Thursday, October 25, 2012

the BIG clip

So I've got a November deadline for getting my next manuscript to my publisher.

I've been mentally rifling through the poems for months now, since that ever-so-productive farmhouse retreat but it seemed like it might be time to make the manuscript manifest.

So I found not one but two BIG clips, manuscript-sized clips, and spent a morning printing out poems and collecting the notes-on-poems from a year's worth of writing group meetings and then another evening making piles, making groupings.

I've still got heaps of edits to do and individual poems will probably drop out or be added to the whole, but it already feels like a whole.

I don't have a title yet. I don't have a cover image. But I've got a stack of fresh poems. Of dirty dark earnest things...and they seem to know each other already.

Thanks to the aforementioned Plastered Hams for the notes and the company. Thanks to the lit mags and chapbook presses who have - or will be, like Kalamalka Press' upcoming How to Make a Collage - publishing chunks from the manuscript.

One surprise was that a long poem that I published as a chapbook in 2009 with Edmonton's Rubicon Press called Guidelines: Malaysia & Indonesia, 1999, won't be included in this ms.

It doesn't fit and, also, it has picked up baggage since I began thinking about THE NEXT BOOK.

Basically, I've been scheming up a ms. of long poems, one devoted to each of my grandparents. What they did and who they left behind. Which means two WWII poems, one for my grandfather-the-spy and one for the grandfather who guarded a POW camp in Ontario. Which means a poem set in Ireland and the Antarctic, amidst whaling ships.

So Guidelines, which is about my orphaned Dutch grandmother and her father and grandfather, the governor general of the Dutch East Indies, as well as my own travels in Malaysia and Indonesia a hundred years later, has become the seed poem for that ms.

But that's the pie-in-the sky and I'm more than happy to stay in the here-and-now with this manuscript...

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