Taking things a step further that my recent mini-success in writing a poem after such a long drought, I have been looking at a lot of my poems which I have written since 2008 and in the same essential voice as those found in my book, Working in the Bird House, and I notice that I certainly have enough to start fashioning a chapbook from. What gets me every time out of the gate is the fact that I want my chapbooks to be something more than a place for a group of poems to reside. I want the book to be about something. I want them to come together and create collective identity.
Now, two or three of my more successful poems ("Contemplating Diego Rivera's Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park," "After the Photograph of the Lynching of Tom Shipp and Abe Smith," and "In My Dreams I am Always Running with the Dead") are of a more serious political nature. The other poems I like, or would like to start working into a chapbook manuscript are not at all serious. They are more lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek, and clash with the above poems. Of course the obvious answer is to discard the three poems which are more serious. Unfortunately, they are the poems which have a unity of theme, where as the other poems are simply a bunch of poems. So, do I try to create more poems which reinforce their serious nature, or do I try to create a framework for the other poems which are lighter?
All this is happening at the same time while I am still trying to create poems for my second Springville manuscript. Well, that was the idea before this long drought of not writing hit me. It always seems to be my fate to make plans, only to be metaphorically stomped into the dust. As far as that manuscript goes, I have about 10-12 pages of poems and that's about it. If I get my head screwed on straight I could write 10-12 more and try to create a chapbook out of that material. Stranger things have happened to me in this writing universe.
What would I like to see? I'd like to see my manuscript, Sailing This Nameless Ship picked up in the next six months to a year. I would like to see me returning to writing poems for my planned Springville manuscript, and I would like to write about 20 more poems in the voice of WITBH so I can start creating a manuscript of poems which employ my more contemporary voice. I would also like to crack the nut of the anthology. I have been getting closer. I got as far as the final cut on an anthology of poets in the West, and that would have certainly been awesome. So, if you think I have anything that would fit into the mix of some anthology you have knowledge of, please let me know. And yes, I do know that a lot of poets are hesitant to share that sort of info because they feel it lessens their chances. You know what? Poetry ain't a competition, so that kinda sucks.
As it is, I have been submitting like crazy. Submishmash continues to be a wonderful means of easing my neurosis. I can check up on the many submissions and see which have begun the review process. It's also beginning to shape my submission habits. I am less and less likely to submit to journals with their own submission manager. I have never been the best at keeping records and without either an e-mail record or Submishmash, I am prone to forgetting a couple of places I have submitted. It happened just a week ago. I submitted my book manuscript to several presses and I got distracted in the middle of the process and I forgot a press which had its own manager. The reality is they will most likely pass on the book, but I need to keep track. For me it is better to either send it via e-mail, by way of Submishmash, or not at all.
Well, I've bent your ear long enough. Talk to you all later.