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How Ye Sea Slugs are Paraverse Books Are Rising!


last update 2005-5-16






4 of 5 Paraverse Press books are now searchable at both Amazon and Google.  Please go there and play to your heart's content. You can find almost anything in Rise, Ye Sea Slugs! and the long version of Topsy-turvy 1585.

In 2005, Paraverse Press will publish Cherry Blossom Epiphany  and The Fifth Season.   Depending upon the input from readers, a second edition of Rise, Ye Sea Slugs! and a revision of Topsy-turvy 1585 may also be published.   The author has two feature articles published in online magazines (“A Place for Cow Slobber” = LYNX and “Pissing on the New Year” = Simply Haiku) and, will attempt to take to the air-waves in the Spring. 


The SHORT VERSION of TOPSY-TURVY  IS OUT ,and the author-publisher is about to hit the air, which is to say get on the radio to try and sell it across the USA  while allowing the dinosaurs to rest in peace by not wasting the fossil fuels a tour in person would demand. Will a million Usanians want to know why Japanese smell the bottom of their melons instead of the top? Time will tell.  And see my HIC (haiku in context) at Simply Haiku. Column #2, The Peon and the Peony, which delves into 8 different metaphysical types of the "King of Flowers."

As you may see on the reviews page, Rise, Ye Sea Slugs has been recommended over  Blyth,  Henderson, Yasuda, Ueno, Shirane, et al. by eminent haiku editor and poet William J. Higginson, called an “Instant Classic” by Five Rings  translator and Miyamoto Musashi biographer William Scott Wilson and “the most touching, fun, erudite, and altogether enjoyable thing I have read for ages” by Liza Dalby, anthropologist and author of Geisha, Kimono, and Tale of Murasaki


The Spring issue of the 5 colleges journal of  literary translation, Metamorphoses published a fine review by Thomas H. Rohlich. With the permission of the editor and reviewer, I have reprinted the entire text in HERE.  The editor-in-chief and publisher of Simply Haiku has written a lively review of Fly-ku with one paragraph you must read to believe. Robin D. Gill as the Mad Hare! Well, I was born in the Year of the Bun (as rabbit-lovers might call it).

Yet, it sold less than 100 copies in 2004.  Why? Because the mass media chose to ignore it.  The same thing goes for Paraverse Press’s other 3 books, which sold far less! (Yes, the author-publisher is going deeper and deeper into debt and delaying medical treatment and everything else that goes with poverty (including bachelorhood)).  If anyone knows a reviewer at a major magazine or newspaper or NPR, for god's sake --- no, for the readers' sake! (and mine) --- please inform him or her of our books! Tell them you know there are much better books out there  than the ones they introduce (Don’t you think most of them are crap?) merely because the author or the publisher is known to them.  If you lack contacts, and are not confident of talking your way through to an editor, how about e-mailing 10 friends telling them to do the same?   . . . .   

Also, if you can make the time to write reviews  (there are none yet up at Barnes & Noble and only one, for Rise at Amazon), please try.  The best way to do this is to write it offline then C+V it into the space.  You are, of course, welcome to plagiarize from the descriptions found at this site.  And,  you are hereby deputized to plug our books on blogs around the world!

- rdg  05/2/03   

Potential patrons, please check out the

ps.  At last check, Amazon and B&N both had 3 of 4 covers up and the only site with a perfect presentation of all 4 was Korean, an international book dealer I had never heard of!  Kamsamnida!

MAZON  lists Rise.      Slugsby starts off at the back of the pack:   (nov.29, 2003)   2,057,030                    

Finally broke a Million  as of April 16, 2004 Slugsby was  961,776.


Let me be honest.  This is wretched progress.  Unless Slugsby is introduced by a major media,  it will take a decade for the word to get out!   So far there are  ZERO  REVIEWS in large circulation magazines or newspapers [As of 2005 Feb.5, no major intros -- as Al Franken would put it, The Bastards!].  I have not even managed to get a single NPR show to mention it (and I know many of the listeners would love the book!)  Anyone with connections, please connect for us!    (Most review books sent without invitations simply disappear and end up in used bookstores paying for the coffee of the reviewers -- who are too lazy to even glance at books coming in from publishers they do not know.  I am completely out of money and since i have no house, no car, no nothing, cannot take out a loan -- but i have so many books almost finished that i cannot afford to take off from my editing/publishing for the sake of making quick money, either -- so unless a miracle happens, i will have to use my credit card checks just to be able to pay my rent next month. . . I AM NOW USING THE FIRST $6000. OF MY TOTAL OF ONLY $10,000. CREDIT LIMIT!!!!!!!!  IF BY ANY CHANCE YOU CAN HELP WITH $10, $100, $1000, $10,000 TO TIDE ME OVER AS MY SALES SLOWLY BUILD PLEASE VISIT MY BEGGING PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION )

Yet, if your author/publisher were not penniless, he would be delighted despite the lack of media coverage,  for Rise has been blessed by great reviews in first-rate, small publications, including a 5 page William J. Higginson review in Modern Haiku (Winter-Spring), a long Jane Reichhold review in Lynx (February issue, on-line), an interview in Simplyhaiku, Recommendation in EL Rincon de Haiku . . .  These token extremely well for the long-term.   Meanwhile, . .

