Monday, March 26, 2018

A CHAT WITH BJORN AND GRACE: PRESENTING THE DVERSE ANTHOLOGY CHIAROSCURO


This week, we are chatting with Bjorn Rudberg and Mary Grace Guevera, of dVerse Poets Pub, about the recent publication of their beautiful anthology, "Chiaroscuro". It truly is a thing of beauty, and we wanted to find out what the process of putting it together was like for them. Let's dive in.



Available here




Sherry: Hi, Bjorn and Grace. First, we must congratulate you on your beautiful anthology, Chiaroscuro. It truly is a thing of beauty! You and your team did a marvelous job.

Take us back to the beginning. When did the idea of an anthology occur to you?

Bjorn: I think the idea was there from the beginning. dVerse has published two anthologies before, but with external publishers. We wanted to have full control this time, but at the same time we were scared of the amount of work. After discussing back and forth we decided to bring in the whole team to help us with the work.

Grace:    Bjorn and I talked in 2016 about doing an Anthology, where the dVerse team would be responsible from beginning until the end.  We didn't have any experience in this, but there are several self-publishing platforms where we can explore and learn on the job. This time around, as main editors, we would have a hand in selecting, editing and publishing an Anthology by the dVerse team.

Björn: It was a joint decision, and we brought in the team and discussed how to share the workload. Each prompt was treated as a submission, and we tried to select the best poems each week instead of having a big submission event.

Grace:   This is not work by one person, but a team.   Bjorn and I have not thought of doing this project by ourselves as it can be overwhelming, as we have seen in the past.  We decided to involve the team right from the beginning so the load is lighter, so to speak.



Leaf with Dewdrops by Michelle Beauchamp

Sherry: Considering each prompt a submission sounds like a good idea. Did either of you have any idea of the amount of work involved?

Grace: We knew it will take a lot of work but we didn't realize it would take longer. It was our first time to do the editing and finally putting it altogether in a printable form.  The editing part took longer as we got in touch with the poets and they had to agree to the changes we recommended.

Björn: I agree, the amount of work involved in editing and contacting all the poets took a lot more time than we thought.

Grace:  Also we took the self-publishing route, which proved to be a learning curve for Bjorn and I.   Bjorn took a lot of time learning the CreateSpace of Amazon and it did prove to be a good platform to meet our needs.  We had poets from all over the world, and we wanted to ensure that the printed copy would be accessbile whether you are in Asia or Austrailia.    We were happy with Amazon's reach and delivery part of our printed copy.

Bjorn: I actually enjoyed learning the tricks and trade of self-publishing and as for myself I will probably use it again when I finally write my own book.

Sherry: I am blown away by the access to markets self-publishing has these days. Especially the access to Amazon. Chioroscuro can be ordered directly from Amazon here.

What was your process in putting it together?

Bjorn: Ha... we actually announced that from now on each submission will be treated as a submission for the Anthology, but still many were surprised when they were contacted. To have many small submissions instead of one giant one was a good one. We also wanted to reward the poets who are active in the community.



Leaves by Kim Russell


Grace: We decided that we didn't want a call to submissions, one time, and read like 300+ poems from several poets.   We didn't have the time to read so many poems on top of our regular weekly hostings. So we planned with the dVerse team, to select and read as we go along, week to week, with various poetry prompts.  

We announced the Anthology project last July 2016 with our 5th anniversary celebration. We stretched the timeline to over 4 to 5 months, as we selected, voted and compiled poems. Bjorn and I decided on the title, theme, and way we would arrange the poems as we started reviewing the compiled poems.  

The initial work was made easy, with the dVerse team helping with the prompts and selecting the poems. But at the end of the process, Bjorn and I made the final decision of being inclusive to those actively participating in our dVerse prompts. At the end, we invited over 100 poets to be part of our Anthology project.

Sherry: It is wonderfully inclusive! 

Grace:   The whole dVerse team helped us with the selection and finally the editing of the material.  It was important to have a different set of eyes, as it was really tiring to see the same material over and over again.  I could not anymore see where and what the changes are and needed to be.

Björn: I also want to extend a big thank to the team for the effort in the selecting and editing of the poems. Even if we wanted to leave them as close as possible to the original, we needed to format and correct typos — and confirm with the poets.  The team who helped us are:   Kim M. Russell, Victoria Slotto, Gayle Walters Rose, Lillian Hallberg, Frank Hubeny, Walter Wojtanik, Toni Spencer, De Jackson, Michelle Beauchamp and Paul John Dear.   

Sherry: You had a wonderful team! The artistic photos on the cover and throughout the book are  beautiful. Did people submit these along with their poems?



