Category Archives: Dr. Harte Weiner

It All Started with Coffee…

In a time-honored tradition of the literary arts, our latest story began in a coffee shop. CambridgeEditors founder, Harte Weiner, met with Somervillian poet, Doug Holder at Bloc 11 Cafe. Holder wanted to get the inside scoop on the life and work of a seasoned editor.

Harte Weiner

These kindred spirits discussed everything from W. H. Auden to the Cambridge-Somerville arts scene. You can find the full article on The Somerville Times.

Doug HolderPhoto credit: Jaclyn Tyler Poeschl

This month, its Holder’s turn to be in the spotlight, as he was recently named February Artist of the Month by the Somerville Arts Council. Holder’s love of poetry was sparked  in the 1970s when he stumbled upon a copy of On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, and he has been writing and teaching ever since.

Bloc 11 2Photo credit: Eater Boston

While CambridgeEditors is proud to work with writers and editors across the globe, it is hard to imagine setting up shop anywhere besides this city by the Charles River. Decades ago, acclaimed poets and editors would gather as part of Boston’s Saturday Club. Holder and Weiner’s meet-up and hundreds more like it prove that same spirit of artistic community pervades this metro area to this day. We feast on coffee, on scones, on Lowell and now on Holder.

To all our Cambridge- and Somerville-based artists, thank you for making this place such a vibrant arts community! We love working with you and living beside you.


by Veronica Wickline


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Don’t Overlook the Newly Published Novel, Drag

As our intern Brooke Knisley has suggested in her blog post “The Intellectualization of the Genre Novel,” we’re apt to skip novels excluded from the list of Editor’s Picks: those novels considered ‘under the radar’. When Brooke refers to genre novels, she includes thrillers we can’t put down; romances that play on our sentiments; and murder mysteries published by all but a select set of recognized serializes. The Genre Novel tag has often extended, when they first appear, to works pockmarked by expletives; while in retrospect so many of these rise to occupy the status of classics, such as Kerouac and Burroughs.

Nonetheless, whether mood or presentation/sensibility relegate Genre Novels to airport turnstiles–on the one hand–and beer-soaked basements–on the other–they are, as Brooke contends, far more than “guilty pleasures.” For they are “indicative of larger events surrounding (their) creation.” Perhaps best poised to present to our current condition is the after-work writer, seated at the kitchen table, under the glare of the florescent lights. If we read only hardbacks displayed in bookstore windows, though, we are we are apt to miss out on new voices, keyed in when the house is silent. It is in this spirit that I choose to write about a recently published novel, Drag, by Domenic D. Augustus & S. M. Dudley, and edited by CambridgeEditors.


When Drag’s main character, Vincent, initiates his divorce, he checks off every decency point: “(He) would pay bi-weekly child support, and cover Kaye’s and Emmy’s health insurance, and Emmy’s future college tuition.” (p. 47) Displayed here are Vincent’s eerie, picture-perfect planning skills. Scanning into the future and back through the past, he fends off blame before his ex-wife, Kaye, has time to vocalize it. Besides, insofar as his daughter is concerned, Vincent wants to continue seeing Emmy, a foot-in-the-door but authentically held gesture. Nonetheless, father-daughter outings, once Vincent has severed all conventional ties, feature the consequences of Vincent’s break with the American Dream. When moments of routine togetherness turn aggravating, Vincent’s bitterness rears up, and is expressed in gratuitous side-remarks playing within his closed-off psyche. Common-place pleasures increasingly evoke sarcasm. His obsessions are on autopilot. What thoughts come to mind when his daughter drops her ice cream cone? “They should put a human kiddie car wash in these family bathrooms. Slide the kids on a conveyor belt to clean face, hands, and fannies all at once.” (p. 99) Relationships with family members have become strained.  He no longer perceives their three-dimensionality. The experience of washing up his daughter concludes inwardly with the comment, “So gross.” Involuntary thoughts document the Twitter feed of his decline.  With tunnel vision he maps out his master caper.

In the divorce’s immediate aftermath, Vincent allows his appearance to go messy. Once his plan for the future coalesces, though, Vincent rebounds as if to the call of duty. Re-employed and respectable, he dons the look and trappings of his former self. This holds true even after the snag that bungles the first run of his caper—when he is called in for questioning: “[Vincent’s] intent is to remain calm and cool and emit the emotion of a man not entering into a police station to be questioned in a crime, but rather that of a man entering into a post office to retrieve his mail.” (p. 86)

A twinge of ‘wrong’ does tap on Vincent’s shoulder sometimes, personified by his mother in heaven, and by his interrogating officers, their suspicions not entirely quelled. Nonetheless, he enjoys a spell of successfully duping those with whom he comes into contact: on a daily basis as the company man; and when a try at his plan short circuits, receiving the sympathy owed the hapless, injured patient. So why does the ruthless risk that drives him not dissipate? Having found his way out of the status quo, why does he push his luck? The thrill that Vincent derives from each new dare is, the novel suggests, psychologically diagnosable. Nonetheless, what are readers to infer from the way the novel progresses with increasing speed away from Middle Class family conventions, occupations, and expectations of sustained intimacy? Here, I suggest, Drag breaks new ground.

