Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I've been messing with the two older manuscripts again. I had a thought briefly to combine them. At first glance this seemed impossible. I had 48 pages of more rural, earthy, narrative poems, and 50 pages of more surreal and decidedly urbanesque poems, but I've been working with dividing them into sections and it just may work. The themes, as in most of my work, run along similar lines, as does the imagery. Plus, I trimmed a lot of fat on them, certain poems I'm not sure why I was holding onto them. Moved some more recent things that fit thematically into the current manuscript I'm working on. The later collection are certainly cleaner, shorter, less ornate than the earlier ones. I'm always thinking those earlier poems should be revised, but then I get them in front of me and I just can't bring myself to make them more like what I'm writing now. It's almost like someone else wrote them, and they're perfectly fine and beautiful in their own way and I can't make them anything but what they are. And I'd be happy to have them published in a book (want terribly for them to be published in a book) but feel like I'm growing farther and farther away from them. Some of them are still the better stuff left from The Archaeologist's Daughter, most of Bloody Mary, almost all of belladonna and a bunch of other poems that never made it into chapbooks. When I looked at the recent poems in light of the the others, they actually fit together reasonably well working against each other. The more surreal ones seem to pull the other ones in that direction moreso than standing alone.

I need to come up with a title...perhaps the fever almanac or almanac of fevers or something entirely different? It will make me a little less anxious to know there's only one mss. out there and not two of them that may never get published. Of course on the slim chance either gets accepted on their own in the meantime, this is all null and void. And then there's the new one I can worry about, but only when it's actually finished. I kind of want to get at least all the poems done by the end of the semester, I have about 40 of them now, which include a number of the more general errata poems, the red riding hood series, and other poems I've written in the last six months or so. I'll probably sit on it for awhile and see what happens. But I really want to get to work on the long poem and my list-making mania won't allow me to start the other without checking off the current project one as "done," or as close as it can be now. Again, it makes me anxious to have so many projects unfinished, so many threads dangling. And so there's that, and the carnivalesque manuscript I want to do, and the smaller Cornell chapbook that's half finished and driving me crazy. Maybe I'll mark that off the list before moving onto the long poem, which is my definitive summer project this year. If I can stay focused, I should be good to go...

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