I never met him until he came to Washington to receive the National Medal of Arts. No science fiction writer had ever won the National Medal. I felt it was important to honor areas of American creativity previously ignored. (We eventually awarded medals to an animator, literary translator, set designer, comic book artist, graphic designer, electrical guitar pioneer, and cartoonist — while never neglecting the traditional fine arts.) Ray was the first of these new honorees. The first time I spoke to him was the phone call informing him about the medal. He was effusively delighted. His doctors told him not to come. Ray came anyway, in his wheelchair, with three of his daughters and yourself. He loved every moment. He was like a kid at Disneyland.
In early 1996, I managed for the first time to work up the courage to write to her from New York. The Manhattan Theatre Club, knowing that she was on the short list for the Nobel Prize, proposed that I prepare an evening of Szymborska’s poetry, including narration to be read by me with the poems. A few months later, I received a moving letter, dated April 20, 1996:
While the most successful creators often leave behind legal estates to manage the care (and finances) of their famous books, plays, operas and so forth, most aren’t so lucky. “For the vast majority of authors from 1925, no one is benefiting from copyright protections,” Jenkins tells NPR. Having their work enter the public domain is a way to keep it circulating in the culture for artists and historians to use for education and inspiration.
And Ray was delighted to meet them. He chuckled and signed napkins and order slips. He had a global audience. He spoke to people novelists don’t usually reach. That is something that we should honor. Bradbury had an imagination that invited people in. I’m one of them. I know I’m not the only writer of my generation who feels Bradbury made a fundamental contribution to my intellectual and literary formation.
Firstly, don't release a poetry book before you have other things on the market in one way or another, whether it be a website, writing-related services, a feature film credit, or a novel. Secondly, think about why you believe your collection will make a difference in your writing career - and go beyond your abilities. It won't take off by itself. Do you have connections in the writing world? Is there someone exceptional you've been wanting to advertise with? You should have something in the works long before you publish.
You may be a great poet, but it’s always best if your poems tie into a single narrative. If your first poem is about how long it takes for online retailers to ship your packages, and the last poem is about the tragic death of a family member, you are probably covering too wide a spectrum. The more closely related your poems are (dramatic or comedic), the more likely it is that your readers’ emotions will carry over from one poem to another.