Friday, July 24, 2009

Buried Above Ground

Progress on the poetry project: I spent all day today finalizing the content and order of the poems to be included in the collection of my poems soon to be published. I've decided to call it Buried Above Ground, a title that works on several levels, not the least of which is that it carries the connotation of New Orleans with it. In going over the poems I've written over the past 7 years--the length of time I've been working at the craft of writing poetry, I'm struck by the number of them that allude to or directly reference my youth in that wonderful city. Poetry taps deep currents, and I suppose that the Crescent City is in me forever, just below the surface. Still working on a subtitle. Considering "Poems for Here, There, and In Between," which more or less fits the organization schema of the book. I'll have to see what the editor thinks of that. I'm not happy with the idea of something like "new and selected poems."

I've often said in the past couple of years that getting volume of my verse published would bring me more satisfaction and pride than to have another history book published. It's still true. I've written a lot of history, and I've had a major work published and lots of smaller things, which certainly is a source of pride and maybe even a contribution to the vast store of human knowledge. But my poetry is me in a way my history cannot be.

I also have to reflect that writing poems is no less onerous and taxing than doing history. More painful in some ways. The bottom line is writing is damn hard work. Period. I wish I were one of those rare, rare birds like Isaac Asimov who thought writing was a joyful experience. If that were the case, I'd sure have a lot more stuff out there because I've found nothing save being a husband, dad, and granddad quite as fulfilling.
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