Author Archives: Annie Rachele Lanzillotto

About Annie Rachele Lanzillotto

www.annielanzillotto.com author and artist Author of "L is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir" SUNY Press 2013, and "Schistsong" Bordighera Press 2013 Currently narrating / recording my audiobooks at The Loft studios in Bronxville, New York. If you'd like to contribute to help audiobook production, contact me: lanzillotto@gmail.com. Spread the Bronx accent far and wide, to listeners, to those for whom reading a book is impossible or arduous...

Butch For Hire (draft two)

Standard

Butch for Hire

by Annie Rachele Lanzillotto

 

If I was a little old lady, I’d want a butch caregiver.

Butches are vigilant as German Shepherds,

they sleep with their ears cocked

on call 24/7,

they follow you to the bathroom in the middle of the night

clear your path. You are Queen.

A butch will tuck you in at night with a well-spread blanket,

say prayers with you in whatever language you speak

hug you, rub your back and feet,

keep your toes from curling up on one another,

straighten each toe,

kiss you on the forehead,

get up the moment you awaken,

cover your shoulders when the blanket wanders low at 2:43 a.m.

offer a strong arm for you to hold onto, to walk, to stand,

tote your oxygen tank

support you out to the car,

help you breathe.

Open the windows, open the jars,

take out trash, make coffee,

organize your meds, organize your doctor appointments,

take you to all the doctors and celebrate each day,

wait for you to apply your lipstick,

stir oatmeal.

Escort,

chauffer,

chef,

A butch will stuff your peppers!

And butches do wound care.

A butch will walk in front of you

when you’re coming down the stairs,

behind you when you’re walking up,

on the curb side when you’re next to the street

and switch side to side when you’re in a big parking lot.

A butch will hold your hand,

tell you you’re gorgeous.

warm up the car

have a wool lap blanket ready in the passenger seat,

click your seatbelt for you,

scent the car with rosewater,

play Sinatra Lady Luck and cruise you all around town.

A butch’s car is your private bassinet.

Butches cook and clean as good as any femme,

do windows, open doors, garden, make chicken soup,

give baths and get the water the right temperature,

scrub all you need,

A butch has access to women’s bathrooms,

but will take you into the men’s room when necessary.

A butch knows all the shortcuts,

can drive any kind of vehicle,

with wheels or wings or sails or motors

Butches are good with drills, saws, shovels, picks, awls,

screwdrivers, hammers, nuts and bolts, all kinds of wrenches.

Butches will let you try to teach them to sew, knit, crochet, iron!

A butch will watch your game shows with you.

Keep the conversation light, play cards.

A butch will catch you when you fall.

Yes, if I was a little old lady I’d want a butch caregiver.

And I’d give my butch time off, a door to close,

a day to stay under the covers to cry and just feel safe.

Caregiver. Caretaker.

Caretakers is a telling word.

There’s the one that gives care then there’s all the takers.

Vultures on the sidelines, ready to swoop down to pick the carcass of the house, all the antiques, rings, charm bracelets, Lionel trains, Hummel statuettes.

Butches give.

And a butch comes equipped.

Their belts double as harnesses

to support you when you walk.

catch you when you fall.

Their belts double as a weapon to keep your attackers at bay.

a flag if you ever get lost.

a perimeter setter for when you need space to breathe.

A butch can snap you back to the present moment

when you lose your train of thought

or are tempted to float away away.

Bottle openers on their keychains, pocketknives, all in one tools.

Some go further –with Brass Emergency Trach Kits.

A butch will open an airway when you can’t breathe.

You screw this into this,

wipe a little spit or betadine

and puncture the crichoid process,

then blow.

You should all know where this place is.

A little piece of cartilage that can save your life.

Feel for your adam’s apple.

Just below there’s an indentation,

This is where you go in.

This is where your life will be saved.

Hand sanitizer is just the beginning.

