For the past five years or so, I’ve released at least one book per year. Last year’s release was Obey the Darkness: Horror Stories. This was back in February, if I recall correctly. Anyway, since then, I haven’t put out any new books at all. I’ve been writing poems furiously since February of this year, and getting some published at various magazines, but I had no books planned for this year. A few days ago, I decided to go ahead and create a release for 2019. The book, a relatively short one at 35 pages, is called Welcome to Flowerville: Poetry from San Juan Commons. It contains 19 poems I’d written years ago, heavily edited and modernized, of course, as well as photographs of flowers I’d taken from around this adult residence I live in. Even though the general theme of the poems do have something to do with flowers, the book is not actually about that. The flowers were used to inject color, figuratively and literally, to the poems which, themselves, deal with heavier subject matter like loss, betrayal, death, you know, the fun stuff. Lately, my poetry has the ghost of Anne Sexton watching over them. Despite her personal flaws, I do like her work and they are an inspiration for this collection. I guess I’m glad I still have the strength and wherewithal to write and release books. When it comes out maybe I’ll treat myself to a nice lunch from one of the local eateries.
Well, it’s been three months (Feb to Apr) since I’ve sequestered myself to become a poet. It’s been a three-part expedition – study the rules of poetry, make contact with professional poetic concerns, and pen a couple of poems myself. So far, three magazines have accepted my output – Valparaiso, Picaroon, and Spark. I’ll create links to those soon on this site.
I’d originally intended to scribe just 40 or 50 poems, but as of today, I’ve written 100. I anticipate, in the next few months, I’ll get more acceptances. At that time I’ll start collating the best of my works into a book to present to poetry publishers.
As I’ve explained before, writing poetry keeps me on the straight and narrow. Even on those days when I just want to yell, “Fuck it!” I keep on plodding on, hoping my poems will see the light of day in some prestigious magazine. These days it’s what I live for.
A mixed bipolar episode, for those who don’t know, means the afflicted is suffering from down-in-the-dumps depression along with higher-than-high aspirations at the same time. For the past few months, I’ve wanted nothing more than to jump headfirst into an active volcano and erase all that is Robin from the face of the earth. While thinking that, I also managed to write a book of poems. I still don’t know what I’ll call the collection but I’m hoping it’ll be in print by this summer or fall. I really have in mind one publisher to handle my book, Copper Canyon Press right here in Port Townsend. Their requirement is some of my poems had to have been published by other concerns. I’ve thus taken the liberty of sending out my poems for consideration in the hope that, if I get at least five or ten of them published, Copper Canyon would sign my book. We’ll see.
In other news, I’m in the middle of editing the galley of my first book, Wetland and Other Stories. It’s looking good so far. I should be done by tomorrow. I don’t have a timetable for its release yet but I’m guessing it should be out in two or three months. Yay! I’ve released books before but those were on my own college company, Sound Off Press. I wish I could find those juvenile books now. They had not only short stories but also poems and illustrations. Ah. The good ol’ creative days at Iowa State.
You know, in this day and age of self publishing, I’ve often asked myself, “Self, why do you continue to send out your short stories and poems for publication consideration from established magazines?” True. No one has to. With the proliferation of literary blogs, a writer can just as easily sit at home and display their linguistic cunning to the world without the help or backing of a literary agency. Indeed, all one has to do is post one’s site on various blog channels and the readers will come running. Or so it seems. I think, for me, I like the idea of others championing my work because it says, one, that I can write and, two, I’m worth reading. It’s kind of like a pat on the back that says “good job, well done.” I guess I’m still at that stage where I need some reassurance. Rejection does hurt but the occasional acceptance is a panacea for the pain.