The Inertia of a Book and Looking at the Horizon

I had a heavy schedule of readings in the Fall of 2010 and its gradually slowed down in the Winter and Spring months of 2011. Much of the slow down in the reading schedule is I really can't be on the road that much with a young family, my teaching obligations, and the time involved with long distance travel. Not only that, but money's tight.

Anyway, I've been thinking about my relationships with the books I've written and I see myself moving away from this most recent book. I remember one of my mentors in graduate school was talking about the lifespan of a poetry book, and he interestingly said that the lifespan of a book of contemporary poetry was three years. I was a little shocked by what he said, but I understand the context of what he's saying now. Essentially, he was telling me the hype and heavy publicity of the book and its own self-sustained marketing power is only three years. If you want it to last longer, you have to pound the pavement and pound it hard.

Now, I feel myself letting up quite a bit on this end with Requiem for the Orchard, not because I'm tired of the book, per se, but because my brain is into my new projects. I've got the anthology project that Stacey and I are wrapping up and I've got three new book projects that I want to see through. So, even though Requiem for the Orchard is only a year old, I feel, as an artist, like moving on from that work. And I know that's a natural feeling. Part of what we do is reinvent ourselves through other obsessions. I've been writing little political parables for awhile and I feel on the verge of completing a manuscript. Because I see the end in sight for this thing, I want to invest all of my time into the final stages of this project. It's confounding when my brain has to snap back to the older work when so much of the tenor of my internal conversation has been in these short, epistolary prose poems.

Folks have remarked about how different my work is from collection to collection and it's true. My work is quite different between the spaces of the books, and that's always been intentional. I try to get away from my former self on the page as much as possible.


Currently, I'm reading a few books for reviews. I haven't written many reviews, but I'm enjoying this new approach. One thing I'm trying to keep in mind is that the rhetoric of the review from my point of view is to get people reading.


On the fatherhood front, we're moving our 3-yr-old to a new daycare after a hellacious year at his current daycare. I'm quite angry about the daycare situation at our current provider, honestly. In many ways, I wonder if there is a de facto racist policy at the institution, given that the few children who were encouraged to leave were bi-racial. I do not have facts or figures, only testimony from a few friends and colleagues. I met with them a few weeks ago and made sure they understood I'd take legal action if I had to. It's a real dangerous precedent when a healthy and normally developing child is pathologized. Don't mess with the grandson of a pediatrician with 40 years of experience.


Current Spin:

Oliver de la Paz