Wednesday, April 16, 2008

(The) Red Bird

Mary Oliver has a new book out called "Red Bird," a title awfully similar to Joyelle's first book, "The Red Bird." It's not like Joyelle's book is an obscure title! It has gone through several prints (meaning it has sold couple thousand copies, which is highly unusual in this day and age), and it was published by Fence Books, hardly an obscure press.

Besides you need only look in some poetry journals and online journals to see that some people have indeed read it and taken it to heart (much more so than with the poetry she has written since then, not many people seem to have read The Commandrine, a stranger and more interesting book to my mind).

Probably Mary doesn't do too much reading these days, but you'd think she'd have an editor or friend or something who realized that the title was used not so long ago by someone else.Or maybe not.

14 Comments:

Blogger Max said...

Better yet, maybe it's an homage.

1:09 PM  
Blogger CLAY BANES said...

I don't think the Mary Oliver Industry — never mind.

Oliver's new manuscript — this is what I hear — is called The Prophet.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Aaron McCollough said...

I had noticed this in the bookstore a couple of days ago and meant to ask when the cease and desist letter was going out. At the very least, the book title should be changed to Red Bird, Jr.

That being said, I suspect that when Mary Oliver decides she's going to use words, it means previous uses of those words--together or in isolation-- are (for all intents and purposes) erased.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Amish Trivedi said...

everytime I write anything, I check it in google to make sure I haven't lifted it from anywhere else. Then, if thinking about a manuscript title, I plug it into worldcat, the library thing, to make sure there isn't a manuscript with the same title in libraries. Once those two are done, I'm relatively sure I'm not stealing.

Had Mary Oliver attempted to do either, she would have come face to face with Joyelle. What a schmuck.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Max said...

Why all the anxiety about this in the first place? Do you people honestly think that authors should have rights over potentially common word groupings like "The Red Bird"? It's not like Mary Oliver's new book is called "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" or "Moby-Dick."

9:48 PM  
Blogger Max said...

Though, I guess even if it were called "Moby-Dick" that would still be completely legal under current copyright law.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Amish Trivedi said...

Anxiety? Sarcasm doesn't come across very well in written form. You'd think we would have solved this in so many years of electronic communication now.

I wish she had titled it "Max." That would be interesting...

12:38 AM  
Blogger Michael Peverett said...

I've been struggling with the title of my book, but I might go for "A new quarantine will take place". I like the way it's just different enough to ruin the effect. Anyway I guess Joyelle now has carte blanche to write books called "House of the Light" "The American Primitive", "Provincetown (The)" and other such curiously tempting titles..

1:20 AM  
Blogger Johannes said...

I like the cut of your jib Mike. Good idea.

In a dream I had several years ago I had a book called John Berryman. I always thought that was a good title.

6:01 AM  
Blogger Aaron McCollough said...

One thing that's interesting (in a kind of boring way) is that the nature of the poetry world (the great schism) makes it so that two books with basically the same title can emerge from visible presses in a fairly small time-frame and basically have nothing to do with one another. They may as well be books in totally different "disciplines" or genres. One is a book of poems. The other is a book of something else that some people call poetry.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Max said...

Oh, that didn't seem very sarcastic to me, Amish, mostly because your little bit at the end about "Had Mary Oliver attempted to do either, she would have come face to face with Joyelle" actually seemed to validate what you were saying, whereas a sarcastic comment would have done the opposite, in however subtle a way.

I think Mary Oliver should title her book "Max," because then it would be virtually guaranteed to sell a million copies for having such an edgy title. Good idea, Amish.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Max said...

Mike: "A new period of detention or isolation will usurp my current position" sounds a little better, in my opinion.

8:31 AM  
Blogger sandrasimonds said...

I think Mary Oliver is trying to teach Joyelle a lesson. She's saying "I own Red Bird, bitch."

2:41 PM  
Blogger Max said...

Of course, Mary Oliver owns a lot of other things too. Like a really horrid body of work.

Joyelle 1
Mary 0

6:00 PM  

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