This 6th collection of poems is special to me for many reasons. In my opinion it is my best book yet. It contains poetry primarily in English with some Spanish verses woven through. It is centered with a flash fiction piece I started on my iPhone high over the Atlantic on my way home from Lismore Castle, IRELAND.
The book is a result of the two writing workshops I attended in the past two years. Prize winning author Ethel Rohan ” Goodnight Nobody” and poet Patricia Smith who has won, I think, several prizes for her collection ” Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah” were teachers of mine whose instruction and impact had a lot to do with how the poetry I chose was worked and even the order of the works.
Two peers from my second workshop, Marge Piercy’s Poetry Intensive 2014 consented to read the book and to write cover blurbs. I was thrilled at this gift. The poetry editor and website and blog editor for the NLAPW.org wrote the third one.
No, I haven’ t won a Pulitzer. This is “only” chapbook #6. But I think if you give it a try, you will find stories that resonate. This winter I lost my mother and then was sick for 6 weeks so my efforts at my own PR and marketing, which I really dislike doing, have been limited to occasional posts of the cover and referral to the publisher’s website. Www.finishinglinepress.com in the bookstore….you can also find my art in their online gallery. I would love it if any readers and or colleagues from either workshop would share this post along. Some of you have heard a few of the poems that I read in the castle and in Wellfleet Library. I know a few peers from the castle have preordered. I am also honored that Ethel Rohan bought my previous collection ” God Considered the Horizon.”
I own a great many books written by my teachers beginning with “Late Harvest” by Beth Patton, Puddinghouse, who was the English teacher I introduced at the Schweinfurth reading last November and who lit the fire of poetry in my soul in 8th grade. I own most of Marge’s books, many of Jane Smiley’s, one of Ethel’s, Patricia’s, Jane Chance’s collection and so on. I think supporting our colleagues matters. I call myself a fringe poet or a poet on the edge as I am not under any university umbrella, just hiking the trails making poetry on my own.
I value support that much more. Everyone was nobody once, ask Emily Dickinson. We all love being fans of the famous. As a judge in an annual poetry contest myself, however, I think we need to support each other.
Nobodies become somebodies in just that way. I remember from Marge’s reading her discussion of the times when she only had rice to eat. Her autobiography “Sleeping with Cats” tells the tale of struggling to make it as a poet. I ve had an empty refrigerator a few times in my life. For me poetry IS my back-up job. It’s my primary job and the part time one and all the others in between. I’ve won some prizes, had some good readings and while opening the fridge to find only a jar of olives can be disconcerting, I have to make poems because doing anything else makes me nuts. I tried for years. I don’t feel sorry for myself. I am blessed to have been born a poet.
So I would ask you, try my book. I don’t think it will disappoint. Tell your friends about it and hopefully the snow will melt and I will see you at a reading or two. I will keep you posted.