Book IV of The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem is now available:
BOOK IV, THE ARGUMENT
“Beyond in medias res, Tagore guides the Persona to India, to the ashram of the sage and epic poet Vyasa in the Himalayan foothills; to the field of Kurukshetra; and, in sight of Mt Kailash, Shiva Nataraja. Kabir. The epic struggles of the Ramayana. Hanuman carries the Persona to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.”
The summer serialization has essentially become the eighth draft. I know Milton published a revised second edition several years after the first, as many writers do and have. For me, the words keep coming, though on a noticeably more focused level of precision of word choice and detail, mostly small touches, some more lines here and there, a sharper characterization, nuance. The flood of ideas for incidents and scenes, foreshadowing and expansion, development, has seemed to wane, or, rather, I’ve moved beyond it, having that down on paper. I believe it’s done, though, and this serialization fits what Dickens and other writers used the method for, to give readers who are interested the opportunity to be the first to read a book and to participate to some extent in its final evolution and development, contribute to it, a sense of the author’s own involvement in and excitement at a new creation.
Perhaps I’ve found a way to revive serialization in the Post-Gutenberg Age. I don’t know of anyone else who has tried this. It simply occurred to me suddenly in late May. I remember thinking about The New York Times making first chapters available during the last decade or so, and Amazon’s Kindle Singles program, which is largely popular schlock and talking-head non-fiction. Charles Dickens and all the grand old magazines of the 19th Century came to mind with a flash of insight. I’m quite encouraged by the results and reaction and intend to carry through on my pledge to my readers to serialize the entire epic poem. There’s a Web 2.0 quality about the way the serialization is unfolding.