Just so you don't all get the idea that I'm the benevolent, generous and all-supportive Poetry Diva of the Hudson Valley you thought I was, you should know that a friend shared a pre-production layout of a postcard promoting a first book of poetry, to be published by a real press, and after my initial thrill, the very next emotion I experienced was jealousy. I feel like the last kid to get my ears pierced, despite my many self-published products, appearances of my work in over 40 literary journals and my recent success with the RANDOM WRITING poetry workshop. I think what pushed me over the edge were the three endorsements for the book, written by mutual friends. Wonderful, insightful remarks all, but I really wished they’d been about my work.
Not that I often think my work is worthy of professional publication. I know how much sweat and blood my friend put into the preparation of that manuscript. I helped with the revisions, and had the opportunity to read a large chunk of this work all at once, the same experience readers will have when they order the book. Dues have been paid and publication earned. I fluctuate about the quality/value of my work between somewhat worthy and total crap. I don't write this to fish for compliments. It is really what's happening between my ears. I continue to write mainly because I continue to need to express myself, to witness, to shoot my mouth off in a subtle way that I suspect will deteriorate over time into blatant curmudgeony haiku.
I am also very aware of the serendipitous nature of the publication game itself. I have often read published works that very clearly illuminate the sexual relationship that surely exists between editor and poet. I do know black from white. My efforts at publication have also been intermittent at best, and life at large usually gets the best of me these days. I have work out now, not much new but little circulated. Coming back to it a few years after its composition, I had the ability to cast a fresh eye on it, and saw it was good. Good enough for publication? I don't have that answer. All I know is no one will publish poetry that's still in my computer files. Otherwise, I'd have been the new Plath by now. Although Sexton had more fun.
Incidently, I wish my friend nothing but the best in this endeavor, and am honored to have been included so intimately in the process. I'll keep you all posted, and you'd really be doing yourself a favor to pre-order when the time arrives. 55 must be pre-sold for publication to take place, a practical stance for a 21st century publisher to take. I'll keep you posted.