Friday, July 13, 2012
Caution: This Book Contains Poems
My first book is a genre-bender—mostly a "lively memoir" expanded to include the perspectives of other women. And there are poems. High time I mentioned the poems. They were written over a few decades, and I had no plan to include them.
Because it was either logistically impossible or cost-prohibitive to secure reprint permissions for a few of my favorite poems written by others, I decided to include my own instead— in relevant places in the story. It felt like a big risk at the time. Why? Many people believe they don't like poetry. And the poems also make the book more difficult to "pitch" or describe. Much as I want to produce a book of poems, this isn't actually a poetry book. And once I decided to include my original work, there were more poems than I had considered including. I didn't want them to distract or detract from the prose. Didn't want to overpower the prose. Didn't want to change the character of the work. Yet each poem that ultimately became part of the book "begged" to get between the covers here.
Even though the book doesn't fit neatly into a single genre, there was no need to lose sleep over this somewhat unorthodox book form. Readers have responded enthusiastically to the poems; a few have even quoted lines that were especially meaningful to them! I've been told that the poems "enrich the prose" and are absolutely not distracting. The book is "laced with poems." (See reviews at Amazon!)
I've also been told that my poems are "accessible." I see that as a good thing. Hopefully it simply means they're clear and easy to understand, rather than simplistic. I will choose the former interpretation unless given a damn good reason to believe otherwise. Time to live more fully with the passionate optimism that is part of who I am, right? It's there unless— Well, now I have something else to contemplate. More evolving. More becoming. There's always more.
I'll get back to you when I'm clearer about the optimism thing. Meanwhile, take a poem into your heart today, says the Poetry Peddler.