As I told Nina, my marketing hurdle here is what to call it. A magazine? A photo-chapbook? It's sixteen 8 1/2 x 11 inch pages. You can buy it here -- Not Coming Back -- print version for $5.00, digital version for $2.00. Nina Tovish took 11 of my recent poems and put them together with her photographs. They're amazing photos, which won't surprise you if you know Nina's work -- but what does surprise and delight me is how deeply the photographs and poems speak to each other.
Everyone I've shown it to pauses at the spread that pairs a full page photo of a stream flowing through a an unkempt winter landscape -- trees shaggy with moss, soft alternating with harsh, textures fading away -- with a poem I wrote about the griefs of breaking up a household after a death, of selling, giving away, throwing away the stuff that accumulates in a house over a lifetime. Most of the pairings are more obvious than that, but that's the one that moves me most deeply.
This is not really a collaboration so much as a new thing that Nina made out of my poems. I treasure it. I've never met Nina in the flesh, but we go way back in the online world. She was a student of theology and serious tournament poker player, back then. We both are incorrigibly restless border-walkers, people who can't stay put in one world, and we both experience love as a disaster devoutly to be wished. She tended to pick out my more erotic and theological poems.
The poems include my Anna's Hummingbird poem, which I think is the best poem I've written in the last couple years, about the anxiety of a mother Anna's for her fledgling:
God save us from the slow raccoonI hope you'll find this magazine -- photo-chapbook -- whatever-it-is -- as rich an experience as I have.
God save us from the mocking crow
God save us from the wide-eyed cat
God save us from the fingered apes.