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A poet and now a novelist, too


BOOKS | Mark J. Mitchell

I’ve lived and worked in the Fillmore since before it was new. Old-timers might remember me as the philosopher of beer behind the counter at Bi-Rite Liquors at California and Fillmore before it closed its doors. More recent arrivals might recall me as the Champagne advisor and single malt Scotch whisky guru holding forth at D&M Wines and Spirits for 15 years.

Before moving to the neighborhood, I studied writing and medieval literature at the University of California at Santa Cruz. And even while working all those years in the spirits business, I supported a serious writing habit.

I am primarily a poet, but every now and again poetry is interrupted by prose. My first novel, Knight Prisoner, was published by Vagabondage Press in June. It’s a historical adventure story set in 1470 in London relating the early criminal adventures of two masters of writing and crime imprisoned together, as told through the eyes of their servant.

A second novel, A Book of Lost Songs — a picaresque tale set in the Middle Ages — is forthcoming from Wild Child Publishing later this year. And my novella, Sire Gawain’s Little Green Book, can be found — along with Knight Prisoner — on Amazon either as an e-book or in hard copy.

My chapbook of poems, Three Visitors — winner of the Negative Capability International Chapbook competition in 2010 — is also now between covers.

Three Visitors is animated by three different characters. Each of the people just showed up. They each had something to say. And they each had their own way of saying it. As soon as they were done, they disappeared. It makes for a mysterious little book.

Three Visitors is available at Browser Books, 2195 Fillmore Street. It’s also available through Amazon, but I encourage you to support our local bookstore.

Another chapbook of my poetry, Fishing in a Knife Drawer, is available free online from Fowlpox Press. Yet another one, Artifacts and Relics, is due out soon from Folded Words.

A long period of unemployment does wonders for your ability to prepare manuscripts.