Just when it seemed that everything is going as well as it can, I become aware of something that has been true for a very long time, but this time, perhaps more ruinous to my career as a writer, as a poet, I mean…
Not my intenton to jeopardize my forthcoming book, about which I remain excited, but I do want it known that Thylias Moss is available for another publisher for my books of poetry; out of my 11 books, 9 of them are collections of poetry, counting Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities’ Red Dress Code“, soon to be published in September 2016, by Persea, a publisher I’ve belonged to since winning the National Poetry Series in 1991, with “Rainbow Remnants in Rock Bottom Ghetto Sky“, a book that Persea published, and since then, all of my collections, in book form, of poetry, with the exception of “Small Congregations” published by Ecco in 1993.
Here are newspaper articles about this event, that came about because I dared to be honest; I told the truth! thylias_wall-street-journal
And here is the problematic bit of my current contract for my forthcoming collection:
“Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities’ Red Dress Code” September 2016, causing concern; this contract was prepared by my publisher, and I did sign it without anyone advising me not to (I trusted the publisher who identifued herself as “my friend” (as she did with previous litigation to make sure that I would not go to jail; I recall that phone conversation distinctly; well, I am no longer that gullible child, and for another thing, I am resentful of “advice” I was given but do not need, about “being careful in my relationships as long as they are not hurtful to me”, well my relationship with my publisher IS hurtful to me, as my publisher wrote the contract, and I am dead set against maintaing that contract since that very relationship is the only “hurtful to me” relationship I have, I’m going to take the publisher’s own advice
20. In consideration of the covenants of this Agreement, the Proprietor agrees to give the Publisher the first opportunity to obtain book-publishing rights in his next book-length work. The Proprietor shall submit the manuscript of such work to the Publisher before showing it to any other publisher, and the Publisher shall thereafter have thirty  days to notify the Proprietor if it wishes to publish such work, and if so, to propose terms and conditions (provided that the Publisher shall not be required so to notify the Proprietor until the expiration of ninety (90) days from the date of the first publication of the Work). If within thirty (30) days after the Publisher’s having proposed such terms and conditions, the Publisher and the Proprietor fail to reach agreement with respect thereto, or if the Publisher does not wish to publish such work, then the Proprietor shall be free to arrange for publication elsewhere provided, however, that the Proprietor shall not enter into an agreement for publication of such work with any third party on terms and conditions equal to or less favorable than those terms and conditions offered by the Publisher.”
Some of that history of litigation here again:
I am seeking a publisher for my volumes of poetry after “Wannabe“
Another poet friend asked me why hadn’t Norton (of course, Persea is an affliliate publisher of Norton, as indicated)or Knopf gobbled me up, after so many books and so many awards, and all I could think of was the contract itself, when this dreadful passage was pointed out to me…
Perhaps this will be addressed when my romance novel does indeed sell. I know it will; I admit that I am impatient, but that book means even more to me now, and I cannot talk about it… Not yet.
I hope that today will be the day…
One never knows..
But today IS the day that I announce that I am available for another publisher for my poetry. Ideally the same publisher who oversees publication of my romance novel, but no clause like the option clause prepared by the publisher acting as BOTH my publisher and my agent. If this announced availability causes more litigation, so be it. I have been down this road before… A road covered by the New York Daily News and the Wall Street Journal in 1994…
I wouldn’t mind going to jail for poetry, something so dear to me. Poetry tells a truth! Poetry is a truth! My poems do not tell lies! They never will!
I insist on such purtiy, even though that seems to be becomng so rare and precious, doomed by the injustices in which humanity festers, injustices such as Option clause #20, a clause I did not write and one I wish I had read better but the writer, my publisher, was also claiming to be my friend:
a familiar or helpful thing,
a person who is not an enemy or who is on the same side
“Remember,” I was told, “I am your friend.”
But another publisher is essential. I am not new to poetry at all!
I will not crumple under litigation should any happen. I didn’t before when I was served a subpoena in my office where I was a professor until I retired, at the University of Michigan…
and I already have a couple of lawyers investigating that clause, seeking an honest and legal way to break it; my friend indeed.
but we all know this, “Smiling Faces Sometimes”
A friend is someone you love and who loves you, someone you respect and who respects you, someone whom you trust and who trusts you. A friend is honest and makes you want to be honest, too. A friend is loyal.
A friend is someone who is happy to spend time with you doing absolutely nothing at all; someone who doesn’t mind driving you on stupid errands, who will get up at midnight just because you want to go on an adventure, and who doesn’t have to talk to communicate with you.
A friend is someone who not only doesn’t care if you’re ugly or boring, but doesn’t even think about it; someone who forgives you no matter what you do, and someone who tries to help you even when they don’t know how. A friend is someone who tells you if you’re being stupid, but who doesn’t make you feel stupid.
A friend is someone who would sacrifice their life and happiness for you. A friend is someone who will come with you when you have to do boring things like watch bad recitals, go to stuffy parties, or wait in boring lobbies. You don’t even think about who’s talking or who’s listening in a conversation with a friend.
A friend is someone for whom you’re willing to change your opinions. A friend is someone you look forward to seeing and who looks forward to seeing you: someone you like so much, it doesn’t matter if you share interests or traits. A friend is someone you like so much, you start to like the things they like.
A friend is a partner, not a leader or a follower.
The word “friend” comes from Old English “frēond”, which is actually the present participle of “frēogan”, which means “to love” and “to honor”.
I quite agree! This post is for all of my true friends, and you definitely know who you are, and so do I, always. There is nothing more sacred than a friend who can be trusted; a freind who will not cheat you, a friend who will not deceive you, and as far as I am concerned, there is no clause #20 in my contract.