Monday, November 21, 2011

Progress: Springville Book of poems

I just wanted to check in and let you all in on the progress I have made recently towards the completion of my poetry manuscript centered on the history of Springville.

As of today, I have 15 poems written for the new manuscript.  The poems are being written primarily in chronological order (as it pertains to the ordering of the entire book according to the actual history of Springville) but four of the fifteen poems written are decidedly for the latter parts of the book.

I have started to see the possibilities of ordering already, as I can foresee approximately 20 poems being written for the first section which will cover 1850-1900; another 20 poems for the middle section (1900-1950), and hopefully another 20 poems written for the latter part of the book (1950-undetermined).  This leaves me to believe I will be creating a manuscript of somewhere between 80-100 pages of poetry, since I need to make room for several narrative poems which I am hoping to make 2-4 pages each and one autobiographical poem of at least 5-10 pages.  Of course, if the personal poem doesn't work out to my liking, the book will be much shorter.

Titles of poems, as the manuscript stands are:

Hobble Creek Almanac
We Were Called
A Place to Start
Instructions Given for the Construction of Fortifications and Homes
New Testament
Venit Vultis Erant Victum
Good Days
At the Springville City Cemetery
Instructions Given for the Proper Treatment of Stillbirth, Premature, and
Miscarriage Births

* * *

I hope all s well with you.  Talk to you most likely on the flip side of Thanksgiving.


  1. Justin, I've been more and more interested in poems about places in the past year or so. Lately, I've been absolutely obsessed with Richard Hugo, who wrote some achingly beautiful poems about the small towns in the Pacific Northwest and in Montana. "Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg" may be my current favorite poem. In my manuscript (*Brackish*), I have a long sequence of poems about the tiny towns that dot the Florida Panhandle, where I grew up.

    I'm really excited about your project because in a lot of ways, it mirrors my own. I love the titles you've listed above. I very much look forward to reading the manuscript in its entirety one day.

    Reading your post, I can't help thinking of Hugo's *The Triggering Town*, and I wonder about your own poetics. As a poet, do you feel a greater fidelity to verifiable fact or to emotional Truth? Hugo says that the town is a trigger--a place to begin the poem. The town allows the poet to find the "real" subject of the poem.

  2. Jeff:

    I am straddling the fence on verifiable fact and emotional truth. This book will certainly be rooted in several real histories of Springville, but I am including a disclaimer/apology to those who feel I have violated loyalty in the world of fact in favor of the narrative I tell in my book.

    I love Hugo's book, and certainly it is part of my consciousness in the process I have for the book.