A Poetry Book Is a Poem

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.

Writers’ Retreat in Malibu

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.

Retreat view - 2015

 

Photo in Rogue Agent

Check out the new issue of Rogue Agent, a great new online literary journal that focuses on the body.

I haven’t sent poems yet (on my to do list!), but I have a photo in the “I Feel Empowered When I Wear” photo gallery.

Thanks for starting this journal and including my photo, Jill Khoury!

2015 - I Feel Empowered When I Wear - Rogue Agent