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Bookstories 38: A Promise Kept

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!

 

This is the story of a soon-to-be-released book that once seemed only an impossible dream. I like to think of it as a kind of secular miracle.

But first another brief story. If you’ve been to Venice, Italy and gazed across the Grand Canal from St. Mark’s Square, you’ve doubtless been moved by the ethereal beauty of a great dome taking shape out of the mist from the opposite bank. That iconic edifice is the church of Santa Maria della Salute — or, more colloquially, just The Salute — built beginning in 1631 as a gesture of civic gratitude. The plague struck Venice and its surrounding lagoon in the prior year, and the town elders had pledged at that moment to erect a grand church if their republic was delivered from further harm. And so, when the pestilence miraculously subsided, Santa Maria della Salute arose. (As it happens there are three older churches in Venice which were built under similar circumstances, but that’s yet another story.)

I was poignantly reminded of The Salute about two years ago. As a former contributor and current editor of The Heron’s Nest I had long been a fan of the journal’s online haiku archive. Here, and nowhere else online, one could conveniently peruse thousands of quality haiku published over the course of recent years. But for one dark moment in 2013 it looked as though most of that archive had been irretrievably lost. My fellow editors and I were distraught.

Through a glorious act of electronic intercession (and more than a little help from former Nest webmaster Paul David Mena) our complete archives were eventually restored. It seemed only proper to mark such good fortune with a significant act of thanksgiving. But what? It then occurred to us to produce a special commemorative volume which would feature selected poems published by the journal from its inception onwards. And thus was hatched the idea for what would become Nest Feathers: Selected Haiku from the First 15 Years of The Heron’s Nest, available this October.

Managing editor John Stevenson and associate editors Ferris Gilli, Paul MacNeil, Fay Aoyagi, Billie Wilson and I read through thousands of poems published in the Nest to select 45 poems each for the volume — a true labor of love! The final hardcover keepsake edition includes a total of 248 poems as well as introductions from founding editor Christopher Herold and from John Stevenson, plus stunning photographic artwork by Ron C. Moss.

Nest Feathers: Selected Haiku from the First 15 Years of The Heron’s Nest is ultimately a gesture of gratitude, an act of thanks, to all those haiku poets — some, sadly, no longer with us — who offered their finest work to The Heron’s Nest in years past. Today’s contributors and readers, by securing their own copies, can offer their support of the journal’s continuing work for years to come.

[Note: Nest Feathers is available for advance purchase on the Order page of The Heron’s Nest website. Special introductory pricing and a multiple copy purchase incentive are available only through Wednesday, August 20, 2015. The supply of copies for purchase may be limited after that date.]

— Scott Mason

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I’m grateful for this anthology, the tribute to La Salute and the restored archives. We give thanks too.

  2. Thanks for sharing this story. My publishing history with The Heron’s Nest spans more than 10 years. I am grateful that the archives are available. There are so many poets and so much fine work to be found in its pages. Even though Nest Feathers is not yet available, I am willing to bet that it will be a collection I’ll want to keep within easy reach.

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