On the theme of perfectly good marriages ending in divorce, when Drag’s central character leaves his life–unlike in Cheever’s and Updike’s novels–his goal is not to maximize seductions–others’ wives–nor is it the pursuit of a generalized lust. The trope of consummating, bonding with another, for however briefly and even when that “other” is objectified, cannot be the motivating feature here. It is precluded by the focus self-preoccupation. None of Vincent’s reasons fit familiar, prior molds. Although Vincent is wistfully envious of those born into the haves, greed is not a motivation. In the course of the novel, drink and bad company are too transitory to count. And although apathy precludes guilt, Vincent wishes no one harm. This would explain why we are inclined neither to damn, nor pity, the character or his plight.

Vincent may be a character to whom the paradigmatic American notion of responsibility does not apply. Does it give way to a determinism of sorts? And if we yield to this notion, does it apply, by extension, to the incomprehensible landscape of our new, American times?

Find out more at the author’s website:

– Dr. Harte Weiner

CambridgeEditors founder and lead editor

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The Staff Gets Out of the House!

In a fit of summer jollity, the team here at CambridgeEditors took a field trip on Monday afternoon. It was Elizabeth’s birthday, which was certainly cause for celebration. We decided to visit Silas, who works at Shake Shack in Harvard Square! It was a grand old time — we ordered burgers, fries, and milkshakes, served to us with a huge smile by the lovely Silas.

The restaurant itself was a cute little place; we sat in the corner and watched everyone working in the open kitchen. Silas’s manager very kindly paid for our meal, and even came over to tell us what a great job Silas is doing!

Elizabeth was very happy to eat her hamburger, cheese fries, and chocolate shake, and we all had a great time getting out of the office on a hot summer day and having a different kind of fun than we normally do! Take a look at the pictures below to see our smiling faces!


2015-07-13 16.03.48-1 2015-07-13 16.03.34 2015-07-13 16.03.19-1

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Kanga or Outlook

My dog is urgently sick, and my staff is here, and bookkeepers are sending proposals with sign on the line, and small print, and we aren’t in good shape right now with the bookkeeping. I am personally only on one edit right now, with a lull in that. But my staff is here, and clients are to be responded to. Clients who have deadlines, clients whose very lives and careers depend upon their writing whether for their degrees, for their promotions within the academic system, or their sense of coming into their own with their memoirs and novels, the works of years; theirs is no small effort. They have given their all. Each may ask a certain hand up along the way, but they are the scholars, authors, professors, and visionaries. How can I let them down; how can I let anyone down. How can I let down my dog, as she is young, and she is my refuge in this cruel world, and I am the one who is to save her from whatever is going on inside her, unfairly eating away at the organs that digest? We have been through this twice in two months. Done this 2 times and she is alright each round.  We love her. We are co-dependent with her. She gets from us less than she gives, and she gets from us all we possibly have to give—all we’re unable to give to each other because of underlying reasons, all of the love we wish we could express more broadly. We know that her eyes get dry in the mornings, and behind her ears, bulky clods of hair (I use my nail scissor to clear and discard from time to time) make my scratching there ease the terrible itch, the itch to live and the itch to dance in the fields, and bite at the heels of sheep, and wreak havoc upon the intrusion of would-be strangers, protecting the household and practically jumping up and down as her voice alone causes them to back up a few steps into some set of shoes unevenly stacked just to one side of the front door, and sometimes just to exit. What should I do. This is my company, CambridgeEditors after all; a former Managing Editor calls her my “love child.” Who, among my charges, should come first in my affections, my attentions, my wish to grant salvation and be the who I think of myself as, really down deep, the person not enough intimates really get to know. Are we beings or writers (editors) first?

–Dr. Weiner

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The Art of Editing, What the Creative Writer Seeks

I’ve been thinking about the art of editing. In looking at lot of the edits done here lately, I’ve wondered how the author views the editor, and sending a query, what expectations they bring into the very particular sort of relationship created under this banner. The answer varies highly. For our writers, we are those who know how to prompt and poke, we’re the envisioned reader. Particularly with novelists, we stand in as the popular other, the reader out in the world, but with a difference. Trained in editing creative work over the years, we bring to it an eye for what works. That registers to us almost at once, and is our focal point when we start off our response. We know that satisfying feeling of reading a sentence whose basic elements create, perhaps with a moment of dialogue afterwards, the character in whose presence we will travel for pages to come.

Here at CambridgeEditors, the arrival of creative work is likened to an anticipated holiday. We wake up with ideas for nights ahead, once a query reaches us. We do lots of subconscious planning when we’re reading for leisure. As the day approaches–the arrival of the manuscript—anticipating becomes hands-on work. Like a good host, we put ourselves in the place of the guest. What might we lack? The piece of fiction or memoir might lack those specifics placing us at the table where we’ll sit around with others, and knowing why we’ve come. We want to know the seating arrangement, the candles and place settings and from whom inherited; the choice of dessert, the meats; the vegan dishes; what about if you’re not of the family at all? Why are pumpkins still by the door, when all you can think of is potato mounds and turkey? If what I say implies projection onto the author, this could not be further from the truth. In these two prior instances, we’re asked to read for lapses of characterization, for what we cannot see and feel, for when our hearts stop beating fast, for the moments our eyes stop tearing. I phrase this in the negative because our assumption going into the edit, continuously borne out when we receive them, is that they’re written with nothing held back in the way of work, love of words, and evolved talent.

