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Bookstories 33: Jeanne Jorgensen on “Getting the Word Out”

libraryofbabelEvery book tells its story, but what of the other story, the story behind the book? Bookstories offers an opportunity to tell that story. If you have a story about a book or poem you would like to share, contact us and we’ll help you make it happen. Thanks for letting us know the rest of the story!


Were you excited to have some of your early haiku published in book form? What . . .? You haven’t a clue how and no publisher has ever asked to do it for you? Well, don’t hold your breath waiting !!!

My first chapbook (a mini-me) was New Kid on the Block—haiku and senryu 1990 Reading it still makes me smile and feel 5’6″ tall (or taller). It took a lot of courage, intestinal fortitude and plain old hard work .

First of all, I bought or borrowed as many haiku poetry books of poets I had come to respect or had corresponded with during my first 3 years of writing this very special form of short poetry.

I read them and studied everything about how these books were laid out and what they included. Then I began. It would take pages to detail all that happened, but suffice it to say that a lot of people were involved in the production of New Kid . . .

I asked for help at every step of the way and got it. All these many years later, I still am grateful to: my family, Brian, Joe, vincent , Jane and the University of Alberta Press. Publishing that first book was crucial to my having courage to carry on in every way.

The book that I am proudest of though because it simply had to be written is: And So It Was (poems for my father, 1998). It is a collection of tanka that describe my feelings growing up on a farm while living in a home with an abusive father. The simple art work was done by Brian while I did the rest myself by hand. Most of the time, it makes me smile as well.

—Jeanne Jorgensen

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jeanne,
    I looked for And so It was online but I didn’t see it offered. is It still available? my growing up may have been somewhat similar. I never thought of this as a subject for tanka.

    and how many publishers did you contact before you discovered Alberta?

    1. Hi, Michael:
      Just a quick note to let you to know that Jeanne’s volume will be featured as Book of the Week beginning July 27, and will become available online in the THF Digital Library at that time. Perhaps you can think of this as building the suspense . . .
      Thanks for your comment.

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