A butch carries pink pills to settle your nerves,

blue pills to lift your spirits,

green herbs to open your lungs,

sterile oxygen tubing,

the universal key to open all oxygen tanks,

flu masks for when you’re around someone with a cough.

Butches do wound care.

A butch will catch you when you fall.

stand behind you on your deathbed,

Call and sing the Ave Maria,

palms open

as your skull portal opens

and your soul revs and spirals,

the silver helix soul!

soul pull

soul pull

soul pull

And call your name when your last breath’s gone.

Call your name

when your last breath’s

gone.

through the Bronx you left behind.

“Butch For Hire”

Standard

Annie Lanzillotto Action Writing

Here’s my newest poem, written 3/20/2015, and performed at BAAD: Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, inside St. Peter’s Church in Westchester Square, Bronx — the neighborhood I grew up in —   This poem is dedicated to Mary Capotorto, Lucia Petruzzelli Doyle, Rosa Marsico Petruzzelli, and all the tough Bronx women we’ve all cared for and buried, now and in the years to come.

Butch for Hire

 

by Annie Rachele Lanzillotto

 

 

If I was a little old lady, I’d want a butch caregiver.

Butches are vigilant as a German Shepherds,

they sleep with her ears cocked

on call 24/7,

they follow you to the bathroom in the middle of the night

clear your path. You are Queen.

A butch will tuck you in at night with a well-spread blanket,

say prayers with you in whatever language you speak

hug you, rub your back and feet,

keep your…

View original post 692 more words

“Butch For Hire”

Standard

Here’s my newest poem, written 3/20/2015, and performed at BAAD: Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, inside St. Peter’s Church in Westchester Square, Bronx — the neighborhood I grew up in —   This poem is dedicated to Mary Capotorto, Lucia Petruzzelli Doyle, Rosa Marsico Petruzzelli, and all the tough Bronx women we’ve all cared for and buried, now and in the years to come.

Butch for Hire

 

by Annie Rachele Lanzillotto

 

 

If I was a little old lady, I’d want a butch caregiver.

Butches are vigilant as a German Shepherds,

they sleep with her ears cocked

on call 24/7,

they follow you to the bathroom in the middle of the night

clear your path. You are Queen.

A butch will tuck you in at night with a well-spread blanket,

say prayers with you in whatever language you speak

hug you, rub your back and feet,

keep your toes from curling up on one another,

straighten each toe,

kiss you on the forehead,

get up the moment you awaken,

cover your shoulders when the blanket wanders low at 2:43 a.m.

offer a strong arm for you to hold onto, to walk, to stand,

tote your oxygen tank

support you out to the car,

help you breathe.

Open the windows, open the jars,

take out trash, make coffee,

organize your meds, organize your doctor appointments,

take you to all the doctors and celebrate each day,

wait for you to apply your lipstick,

stir oatmeal.

Escort,

chauffer,

chef,

A butch will stuff your peppers!

And butches do wound care.

A butch will walk in front of you

when you’re coming down the stairs,

behind you when you’re walking up,

on the curb side when you’re next to the street

and switch side to side when you’re in a big parking lot.

A butch will hold your hand,

tell you you’re gorgeous.

warm up the car

have a wool lap blanket ready in the passenger seat,

click your seatbelt for you,

scent the car with rosewater,

play Sinatra Lady Luck and cruise you all around town.

A butch’s car is your private basinet.

Butches cook and clean as good as any femme,

do windows, open doors, garden, make chicken soup,

give baths and gets the water the right temperature,

scrub all you need,

A butch has access to women’s bathrooms,

but will take you into the men’s room when necessary.

A butch knows all the shortcuts,

can drive any kind of vehicle,

with wheels or wings or sails or motors

Butches are good with drills, saws, shovels, picks, awls,

screwdrivers, hammers, nuts and bolts, all kinds of wrenches.

Butches will let you try to teach them to sew, knit, crochet, iron!

A butch will watch your game shows with you.

Keep the conversation light, play cards.

A butch will catch you when you fall.

