Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Writers and Their Friends

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for friends, even in writing. This small press publishing can be an intimate affair at time because we work together, cooperate, share the load and support each other. Some can be suspicious of this, but for me it's a sign of an alternate and independent system...the other option is to let the big boys in publishing and bookstores and grants programs make the decisions for us. So, I have always supported the Literary Center's Writers and Their Friends event where regional writers are honored for their work. Submissions are made, nominations really, and some kind of a committee makes the selections. Then actors/performers present the work in a night of celebrating work by regional writers and publishers. I'll be there with Bottom Dog Press/ Bird Dog Publishing books to reach their nearest audience.

But what surprised me this year was the narrow range of those being honored. Only 10 writers, while in the past it was more like 20. Okay, but then when I looked at the kind of publishers being for their books, they are almost all University or big press titles.


Kazim Ali The Fortieth Day Published by BOA Editions, 2008
Michael Dumanis My Soviet Union Published byUniversity of Massachusetts Press, 2007
Ted Lardner Tornado Published by Kent State University Press, 2008
Philip Metres To See the Earth Published by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2008
Cinda Williams Chima The Wizard Heir Published by Hyperion, 2007
Shurice Gross Parable of the Rain Dance Published in Barn Owl Review, 2008
Paula McLain Ticket To Ride Published by Harper Collins, 2008
David Giffels All The Way Home Published by Harper Collins, 2008
James Renner Amy: My Search for her Killer Published by Gray & Co. Publishers

Okay, I salute these folks for their good work, but I wonder at times if working locally in the small presses that to my mind really get the regional writing to the people of this area isn't a strike against one among our peers or those who judge us. There should have been some regional small presses represented.

2008 Writers and Their Friends Biennial Literary Showcase
Saturday September 6, 2008 7pm at The Ohio Theater,
Playhouse Square
Book Browse, Showcase, and Reception


Anonymous said...

I agree. Drinian Press is putting out a new title soon. It is by Tom LeClair, a very good writer and reviewer. In fact, he was a member of the jury that chose the 2005 National Book Award for Fiction. I'd like to think that small presses are a boost to writers, but the system is built to disregard writers based on the size of publisher's budget or the institution that stands behind them. Fact is, I don't have a budget! (I take my adjunct faculty money and put it into other people's books.) I publish authors who write well and tell a good story. My secret fear is that I am actually hurting them by putting their fine words under my brand.

pottygok said...

Man, am I glad somebody else said something before I did. I thought I was being jealous and bitter.

I'm curious as to the judging criteria. With a lot of competitions, both manuscript and contest, I often get the idea that there is, in the back of folks' minds, the idea of selling a product. I don't want to blame anyone for anything, but I know, as a contest judge, I often judge a manuscript on whether or not I think it will sell. Now, a lot...A LOT...of this has to do with the quality of the work. This is especially true for blind entries when I don't know the author.

However, this contest was not judged blind. And it does seemed skewed toward a very specific, academic audience. There are few, if any, indie publishers (Hyperion and Barn Owl could be considered indie, yes?) and few, if any, non-academic writers. So it leads me to believe that this contest was specifically seeking a certain type of author and poet, one that is represented in Cleveland (notice that certain academics--Andrews, Young, Chaun, Bilgere, Hayward, Willis, etc. are not represented. And that's just two schools worth. So even this list of academics is skewed, somehow.) but that would also draw a non-literary crowd. In other words, the folks selected could draw people that may not necessarily be interested in poetry or fiction outside of the major presses, thus interpreting "friends" quite loosely.

I'm also wondering if we need to consider the polarity or binaries of "indie" vs. "academic"--I'm not sure all things are definable in such broad terms. For example, where do presses like Copper Canyon or Greywolf fall? They're not connected to colleges, and yet they publish some of the best academic writers of the day, as well as some of the best non-academic writers. What makes one an "academic writer"? Do you have to teach at a university? Do you have to teach creative writing at a univeristy? Do you have to be published by a university? Such binaries are dangerous, as they tend to polarize the discussion into an "us vs. them" mentality.

Back to the topic at hand, I think the low number of writers represented, as has been pointed out, alienates a lot of people, if not a lot of camps, least of all the "indies".

