Monday, October 8, 2018

Charles Rammelkamp


When Bollinger died in the terrorist attack,
one of half a dozen random people
waiting for the pedestrian light to change
at the corner of Light and Lombard
when the bomb in the briefcase exploded,
I didn’t associate his name
with the Bollinger whose novel
we’d rejected a few months earlier
at Lovegrove Press, the story
of a feckless, if charming schoolteacher
whose wife leaves him for another man.

Only when I read the story in the newspaper
about another regional press publishing the book,
an account of the author’s widow persevering
in the search for a publisher,
did I fit the pieces of the puzzle together.
Finding a publisher had become her mission,
a way of holding her life together.

I admit to an irrational stab of guilt,
but I didn’t really like the novel,
and Lovegrove Press lives on a shoestring anyway,
but I was glad for the man’s wife,
whose loss I can only imagine.
And that novel wasn’t autobiographical by any stretch,
I recognized on further reflection.

Charles reads "Lesson Plan":

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Charles confesses: "I’m an editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore. We can’t publish many titles, though we read many worthy manuscripts. One of those was a novel called Float Plan written by Rob Hiaasen, one of the five journalists for the Capital Gazette in Annapolis who was slain last summer by a gunman. Hiaasen is the brother of the celebrated Florida crime novelist, Carl Hiaasen. Float Plan has just been published by Apprentice House at Loyola University, and it is worth reading."

CHARLES RAMMELKAMP is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, where he lives. His most recent book is American Zeitgeist (Apprentice House). A chapbook, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts, was recently published by Main Street Rag Press. Another chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press.

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