Yes, if I was a little old lady I’d want a butch caregiver.

And I’d give my butch time off, a door to close,

a day to stay under the covers to cry and just feel safe.

Caregiver. Caretaker.

Caretakers a telling word.

There’s the one that gives care then there’s all the takers.

Vultures on the sidelines, ready to swoop down to pick the carcass of the house,

all the antiques, rings, charm bracelets, Lionel trains, Hummel statuettes.

Butches give.

And a butch comes equipped.

Their belts double as harnesses

to will support you when you walk.

catch you when you fall.

Their belts double as a weapon to keep your attackers at bay.

a flag if you ever get lost.

a perimeter setter for when you need space to breathe.

A butch can snap you back to the present moment

when you lose your train of thought

or are tempted to float away away.

Bottle openers on their keychains, pocketknives, all in one tools.

Some go further –with Brass Emergency Trach Kits.

A butch will open an airway when you can’t breathe.

You screw this into this,

wipe a little spit or betadine

and puncture the crichoid process,

then blow.

You should all know where this place is.

A little piece of cartilage that can save your life.

Feel for your adam’s apple.

Just below there’s an indentation,

This is where you go in.

This is where your life will be saved.

Hand sanitizer is just the beginning.

A butch carries pink pills to settle your nerves,

blue pills to lift your spirits,

green herbs to open your lungs,

sterile oxygen tubing,

the universal key to open all oxygen tanks,

flu masks for when you’re around someone with a cough.

Butches do wound care.

A butch will catch you when you fall.

stand behind you on your deathbed,

Call and sing the Ave Maria,

palms open

as your skull portal opens

and your soul revs and spirals,

the silver helix soul!

soul pull

soul pull

soul pull

And call your name when your last breath’s gone.

Call your name

when your last breath’s

gone.

through the Bronx you left behind.

————————————————–

copyright Annie Rachele Lanzillotto 2015

Interview with Diane Di Prima

Standard

Listen to Diane Di Prima reading

Beyond Columbus

imagesIn October 2008, the legendary radical Italian-American poet Diane Di Prima was slated to return to the annual Avanti Popolo reading at City Lights Bookstore. Not quite recovered from a recent operation, she had to cancel. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, she was not only there in spirit, but we taped an interview over the phone. Now you can enjoy it as well.-James Tracy

View original post

BOOK PROMO 101

Standard

Annie Lanzillotto Action Writing

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 1.39.27 AM

GUERRILLA BOOK PROMO 101

Several authors have asked me to teach them how I promoted my book L IS FOR LION. Here’s a quick list for you!

PARTY
Your book needs a party. Invite everyone you want to thank. Everyone who’s helped you along the way to this special day. Have books for sale, and have someone else handle the cash. I made paper roses out of manuscript pages. They were gorgeous, fun, keepsakes, gifts for the guests. At one point in the party everyone read some phrases out loud from their rose. It was fun to see who got what part of the book. I asked friends to help make this party happen. One friend donated the room. Another brought a case of prosecco. Another hosted a ritual, played DJ, etc… The publisher said “yes” when I asked for some money for food. I went to the best Italian…

View original post 1,410 more words

BOOK PROMO 101

Standard

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 1.39.27 AM

GUERRILLA BOOK PROMO 101

Several authors have asked me to teach them how I promoted my book L IS FOR LION. Here’s a quick list for you!

PARTY
Your book needs a party. Invite everyone you want to thank. Everyone who’s helped you along the way to this special day. Have books for sale, and have someone else handle the cash. I made paper roses out of manuscript pages. They were gorgeous, fun, keepsakes, gifts for the guests. At one point in the party everyone read some phrases out loud from their rose. It was fun to see who got what part of the book. I asked friends to help make this party happen. One friend donated the room. Another brought a case of prosecco. Another hosted a ritual, played DJ, etc… The publisher said “yes” when I asked for some money for food. I went to the best Italian deli and got broccoli-rabe, mozzarella, sopressata, olives… a feast.. I got blue glass champagne glasses for a buck a piece on-line at Dollar-Tree. Plan the party a couple of weeks after the publication date, to make sure you get the books on time, and all is set. Confer with the publisher about a safe date, so the books definitely will be in hand.