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised it's only ten writers this year, too, but the list you give does seem a good spread of kinds of publishers-- three mainstream publishers (Hyperion, Harper Collins), three university presses (Kent, U Mass, Cleveland State), three small publishers (BOA, Gray &Co, Barn Owl)

michael salinger said...

I guess it depends on what one considers a small press.

A quick search of BOA Editions web site will turn up that their budget is $400,000.00 per anum - is this small press? Compared to Time Warner yes but what about compared to Green Panda?

Gray & Company pushes the envelope a bit as a small press as well in INHO. Barn Owl seems to be the only true representative of small press as I would define the word. As Larry said though, he and other area small presses will be represented in the browse portion of the event. The best case scenario would from this author's perspective would be the mingling of these small press folks and the larger publishers and any cross pollination that may occur - let's hope both come to this event open to this opportunity.

Even so, I think the paring down of the list to ten recipients is a good step adding a bit more prestige to the event.

In the interest of full disclosure I must state that I am on the board of The Lit, the sponsoring organization. I had no involvement with the selection committee but I know they deliberated long and seriously on their choices taking many criteria into account.

In interest of self – I would also like to state that I have tickets for said event that I am selling. Let me know if you need a pair ;)

Philip Metres said...

I, for one, am grateful to have been chosen. I feel as if it is an honor and a welcome to three of us relative newcomers (me, Kazim, and Michael--the latter two of whom just arrived last year).

The Lit (PWLGC), to my mind, has done a great job supporting the local scene(s), bringing people together and serving as a point of focus for poetry and writing in general.

While it would be a good idea to have a greater sense of transparency about the selection process, and while it would be great to see an even greater multiplicity of presses represented, I find it a little oversimplified to break this down as "big/small" press, "real/academic" poetry,etc. What exactly does "Narrow range" signify? "White" (Kazim and I would be excluded, and Dumanis is an immigrant)? "Bourgeois"? Paula McLain is a foster kid. If there's one great absence, to my mind, it would be someone from the African-American scene.

CindaChima said...

I'm pleased (and surprised) to be chosen, also. I think there's a variety of ways to group things together. You're thinking small press/large publisher. I'm thinking literary/academic vs commercial. Many people would classify my work as genre, though I argue that fantasy fiction can be literary. When I teach fantasy writing workshops, I emphasize that the standard elements must be there--character, setting, and plot--before we start talking about magic.
Anyway, I'm honored to be included. Makes me feel almost legit.

Cinda Chima

pottygok said...

Again, I'm wondering why the need for these binaries at all? It still seems to create an "us vs. them" mentality, which doesn't help anybody, in my opinion. Yes, I would've liked a wider spectrum of poets and writers represented--3-4 per genre, in my mind, simply doesn't cover the gamut at all. However, as Michael mentioned, there is an idea of "prestige" that needs to be brought to the event to bring in a certain crowd.

A hypothetical solution, and I'm not saying this would work or be physically possible, is multiple events. I'm sure this event is really hard to set up, and I appreciate the effort, but perhaps doing it two or three times a year, at different venues across the city, even, might make more sense. That way no one feels alienated, The Lit can read a wider range of audience, etc.

On a side note, can anyone on the committee explain their criteria. I would very much be interested in knowing what they were looking for.

Anonymous said...

Lots of good points have been made - by Larry in his post and by each commenter. I wish I had time to write a lengthier response. I know the recent work of folks like Metres and Dumanis is absolutely worthy - whether published by big press, university press or street corner mimeograph. I apologize for being unacquainted with the other authors, though I have little doubt their work must be equally worthy.

I also find it amusing to hear BOA referred to as a small press and Hyperion referred to as an indie. ;) I could name other authors I know are worthy as well, though I suppose a line has to be drawn somewhere - and it may be pure coincidence, though it is curious, that the line is drawn so that small presses are included only on the edges of the event circle, so to speak, and not in the center. I suspect this will, as Michael suggested, allow for a "cross-pollination" that benefits all. And I suspect I'm way out of line for suggesting this analogy - which is extremely imperfect (and bear in mind that I'm a newbie in the scene and probably not an expert). But I will throw it out there because, fair or not, it popped into my mind and I'm curious how folks will respond. No offense intended.... And I don't want to deter anyone from attending the event (I want to go, and am trying to clear my schedule for that night). But it occurs to me that the inclusion of smaller presses only on the periphery ("the browse portion") could be compared to letting the slaves at an ante-bellum plantation eat the same fine supper as the Massa and his friends - but eat it away from the main table, in the kitchen. The Massa and his family need the small press slaves (who labor for little or no pay - though they do it for themselves more than for the Massa, which is one imperfection in the analogy) and the Massa wants to keep them content so the Poetry plantation runs smoothly and the Massa can get richer and make his fellow plantation owner and their "families" richer, while the small presses labor away in their kitchens for peanuts. But "Hey," the Massa might say, "you're invited to eat my fine supper instead of your usual gruel, so stop your sniveling!

