At Guernica Editions, we’re always pursuing new ways of doing things, and so we’ve decided to start making book trailers for some of our new releases. What is a book trailer you may ask? Well, it’s like a movie trailer, but for books – but instead of summarizing the book, a book trailer should give a sense of the book’s general impression. So for three of our newest releases, upcoming in Spring 2016, we’ve decided to make book trailers that will accompany their readings at the launch and will also be available on our website. I’ve decided to start a semi-monthly blog detailing aspects of the trailer production process, and anything I’ve discovered along the way.
I should begin by stating which books we’ll be making book trailers for. These are three collections of poetry by new writers, Love is a Very Long Word by Majlinda Bashllari, Navy Blue by Steven Meagher, and Colour Theory by Megan Mueller. Each of these books is so different from each other, and they each contain very beautiful poems.
The first step in making these trailers is actually reading the selections. Love is a Very Long Word was an exciting read – the poems span places, times, and perspectives. I felt like the poems were very wandering, suggesting an alluring nomadism, but still touching on some universal themes – issues like war, struggle, and of course, love. The poems range from fantastic (“Before I learned to fly, / I was a young and pretty lizard.”) to poignantly everyday (“Mornings, I’m often mad at my teen children; they get in my way looking for their clothes and school bags, texting to best friends all at the same time.”).
While Love is a Very Long Word draws on a range of literary techniques, Navy Blue is starkly, boldly, and beautifully minimalistic. Each poem reads like a Delta blues song, especially in poems like “The Hanging Bridge”, with lines like “Do not bend or tremble / As my marrow talks in gospel / I will show you perfect devotion / You can take it or leave it forever”. Meagher’s collection refers to love, lust, and childhood, but these ideas are represented with a language that is gritty and unpretentious, bringing to mind writers like Charles Bukowksi and Frank Stanford. These are poems that I want to sip slowly, like rye whisky, to keep warm.
Megan Mueller’s Colour Theory is a different kind of beautiful. While Navy Blue recalls to the reader what it’s like being left out in the cold, the poems in Colour Theory bring to mind inner, domestic spaces – bedrooms, kitchens, wardrobes. By making use of references to an extensive range of artworks, artists, and places, Mueller’s poems are focused and delicate. Each poem feels like a fragile sepia photograph, and together they share with the reader (in the most intimate and compassionate way) what it is like to be a member of a family, especially a granddaughter, daughter, and mother.
Right now I’m finishing up storyboard ideas for making book trailers out of these wonderful collections. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what they’ll look like, and each poet has been more than helpful in helping to clarify that vision. Thanks again, Majlinda, Steven, and Megan! There will be more production notes and updates as these trailers begin to manifest.