Friday, July 11, 2008

There's something about a good author photo that helps sell a book. Like it or not, I know my decisions at the bookstore, involve, in whatever minimal way, a quick face- and blurbcheck as I pick up a book of poetry for the first time. Who can resist the quick flip to scan the blurbs on a back cover before opening the book? I've read of judges of poetry contests who not only mask the names of entrants but who also refuse to look at the front and back covers of a book, in an effort at objectivity. Book covers with their author photos, blurbs, and in their general design, grab the interest and provide some brief context before taking the plunge. Which is the coolest author photo here? Hands down -- Ralph Ellison. (Blaise Cendrars, Jack Kerouac, Michelle Cahill, Umberto Eco)

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