It is the Muses
Who have caused me
to be honored: they
taught me their craft
First the possessive. My books. The Minuses, a full-length collection forthcoming (Feb 2020) in the Mountain West Poetry Series published by the Center for Literary Publishing joins my three chapbooks, Instinctive Acts, Mind of Spring, and Landscape of The Wait.
Don Revell and I would very much like to publish your manuscript as the spring 2020 MWPS title if it’s still available…
I received the offer to publish on Labor Day, September 2 at 4:29 PM (PST). I had spent the entire day laboring over a new version of the manuscript, inputting edits and so on. At five O’clock I saved and closed the file, then checked email. A half hour earlier, Stephanie G’Schwind, director of the Center for Literary Publishing wrote to me: Don Revell and I would very much like to publish your manuscript as the spring 2020 MWPS title if it’s still available…
What to say. This. I’m over Saturn’s moon. Over Jupiter’s moons.
That plus Laura Linney’s character Sarah in Love Actually when Karl is going to stay. Like that.
The autumn months were a happy flurry of editing, proofing, selecting the cover, and various other things that go into making a book a book. Tuesday, December 17 at 2:25 PM (MST) I signed off on The Minuses. The book is scheduled to be out for Valentine’s Day. Can you think of better sandwich for a poet than one made between Labor and Love? More and more soon, soon…
After I signed off, I became aware of how mentally fatigued I was. The months of proofreading and decision-making took a toll. When I looked within for words and that feeling I have for them–a love affair–it was absent. Where was it? Tired!
But nothing a ritual fire couldn’t clear!
I gathered all of the hardcopy (used on both sides) versions of the manuscript I could find and burned them! As I sat in the heat of the fire I chanted gratitude to the poems that are The Minuses and welcomed those that may come:
if you will come
I shall put out
fresh pillows for
you to rest on
Second books written by others. As in 2018, this year I intended to read a book a day. With travel and the vicissitudes of life that became read as much as I can when I can.
Above some of the books that I look up to from 2019…
I resolved to start this reading practice (at the close of 2017), after becoming acutely aware of the sky scrapers of books surrounding my desk. I seemed to be coveting books, but not reading them–at least not at the rate I was buying them. Simultaneous to this awareness was the co-arising of anxiety at how many books there were towering, looming. After the overwhelm subsided, I decided to start reading… just to see what I could do. Et voila!
From this reading practice, I have learned about:
- Attention–what keeps mine
- Comprehension–it’s dependent on attention
- Taste–how not to judge myself for what I like or don’t
- Company–what I read for
- Inspiration–o, to read what hurries me to the page
Above some more of the books that I look up to from 2019
[ the Results! ] #mypersonalBigRead2019
166: Full-length collections of poetry
64: Chapbooks (poetry & nonfiction)
22: Fiction, Nonfiction, Memoir
Total = 303 individual volumes in 2019!
[ last year’s Results! ] #mypersonalBigRead2018
205: Full-length collections of poetry
67: Chapbooks (poetry & nonfiction)
7: Fiction, Nonfiction, Memoir
Total = 300 individual volumes in 2018!
Notably, I read more than twice the number of journals, more than three times the fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and three more titles in 2019. The stacks in all categories continue to melt and so does the anxiety and overwhelm. Replacing them: confidence and the knowledge gained from the experience of this deep reading practice. There are still some hours left in 2019. To books!