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Waiting for Godot

amish

The first days of being a published author have been, as you might expect, strange and wonderful yet mundane. Strangest has been my decision to share news about the book before I even had it in my hands. Many ordered it ipso fasto and, thanks to the Amazonian Gods, got it, too.

This creates the unusual situation where readers have a physical copy of the book before author does. Mine? They’re en route. Wending their way through Amish country, maybe. Stopping to smell the roses (poems do that, damn them). So I’m waiting. Waiting for a box stamped Godot.

The wonderful part? How kind and generous people have been with their congratulations and offers to read the book. Which is more than a little nerve racking. Yes, many poems are autobiographical and thus personal. But many others are designed to be read through the medium of a “speaker”–even a fictional first-person speaker sometimes. So it will be interesting to see what people think.

One friend said she really didn’t “get” poetry. I said welcome to the club. I don’t “get” all the poems I read, either. And one thing I’ve learned from my students over the years is that sometimes readers “get” things that writers never intend, which is great! Once I wrote a poem for a lesson in class and kids dug up symbolism I never even planted. Still, I enjoyed the harvest. It’s what I love best about poetry.

So, yes. Everyday life goes on. The “woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head…” thing. But it’s both the same and not the same. Same me, just more trips to the mailbox….

“April Is the Coolest Month.”

Front CoverT.S. Eliot? No. Me, actually.

Just in time for National Poetry Month, the publication date for my first collection of poems, The Indifferent World, has arrived. Expect reviews in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe (who will try to claim me as “their own”) soon. Just don’t get too curious about the definition of “soon.”

Here’s a link to my publisher, Future Cycle Press, for details: The Indifferent World. And in truth, it’s still in the abstract for me. The actual book is still not in my hands. But soon (that word again!).

While writing this book, I came across some interesting thoughts on the word “indifferent.” For most of us, it has a decidedly negative connotation. This is how Pope Francis uses it, for instance, when he laments human indifference to our fellow humans’ suffering.

But Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, saw it differently. To him indifference could be a positive. It could be a type of acceptance to whatever life deals us. A calmness in the face of life’s well-known track record for randomness. That, my friends, is a tougher breed of indifference, almost reminiscent of the Stoics.

In this book, I’m not as deep as these two theological giants. I simply look at it as the world’s shrug. It goes on. Its indifference is not so much malicious or intentional as natural. “Nothing personal,” it seems to be saying. “I’m just spinning along like I did before you and will after you.” And that’s reflected in many ways in these poems–a fun project all around!

If you are interested in a signed copy directly from me, that can be done. Simply click ABOUT and email me for details! In the mean time, I’ll be enjoying the coolness of my 15 seconds (or whatever it is that Andy Warhol allotted me way back when)…