Feb 15 2012
It all started a few weeks ago with an email. Someone mentioned how much they liked my poetry selections and commentary, and asked how to order a Poetry Chaikhana book. And then I received an email asking about a book of my own poetry. And then more emails started coming in, all asking about my books, if they exist, when they will exist.
I know how to take a hint. It’s time to get my long-term plans for the Poetry Chaikhana back on track. Sure I still have periodic struggles with chronic fatigue, and I still have a day job to maintain, but enough excuses – the Poetry Chaikhana community has spoken!
But, before I can announce new books through the Poetry Chaikhana, I realized that I need to first update the website. So, in addition to gathering together material for some books, I’ve also been secretly working on a redesign of the website. And, of course, the Poetry Chaikhana Blog needed some changes too.
So keep checking in. Over the next few months you’ll notice changes to the website, new books, and some other cool stuff.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to let you in on my behind-the-scenes activities recently. I’ve been busy, so there’s a lot to cover…
Poetry Chaikhana Blog
Just yesterday I updated the Poetry Chaikhana Blog’s look. I’m still making final adjustments, but I encourage you to visit, browse through the various posts and pages. Let me know what you think. I always strive to create a sacred space on the Internet – open, inspiring, contemplative. Does the new look feel right to you? Do you have any suggestions? (Already, a few people have suggested a change to the header photo at the top of the blog.) I’d love your input.
I’ve also added a new Facebook ‘Like’ button and Google ‘+1’ button to the posts. When a daily poem or commentary particularly stands out, be sure to click one or both of those buttons. One more way to help people discover the Poetry Chaikhana.
I’m actively working on a major redesign of the main Poetry Chaikhana website. It will be different from the blog’s look, but I am still using similar design sensibilities to cultivate a beautiful, meditative space on the Internet. Although the new look will seek an elegant simplicity, it’s definitely time that it be brought into the modern era of website design.
Combined with the visual and navigation redesign will be significant reworking of the poetry database I developed years ago to help me manage the entire site in my copiously free time. You’ll probably never notice the database changes, but that’s the only way I can hope to maintain an expanding site with more than 300 poets and 2,000 poems.
I’ll let you know when the new site is up. I’m eager to show it to everyone and get your feedback!
Site Ad Improvements
For the longest time I was reluctant to insert online ads into the Poetry Chaikhana pages. As I said, I see the Poetry Chaikhana as sacred space, not a place for flashing banners. But I knew I had to balance that with the economic reality that I needed to generate more income through the Poetry Chaikhana. So, a few years ago I started incorporating online ads into the site and the blog, hopefully in a tasteful, non-disruptive way. And they have generated some helpful income, though not as much as I’d hoped.
One of the problems with the ads has been that they weren’t very relevant. If you’ve looked at those ads on the site, you’ve probably seen ads for photography and vanity presses. Not terrible, but not particularly interesting to most of you, I’d assume.
I’ve been educating myself on ways to better focus the ad content. Take another look at those ads in the coming weeks, especially after the new site is posted. Let me know if they seem more interesting and appropriate. Hopefully that will help them to become more of a source of income to the Poetry Chaikhana.
And please let me know, too, if anything ever feels disruptive in their content, look, or placement. They should help the site, not hinder it.
Now we get to the books! I’ve had visions of publishing books under Poetry Chaikhana moniker for years. But the timing was never quite right before.
I am now working on three – yes, three – books…
Poetry and Translations by Ivan
I have received such enthusiastic response to my poems that I’ve decided it’s time these poems had a home in a published book. This is not only a collection of my own poems, but also several of my translations and English renderings of other poets, including St. John of the Cross, Antonio Machado, Hakim Sanai, Bulleh Shah, and several others.
I decided this is the best book to start with because the material is already gathered together, no reprint permissions are required, and the editing process is modest. It’s also a good opportunity for me to learn more about the entire process as I go.
This book will be available in March or April. I’m really pleased with the results, and I’m eager to share this book with you!
Sayings / Thoughts for the Day
I am always asked who the author is of those poetic little ‘thoughts for the day’ I include with the poem emails. Well, I am. I don’t attribute them as being “by Ivan M. Granger” because that sounds strangely self-referential in my own email. But they’re by me – observations that come to me in meditation and quiet moments.
Many of you tell me that, as much as you like the poetry, some days it’s the thought for the day that really speaks to you. And often the question follows: Do you have a book of these sayings? Very soon I will be able to answer – Yes!
I’ve accumulated several hundred of these poetic sayings and thoughts over the years, enough material for two or three books. The first collection is nearly ready and will be available soon after the book of my poetry.
Poetry Chaikhana Anthology
This is the big project, what I’ve really been working toward for a long time. I am gathering material for the first of a series of sacred poetry anthologies inspired by my years of poetry emails. It will be a collection of poems by many of the great sacred poets throughout history, along with my commentaries and meditations.
This book will naturally take longer to complete. In addition to the greater length and extensive editing required, I have to go through the bureaucratic process of securing the necessary reprint permissions for the many poems I’d like to include. While the original poems are old enough that they are no longer under copyright, their English translations are often recent, so permissions are needed for the translations.
Since this is such a large project, I’d welcome the help of a few volunteers. Are you interested being a part of this project?
Areas I most need help with:
– Permissions — Contacting translators and/or publishers for reprint permissions
I don’t have a fixed date set for publication of this anthology yet, though I hope to offer it later this year.
Three great books, with the possibility of more in the future. I hope you’re already clearing some space on your bookshelves!
How about that for a list of projects? (Not bad for a guy with two jobs and chronic fatigue who’d really rather sit and meditate and read poetry.
Questions? Suggestions? Want to help? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll read every message, and respond when possible.
One more way to help…
There’s one other way you can help with these website changes and book projects, and that is to make a donation to the Poetry Chaikhana. Donations are never required, but they are always welcome, especially now in support these new directions. To donate, click one of the donate links or drop a check in the mail. Your supportive thoughts and messages are also deeply appreciated!
Thanks! Many blessings. …And have a beautiful day!