Rosenberry Books blog

Rosen: Here Now & Coming Soon

David H.Rosen, author of the long-lauded The Tao of Elvis, now can be seen Live!

His penetrating stand-up comedy humor can be experienced in this wonderfully-quirky video rendition of “Dr Nada Live at Tiny Tavern.”

Also, watch for his sensational, cinematic, vision-quest memoir — coming soon!
Lost in the Long White Cloud: Finding my Way Home
(a Rosenberry Books/Wipf & Stock paperback edition)

…we will keep you posted.

Diane Katz, is a book designer, artist and illustrator.

Diane can be reached at 800.723.0336 diane@rosenberrybooks.com

Posted in The Tao of Elvis | Leave a comment

What is Gendai Haiku?

Just the title of our new book of haiku – Blue Wolves Are Howling Grapefruit Orange
– alerts the reader to a new reality.

The seventy-seven poems, written by Tyler Pruett, form a narrative, yet we begin to veer into alternate realities. This surrealism in haiku occurs in a form called “gendai.”

In Japanese, “gendai” can literally mean “modern.” In the world of haiku, however, the term refers to experimental forms that tend to be radical and avant-garde.

Sometimes, in my opinion, these poems can leave the reader behind without a frame of reference to share in the poet’s intentions. In some cases, the reader might not be able to gain any other experience than witnessing some word play, though, for the author, there may be much more imbedded in the words.

Sometimes, however, gendai haiku can pierce what we call “reality” and take us deeper into a more expansive vision of what reality might be. This visionary quality is evident in Blue Wolves Are Howling Grapefruit Orange.

Here, the reader is taken on a gradual road from what is known and observed, and in an astonishing fashion,
is led to an interior territory of what might be…

Read more about English gendai haiku:
http://haikuproject.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/gendai-haiku/
http://www.hsa-haiku.org/frogpond/2012-issue35-1/essay.html

Diane Katz, is a book designer, artist and illustrator.

Diane can be reached at 800.723.0336 diane@rosenberrybooks.com

Posted in Haiku | 1 Comment

Your Publisher, Short-Form Memoir


“…there was a star danced, and under that was I born”

Shakespeare — Much Ado About Nothing ( II, i)

David Rosen just challenged me to write my memoir.

David, the author of The Tao of Elvis, The Tao of Jung: The Way of Integrity,Transforming Depression: Healing the Soul through Creativity, and a mile long list of other books, is writing a three-volume memoir. I have been editing the first volume, living with his feature-movie-exciting life for hours every day for weeks now. But I can answer his challenge to me in a nutshell.

For some blog-time humor here goes:

Geographical History:

birth — Milwaukee, WI; where beer was corporate, in those pre-artisanal days, and the wind blew with hops.

best part of my youth — Minneapolis, MN; in the heyday of small food co-ops on every street corner. As a co-op manager, I hired my future husband. Couldn’t remember his name.

theatrical education — BFA Ithaca College; favorite line performed: “There is something wild in the air, no wind, but everything is moving.” (from The Rose Tattoo by Tennessee Williams, spoken with thick Sicilian accent).

adopted country — rural North Carolina.

Favorite color:

Not white. A canvas is white — momentarily — so are my clothes. Spontaneity takes all.

Favorite sport:

Dance. I’ll dance to anything but hyper bass.

Favorite song:

Song of the wood thrush. That’s how Frederica von Stade would sound if she had two larynxes.

Most avoided job:

Dishes are my Waterloo.

Pets:

The honeybees are my son’s, but the local green anole lizards like me.

Diane Katz, is a book designer, artist and illustrator.

Diane can be reached at 800.723.0336 diane@rosenberrybooks.com

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In the NY Times! The Tao of Elvis

Breaking News!

Sue Monk Kidd, in her “By the Book” New York Times interview (“Sunday Book Review” Jan 9, 2014),
graciously notes our very own The Tao of Elvis!

Her interview is coming out prior to her book tour for The Invention of Wings a new Oprah pick

Sue Monk Kidd is also the author of The Secret Life of Bees.

Posted in Kudos for Rosenberry Books, Kudos for The Tao of Elvis, Making The Tao of Elvis, The Tao of Elvis | Leave a comment

Children: Art vs Creativity

Wise Appletta cultivates becoming more Connected, more Alive and more Creative … but should we claim that every child is an ARTIST?

“We are more or less creative because we are more or less alive … Connectedness makes aliveness possible.”  Thank you, Diane for your chat with Larry Dossey, author of The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things and Cara Barker, author of World Weary Woman: Her Wound and Transformation

It is quite clear that this is what the Letters from Appletta Tooth Fairy are all about — helping children, through creative make-believe, perceive their connectedness to their inner selves, to the natural world and to the subtle possibilities of the unseen.

