Friday, 7 August 2015

Book Dedications

I've been obsessing recently about Book Dedications,
  • who to chose,
  • what to say
and then there's font and italics which deserves a blogpost of its own.

Also as this is a book of poetry there are individual poems dedicated to someone, poems in memoriam, poems inspired by another poem and poems that need a bit of explanation, footnotes or epigraph.
  • Dedications. Do you say "For Freda" or "For Freda Fitton" of "For Mrs Fitton, RA Butler Infants School, who taught me to read"?
  • How many is too many?
  • Is it really naff to dedicate poems to famous people?
  • Also there are poems created as a response to another famous poem (After Rilke anyone?!)
So I checked a slew of books on my shelves and then went and asked Google.

How about this one?

"For Colin Firth: You're a really great guy, but I'm married, so I think we should just be friends."
from Austenland: A Novel (Austenland 1) by Shannon Hale. Here's a blogpost she wrote about it. I don't know if Colin's read it...

Some dedications to famous people are a little boast-y. I met {insert famous name here} and you, dear reader, probably didn't. Or I possibly reflected glory.

My first published poem was in the same issue of Poetry Ireland Review as a poem by Seamus Heaney. So he probably read it. It was about changing toilet rolls. I like to think he thought about my poem while contemplating toilet rolls of his own.

I'm not sure who I would chose for a celebrity dedicatee. I reference Ozzy Osbourne in a poem. And Fred Astaire and Vincent Van Gogh and The Spice Girls amongst others. (Not all in the same poem) But I don't think I'd dedicate a whole book to any of those. Even Vincent.

So how about revenge dedications?
"My first stepfather used to say that what I didn’t know would fill a book. Well, here it is."
This Boy's Life (Bloomsbury Paperbacks) by Tobias Wolff

So then, family?
"To my wife Marganit and my children Ella Rose and Daniel Adam without whom this book would have been completed two years earlier."
Joseph J Rotman - An Introduction to Algebraic Topology (Graduate Texts in Mathematics)
"This Book is dedicated to my father Joseph Hill Evans with love.
Actually Dad doesn’t read fiction, so if someone doesn’t tell him about this, he’ll never know."
Tad William - Otherland: City of Golden Shadow Bk. 1
Books 2 to 5 continue...
“This Book is dedicated to my father Joseph Hill Evans with love.
As I said before, Dad doesn’t read fiction. He still hasn’t noticed that this thing is dedicated to him. This is Volume Two – let’s see how many more until he catches on.”
“This is still dedicated to you-know-who, even if he doesn’t.
Maybe we can keep this a secret all the way to the final volume.”
“My father still hasn’t actually cracked any of the books – so, no, he still hasn’t noticed. I think I’m just going to have to tell him. Maybe I should break it to him gently."
“Everyone here who hasn’t had a book dedicated to them, take three steps forward. Whoops, Dad, hang on there for a second…”
Elna Baker The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance

Or beloveds?
"In the vastness of space and immensity of time, it is my joy to spend a planet and an epoch with Annie."
Carl Sagan - Cosmos

To Her -
Hand in hand we come
Christopher Robin and I
To lay this book in your lap.
Say you're surprised?
Say you like it?
Say it's just what you wanted
Because it's yours -
because we love you.”
AA Milne - Winnie-the-Pooh (Winnie the Pooh Colour P/Backs)

I'm going to stop now and think up my own.


Michael Farry said...

Keep it simple Kate, don't distract from the poems!!

Emerging Writer said...

A Dedication could be a poem in its own right. My worry is it's there for ever, like the book. So probably not Colin Firth, or even Vincent Van Gogh.