“Why poetry?”

I just got off the phone with the marvelous Palmer Hall. It seems that This Pagan Heaven probably won’t be out until June, but we’re going to try and move it forward as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, he’s found a painting that might be suitable cover art. I can’t wait to see it. I’m also looking around for a few other possible ideas (artists, take note).

Palmer’s an old and dear friend. He reminded me that he had introduced Robert Phillips and me at the GCACWT back around 2001 or so. That introduction led to Phillips requesting “New Breast” for the Texas Review.

Although it’s highly unusual for an editor to offer a poet as much latitude in the galley stage as Palmer has allowed me, I’m grateful for his encouragement. I know exactly how lucky I am to have such an editorial relationship. This says far more about his talent than it does about mine.

Meanwhile, I’m lining up readings. I know for sure that I’ll be reading in New Orleans and Asheville, dates TBA. My immediate focus is on the Gulf Coast. I’m planning on several readings in Florida–shooting for Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, possibly Tallahassee. I’d like to do something in the Gulfport/Biloxi/Bay St. Louis area, as well as Mobile or thereabouts. With luck, I should be able to swing something small at West Chester, but would like to try for Philadelphia and possibly New York when I’m up that way. Baltimore would be great, too. If you run a reading series, teach creative writing, or manage an independent bookstore, I’d love to hear from you!

* * *

My first set of interview questions begins: “Why poetry?” I’ve been musing on this seemingly innocuous interrogative, which poses a challenge not unlike that of Dustin Brookshire’s “Why Do I Write”/”How I Discovered Poetry” blog series. I’ll save the answer(s) for my interlocutor, but promise to post the interview (or a link to it) once it comes out.

Now, I’m extracting myself from highly nuanced research on Spenser’s versification and toddling off to the Mark Doty/Paul Lisicky reading at Georgia State.

Later, I’ll expound upon what the unholy marriage of the infamous ’70s Virginia Slims slogan and a misquoting of Robert Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” have to do with budget cuts.

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