Something I have noticed with my writing, the poetry manuscripts I have written, is that for each one, something new happens. For my first book, Four Way Stop, it was the realization that I was actually writing a book. In fact, I knew I was writing a chapbook---not a full length book. For my second book, I was attempting to make the landscape the protagonist. ---And so on. With each book, I do something new.
Well for this book, I am also doing something I have never done before. I am submitting poems for publication after the book is finished. Now I am still making minor changes to the manuscript and to some poems here and there, but I am probably 98% finished, and it is only in the past little while I have been submitting the poems from this latest manuscript for consideration. I don't know if anyone else has worked like this, but it is an odd sensation for me, knowing I have a manuscript finished and knowing most of the poems themselves are finished, but waiting until now to see if they are things other people will find interesting.
And I have found publication for some, approximately 13 poems so far. However, the anxiety I feel now over the poems I have making the rounds is a little different. The poems are essentially finished, and where I might have had the chance to throw out a poem that is not working or start over, I am less prone to make that decision because I see the poem in its current state as something much more solid, immutable.
I don't know if that is a good or bad thing, either. You see, I have never been very good at telling my good poems from my bad poems. If a poem gets finished, I am pretty happy with it because it survived my process of drafting, tinkering, explosion, and rebuilding. It has made it through the gauntlet, so to speak. I love my poems almost unconditionally, which is a little brazen, and certainly not always the wisest of all behaviors. Poems can be dangerous if we love the wrong one too much. The wrong poems can cloud our vision, warp our perception, make us snow-blind to our own faults, which certainly happens to me all too often.
So I hope this pattern of having written the entire manuscript before submitting poems for publications will be a one-off, or at least take an unspecified hiatus. I want to go back to gathering momentum as I go.