book birth


It is here.

I know some writers give birth once (or twice) a year. Not this writer. I finish a book every few years, and these books have left the tired muddy tracks of long journeys. Circuitous journeys.

They travel all around before they find their homes and meet their readers. What is so fun for me is how different they all are. I always knew I would write poems. But I would have never guessed I would write a book of short stories. A memoir. A co-authored memoir in stories.

This particular book is very special to me, because its publisher has been so supportive (Ron Starbuck) and because it is a collaboration with Missouri Poet Laureate Aliki Barnstone, who basically adopted it and midwifed (is that verb?) it into the world. But also because these poems come from such a great sweep of time in my life, some going back to my teen years. I never set out to write a book of poems about birds. But when I looked over my poems over the years there were so many on this theme they seemed to cry out for a volume where they could all hang out together. So here they are, meet the snowy owl, and whopping cranes, the red crested flicker and the glossy ibis, northern flickers and so many more.

I often look at the collections of poets and think about their glue, what binds them. Sharon Olds poems in The Gold Cell, with their bald sexuality: : "the condom/ripped and the seed tore into me like a/ flame."; and then her poems in The Living and the Dead, different in their focus from the vagina exploring poems in The Dead and the LIving, about which one reader on GoodReads wrote, "if a vagina could write poems, these are the poems it would write. embracing maternal vagina, devouring vagina dentata, horny vagina, nature's flowering vagina...its all here in its layered, moist humidity."

I think if you wanted to define Bird Light, you might say, if the wings of birds could speak the stories of the world, this is their collection. This is their home.


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