Appletta’s encouragement comes through playful and often practical stories of suggesting ways to reach beyond fear, anger, loneliness, frustration, sadness, confusion, and even hyper-activity to access helpful resources that are always there.

For instance, The Letters from Appletta Tooth Fairy — Green Set includes a letter which begins, “Do you ever get Frightened?? I sure do!,”

Appletta later goes on to say, “… you know, Fairies can be, might be, anywhere. If you are suddenly frightened or suddenly lost — stop — draw that white circle securely around and find a quiet place inside. You might just sense some help nearby.”

So yes, Appletta is all about creative approaches to being alive, and her letters encourage creative make-believe in children.

…but the question of ART — and Cara Barker’s assertion that all children are innately ARTISTS — made me wonder if Appletta ever mentioned or discussed ART in any of her letters.

For sure, Appletta draws pictures all over her letters, and her handwriting is supremely expressive. But I wondered if being an ARTIST was important to wise Appletta.

And indeed, I cannot find any mention of ART, per se, in the letters. There are some fairies who do activities in the realm of arts and crafts:

She tells about a little fairy called Bowl, who “… would go silent while knitting maps (with the dustball yarn, of course),” and, in another letter, we learn about Merweed Fairies harvesting shell-tools and shell-art.

We hear, in the Blue Set, of the Passionfairies who, “If they don’t dance every day — same time, same place — there is TROUBLE! The kind of trouble a bunch of grumbly little Fairies with the fidgets can make … BIG trouble — PASSIONATE trouble! So they know better than to NOT dance.”

Then, there are a pair of Pillywiggins Appletta knows who collect words from Big People like you and me: “Bouncing Bet and Joe-Pye especially like the words of songs and poems. They collect them all the time. There’ll be hundreds of Big People who are just Wild about a song. They sing it waiting at stop lights and while clipping their toenails. But they have NO idea what the words Mean. Bouncing Bet and Joe-Pye took the meaning and left only the sounds behind.”

So, it seems, Appletta is interested in aesthetic activities, but nowhere does she focus on children becoming ARTISTS.

Why is this interesting to me? It is interesting because what’s important to Appletta is cultivating a creative approach to ourselves, to others and to all situations, whether pleasant or challenging. As Diane suggests: Connectedness leads to Aliveness, which leads to Creativity. But Appletta isn’t writing to little ARTISTS.

This is a good thing, as we may or may not perceive a child’s potential. Why should we project on a child our expectation that a child should be or become an ARTIST?

Some children who grow up with The Appletta Letters may indeed become artists, but hopefully ALL children who grow up with The Appletta Letters will become more Connected, more Alive and more Creative.

Posted in Art & Artist, “The Annotated Letters from Appletta” by Angela Elmore | Leave a comment

Art vs Creativity

My husband calls me “chronically creative,” for which I deem myself qualified to kibitz with Larry Dossey, author of One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters, and Cara Barker, author of World Weary Woman: Her Wound and Transformation (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts, on the subjects of art and creativity).

The Huffington Post has run any number of articles on these subjects over the years. Last year, I read Cara Barker’s “The Soul of an Artist: Top 20 Characteristics to Invoke Your GPS” (June 20, 2013). My turbulent thoughts were tempered by the soaringly-earnest supportiveness of her intentions. I set my words aside.

Larry Dossey contributed an intriguing essay about the physic connection love creates to our book by Dr Bernie Siegel, Words & Swords: Marriage & Family.

This past December, Larry Dossey posted “Where Does Creativity Come From?” (December 16, 2013), which expresses a spirituality that I am in accord with. He relays the marvelous story of Joseph Chilton Pearce’s transformation when his 5 year old son unconsciously acted as a Library Angel, eruditely telling Pearce exactly what he needed to know.

But I am deeply concerned about the words art/artist and creativity.

To be creative, in my book, is simply to be receptive to possibilities. This can apply to absolutely anything. It is not limited to practical solutions or making anything.

One can be creative about how to get from your house to your neighbor’s house. If you think there is only one way — the way you always go, down the sidewalk — you are displaying a lack of creativity. You could cut across the yard (or the alley). You could run a rope from roof to roof and then hand-over-hand, tight rope or glide there. You could set out in the opposite direction on a pogo stick and hop there from around the block. You could leap like a squirrel from tree to tree, or you could fly there. Just because a possibility is impossible doesn’t mean it isn’t creative.

Perhaps the more possibilities you perceive, the more creative you are. We are more or less creative because we are more or less alive. We are incarnated to become more and more alive, or as Cara Barker says encouragingly, “I create because I AM.”