The novelist, memoir or verse writer is highly emotively attached, and thus typically emotively present, in the work. She/he has given over linguistic talents staged at the crib side; only be found only after years of accessing the family language, or its long silences—the praise or coarseness of parents; the scratchy sounds of kids pajama feet on hardwood stairs.

–Dr. Harte Weiner

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Reflections on Summer Work, and a Tribute to Staff Who’ve Made it Possible

Today, our summer interns wrap up their invaluable work here. Dan Truong is here with me today–the others, Emily Gruss and Matt Fallon, concluded their current stint with CambridgeEditors, playing more or less every role in this small office, a week or so before, with Emily going to intern this fall at Beacon Press. During their time here, we’ve gained a new Editorial Director, Laura Paquette, and added on new editors. We’ve overseen new and exciting editorial projects. These include a prestigious work on Investment–one of our editors currently working with the author on the final edits–a book of proverbs by a Brazilian author traveling in Italy and throughout Europe, along with another book for Brill Press, The Lure of the Nation: The Cultural and Historical Debates in Late Qing and Republican China; edits for the Boston University School of Economic Development–and the recent edit of in the area of literary fiction, a book of short stories, Make Believe: Stories from a Step-Family. Lastly, let me note with thanks to all, the triumphant conclusion of a collaborative edit by CE’s Editor, Sunanda Vital, of author Dan Rados’  monumental memoir of his mother, Croatian actress: Dragica Krog Rados: Actress and Soubrette. To return to my jumping off point for this entry, none of this work could have been completed without the day to day, hands on work of the complete staff here, the interns, the editors, Desiree Soto and Sue Poon and Sandor Mark, and everyone else involved.

The interns this summer, as in the prior year and many previous, have put CambridgeEditors, it has seemed to me, many times before their own lives. I can only hope that their contributions here have been useful to them, and that they will take away the sense of having contributed to something larger, and some basics about what makes a good edit now recognizable on sight!

With thanks to the Summer Staff!

~Dr. Weiner

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Hug Your Editor!

After working with one of our editors on a project, a client sends out an email expressing thanks.


“S, I’m sending a huge hug to you! Can’t thank you enough! How would you like me to send payment?”

When we get such positive responses from our clients, we can’t help but smile!

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The Editing Journey: Our Editors Love Our Writers!

One of our editors, when finished with a chapter-by-chapter edit of a dissertation for a doctoral student (soon-to-be professor), sent a reassuring email message to the writer:

“I so enjoyed reading the final steps in the process. You’ve really congealed into a clear vision and message, and your language is both strong and illustrative. The abstract was in good shape, if slightly long, and most of the added paragraphs needed only small refinements. The conclusion does an excellent job at balancing a timeline of [a disputed city’s] history with a critical timeline of [its] history, placing your work against the perspectives of other historians. The last paragraph is such a strong ending….

Please let me know how the defense goes, and keep me posted on the eventual development of your book!”


Our editors don’t just work on projects and send them off; they care about the writers and hope they succeed! Just another reason we love our editors over here at CambridgeEditors.



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Reflections on a Client’s Success

“Yen-Ting Cho is one of the most brilliant out if the box thinkers I’ve ever met. When I met him he was completing a degree at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. In 2008 or spring 2009, he contacted me and we met weekly to discuss short papers of philosophical and aesthetic profundity that he planned to translate into the underpinnings of his dissertation for the Royal Academy of Art. The results are in. What a gift to me those discussions were, soaring with creativity. Even then Cho had won prizes in a number of interdisciplinary fields, including media and film, museum and urban installation. His work already explored a world sensitized by technology that could intuit our most inward emotions.”

-Lead Editor Harte Weiner



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Magic is Might: A Fond Farewell

Another season passes us by, and the interns are taking their leave. We’ve all had great, lively, laughing fun here at CambridgeEditors this summer, passing the time with all genres of Pandora stations, researching the most obscure of publications that cross our paths, and of course wildly composing SEOs with abandon.

Please enjoy this documentation of a standard day in an ever-changing office as we capture  a moment before it flees for good.

Happy August, friends!


From Talia: “Number one way to avoid writing SEOs: Re-brand companies.”


From Silas: “Spent a lot of time outdoors this summer, and have concluded that ‘I’d rather be a creature of nature than a creation of culture.'”


From Cara: “Rather unsure where to post prose poems about physics now that my SEO days are coming to a close.”


From Sandor: “The summer has been hot! Hot! Hot with activity. I’m losing my mind.”


From Dr. Weiner: “This is short and plain: I owe this summer’s extraordinary laughter, creativity, productivity, personal and interactive energy to my two fabulous interns, Cara Haley and Talia Rochmann.”


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