LOL... I'm just playing Devil's advocate here, so don't throw rocks at me. I have great respect for the Lit - they do a lot of work that benefits us all, and they're not getting rich off poetry either - though I do share a bit of the disappointment Larry and others have expressed.

Anonymous said...

The state of things is the superposition of pyramids of expectations, perspectives, schemes & dreams

I cannot find the dividing line nor do I know a word from blur
I don't know how to tell myself from muck
and if praise comes from gumption, merit or luck

but I'm happy to be on the ride

Anonymous said...

Well said, Lady! At heart, I feel the same way, but doubt I could express it so well.

Here's another log for the fire of this discussion, and I'm withholding (for now) whether or not I agree, or to what degree.

No less an artist than Béla Bartók said that "Competitions are for horses, not artists." Was he right? And are all "contests" competitions?

ms. bree said...

this is not Small Ohio Publishers and THEIR Friends...its writers...big or small---who specified? the fact that area writers are "making it bogtime" should be a point of pride, rather than contention.

i am surprised, Larry, that you take offense. glad to see you are still supporting it by bringing your own Bottom Dog to the table.

ms. bree said...

this is not Small Ohio Publishers and THEIR Friends...its writers...big or small---who specified? the fact that area writers are "making it (meant it to read Big-Time!) should be a point of pride, rather than contention.

i am surprised, Larry, that you take offense. glad to see you are still supporting it by bringing your own Bottom Dog to the table.

sara holbrook said...

Hyperion = Disney -- hardly small in anyone's book. Maybe twelve years ago I was honored for a self-published book, about as small as you can get. Since then I have had 14 books come out, publishers small, medium, large and have been passed over for people who have never been published. I'm not bitter, but I did stop submitting.

No disrespect to any of this year's honorees. I look forward to a dramatic glimpse of your work.

Rather than looking at this as a contest, maybe we should view it for what it is, a fund raiser for a fine organization that does a lot of good work about town. Larry, you do amazing work. Maybe we need to have a fund raiser for you!

ms. bree said...

i guess i am piqued by these comments, since i sat and thot on all of it for some time since reading----as a "small press" who makes oh, say less than a couple thousand grand a year, why am i not irked indy writers were not honored this yr? well, in the past years Tom Kryss (published thousands of times by little unknown mags in the last 40 yrs), Ben Gulyas (only found in indy mags), Chris Franke (considered a pioneer of the small press) and others have been honored. well, its not every year my heroes get their poems read by local celebs and actors, is it?

in response to pottygok, who said
::"What makes one an "academic writer"? Do you have to teach at a university? Do you have to teach creative writing at a univeristy? Do you have to be published by a university? Such binaries are dangerous, as they tend to polarize the discussion into an "us vs. them" mentality."

It’s a good question....and here's my stab at the answer.
To me an academic poet is one either in the cradle of the university (i.e. a professor who’s tenure depends on his being printed, with book contracts and the lot), those who read for instance American Poetry Review, those who wish to be discussed in the folds of American Poetry Review, those who would intently absorb criticism by those who subscribe to APR, students who wish to become professors in creative writing, students who dropped out of creative writing classes in lieu of money problems or difficulty, but still wish to remain in the game, those who take religiously certain geniuses of the word who spoke and speak and will speak to the general masses in a resoundingly clear voice, and attempt to do the same, them who are bothered by bad grammar, or care very much about grammer, even in instances of brushstrokes and attitudes being clearly the prominant communicator (and the essence itself of the poem), those who cannot write well but understand promotion, and have drive to remain thought-of by their peers, those who might pick up a poem by Langston Hughes and call it “pedestrian”, those who work and rework constantly one poem to its perfection out of intellectual hunger, them people who read. Read more than yo’ momma or yo’ poppa. Unless, of course yo poppa is Baked Salmon Rushdie.