Connectedness makes aliveness possible. Larry Dossey’s article is ultimately about “seeking the Source, the One Mind,” and I would venture to suggest that rather than asking “Where Does Creativity Come From?,” Thomas Moore is really asking, “Where does aliveness come from?”

Perhaps this is a small point, but the problem comes when we make the automatic leap from talking about creativity to talking about art, as if we are talking about the same thing.

Art is a word like love, or master, or guru. Poor, dear old words. They have multiple meanings, which causes confusion. Indeed, some of the definitions have come about through confusion and misuse.

Love is unconditionally wanting the best for the object of our love, but we say,“I love jelly beans.” Love also refers to sexual attraction.

A guru is a master of experiential spiritual wisdom, but TV gurus now teach us the 7 steps to weight loss.

Master is a term now in as common use as standing ovations. Once upon a time, a master was one who had achieved mastery, not someone who was good enough to teach someone else how. Without traditions, who is the judge of such mastery?

Art is certainly not everything made creatively. When, twenty-seven years ago, I used a terry diaper cover to line an itchy wool hat for my 2 year-old — that was creative, but it certainly wasn’t art. Art is a certain kind of creation, an aesthetic creation, produced with awareness and skill — the more depth, truth and spirit in it, the better.

One can also use the word art to speak of anything that takes some moxy, as in “the art of cleaning windows” (something I’ve never achieved). This may have led to some of the confusion.

Art is a certain kind of creation. Even when I developed a unique method of book construction for Rosenberry Books, this was creativity, not art.

Although Cara Barker says, “There is not a moment when we are not all artists…,” it simply isn’t true. We are not all artists, any more than we are all bricklayers or airplane pilots. Artist and creative person are not synonymous terms.

Cara Barker adds, “What does it mean to take on your birthright as an artist? Ask any child. They don’t know otherwise.”

The potential creativity is there in every being, adult or child, and one would wish that every child were allowed the space, love and support to be creative. But every child is not an artist (or a musician, or a mathematician…) any more than every adult is.

But it is true, we are all here on this earth to become more alive, more connected, more creative.

When a person puts chairs in trees at an art museum, it is certainly a creative endeavor, it may even be a tribute to a North Carolina natural resource and industry, but it isn’t, in my opinion, art. Where is the aesthetic? Where is the skill in creating the aesthetic?

In the West, it is so difficult to talk about what is aesthetic / what is art, because we have no tradition; we have no reference. The question of aesthetic — what is aesthetic or isn’t — is a lively (or deadly) topic among friends. But without a tradition, it cannot be defined and, like discussing politics at Thanksgiving dinner, the subject is best dropped without hope of resolution.

My abundantly-creative Windsor-chairmaker son (he built his first lathe with a wooden spring-pole; his second with an old washing machine motor), and an exquisite turner (see the dance of his turning skew at the lathe), asserts that he absolutely would rather not be called an artist.

He is correct, he is a fine craftsman not an artist. But the cause of his abhorrence for the term is not fine. The cause: the widespread modern misuse of the term artist. Sad story … his mother is an artist.

P.S. Please see Angela Elmore’s reponse to this post. She highlights an even more important point:

Children should not be expected to be artists! This is a set up for failure should this talent or tendency not be in their nature.

Nurture creativity, and expose children to many forms of art — certainly! But there is no need to say “You are a child, you must be an Artist!” This may turn out to be untrue, and their creativity may indeed lie elsewhere.

Diane Katz, is a book designer, artist and illustrator.

Diane can be reached at 800.723.0336 diane@rosenberrybooks.com

Posted in Art & Artist, More About Us | Leave a comment

I really wanted all the books! These books are amazing.

I was very surprised how beautiful they are. What a beautiful job making them.

… I will collect them over time. And I’m going to read them a bit each day or night or when I need an aha moment.

They are beautiful gifts. Can’t wait to have time to soak them up.

Thank you! I will be back for more soon.

Merry Christmas!
Vicki Bonnell,
co-author of Pieces of Her Mind: Women Find Their Voice in Centuries-Old Forms

Posted in Haiku, Kudos for Children's Books | Leave a comment

The Tao of Elvis — a Rosenberry Books Paperback !?!!

Well, no. The Tao of Elvis new paperback edition is published by Wipf & Stock Publishers, but is designed by Rosenberry Books to give our “sacred text” greater reach.

We wanted an economical book that, unlike our hand bound editions, could fly through the trade publishing system into the hands of more readers.

It has been and interesting process transforming our full-color, pull-out-all-the-stops-and-special-papers Deluxe Edition into a black & white paperback — and I am honestly surprised to be delighted with the results!