Sunflower by Michelle Beauchamp

Bjorn / Grace:   We were lucky to have in our dVerse team, not only poets, but amazing photographers as well.  We chose, for the book cover, the stunning photo from the photography collection by Paul John Dear.  The black and white photos are from Michelle Beauchamp, Kim M. Russell and Candace Kubinar.

Sherry: When it came to the selection process, was that difficult?

Bjorn / Grace: Yes, there are some outstanding poets in our group. It was definitely hard to select which poems went into the Anthology.

Some prompts proved easier to select from; sometimes we were awed by all the great entries. Sometimes it was hard.

Sherry: Were there moments when the workload seemed overwhelming and you wondered if you would ever complete the project?

Bjorn: Ha... yes, I have to say that, especially when we were in the middle of it all and we were editing. Also the formatting took a lot of time. I remember when I just had to start all over because Word simply wouldn’t do what I wanted. But I’m so grateful that Grace pushed us all. At the end it proved easy, we wanted it ready for Christmas.

Grace:    Yes, when the editing took forever, I thought it would never be finished.  But putting a deadline on the work pushes you to complete it. I told Bjorn that we need to see this project done by end of 2017, and we worked to finish it.   

Sherry: What did it feel like when you finally held the finished copy in your hands?
Bjorn: I remember when holding the first proof in my hand and seeing what a great book it would be. The color and the matte finish really made this a pleasant book to hold and to flip through, seeing and remembering all the poems and the poets. I imagine we could just get together one day and read our poems to each other.

Grace:  Sweet and very grateful for everyone's efforts in putting it together. We hope we can pull off another one in the near future.

Sherry: Congratulations to you and the team for producing a truly beautiful book! It is outstanding! I would like to commend you on the huge time commitment and effort involved in producing the anthology, as well as keeping a large community like dVerse afloat. On behalf of all of us who enjoy all of the features and prompts, and the wonderful community of dVerse, a very big thank you for a job well done!

There you have it, my friends, the amount of work that goes into putting together an anthology. With a wonderful result, in this case! Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


41 comments:

  1. Thank you for the interview... I will get by later and respond to any questions, now it's time to write a Quadrille.

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  2. Bjorn, Grace, and the entire dVerse team did a marvelous job compiling and producing the anthology. I love the way the book feels in my hands. Thank you all for your hard work. It truly was a labor of love!

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    1. Thank you so much for adding your gold to the book Barry

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  3. What a wonderful write, Sherry, thank you for bringing us this! I was lucky enough to have a poem included and have been saving up for the book so haven't "seen it" yet but I'm super excited. I've never been published before and have no books out yet so I'm walking on air.

    I'm not a newbie at dVerse, but haven't been writing there for as long as I have with other groups so I felt lucky to have a poem picked. Thank you, dVerse team!

    I've known Bjorn online for a long time (writing with the same groups) and would like to personally thank you, Grace and the team for doing such a great job. Thank you for including me. I often feel like I'm invisible writing with these groups so it feels good.

    dVerse is the first group I've written with that has ever included me in a book and Poets United is the first group that's ever made me feel at home in these groups so I adore you both!!! Of course, it's the people involved and everyone is awesome! Hugs all around!

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    1. Thank you Bekkie.. it was so great to have you in the book... and it's truly great to have you as part of the community

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  4. I have a copy of this beautiful book, and it is truly a work of art. I know how much work is involved and think your team did a superb job. Thank you, Bjorn and Grace, for taking time, in your busy lives, to grant us this interview. We so appreciate it.

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    1. Thank you for the interview... :-) The book is orderable both from Amazon in the US and in Europe. I got my copies shipped from Europe.

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    2. Oh, that's good to know, Bjorn. Thanks.

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  5. I too have a copy of this beautiful book. This is a wonderful interview and review Sherry. I thank you because I have some poems in it! It is so exciting to open a book and to look inside and say, I know these people!!! Bjorn and Grace did a most excellent job.

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    1. You too Toni... you were part of the process too.

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  6. Thank you for highlighting the hard work of Grace, Björn, and the poets/photographers who collaborated to make this anthology happen. I enjoy reading 'Chiaroscuro' and hope there will be future anthologies. I also like the idea of a dVerse get-together, reading poems around a fire, real drinks for once...:)

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    1. Ha... I wonder were we could be, a real come together would be wonderful... If nothing else maybe we can do a live event... I have been looking into that possibility.

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    2. There will certainly be future anthologies, smiles!

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    3. A live event would be AMAZING, wouldnt it? Wow, cool idea!

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  7. Thank you for the feature and support of our anthology book Sherry. We featured over 100 poets and we are grateful for everyone's patience and support to make this project a reality.

    When I look and read the poems there, I know each one, virtually, and the words comes alive again. It is a book I will treasure in the years to come.