Anonymous said...

More good points by Sara and Bree - not that they need my affirmation. ;)

I'm amused by the fact that until this blog, I thought of Larry as an "academic" (he does have a doctorate and a history of teaching in a university)... LOL. I guess he still is and will always be one in one sense of the word. Perhaps words like "academic," (or "street" or even "bush") are neither good nor bad, but thinking and context and perspective make them so.

Like I said, I'm the newbie...

Anonymous said...

Oh - re-reading my comment, I hope no one thought I was using academic or street as a pejorative. As far as I'm concerned, it's helpful to have a balance of both. ;)

Geoffrey A. Landis said...

Barn Owl to Harper Collins-- looks like a wide range of publishers to me.

Congrats to the honorees! Well done!

Katie Daley said...

I'm interested in everybody's comments, especially as a fairly non-published poet, former W&F honoree and the scriptwriter for the 2006 show as well as this year's show. I'm very happy with all the material I got to choose from this year, and it's gonna be a great night of entertainment. I did miss the variety I got in putting together the 2006 show (25 writers, I think!). I also miss the "alternative" voices--the ones that don't usually win contests or get publishing contracts but are damn sizzling good and provide great, show-stopping material.

I'm curious to know how many people (especially the ones in this discussion so far) nominated writers this year? I nominated Wendy Shaffer, one of my favorite poets of all time, but she, like me, has no books published. I have no idea if that had any influence on the jurors--I sure hope not. You do have to be "published" to qualify for W&F consideration, but publication in journals and webzines counts.

I heartily agree that there are not enough African Americans in the field of honorees, but I'm very glad that Shurice Gross' short story is in the mix--it, to borrow a phrase of high praise from my friend Laura, kicks God's ass! (No offense meant to God--if God exists at all, he or she's got to have a nuanced sense of humor and not take her/himself too seriously. I mean, if a story written by one of God's creations kicks his/her ass, isn't that really God kicking his/her own ass?).

--Katie Daley

pottygok said...

Jesus Crisis wrote:

"I also find it amusing to hear BOA referred to as a small press and Hyperion referred to as an indie."

Sara Holbrook wrote:
"Hyperion = Disney -- hardly small in anyone's book."

Yes, Hyperion is connected to Disney, but last I checked, Disney is not a "university" (though I'm sure there are asperations to become such...) and so therefore it's not "academic". Again, the idea that there are binaries: "academic" vs. "indie," "academic" vs. "popular," "small" vs. "academic" vs. "mainstream," etc. simply doesn't work. Where, then, does BOA fall? Or Copper Canyon, White Pines, Greywolf, Curbstone, etc.?

Where does Bottom Dog fall? It is run by someone who taught in the university and has published many pieces, both as books and in anthologies, from academic poets, including some pretty prominent ones. But is it really an academic press? With over 100 books and 23 years of publishing, is it really a "small" press?

Where does Barn Owl fall? Editor Mary Biddinger is an academic writer (three degrees in writing) teaching in an MFA program. Barn Owl was launched at AWP, one of the biggest academic writing festivals in the country. However, she's published on Steel Toe Books, which, though run by an academic and nationally distributed, isn't exactly an academic press. So is Barn Owl Review really an independent magazine? Is it really an academic magazine?

The borders blur quickly.

Also, are we debating the poet or the presses? Can an indie poet be published on an academic press? Chris Franke was published on Cleveland State University Press... Can an academic poet be published on an indie press? Sure...there a lots of examples of this, and some academics who got their careers started this way. So again, these binaries don't seem to work.

My biggest issue with W&TF is probably more the size of the selection then who was or wasn't selected. Also, the intent. If this is to solely be a fund raiser, great. However, I, and I don't think I'm alone here, see this as more than that. W&TF could serve to be an awareness builder, and the book fair may serve that purpose, but it could do it more strongly if the folks behind those tables or represented on those tables were actually in the program.

pottygok said...

