Monday, February 8, 2016

The Seasonal Chapbooks, Part 2

“The Theory, the Fallacy”

Back in 2014, while still living in Glendale and in my last days at Marlowe's and before the shoot of “To Better Days,” I decided to write poetry.

The decision to write poetry was not too strange. In the waning months at Glendale's slum of “The Cherry Creek Club,” I read poetry at night before bed. I had been the poetry editor at Umbrella Factory Magazine. There was poetry everywhere.

When I decided to start writing it, in 2014 anyhow, I knew I needed a tangible goal. Arbitrarily, I decided to be a poet for one year, the whole calendar year of 2014. I also chose 100 poems as a goal. I figured I could do one or the other, 100 poems or a calendar year.

2014 was not a favorable year for me. I had a number of jobs, and at least half were terribly degrading. In addition to having to go to work daily, I worked long hours at a deficit. I don't mind work, or having long hours, but going to work and losing money makes me cranky. The only real upshot to it, and this was the case for about the first six months of 2014, I had ample time to scribble a few words down at work. That's right, I wrote on the clock. And I had the lens of my current bad situation to color my poems.

Emerging from 2014 was quite the opposite from the way I entered it. Things improved all around and I made some good moves. I had 100 poems, exactly 100, to show for my efforts.

As 2014 waned, I made two decisions for 2015. I decided to go low-fi and turn off the computer. I also decided to write another 100 poems.

I did not make either goal. I did turn off the computer, but only for six months. In that six months, I wrote a great deal, first drafts only. I did not reach 100 poems, but I did come close.

So what happens now?

In November of last year, Melanie Whithaus and I worked on the publication of 2 poetry chapbooks. She's a hell of a poet, one of my favorites in fact, and she'd already published chapbooks. I'm very impressed with her latest.

When it came to the publication of my chapbook, I decided that I would put those pieces that were run at The Sophia Ballou Project. All the poems in my manuscript had been published before. This was something very important to me which I hope will make sense momentarily.

So, back at my poetry filing cabinet, I have nearly 200 poems that I've spent two years writing. I've got this desire to create four chapbooks this year. I'd also like to publish them. So where to now?

I've got this title: “The Theory, the Fallacy.” I've got my content settled. I've even got my cover image. I took the title from a poem in the collection. I chose poems which I felt took a trilogy sort of narrative. The cover is from one of my photos.

Can it be published right away? I don't think so.

I think the best course of action, at least for someone like me is to try like hell to get a few, or perhaps all of these poems published in literary magazines somewhere.

I feel like most poets will write a few poems, get them published, write a few more, get them published, repeat, repeat, repeat, and then think about a chapbook.

So in many ways, what I've done is backwards, I wrote a bunch of poems, made a chapbook, then tried to get a few poems published.

Of the 21 poems I chose for “The Theory, the Fallacy,” I want at least 15 of them published elsewhere before this chapbook comes off my desk as a finished product.

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