It's happening now.
I am getting to the point where I am going to be able to see my poems as the raw material I need for a book. I am starting to see the flaws in my poems, the little imperfections which serve to annoy me rather than please me. In short, I am falling out of love with my recent manuscript.
That's right. When I first finished my manuscript I was still high on the contact buzz with writing a helluva lot of poems in a relatively short period of time. I was floating. I was a spaced out cowboy with no reference point to the earth. I was absolutely convinced I was adding to the oeuvre of my lifes work with a bold, significant stroke. This book was not going to be my opus, but it was going to be my announcement that my choice to write about rural America was not a whim, and certainly not a passing fancy.
Now I still think what I have written is among my best writing ever, but I am getting more realistic. I am starting to see my book from a more objective point of view, and I am beginning to reach my saturation point---that point where I can stop writing these kinds of poems in favor of new work and not feel as if I am neglecting my manuscript. It is there where my poems will harden, sharpen, and run themselves through the crucible of the critical eye.
I have my manuscript out to several readers, and as they send back word, give me their impressions, I am able to accept what they say without automatic rejection. The same goes for poems being sent out to journals. I am doing the work that needs doing. Even in the face of my mentor who asked about who my audience is supposed to be (because I am alienating those who would logically be my audience) I was able to say, "I am not interested in writing the book that can get published. I am concerned with writing the book that needs to be written." My thought? Why can my book be both of those things? And that is what I am going to find out in the coming months.