Hoo boy. Things do happen, don't they? Let's have a quick catch-up post so we can move on to better things in the days to come, shall we?
Had a great visit from Joan Cusack Handler to the Spoken Word Series this month. I know my six loyal readers are tired of hearing this, but the generosity of the NJ poetry community continues to refresh and amaze me. Joan is the Publisher at CavanKerry Press, which produces some of the most physically and poetically beautiful books around, and a terrific poet besides. Not only was her reading great (which I expected), but she handled the typically interactive enthusiasm of our little crowd with great humor, and gave several of us some specific and helpful publishing guidance besides. Isn't it true that those with the most confidence in themselves tend to be the most generous with their coaching?
BTW, if you enjoy poetry presented live, you need to go here. It doesn't get much better.
Word is starting to leak out about the upcoming Hanover Press anthology Crush, to which I contributed a favorite poem that had yet to find a home in print. Editor Faith Vicinanza has this to say about the book:
"Most poets are intrigued, if not enthralled, with the notion of love. And it doesn’t require a belief in love as a viable construct nor as a human emotion that is, by its nature, unavoidable, to find the subject worthy of contemplation and a poem or two.
Still, poets know there isn’t a hewing cry for more unrequited love poems. I prefer to call these almost love poems, or better, versified flirtations.
This collection is meant to delight in the familiar, to share knowingly in the humor underlying the obsessive, and at times, to tease, perhaps even seduce."
This book should be a lot of fun.
As an aside, the truism that a poem is never really done (that most poems can always be revised and improved) applies to me in spades in this case. I presented the earliest version of the poem Faith includes in the book at an open 2004. The final product is a recognizable cousin - related, but different in many good ways. And yes, I mean that as a compliment to my cousins.
Finally noticed a press reference to the fun event at Gary's Wine and Marketplace last month, which featured Laura Boss, Maria Gillan, and a Who's-Who in New Jersey at the open mic. The article reflects a bit of distance from the poetry community (some of the references are pure textbook stuff), but it's still worth a read. And a nice DeBaun Series event reference on page 2 (for which THANKS!)
And yes, that's me in the second row.
My first chapbook, which I've made several oblique references to in past weeks, will be out in time for Father's Day this year. It was a long process to complete the commitment to self-publishing it and validating that opinion with poets and publishers I respect. I've been reading from the prototype in public recently. I feel about self-publishing like Wil Wheaton did about making an infomercial: It will send clear signals to some and create a perception that I'm an artist on a certain level of talent. Nevertheless, it's clearly the right decision for me in this case and I'm comfortable understanding what some people will think of me. "Some people" aren't the audience for this book. Thanks to those who helped me get home on this issue; you know who you are.
The waters are starting to recede in New Jersey, but we are reminded that we are part of the fragile world after all. The tree that was leaning over my house for the past week has been tended to, and in its leaving has taken with it all the metaphors it introduced into my little universe. I'm thankful, and looking forward to a great and renewing Spring.
Stick around for it, won't you?