From Wikipedia. I got a genuine thrill reading this, and hope you do too:When the book was first published, Whitman was fired from his job at the Department of the Interior after Secretary of the Interior James Harlan read it and said he found it very offensive.Poet John Greenleaf Whittier was said to have thrown his 1855 edition into the fire.Thomas Wentworth Higginson wrote, "It is no discredit to Walt Whitman that he wrote 'Leaves of Grass,' only that he did not burn it afterwards." Critic Rufus Wilmot Griswold reviewed Leaves of Grass in the November 10, 1855, issue of The Criterion, calling it "a mass of stupid filth" and categorized its author as a filthy free lover. Griswold also suggested, in Latin, that Whitman was guilty of "that horrible sin not to be mentioned among Christians", one of the earliest public accusations of Whitman's homosexuality. Griswold's intensely negative review almost caused the publication of the second edition to be suspended.Whitman included the full review, including the innuendo, in a later edition of Leaves of Grass.
On March 1, 1882, Boston district attorney Oliver Stevens wrote to Whitman's publisher, James R. Osgood, that Leaves of Grass constituted "obscene literature". Urged by the New England Society for the Suppression of Vice . . .Stevens demanded the removal of the poems "A Woman Waits for Me" and "To a Common Prostitute", as well as changes to "Song of Myself", "From Pent-Up Aching Rivers", "I Sing the Body Electric", "Spontaneous Me", "Native Moments", "The Dalliance of the Eagles", "By Blue Ontario’s Shore", "Unfolded Out of the Folds", "The Sleepers", and "Faces".
P.S. Whitman's title Leaves of Grass was a veiled way of saying "this is trash written by a hack or unimportant person."
Wednesday night, Bob Baker, author of Guerilla Music Marketing and a self-published, self-supporting full-time writer, listed for his audience the 12 most important lessons he has learned along the way. Inspired, I acted on two of them:
- “Take some small action now.”
- “Don’t let imperfection stop you. ‘Out there’ and imperfect is better than ‘perfect’ and ‘not out yet’.”
Right after his talk someone requested my BookEval business card and I was chagrined to have none. Taking action, last night I tried designing the perfect business card and repeatedly failed, using up half the night. “What I will have to do, come Monday,” I wearily thought, “is find some printer who makes really nice business cards, maybe by calling some people who will recommend one, and then put the logo on a disk, and make a drawing of what I want, and then go there and choose card stock, ask how much it will cost and pay it. This will freakin’ take weeks, I can’t do business for weeks. . .” Went to bed at 1:00. Did not sleep until 3:40. That’s because I’d taken a good idea and turned it into a real crazy-maker.
This morning I made a freakin’ imperfect business card and sent it to be printed in an edition of 250 to use until I can get the “perfect” card. I think I chose well. (People are starving and I am concerned about a ‘perfect’ bizcard?!?!?)
- Artificial Insemination: After printing colorful card-stock promotional bookmarks featuring the title and purchase information for one’s own book, an author sticks these bookmarks into store copies of bestsellers.
- Disturbing the Universe: A writer in a bookstore surreptitiously moves her books closer to the front, or turns them from spine-out to face-out, or re-distributes the bookstore’s stock of her book among several subjects or shelves. She doesn’t realize that the bookstore is a business, that she is not the first writer to do this, and that the bookstore clerks know the shelves as they know their own faces; after all, they have arranged the books, often to specifications given and paid for by the publishers. It is their job eight hours a day to maintain this order.
- The Secret Book Signing: A writer enters a bookstore, finds his own books and secretly autographs all the copies, knowing that autographed books are considered defaced and cannot be returned to the publisher, and hoping this will force the bookstore to keep all copies on the shelves until they are sold.
- The James Frey Awards: A writer has golden medallion-type stickers printed with the name of a fictitious award, enters the bookstore and sticks them onto his book covers hoping this will attract attention.
Not yet dead of embarrassment and shame? Pretend you are not the author, and sell a copy of your book to every used-book dealer in town. At least it’ll be shelved in a bookstore. (A tip found online.)
Job interview #2: The hiring committee had a projector so candidates could present audiovisual portfolios on DVD. They asked if I had one. I saw I was sunk. Inspired, I said, "I'll be honest with you. I'm a writer. I just published my fourth book," etc. I'm gleeful, and a lively discussion ensues. Finally they ask how I feel about coordinating public-relations functions all day and attending said functions all evening. I tell them that I would hate that.
Welcome to the SanityBubble blog, successor to the Mental Health for Writers blog. I'll be moving all of its entries over here. BookEval.com is now my online home and website, and I am my own darned employer and can be honest with you.