Sunday morning, January 17, on a couch in the lobby of the Seaview Hotel in Galloway, New Jersey, suddenly lines about gorillas and game shows and science made perfect sense together in a poem about love, and I was so overwhelmed by what I had just written, so emotional, that I had to retreat to the restroom to pull myself together. Karen Craigo wrote a post today about the potentially “sacred” element of how a poem arrives, and I understand what she means. This is why I write, for those moments that my own thoughts come together in a way that stuns me, moves me as if I hadn’t written them myself.
The Winter Poetry and Prose Getaway was, as always, a stimulating and reaffirming way to kick off my new year of writing. In addition to three strong drafts from Peter Murphy’s prompts, time with East Coast friends, and long conversations about writing, teaching, and life in general, on Monday, workshop leader Emari DiGiorgio gave us the charge to create action plans for our writing lives, little contracts with ourselves (realistic or far-reaching) to keep life from getting in the way of our writing goals. I have been following the action plan since I returned home and have been steadfast about drafting (one new draft a week), submitting with discretion (fewer subs to more challenging markets, only when work is ready), and working on promoting/reading from my brand new book Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story.
Yes, my new book is out! It’s a lovely object to behold, and I hope that readers find that the poems inside hold up to the cover art by Brooke Shaden:
I am starting to look into booking readings to share this new material, and I am excited to put it into the hands of as many readers as possible. I sometimes think that I am not doing enough with my writing, not “achieving” enough, but then my friends from work remind me that I have two books and seven chapbook publications without the benefit of an MFA and with the restraint of working full-time as a middle school teacher. I’m 53 years old, nearing retirement from 30+ years in education, and do not need to make poetry my “career.” Those moments like the one on that couch last month are the reason I continue to write. If I can feel that way writing a poem, hopefully someone someday will be moved by reading it. And that’s a success.
If you are interested in the new book (especially if you would like a signed copy), follow the link below and it will be in the mail before you can say “apocalypse.”