rumsfeld’s Sandbox was Friday, March 19, 2010. That was the seventh anniversary of the bombing of the presidential palace in Iraq. The full invasion took place one day later. So this was the perfect time to launch a book as a stand against unjust war.
I hope you’ll accept my invitation to subscribe to Rumsfeld’s Sandbox. If not, at least do me a favor and pass the word to your friends. Join. Discuss. Meditate on them.
Go to http://www.rumsfeldssandbox.com now.