WEBSITE
Make sure your web designer understands SEO (Search Engine Optimization. So that when someone googles your subject area, your book has a chance of popping up at or near the top of the list. When you google Bronx Italian Books, my book pops up number 1) Keep your website on-point. If you’re a renaissance woman, keep the website focused about the book, at least for the first year or so….

VIDEO TRAILER
Make a 3 minute video trailer of you talking about your book. Post to YouTube. Eblast the link. You can do this yourself. Keep it simple, focused, fun. There’s plenty of book trailers on YouTube to watch for examples. I had a friend hold my iPhone and I sat on a mailbox and talked. I edited in iMovie. You can watch it here. http://annielanzillotto.com/video-trailer/ Have fun doing this!

PROMO TIMELINE

15 months out:
Schedule book readings. Give the first dates to priority spots — people will show up to support you and your book. Some venues book their schedules 12 months out, so you want to make sure you get on their calendar. Some venues offer an honorarium for authors, others don’t. The places to approach are: bookstores, college profs who can invite you for a campus talk and reading, centers that deal with your subject area, libraries, spots that are special to your book. If you want to book other cities or countries, you gotta figure it out: travel, lodging, book shipping, venues, etc… I did not have a “tour manager” – I did what I could figure out and afford. And I’m still doing it…

Talk with your publisher’s PR person and ask what exactly they’ll do, and what you need to do. Ask if they recommend you hire your own PR person, (for print, radio, social media, or all three…) Ask if they can donate books for you to mail to print reviewers and radio hosts, or if they’ll do it for you…

12 months out:
1. Make a spreadsheet of your contact list for book promo. Ask other authors to share contacts of reviewers, radio hosts, professors in your subject matter. Decide if you want to pay for a Kirkus review. It’s over $400.

2. Contact book promoters to see if you want to hire one. I raised funds on kickstarter and hired a PR person who deals with radio shows. I bought a landline phone, a headset, and they prepared a list of potential interview questions from the book and sent to their contacts in radio and web-radio. This was a lot of fun and got the word out. These curated conversations were phenomenal. Having an outside pro do this work was great since I was too close to the material in the book at the time… Now a year out, I have much more distance and can pitch better. If you want to do this guerrilla style, look at authors’ publicity pages on their websites, and see who they interviewed with… Listen to the programs. Send a press release and letter to who you like. Here’s my page: http://annielanzillotto.com/interviews/ And there is lots of links to my interviews on my Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Lanzillotto

6 months out — Send galleys go to prime reviewers and radio hosts. (Terry Gross “Fresh Air” etc…) (Ask your publisher if they will print you some galleys for this purpose.)

PRINT THINGS TO HAND OUT
1. Postcards & Business cards
A year after my book came out, I am still giving out postcards and business cards everywhere I go. When I teach I give them to all the students. When I’m in a bookstore, I leave a stack, or post two (one front – one back) to the bulletin board. Order enough, and keep the copy on it timeless. On the front, the book cover. On the back, your website, a blurb about the book, etc… A USB code if you wish to connect to your website via scan. (My fave printshop is a Mom and Pop shop in Hoboken. You can order over the phone or email… Full House Printing. 201 798-7073 / larry@fullhouseprinting.com.