A Japanese Literature class at CUNY is using the book and it shall be fun to see what the students think about so crazy a book.

I hope to speak at Books and Books in Coral Gables in April,  BUT, DANG THEM, I AM BEING PUT OFF! MAYBE BY JUNE OR JULY? BY THEN, RISE WILL BE JOINED WITH MORE BOOKS!


older news below


Free shipping!   And there is already a fine review up -- 5 star for a 5 sided creature, yes, indeed -- and a thorough description of the book by the author.

We have 500 tyvek bags which (with a cardboard sandwich) speeds handling and gives the buyer . . . a tyvek bag!  If you want to buy OFF-LINE, we now have a personal mail box, or pmb (personal mail box -- the US PO says it won't let us use "box" alone):

paraverse press
pmb #399
260 Crandon blvd, suite 32
Key Biscayne, FL.33149-1540

Please see Orders.   And note that this tiny mail box, our first,  is big enough for checks but not for manuscripts!

Comments from translators and haiku people indicate this book will become the instant classic   I dreamed it might become.  A not-yet published review is so positive, the author blushed to read it.  Such Comments and Reviews (as published or permission is received) will be provided a separate Rise Reviews page in December.   Because reviews are more interesting when they are written independently of one another,  potential reviewers are advised not to see the page until they have finished the first draft of their own review.

"Bookworms, Meet the Sea Slug!"

Rise was on the front page of the Miami Herald   http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/7204035.htm

Yet the Miami International Book Fair was a washout:
I barely made back the cost for the table ($200).

Sluggish Miami International Book Fair

On the first day of the fair, perhaps a dozen people took a video of your “famous” author/publisher – famous for appearing on the front page of the Miami Herald – but only two people bought books and one was a friend!  Paraverse Press was not alone, for when I confided to the folk at The Georgia Review (excuse me if I got the name slightly wrong) “we” had only sold one book that afternoon, a woman replied “That is a lot more than we have sold.”  Be that as it may, Books & Books said their sales were good. Location may have had something to do with this.  The table to my right had grim pictures of political prisoners and handed out pamphlets. The table to my right had gross posters advertising “American Atrocities.”  Some were so obscene that the ex-FBI agent I shared a table with – her book, “Clean Dirt” was a poetically suitable combination, for that is what sea cucumbers produce=poop – wondered if it were legal to show such stuff.  But most people passing by were not bothered by that.  The majority of them were intent upon entering the book fair and apparently assumed nothing worthy to see would be found within the first fifty yards or, exhausted from the unrelenting heat, desperate to leave the Book Fair, go to McDonalds or attend a lecture. They no longer looked anywhere but stared straight ahead.  I did catch the eye of one who passed by, when I could not resist yelling out, “Hello, Madeleine!  I’m a Georgetown graduate! [M. Albright was giving a lecture].” She did not swivel her head smoothly about as I had expected from her owlish features, but slowed down and rotated her entire upper torso to acknowledge me.   The eyes of most people who did look right or left generally failed to acknowledge me or my book, but scanned the name of the publisher on the top of the booth-tops and nothing else. At first, I thought there were birds up there and by the end of the fair I was irked enough to consider making a sign: “Look down, damn it!” 

BOOK WORMS, MEET THE SEA SLUG! read the fine caption.  Yet not a single bibliophile sought me out.  Why?  My guess is that this is because the Newspaper article did not make it clear that most of the poems in the book were translated from Japanese originals, but gave ALL those I asked the mistaken impression that I was some egoistic young poet who for some reason wrote a thousand “haiku” about sea slugs (the article did mention the Japanese, but had no room to explain that the poems were authentic and, on average a couple hundred years old).  It was very kind of the Book Editor and the Herald to put me on the front-page, and the photographer succeeded in making me look better than me, but facts are facts. NO BOOKWORMS SOUGHT ME OUT.  When I managed to stop some of the people who paused to give me a smug oh-he’s-that-kook type smile and laugh at the nut who writes sea slug poems and explained to them what was in the book, their demeanor changed and I got some respect.  But, to tell the truth not many fair-goers were even worth stopping.  Most of the people walking Florida Row were out for free books or simply to show off their muscular bodies or pretty clothing . . . The crowd reminded me of the people that lined up for free food, soap  and toys etc at the Calle Ocho Festival.  Aside from a scattering of older people with reading-glasses, they bore no resemblance whatsoever with the bona fide book-lovers found at the Frankfurt Book Fair and the London Book Fair.  Almost all of those that passed nearby bearing the features/expression (or whatever it is) of intellectuality did not read English.  Scarcely a soul did so much as to read the blurbs, much less pick up a book of mine and actually, god forbid,  open it up.   To tell the truth, I have never anywhere encountered such an utter lack of curiosity, and it made me wonder how long I could bear to live in this city of the living dead!

