Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Opening the World

Jo and Christine have rolled out the website for Pindrop Press, with three titles for next year: collections of poetry by Michelle McGrane and Joyce Ellen Davis, and a chapbook by me.

I'm delighted and abashed to be in this company. If you haven't read McGrane or Davis, you should do so, and you'll immediately see why.

I'm acutely aware that I haven't paid my dues as a poet: I should have a bulging file folder of rejections before even thinking about a chapbook. All my life I've had this kind of extraordinary luck, and it feels a bit uncanny.

A puzzled friend asked me about the chapbook: "are these some of the Santiago poems?" These are in fact the Santiago poems. Last year I decided to collect together some of my poems and self-publish them: I was going to name the collection Santiago, after the poem that's now up on the Pindrop site. I sent the poems to several friends, who were wonderfully generous with their time in reading and commenting on it. Two of them, independently, suggested renaming the collection after a different poem, "Opening the World."

I liked that idea, and it made deep sense, because these are poems I wrote during the Years of Upheaval -- from 2004 to 2007, roughly -- when my meditation practice suddenly flowered, I found a new community of writers, I quit IBM to go to massage school, and I took to poetry. A world that had shrunk to a dark cell broke open.

Mole blinking in the sunlight, I wrote then, in the air, over Montana. It still feels that way.

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