Monday, January 5, 2015

My book reviewed in Stirring and a Cary Elwes sighting: inconceivable!

Closing out a terrific 2014, I was excited to see this thoughtful review of The Existentialist Cookbook in the December issue of Stirring (by poet Donna Vorreyer).

"The syntax of many of these poems is clipped, fragmented, and end-stopped, giving the reader a sense of authority and reality. The speaker in these poems does not ramble. The speaker in these poems has conviction. This serves Orion particularly well in the most tender and relatable poems in the book, those that ponder small moments or big emotions in a straightforward way."
The rest of the review can be found at:

I also had a November reading at the iconic Changing Hands Bookstore with one of my favorite poets David Chorlton, since we both had new books out (his was a new volume of Selected Poems). Changing Hands has been Arizona's most legendary bookstore for over 40 years and many big-time authors hold their booksignings there (like Neil Gaiman and Chuck Palahniuk, recently).

This was the first time I got to read there with a shiny new book of my own to promote, but I decided to read my entire set without including one single poem from the book, just to switch things up.

Speaking of Changing Hands events, I went to Cary Elwes' booksigning a few weeks ago. He has a new book of behind the scenes stories from the making of the almost classic 1987 film The Princess Bride.

I don't like those booksignings that are nothing more than an autograph line. I like to hear something. Like when Jenny Lawson ( read us a chapter from her memoir.
Or when Damien Echols sat down for a Q & A with the crowd.
But I have to say that Cary Elwes was probably the most generous and engaging author I've seen. He told a few hilarious tales from the Princess Bride set with all of the British charm you could expect, while interjecting dead on impersonations of the other actors involved (his Andre The Giant impression made the stories exponentially better).

Then he invited questions from the audience and took a cordless mic out to wander through the rows and talk to people. He kept that up for much longer than any of us expected. He seemed amazed and humbled by how much that movie meant to some of these people even after all these decades.

There were kids who were named after his character, couples who met and hit it off by quoting lines before going on to mahwage, and even a woman who comforted her husband before a major surgery by telling him to "sleep well and dream of large women."

It's easy to underestimate the importance of art in everyone's private world.

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