Part of the problem may be with the Book Fair itself. I have fond memories of Frankfurt, for there were more good nonfiction books than I had ever seen assembled in one place.  London was not up to Frankfurt, but still offered some intellectual stimulation.  In Miami, 99% of that stimulation is within the rooms, the special author events, and the Fair part is, for lack of a better word cheap.  It was lacking the first time I saw it (two years ago), was worse last year and this year was hard to stomach.  Do Harvard and Princeton and Yale and Cambridge and Oxford and other University Presses that publish at least a dozen really fine books for general (but bright) readers every year not come to Miami because the Fair managers do not know this?  Or, is it because these presses are convinced that Miami is a city full of people who lack “intellectual horsepower,” if I may quote myself and refuse to come even if offered a good deal?   Or, less specifically, why is the Book Fair (or, at least the English language part of it) so brainless?   Why do we find table after table of what any thinking person would only call crap?

Considering the remarkable number of good authors the Fair organizers have managed to draw to  Miami -- I find this little short of miraculous -- I do not want to unfairly blame the Fair's organizers.  Maybe the presses mentioned tried over the years but found offering good nonfiction in Miami was pearls before swine.  I suppose I should feel grateful for what has been accomplished rather than complain . . .  But, part of me says that the problem may be that no one participating -- even Mitch --has a real feel for the world of intellectual nonfiction.  I just do not know.  I know only that what I saw in the Street Fair . . .

To make a bad situation worse, this year, the Miami International Book Fair and the Fairchild Garden Ramble took place simultaneously.  Am I wrong to assume that my potential readers have pretty much given up on the streetfare part of the Book Fair and that I should have been at the Ramble, instead?   Maybe next year the Ramble could be persuaded to invite presses and authors with erudite and fun books with some connection to natural science to join and we who are sick of shallow showmanship can skip the daytime street-fair part of the Book Fair altogether and only attend a lecture or two by a favorite author (if any are included).  Either that, or the Book Fair needs to make something we might call the Alley of the Intellect.  There was a cluster of booths at one end serving children.  How about a cluster of booths worthy of book-lovers?  It could be by the Antiquarian Annex, for all bibliofiles want to peek at the old books!  Good books and good presses need to be grouped together, rather than being scattered about with the chaff.  Lacking that, if I=Paraverse Press  returns, it will be in the Antiquarian Annex or nowhere.  That is because I know I will at least find some book lovers walking slowly enough to pay attention to what I offer.





The  Ukimidou haiku pub's  Rise, Ye Sea Slugs! On-line haiku fest (just for me!  I was very honored and happy.) went well.  Great haiku and comments with the selections.

 Japan Amazon  listed the book and in a few days it went  up to 490  and according to a friend though the best I saw was 1,800 overall and 80 for English language books (a bit better than Frida Kalho)  [Later -- it has dropped to the 10,000 mark -- need to get reviews going in japan]

the 3-5 wk shipping  changed to 1-2 wks and the again to 3-5 wks! I do not know if this depends on the shifts in demand or whether Lightningsource UK prints or not . .

Books were orderable from  Oct 27. Then you can tell your bookstore Ingram is the wholesaler.  Thanks Lightningsource-Ingram!


Top Japanese translator in Miami (BW) has been reading the book,can't put it down and is sure it is
Instant Classic!

Top English-speaking writer of haiku (a jellyfishologist in Japan) i know of says the author is

a legend.

Books going out for review.

Personal Mailbox bought for Paraverse Press.

195 books  are in miami  others are mailed as far as Alex in Australia and Igor in Vladivostock

of the  2 books sent to columbus, ohio, one was supposed to be rushed to Douglas Hofstadter whose Ton Beau de Marot is paraversing all the way. PYG, puleeeeease!




will discuss book at BOOKS & BOOKS in january or february -- will give the date when i know it















r d g    info@paraverse.org