Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Goatfish Alphabet

Inspired by qarrtsiluni's annual chapbook competition, I've finally lit the proverbial fire under my you-know-what and decided to pull together a chapbook! It's my first one ever, and I'm going to call it "The Goatfish Alphabet", based on the title of a poem that I've been beating my head against the (non-proverbial) wall trying to finish for the last month. (Yes, I am a slow poet).

I've never compiled any of my poems in one place before. The main thing stopping me, besides lethargy, was that I didn't think I had an overarching "theme" in my work, so a book would just end up reading all scattershot and mish-mashy. But as I started looking through what I've written over the last year and half or so, I found enough common threads to be able to pull exactly 21 poems together, seven in each themed chapter involving water, earth and sky.

I've always thought of myself as pretty disconnected from the natural world. I live a very urban life involving a small apartment in a population-dense neighborhood, lots of commuting, and buying all my groceries from the big chain stores. I don't grow anything--the flower pots on my deck have lain fallow for the last three summers. I rarely hike or fish, and the idea of camping gives me anxiety attacks. I don't even like picnics. I like take-out, video games, and cable TV. It's a "beautiful day" today, yet I don't care to take a walk, ride my bike, or "get out and enjoy it." I'm very much an indoorsy type. But I've discovered that the majority of my poems are, in a weird sort of way, about nature. Maybe it's the influence all the Animal Planet I watch while eating said take-out. Who knows? In any case, it's turning out to be a fun and surprisingly creative process to actually assemble the poems. It feels like it's strengthened their substance to have them all standing together, arm-in-arm, in what I am hoping is an orderly and elegant sequence.

But since I'm new to this, I'm also going to troll for advice. If anyone has put together a chapbook and has suggestions, comments, etc. on the best way to go about it, by all means, spill it! I'm listening with wide-open newbie-ears for your wisdom!

1 comment:

40licious said...

I once sent a chapbook to my family for Christmas and they wondered if I was suicidal. No word if they liked the poems. Sign me up for first copy!!!!