2. Press Release
Collaborate with your publisher to write a press release. You can use your jacket copy.

3. READER ACTION CARDS Give your friends, networks and audience a list of ways to get on board. Here’s a long list. Pick your top ten and make a hand-out for audiences.
23 Ways You Can Help This Book Have its Life in the World

1. ORDER now at: (publishers website or http://www.amazon.com or http://www.barnesandnoble.com)
2. ORDER through your local bookstore, public library, campus library.
3. VISIT (author website) read excerpts, view photos, video trailer.
4. “LIKE” on Amazon.com. “LIKE” and “SHARE” on Facebook
5. WRITE a brief “customer review” on Amazon.com. Also post your review to goodreads.com, shelfari.com, librarything.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other literary social media lists. Reviewing helps readers find the book, and boosts in search engine algorithms.
6. CLICK on Amazon.com, “request this book to be available in kindle, nook and e-book”
7. BUY a copy to donate to your local (list relevant social agencies… for me it was: Gilda’s Club, LGBTQ Center library, school library, domestic violence shelter, cancer center waiting room)
8. E-MAIL blast your friends about the book.
9. WRITE a note about the book on FB, LINKED-IN, GOOGLE +, Twitter, INSTAGRAM, etc.
10. LINK my website address on your FB page, website, twitter, blog…
11. BLOG about the issues raised in the book. Start a blog.
12. TALK to your local librarian and recommend the book for their “one book one city” program.
13. RECOMMEND for your Book Club, or a friend’s book club. Start a book club.
14. RECEIVE a tax donation by donating to my book tour and audiobook taping sessions. (provide 501C3 fiscal umbrella info….)
15. RECOMMEND the book to someone who can review it for a newspaper, blog, magazine.
16. TEACH the book in your class; or tell a professor in: (name relevant curriculum categories, for me: Queer Studies, Working Class Studies, Narrative Medicine, Literature, Ethnic Studies, American Studies, American History, Immigrant Studies, Italian American Studies, Memoir Studies, Health Advocacy, Medical Anthropology, Urban Studies, Performance Studies.)
17. FORWARD this email to anyone you think might be interested in the book. If you know any newspaper editors, reporters, magazine editors, radio producers, TV show hosts or producers, columnists, bloggers, send them a copy of the book, or direct them to my website.
18. ASK me to mail you a stack of full-color postcards for you to place at your local theater, bookstore, campus center, coffee shop, library.
19. INVITE me to come read in your town at your local book store, library, classroom, or a home gathering.
20. Recommend your company buy this book in bulk for company fundraiser gift-bag.
21. HELP ME SELL THE RIGHTS If you have a connection to an actor, producer, director, who might be interested in making the movie, give them the book & my contact info.
22. COME to a reading. All my events are listed at: (website) click EVENTS
23. Buy a couple of books and donate as a prize for your local public radio station for fundraising drive.


EMAIL and SOCIAL MEDIA

1. Make a Mailchimp or Constant Contact email blast list. Send Book Tour updates.
2. Make a FaceBook page for your book.
3. Have friends boost or trash the book on Tumblr. Whatever starts a buzzzz…

BOOK TOUR PROPS
1. tablecloth to sell books on. (I made mine out of the last manuscript, filled with pen corrections.) You know, you show up for a reading, and there’s a folding table. Bring a cloth that looks good with the book.
2. Retractable Banner. This was the best thing I bought. It slings over the shoulder and pops open like 7 feet tall, easy as an umbrella. So, for conferences and book talks, I made a beautiful presentation of the book cover. Order from Full House Printing. 201 798-7073 / larry@fullhouseprinting.com.

Okay, that’s it for right now. I’ll do ADVANCED BOOK PROMO later…

Write your Autobiographical Poem without referring to yourself

Standard

1. Read Tupac Shakur’s poem “The Rose that grew From Concrete”

Tupac Shakur

The Rose that Grew from Concrete

(autobiographical)

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack
in the concrete

Proving nature’s law is wrong it learned 2 walk
without having feet

Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned 2 breathe fresh air

Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else even cared!

 

2. Write your autobiographical poem, without referring to yourself, without using the words “I” or “me” — just focus on another being or object.  Write in detailed images.  In essence, become one with the other, with the object or other being, however you see it.  If you want, focus on nature.  It works.

 

* Thanks to poet Rosette Capotorto for teaching me this poem.