Thursday, December 13, 2018

all the thanks...

In my final proofing and my blurb gathering for sex& violence, I have reached the most difficult part of the process (and I would argue), maybe a little more difficult than writing the damn poems--the acknowledgements.

This morning I was lying in bed thinking this task was ahead of me today and giggled over completely outrageous thank yous. Often I've considered thanking the undergrad poetry teacher who said she did not remember my work at all (it had been about 5-6 years tops) and therefore could not possibly write me a recommendation letter to get into my MFA program--I think she was just trying to nicely say no because I sucked, but hey, look who doesn't suck anymore!  It made me kinda bitter, but maybe bitter made me better. Then there were the 1st year grad school workshop folks who delighted in tearing me down with a particular zealousness that still rankles (it got better, but that 1st year was a doozie.)    The random male editor circa 1999, who said "nice, but these are hardly of the Keatsian mantle."   Or maybe a note thanking all the horrible men I've dated and who inspired some of the poems. By name.

Other things are less Taylor Swiftian, and just sillier. Thanking my cats, for example.  Or Pop Tarts.  Or the makers of my favorite pens (Pilot g-2s).  Tequila . My day job where I spend a decent amount of time working on poetry things and probably wouldn't have such latitude for such distractions in other professions.  Sylvia Plath, who set an excellent and horrible example in my young mind on how to be a poet.  The 7th grade boy who irrevocably broke my heart.  The math skills I lack that doomed me from the career in science I set out for when I graduated high school.

With my first book, the fever almanac, I took the task very seriously, thanking my poetry communities, the editor of Moon Journal.who published my very first poems in her journals and later my first chapbook, as well as my Ghost Road editors and the journals where the poems had previously appeared.  Also,  Poetry Center of Chicago whose  contest I had won a couple years before with a chunk of change attached. I got a little more creative with book #2--thanking all the artists and writers who had inspired me and who I had probably stolen from.  In the shared properties of water and stars, I thanked the fairy tales I was reinventing and the people who had instilled in me a love of the strange and magical. With girl show, I thanked everyone for indulging my weird interests and writing reclusiveness, as well as a friend who helped me with my sideshow research.

By the time major characters and salvage hit the press, I was down to bare bones, previous publication notes and that was about it. Similar with the upcoming little apocalypse.   Initially, I'd included a combined notes and acks. page for the new book, but as I was proofing, I thought I might want to flesh it out a little bit again.  By the end of it, I think I did okay--thanking my community, my awesome blurbers, Black Lawrence and my editor, some personal notes at the end. Another book put to bed and ready to send off the final draft in the next couple of days.  Book #8--and wow, who would have known? (Certainly not my undergrad professor. Nor my 7th grade crush).

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