Jan 17 2013

Startup Life: Poems and Permissions

One of the many interesting things I’ve learned during the publishing process of Startup Life:  Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur with Brad is that publishing houses don’t do the work of getting permission to reprint copyrighted material – authors are responsible for this work.  Or at least our publisher doesn’t do this work, and we were responsible.  Neither Brad nor I realized this until about 3 weeks before our final galley proofs were due when we received an email on October 26th asking whether we had gotten reprint permission for the poems and literary quotes we had included in our drafts.  Surprise.  Oops.

Brad’s terrific and resolute assistant, Kelly Collins, sprang into action at the beginning of November, only to discover that it takes 6-8 weeks for the permissions and our final author draft was due in 4 weeks.

I was really disappointed and unhappy with this realization since I had been the instigator of the poetry and thought it added a richness and depth to the text and supported our deep belief that words and language matter.

Surely that’s what underpaid and overworked publishing interns are for?

We did receive and pay for permission to reprint a Mary Oliver poem “The Summer Day,” in time, but it didn’t make sense to include just one of the poems.  So we pulled the poems by Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry, and quotes from Rainer Maria Rilke and Antoine St. Exupery, among others.

But Brad and I both still hold the conviction that beautiful language can connect us and give voice to emotion and thoughts that may be difficult for non-poets to express.  So I am going to blog the quotes and poetry we had originally intended to include in Startup Life, as well as some additional gems that we love.  Here’s a poem by Wendell Berry that we intended to include in Chapter Two:  Philosophy —

The Peace of Wild Things 

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light.  For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

From The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry copyright 1998 by Wendell Berry from Counterpoint Press, a member of Perseus Books, LLC

This post first appeared on Thoughts in Random Patterns by Amy Batchelor