Seattle reading report

I'm back from Seattle, where I had a wonderful reading at the University Book Store (thanks to Anna and the helpful staff there). About 30 people turned up to see me and my valiant harper, Molly, including a few old high school and college friends I hadn't seen in years. In that spirit, I thought it fitting to close the reading with an experimental piece I'd first had the idea for while sitting in English class in high school, flipping through the back of the Norton Anthology of Poetry. Called "Index of First Lines," it is exactly that--a poem about poetry, composed entirely of initial lines of "canon" poems--in alphabetical order. Ironically, even though I didn't actually "write" a word of it myself, I think it's one of my most personal pieces, even referring to my own actual birthday in one verse:

Pray thee, take care, that tak'st my book in hand,
Redoubted knights, and honorable Dames,
Remember me when I am gone away,
September twenty-second, Sir: today
She sang beyond the genius of the sea.

The poem was was published in Winter 2005 issue of the Notre Dame Review, so I'm not sure about the copyright restrictions, or I'd put the entire thing up on my website. (And yes, I am aware of the irony of fretting about copyright over a poem entirely pilfered from other sources!)

The only trouble with the University Book Store was that their relatively early closing time of 8:00 meant that the Q&A session after the reading had to be cut short. Which was too bad, because I was having fun chatting with the obviously knowledgeable Shakespeareans in the audience! I hope those who were asking questions (or didn't get the chance to) will join my Facebook group or send me an email at I love hearing from fans! It's always a pleasure to discover that someone else is a literary geek in all the same peculiar ways you are. (And besides, I feel vindicated for all those times I was rejected by people in publishing saying they thought the manuscript was brilliant, but that "readers" out there wouldn't "get" it.)

I got one such fan email last week through the website from fellow Portland author Dana Hanes, whose thriller novel, Crashers, is coming out in June from St. Martin's Press. He also put up a review on his blog, in which he calls The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet "...a roller coaster ride through English lit!" and says: "It's fabulous. Hermes obviously had a lot of fun crafting this tale..."

Thanks, Dana! And thanks also to Cannon Beach Books for recommending the novel to him!