It’s become clear to me that a poetry book is just a larger poem. The poems in it are lines, and sometimes I have to cut good ones because they don’t fit, and I have to create a sense of flow and keep people reading. Every poem I’ve ever loved doesn’t need to be in a book, or at least not right now in this book. This feels so obvious to me now, but it definitely wasn’t before.
For some reason, I had always thought about poetry books as a storage container for all of the poems that I like the best and want to keep together (or, even worse, that I wrote within the same time period). Maybe I’ve read too many Collected Poems. I’ve been working through a manuscript and going wild with cutting and adding and rearranging and revising. Creating a book was easier with my chapbook The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman because it has a clear narrative arc. It’s much harder with the collection I’m working on now that has a wide variety of poems swirling around a central theme.
And now back to work.
This sleepy mother writer made it to the Serra Retreat Center in Malibu this morning for the APU writers’ retreat (with a little help from Starbucks and Mika… I was sleepier than I’d like for that 3-hour drive after waking up with the baby at 4 a.m.).
I’ve been writing away since lunch: two new poems drafted and a few more ideas jotted down. I don’t have an ocean view like last year, but I do have a jacaranda tree right outside my window, and I get a lovely breeze. I’m ready for a few days of writing here.
I just got to read through the new gender issue of Stirring: A Literary Collection, which includes my poems “Sex & Santa” and “What to Expect.”
Thanks to M. Mack for guest editing this fantastic issue! I’m thrilled to be in such good company. I was especially blown away by Molly Gaudry’s nonfiction piece “You Know You’re Adopted When.” Check it out!
The new issue of Rogue Agent is live, and I’m thrilled to have “Baby Dream #33: The Fountain” included alongside some incredible poems and art by M. Brett Gaffney, Sally Deskins, Janeen Rastall, David Ishaya Osu, and more.
What an awesome third issue! Congratulations to editor Jill Khoury!
Happy two years to my first poetry chapbook, The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman!
If you want to get a copy for yourself or someone else, this one is still available from Wipf & Stock and Amazon, or you can be even cooler and buy a signed copy directly from me.
This still makes me feel like Jo March.
My poem “Thirteen Blackbirds Looking to Do Something New” is reprinted in the latest issue of The Wallace Stevens Journal. It was originally published in Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems from Accents Publishing.
As of today, I’m the featured poet of the month at Negative Capability Press! They’ve included a couple of poems from The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman. I’m honored!