It is difficult to say when a poem is born. Thinking is a part of the writing process and I am always thinking and stewing and marinating in jumbles of words.
One year ago today I gave birth to the biggest puddle of words, pushing them out into a carefully constructed, bound and ISBN’d book.
to go without blinking was published by BlazeVOX books in March 2012. After collecting forms, stories, voices, echoes and various translations from numerous bodies, I created a narrative out of the webs of disjointed stanzas.
Over a decade ago, I started sending out my work. Mostly poems, but some stories too. In those days, you sent out pages in an envelope with a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) inside. I began filling a lime green folder with rejection letters, which traveled in the envelopes I addressed. Most were form rejections: an insertion of my name cut and pasted to memorized NO, THANK YOUs. Sometimes, they came back a little more personalized.
These days, most submissions are through the computer. And you wait. And you wait. That green folder busted loose, ripping at the folds. But it needed to grow fat in order to reach the moment of YES’s.
As writers, we let go the moment we hand our work to someone else: reader or editor or publisher or mother. With this book, I have enjoyed hearing from readers– their interpretations and questions. What it meant to them and how other people’s poetry can impregnate a reader’s body with swarms of more poems.
As a young writer, many many years ago, I dreamt of this moment. I used to go to bookstores and visit the section of poetry where my book would be alphabetized in. Perhaps beside Marilyn Hacker or Langston Hughes.
Calling myself writer is the one label I will proudly own for the rest of my life. Self-inflicted and permanently inked on body.