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    1. You are most welcome. It was truly a pleasure! It is wonderful to see poets and poems we love within its covers.

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  8. The book is lovely and it is one of the great honors of my literary life to have been included.

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    1. We are happy to give our poets the platform to have their poems published Mosk~ Thanks for your support.

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  9. Books that are pleasurable to hold as well as pleasurable to read make my world. Thank you for your work on this anthology and dVerse, Grace and Bjorn. I wish I had the energy to stay active there because I love the quality of your prompts and poets. Thank you, Sherry, for helping Poets United be a group that acknowledges and promotes the platforms and poems of our peers. Very Good!

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    1. I agree with you, Susan! It is so kind of you, Sherry,to promote the platforms of our peers. We are all poets in the same sphere. I really appreciate Bjorn's support of PU as well, his continual support of the Sunday Poetry Pantry!

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    2. Thank you Susan and Mary for promoting the work of poets around the poetry communities! Some of poets here are included as well in the anthology - Sherry, Jae Rose, Scott, ZQ, Truedessa, to name a few. You are right Mary - we are all poets in the same sphere!

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    3. Plus Sumana's poems too!

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    4. I agree - we are all at work in the service and encouragement of poetry. We are all so busy, it is hard for me to get to dVerse as often as I would like to, and I do so appreciate Bjorn's loyal support of PU. We all know we admire and support each other, and are doing what we can. That's what counts!

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  10. What a great accomplishment, Bjorn and Grace. It is hard enough to put together one's own poetry book. The fact that you have put together the book with a lot of different poets' works included is amazing. Congratulations on your accomplishment. Sherry, I enjoyed reading this feature. You have a special way with words.

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    1. Thank you Mary. It was a crazy time for sure but we are happy it is done.

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  11. This daunting task of publishing this anthology was possible because of love of poetry that's still living in this dark world, methinks. I love playing with words, which I am not doing much these days and I can't even consider myself as being a poet. A poet will never stop writing whatever the situations. I really felt honored to be included in the anthology, dear Bjorn and Grace. It's like a dream to have my lines printed along with the poems from all over the world in a book. The very touch gives me goosebumps. What I most loved about the anthology was that the very first poem there was from Brian Miller. Seems I will not stop. So thank you dVerse team. And Sherry you are a wondergal...you are...Yeahhh.

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  12. Reading this interview is nostalgia!Congrats! dVerse and I take a bow! dear Bjorn and Grace. So happy to know about the anthology. I dont visit dVerse anymore or for that matter PU, but anything from them, I read like a child returning home.

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  13. Congratulations, Bjorn and Grace, and the dVerse team, for a great accomplishment. I am sure the anthology is a very special book. :)

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  14. It is a lovely-looking book, and feels nice to hold and touch too. I'm enjoying the read, and proud to be included.

    (That being said, the shipping cost from Amazon was a lot for me, as although there is now an Amazon Australia, this book could not be purchased through the Australian store. Therefore I would have been thrilled if it had been available as an ebook too.)

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    1. Oh dear, that sounds so churlish now that I've said it! I don't mean to disparage the hard work and beautiful result, and certainly it is much easier to show off a physical volume to other people than an ebook (it will become one of my coffee-table books just so's I can skite about being in it) – but still, perhaps for future anthologies....

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    2. I did start to put it on Kindle... but I didn't have enough time to do it... it might come up at a later stage.

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  15. I've had several copies of our beautiful book, some of which I have given as much appreciated presents. Thank you Grace and Bjorn for the opportunity to be involved in this wonderful anthology.

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  16. It is a beautiful book. And it was fun to hear just how the team put it together. I am very proud to have a poem in the book. I have given the book as gifts. And everyone loves it!

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  17. An interesting and edifying interview, Sherry. Congratulations on this amazing achievement, Bjorn and Grace.

    Cheers to everyone involved in Chiaroscuro!

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  18. Congrats to all for the publication of such a special book. I was intrigued by the process so thank you Sherry, Bjorn and Grace for sharing!

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  19. Sherry, it was wonderful of you to showcase the dVerse Anthology I too have my copy and I was truly honored to be included within the pages.

    Thanks Bjorn and Grace and the dVerse team for all your hard work. It truly is a wonderful gift you have given the community.

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  20. Congratulations Bjorn and Grace for such great work. Sherry- a great interview here.

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  21. Have been out of town, so just getting to read this wonderful interview. Thanks for the shoutout, Bjorn and Grace. I'm so thankful to be part of this book, poem-wise. You guys put so much love and work into it. THANK YOU!

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  22. Your poem affected life?! Yes, you can share your lovely poem and its great "after story" with the world... Submit now https://www.LifePoemsProject.com

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