You’ll notice, sometimes, gaps of several weeks in this blog. Actually, the reason’s a pretty good one: you can be pretty certain I’m working on poems. Manuscripts, actually, for competitions. It’s fun work, something I especially enjoy because it means looking at (and sometimes juxtaposing) poems from wildly different times in my working life. I’ve been doing this in one way or another since the early 1980s, but over the past couple of years I’ve focused more on the writing than the business side of, well, this biznis that we call po-. For the curious, the following is a bit more detail:
1. STRIPSHOW chapbook: A couple of years ago, I started a sequence titled STRIPSHOW; the idea was to use strip bars as a setting, and sex work as a subject. The writing took something like eighteen months, and when it was over I thought “that’s it, I won’t be going back to that again.” Wrong. They kept happening, and when the economic collapse sent women from all walks of life to apply for work as strippers, it seemed pretty clear the subject was still, as they say, in play. So the writing goes on.
2. And while we’re talking about STRIPSHOW, which as the above indicates is a continuing concern, some of the other files/manuscripts either “finished” (Stafford’s word was abandonment, and actually I think he’s more accurate) or in progress include: Jazz and the Subjective Truth, which surrounds those two general notions; Midwestern Duende (a four-part manuscript from which Darke County Poems comes); One More Time For All the End Times, a collection of hymns (no—actually a bloody stark selection and not at all for the faint of heart); We All Know Where the Weapons Were Born, a repository for some harder-edged socially-oriented material; Tributes, which would be fairly ironically titled if it did not in fact involve notions of tribute (why do we love those we love seems as important a question to ask as who do we love); Magnetic Road, made up mostly of poems written since our move to Toronto; and now there’s “The Grace Year,” a poem that’ll take until June of next year to do in first draft (it’s an attempt to work with some of Rexroth’s materials and for a change write about hope; even in such radically horrible times as ours there must be at least a few things that will help motivate us even just a bit further)—to find out why it’s a grace year, well, watch this space. Perhaps you’ll laugh. I did. Actually, it was time for me to add a bit of uplift if possible after several, shall we say, manuscripts I’ve found especially uncomfortable to deal with because of the territory they tend to walk. “Grace Year” is an attempt to work with less ominous or forbidding areas than I’d become accustomed.
I’m including and updating this material mainly for you folks from FB, old friends and new, who might be wondering what I’ve been doing up here lately. The fact is I mean to keep to my labors.