Another a teacher and longtime supporter of The Lit, I'm obviously not knocking the organization. However, I'm wondering where this money goes? I'm looking at The Lit's page, and trying to figure out what costs money--the rent? Moving Minds? Everything else--MUSE, the classes, etc.--should pretty much pay for itself, right? I know that The Lit "is a literary organization that promotes writers and their work throughout Northern Ohio," but what exactly does that mean? Michael, Judith, can one of you explain exactly what the plan is for The Lit, where the money is going, what direction The Lit is taking, other ideas on the table that simply need the financing, etc.

michael salinger said...

You applying for a board position Joshua?

The money does indeed go to rent, utilities the producing of MUSE as well as staff salaries and a dizzying array of incidentals. I can’t recall charging at the door for any event since we’ve relocated in our wonderful new space at the Artcraft building. It costs us then just to keep the building open.

Unfortunately classes do not always pay for themselves and the ones that are promoted which do not run for whatever reason actually are a liability.

The Lit does a lot that is under the radar when it comes to directing inquiries from the public looking for literary input to programs and or writers.
I think a good way to find out what The Lit is doing would be to call over there and ask what they can do for you. I’m serious; you have a project in mind? Run it by us, The Lit is looking to build partnerships and we will be announcing some exciting cooperative efforts in the very near future.

Now, I don’t want to become the mouthpiece for The Lit in this forum, we have an Executive Director and a Board President – I’d like to keep these two ventures – this blog and my work with The Lit – somewhat impartial but I didn’t think it would be productive to ignore your query.

If any other board members perusing this would like to jump in – please do. I am going to respectfully plead the 5th for the time being.

I am more than happy to discuss these kind of matters with anyone backchannel – where at the same time you may purchase tickets to Writers and Their Friends from me. See there is this contest the board is having…

Theresa Göttl Brightman said...

I'm hesitant to jump in on this conversation, mostly because I don't know that I'm qualified or informed enough to comment, but I do have a couple of thoughts. Although I don't know how on topic this will stay, but bear with me...

I met a poet once who declared that poetry slams, contests, competitions of any kind are "stupid". In his mind (and I'm sure there are others out there who will agree with him to at least some extent), poets shouldn't try to publish, make money, or win ANYTHING with their own work. They should simply do it for the sake of spreading their word.

Now, I don't agree with him, and there were flaws in his argument (for example: how are you supposed to bring your words and thoughts to the masses without seeking publication? etc.) but he did make one point worth considering. He said that by competing with one another, poets are hurting themselves. By tearing down another poet, the poet is tearing down himself.

I know I'm not the only person who has observed that probably 99% of audiences at poetry readings consist of other poets. It's a rather unusual art form. Imagine if the only people reading novels were other novelists. Or if the only audiences at plays consisted of other actors, or if the only people who listened to music were other musicians...

Let's face it. Poetry has some serious PR issues.

And the homogeneity of the audience in question is what creates this sort of infighting, the us vs. them, the big guy vs. the little guy. The "Hey, how come _I_ didn't get recognized but HE did!"

(And we're all guilty of at least a little resentment somewhere, even if we don't openly admit it. Come on, raise your hands...)

Before we start pointing fingers, shouldn't our first goal be to bring other people to the art form? People who don't write, but who need to discover a new means of entertainment, self-expression, and ideas that come from poetry. There are plenty of writers conferences and retreats and workshops where we can mingle with our own kind, so to speak, and "talk business" and debate this vs. that. But I think an event like the one being discussed here should primarily be for that purpose of bringing the so-called "outsiders" to the world of poetry and writing.

That's my take. Feel free to call me out on this one...

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Katie, & I'm glad you thought of Wendy.

I never know how these things are put together, and I can't imagine having something that's going to satisfy everyone. I'm sure there's always something to complain about. I do think that the people on the board have good heart.

I can't afford to be in town for this one, but were I in Cleveland I'd be there.

Spirit Poems said...

Ah, well it was "suggested" to me that someone should bring this subject up for discussion and it certainly has spawned some. I did not seek to create a division between writers or publishers, but there very much exists one in the commercial world. It's run chiefly by large chain bookstores and corporate run publishers. To ignore this (especially you, Bree) is a kind of blindness that allows the big guys to carry a heavy club. Like any kind of bias, it's best to see it clearly, then work to abolish it. My belief in small literary presses is also a belief in literature that matters. I see it as underrepresented in the list of those being honored by The Lit.
That's my main point. As I said, I salute those who are being recognized, but feel the field of selection is too narrow focused and too few in number. Hey, we all have our opinions. I see the world from where I live and work.

out for comment

Anonymous said...

