Emerging after hours working on my contest mss. How daunting and overwhelming to go through several hundred poems and capture the ones that seem to the naked eye to work. And what at this late hour in things does that mean?
Damned if I know. I did love Rachel Zucker’s essay on poetics at poetry.org– I tried to link to it, but couldn’t. It allayed some of my concerns about trying to get a book of personal poetry that of course, I hope moves beyond the personal by virtue of my craft, voice, vision, themes, use of language….
Against today’s backdrop of frightening fire news– the flambe’ of the Koran on Saturday by Pastor Crazy–good one: upset the whole world and get us attacked again– the Boulder wildfire, it seems somewhat inocuous to be working on a book of poetry at all. But, I worked and worked, grouping long and short, narrative and lyrical, raw and polished poems in seven sections. I originally thought it would be tough to have an mss of 60 pages, but now I’m up to 75 with some cutting.
Most of the publication prizes for emerging writers– someone with one or two books, depending on the house/press– call for at least 50 pages. Reunion is fifty pages and was/is a small small press book.
Going through this stuff involves going through the guts, pulling out the intestines. More, it involves sutaining self-belief for hours on end. I think I have a strong manuscript here, she said.
No way could I, back in January when I started this blog, even think about working on my poems. I was debilitated and just beginning to feel better after a few very rough years. All of you have been my steadfast encouragers and mentors, and if this mss ever sees the light of day, I hope you’ll feel and know it couldn’t have been written and nurtured out into the world without you.