Reprinted from The Writer Magazine:
(Originally published in 2007)
Crossing Genres—From Journalist/Author to Poet
By Kay Day
Linda Eve Diamond has achieved goals that would make many writers envious.
She's a successful author, with books out from publishers like McGraw-Hill and Sourcebooks. She's edited textbooks and her articles have appeared in periodicals like Hollywood Gazette. Diamond is a member of a number of professional organizations, among them The American Society of Journalists and Authors and The Authors Guild. Both organizations require in-depth proof of credentials and publication credits on a national level.
So what inspired an independent author/journalist to self-publish her new poetry collection 'The Human Experience?'
"It really is a breakout for me. Poetry has always been something I do on the side," she says.
She had published poems in journals, and her collection was tapped for an Editor's Choice Award in the Coffee House Press Poetry Competition in 2002. So she didn't come to poetry without an understanding of voice or style. Despite a full agenda with her journalism and editing projects, she explains there was pleasure in poetry that nonfiction doesn't provide. "I love wordplay, and I don't get to do so much of that in business books."
A Floridian, Diamond notes the support she's received for her work in general. "A lot of people in my community have been supportive of my writing life overall. They've been excited for me when business books come out. My friends in the postal center even cheer when a slow check comes through."
But she noticed something along the way. "Nothing seems to light people up as much as poetry. Even at Chamber of Commerce events, where there's great interest in the business books, the mention of a poetry book brings a smile." She also discovered that a lot of people write poetry. "They're looking for a chance to have a sidebar from business discussions to talk about it."
When her poetry book was recently released, she says she was "surprised by the book's reception." People want to come to hear her read, and to see what her poetry is all about.
Diamond has planned an informal campaign to spread the word about 'The Human Experience.' She's lined up a radio interview in April, and she's already scheduled some readings. Her first reading came about almost by accident.
"I asked the manager of my local health food store if I could put some bookmarks on the counter."
The manager said, "No." Then she added, "You should have your own table set up so we can sell your books. You'll want promotional material there, by the books." And the manager suggested Diamond give a reading. Subsequently, the owner of a spa and gallery offered her a featured reading during the downtown art walk.
Although she hasn't had time to create what she calls a "full-scale marketing plan," Diamond says she will reach out to bookstores and different kinds of organizations to schedule more readings. She said she originally regarded the poetry book as something she was doing for "personal reasons."
Humor is a strong element in Diamond's poems, an attribute that makes any poetry book more user friendly. One poem in the collection pokes fun at what it's like to have a cold, and the misery that accompanies it. Billy Collins commented on the poem, "The Cobbod Cold." She says she learned from Collins to refrain from taking herself too seriously as a poet-"so many people lose their sense of humor when they sit down to write." Her poem begins, "Dothig like a cold to bake you blue,/dostalgic for days whed you were sball." Read the poem and you will definitely identify with the speaker.
Diamond used a publishing program available through ASJA press to get the book in print. She says she wasn't prepared for the emotions that accompanied seeing her poetry book become a reality.
"I hadn't expected the release of this little book to be more exciting for me than the traditionally published, well-received business books," she reflects. "But it is exciting, and now I'm looking forward to marketing it. Even just taking the time to write poetry feels like a guilty little pleasure, so it's very freeing to come out with a poetry book and promote it."
Meanwhile, she's working on another nonfiction book and maintaining her freelance business. She enjoys the break, though, that poetry readings offer. "There is something so rewarding about sharing poetry," she muses. "It allows us not only to relate on a deeper level, but to make light of everything too."
Kay B. Day is a poet and freelance correspondent living in Jacksonville, Fla. Her articles and poems appear in The Christian Science Monitor and The Florida Times Union. She is a stringer for UPI. Her collection A Poetry Break won several awards, including top poetry book from the Florida Writers' Association. Web: www.kayday.com.
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