I don't know you Larry other than a few correspondences and some of your poems, but I think you are coming from a position of good heart too.

Reality is messy - the impulse is to think that there is an ideal solution but I think there isn't - but by dialog we can empower ourselves and make our reality a better approximate solution.

I think most of us are on the same side. At minimum, we are all writers. I admire your advocacy of bottom dogs.

Anonymous said...

I read these comments and want to shake everyone's hand. But I'll pick out a few folks to name.

Katie, I absolutely love your comment, your sense of humor, and the fact that you nominated Wendy, whose work I admire greatly. I did not nominate anyone, nor even know I could - but I probably missed the opportunity since I only became involved in the Cleveland scene (or public poetry reading period) with my first open mic appearance in May (before that, I wrote primarily for inmates, my own edification, and the boxes that needed filling in my attic).

That said, I have no idea who's been selected in the past. I know nothing beyond this blog and the comments - which makes me no authority. I have more questions than answers - but that goes for my own life as well. ;)

Michael's diplomacy aMUSEs me. I can appreciate where he's coming from.

Theresa is absolutely right!

Josh is correct about the blurred borders. Small/big, indie/pop, etc are all subjective terms. I'm not surprised he's so passionate about Borders... ;)

I'm glad Larry came back and responded. Well put, sir....

And Lady K is right about reality being messy. When we try to draw borders over reality, we create all sorts of problems. Look at Palestine, Kashmir, Yugoslavia, and the "Iron Curtain"... the same goes with the literary/ press/ artist categories we've been discussing here.

Categories, though useful in a microcosm, are illusory in a macrocosm. That said, microcosm and macrocosm are subjective terms as well - and in a sense, we're in both right now. ;)

I love you all, albeit to differing degrees.

Now I have to get back to the debate on my blog about whether Dr. Seuss can (from the grave, mind you) kick Steven B. Smith's ass.

Spirit Poems said...

One last comment from me. An assumption I make of everyone is that they act from a good heart. I'm good frieds (I think) with all of those associated with The Lit...we're working for the life of writing in Northern Ohio together and apart. I also believe that when groups make decisions that affect others, they may be questioned on it. I believe in free dialogue. Why else would we be posting on a Blog!

Anonymous said...

This has been a good discussion with a lot of important issues raised.

I am writing as president of the Lit and someone who has been involved in every Writers and Friends event since its inception 14 years ago.

Writers and Friends has been a fantastic way to showcase area writers. It is a fundraiser, too, but I truly believe the main mission is to show the whole community that extraodinarily talented writers live and work here. And that they should be supported by having their works read and applauded.

A decision was made this year to streamline the event which was a result of past criticisms that it was too long and diffuse. This year we used a jury process to choose honorees based on submissions.

In the past we had several meetings with many people using their areas of expertise and knowledge to choose the featured writers based on submissions and other input. We also tried to be broadly representative of the types of writing, writers and publishers out there.

This year the juries chose honorees based on submissions while also using their own expertise. The main criteria was writing excellence.

The jury system is a different way to judge and the streamlining is also different from before. We are trying something new and we will evaluate the results. Maybe we will find that we liked it better the old way or maybe we will find a perfect blend of the old and new way, but for this year we committed to this process.

I just don't know what to say about the academic thing. We have had all kinds of poets read at Mac's. I think the words are what inspires and elevates me and so I try to not pay attention to someone's day job.

I think there is a good representation of presses involved. Even large publishers have talented individuals, ordinary people who love writing and made it their life's work to acquire and edit manuscripts they believe in.

I hope you attend the event and judge for yourself. Katie has put together a wonderful script and our director this year is Christopher Johnston who has worked with CPT and just directed the God of Hell by Sam Shepard at The Bang and Clatter Theatre Company.

Thanks for all your thoughts if anyone would like to contact me personally please do so.

michael salinger said...

And I still have some tickets left - I'm serious - if you need tickets hit me backchannel. Did I mention that the board is involved in a ticket sales contest - if I beat John Donoghue he's going to recite his book of baseball poems in a Slider costume on Public Square.


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau