Friday, January 9, 2009

Sure Thing, Joe Mayo

A few days ago I decided to suck it up and spend maybe way too many hours trying to assemble a chapbook of newer poems from the last couple of months. A few have been published, and every single one of the others is currently out in the world for consideration. If I didn't like the work, I probably wouldn't be doing this. I think.

I'm not sure of the project, where it'll go, if it'll turn into anything, etc., but I wanted to keep moving. It seems like there are enough reasons not to keep writing and working on poems and projects, and so many of those I don't, thankfully, have at this juncture.

I put together a chapbook once, a few years ago, and miraculously it was somehow a finalist for Poetry West. But I'm still not sure how much one has to sustain the work, if there can be bigger gaps of logic between poems, if the dynamic is changed since it's more of a sprint than any kind of distance-running.

Like a full-length manuscript, I'm just going, and hoping for some eventual destination.

Most importantly, though, is the move on doctrine. I'm not the kind of fool or egotist who says, "I'm working on my second book." I don't have a book. A book is something tangible, and if it's a .doc file or a pile of papers most likely imminently ready for the post-reader-"no"-"way" trash, then it's a manuscript. Which is why I don't know if this chapbook project will ever turn into something. I do like the poems, though, and most of them, at least to me, seem different than what's projected throughout Ghost Lights.

But while Ghost Lights is still making the rounds, I want to make sure I'm doing something productive on my end as far as my own work is concerned. I plan to be at this for the rest of my life, and that's a lot of time for too many excuses to come up with why I shouldn't be doing any of it.

And, welcomingly (which I don't think is a word, but should be), I just got a nice note from the Samuel Morse Poetry Prize. I wasn't a finalist or anything, but apparently I made it to the round just before, even though they only announced the finalists. Again, either way, it's encouraging for all the ink and paper to still snake its way through the hands of postal workers to states and states and states.