The artwork is not simply “Photoshopped” into grayscale. That would result in dulled artwork.

Instead, I used the same artistic skills used by classical artists to translate their color paintings into black and white etchings and lithographs. Tonal variation and textures in monochrome are used to replace the energies of the original color.

It works when done well. Think of black & white movies and how beautiful they can be….

So I am quite proud of the paperback, but still, it is nothing like the experience of the sumptuous Deluxe Edition with its highly-textured handmade papers and imported papers with gold and silver inclusions. Each book is a work of art made with our own hands, and well worth the cost.

There is place for every good thing….

Posted in Elvis, Making The Tao of Elvis, The Tao of Elvis | Leave a comment

International Praise for Tangled Shadows

Strikingly Authentic Haiku and Senryu by Elliot Nicely.

The fine, small collection of haiku and senryu, Tangled Shadows: Senryu and Haiku by Elliot Nicely,
is printed on recycled paper with Japanese stab binding and is laced with linen cord. Many of the haiku from this collection (or earlier versions of them) have previously appeared in various journals. The haiku and senryu are spaced one to a page which gives plenty of space around then for the reader to contemplate their beauty.

Not many haiku poets can sustain a high level of excellence throughout a collection, as Nicely does, but I do have one or two favourites:

dandelion field
the summer wind casts
a thousand wishes

what might have been . . .
our shadows become one
then part

Nicely expresses his haiku with ease. They are sometimes sensual and at other times evocative of nature or contain a personal perspective:

asking about
past lovers –
closed morning glories

Several of the poems are one-line haiku and it is the mark of a fine poet that they have the ability and confidence to experiment with line and rhythm. In the context of this collection, the addition of risk-taking places Nicely’s work in the contemporary arena:

the last time we spoke tangled shadows of telephone wires

The importance of nature in his life is demonstrated in several haiku: “two much moonshine the echo of bullfrogs”. But most of the haiku are more concerned with connecting human experience with nature rather than it being observed at a distance, such as we see in “her eyes / avoid my apology / false spring”. This respect for the natural world often interfaced sometimes sympathetically, at other times with the human world, is in the haiku tradition. Often the haiku are simple in the best sense and I particularly like “to forgive again no moon only stars”. Nicely’s haiku can strike an evocative and sometimes slightly enigmatic note as in “insomnia / . . . waiting / and weighting” but there are also touches of humour and compassion in his work:

to forgive again no moon only stars

What is striking about the haiku in this collection is its authenticity. There is also an approach that makes the reader feel that Nicely is speaking to them: because of the simplicity of the content, the haiku seem intimate. The book, attractively presented with one haiku to a page has been sensitively edited and will make a nice addition to a reader’s haiku library.

Review by Patricia Prime, New Zealand Poetry Society

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Elvis author wins Editor’s Choice

Congratulations to our author, polymath Dr David H. Rosen!

A review from an’ya, cattails Principal editor for the United Haiku and Tanka Society*.

As my Editor’s Choice, I’ve selected this deceptively plain haiku by David H. Rosen, as a fine example of what the haiku genre is about, man and nature:

Slug trail on the porch …

Now, I understand my life

David’s haiku is an equilibrium which contains feelings of uncertainty and hints of self-mockery, seemingly a somewhat despondent and detached description of his own life, as well as the unfathomable beauty he perceived in the slug’s silver trail, as a metaphor for one’s own legacy. A crafty comparison of a natural phenomenon to both the plight and the blessings of mankind … what scholarly scope!

I realize that poetry is a “living art form” and will always be evolving forward or reverting back full circle. Therefore the gift to be simple and stick to it, when everyone around you is experimenting by pushing the boundaries and trying to come off as a complex intellectual, is a difficult path.

David is a complex intellectual, which is why I believe he has already mastered simple. His moment reflects only the pureness and simplicity of nature as it is and states this clearly through mention of something as mundane as a slug. Then, he adds the surprise juxtaposition.

My Editor’s Choices are never based on the number of lines, since format to me has nothing to do with content. Nor do I think a kigo is mandatory. I do believe that at least some “feeling” of the natural world is a must, as well as a setting, subject, verb, and an aha, no matter in what order they appear.

Unfortunately, there are others out there today who are publishing “short poems” of any type or kind under the guise of haiku. While this may be fine for mainstream poetry, imo, it’s a whole different story when it comes to Japanese and eastern aesthetics. David’s haiku is an exceptional example of “yugen.”

*Rosenberry Books is the exclusive publisher of the United Haiku & Tanka Society.

Posted in Haiku | Leave a comment