Poet John Dorsey publishes new bookWritten by Matt Liasse | | email@example.com
In a Feb. 7 YouTube video, book publisher Wolfgang Carstens reads a book from behind the wheel of his Chevy Astro. And just what book was so enthralling to him?
That would be “Tombstone Factory,” Toledo Free Press Star columnist John Dorsey’s newest collection of poems.
“It’s a funny video,” Dorsey said. “[Carstens is] very enthusiastic; he’s very passionate about what he does.”
“Tombstone Factory” was published by Epic Rites Press, based out of Alberta, Canada.
“John Dorsey is a literary alchemist,” Carstens said on epicrites.org. “Dorsey’s poetry is genuine, unique, accessible, and it always manages to transcend the act of putting words on the page and work its way into your bloodstream.”
Carstens goes the extra mile to promote a published book, Dorsey said, which is a reason he looked forward to working with him. At the end of the YouTube video, Carstens mails the first copy of the book to Dorsey.
“Every time you’re waiting on a new book, it’s kind of like the night before Christmas,” Dorsey said. “It took kind of an extra amount of time because it came from Canada. It was great when it finally arrived.”
Dorsey said he always get nervous and excited while waiting for books to arrive.
Dorsey and Carstens have known each other for five years. Because not just anyone can submit work to Epic Rites Press, Carstens gave Dorsey an open invitation to send work whenever he wished.
Dorsey said he’s always noticed Carstens’ attention to detail.
“The books that come in, they’re beautiful,” Dorsey said. “They’re works of art in and of themselves.”
The artwork in “Tombstone Factory” was done by Henry Denander, who Dorsey has known for a while. Denander once asked Dorsey if he could paint a portrait of him, which is the image that appears on the back of the book.
Carstens asked Denander to do the artwork for “Tombstone Factory” without knowing of his friendship with the author.
“It was a happy coincidence,” Dorsey said.
This is Dorsey’s third full-length work published, with about 30 smaller collections already under his belt, he said. He said each time he’s published is exciting.
“I can’t wait to hold [my books] in my hands,” he said.
Some of “Tombstone Factory” deals with death, Dorsey said, and serves as a dedication to the people he knows who have died in the past couple years.
“I hope people are uplifted by it,” Dorsey said. He added that he wasn’t looking to be dark with his poems.
Dorsey said he got the title “Tombstone Factory” from another poet, Ryan Bunch, who said the phrase while reading a poem years ago. Dorsey approached him after the reading and told him he wanted it for a title one day.
Bunch received a free copy of “Tombstone Factory.” The title is also a line in the poem “Secondhand Unicorns.”
A few poems included in the book are dedicated to other poets.
“It’s just a tribute to people that I’ve worked with in this community. [I’ve been] doing this sort of thing for about 20 years now,” Dorsey said.
One poem in the book, “Sugar Coated,” was dedicated to Dorsey’s friend William Taylor Jr. The poem was inspired by a nostalgic conversation they had about how toys used to come in cereal boxes. Some lines include, “When I was a kid, they used to put prizes at the bottom of cereal boxes. I remember rolling up my sleeves and reaching in with Cheerios up to my elbows.”
Dorsey said his favorite poem in the book is “The Bride of Frankenstein,” which was one of the final poems to be added.
“I put it first because it was one of the newest pieces to go into the book,” Dorsey said. “It’s probably my favorite piece of anything I’ve written in the last few months.”
Dorsey has more projects lined up, including two other smaller collections due this year. “Tombstone Factory” is available for purchase for $13.50 at epicrites.org.