Apparently Santa is a lover of poetry!
On Monday the US postal service delivered my first chapbook into my greedy-happy hands and it felt like Christmas Day. Then, on Thursday night, I got to read from that little book to an audience of former teachers, students, family, friends old and and new. My kids behaved themselves (thanks to a portable DVD player in the back room. Awesome.). There was chocolate cake and sparkly water and I didn’t fall down or lose my place mid-reading (I’ve done both of these things before). I sold every book I had in my possession. Christmas, indeed!
And then, last night, after a fun evening with friends and kid-chaos and “Christmas Crack” dipped into bourbon-infused whipped cream (I know!), I came home to find an email letting me know that Finishing Line Press has accepted another of my poetry chapbooks for publication!
I must have been very, VERY good this year!
This book is called Women Who Pawn Their Jewelry, and it is comprised of poems which are, at this point, pretty old. Many of them I wrote as part of my MFA thesis. They are fairly traditional lyric-narratives, very different from the poems that appear in A Woman Traces the Shoreline or the ones that will appear in Another Beginning. Those who know me (and who have known me since my MFA days), will recall that I have always carried some anxiety around about the knowledge that my body of work reads a little like two different people wrote it. If you like the work in one book, you may well dislike the work in the other. This is true of lots of writers, of course, because we don’t (we hope!) remain static aesthetically or in terms of our writerly obsessions or ideas.
But I’m guessing most of the time one’s work appears in print rather closer to the moment of the actual writing than this, so that a reader can, by looking at the date of publication, confirm, “Oh, this is clearly Squillante’s early work. Look, she’s writing about her dead father or her divorce again. Yep.”
But it’s fine with me that it’s working out this way. I may not be writing in this voice or style anymore (or maybe I am; who knows what will come out next!), but I still read and appreciate poetry in many styles, and I still love these poems and think they belong in the world.
So my head is fairly spinning. The whole world is wrapped in silver and gold paper with a red velvet bow!
I’d also like to offer a special thank you to Ron Mohring, editor at the wonderful Seven Kitchens Press, which recently designated this very manuscript a finalist in their Keystone Chapbook Prize. I’m so appreciative of the enormous support I’ve received from the poetry community–and all of you–this year and always.