Sunday, November 15, 2009

Poetry Comes Next

Publish Before Perish

Having imagined myself a writer for most of my adult lifetime, I feel compelled to admit that my catalogue of published pieces is pitifully small. I've no particular interest in beating myself up here--in fact I am reasonably pleased with my writing over the last couple of years--but the truth of the matter is that I've never reached a very large audience and I haven't tried hard enough to do so. I don't have a comprehensive solution for that, either, but I have decided to collect some of my poetry and publish it in a single volume that I will market myself. Obviously, it will be a vanity effort, but it will still be a book by Jeff Epton and will have a chance of falling into the hands of others who may then discover something of value to them personally. And, though I've no immediate plans to shuffle off this mortal coil, it will happen before I am too old or too feeble or too dead to complete the project.

I've started focused work on the effort, selecting 30 decent poems that together seem a cohesive and coherent reflection of my capabilities, good, bad or indifferent. Though some of the poems have been finished for some time, I find myself revising many of them and enjoying the process. In revising, I'm trying to accomplish at least three things: One, make the poems more accessible to readers, even people who do not consider themselves audience for poetry. Two, sharpen the point of each poem, especially eliminating complexity that doesn't serve the look, sound or meaning of each poem. And three, simply use fewer words; the biggest advantage poetry has over other forms of writing lies in compression. Vivid images and powerful phrases can be compact on paper and still explode in a reader's mind or imagination. I am trying to achieve such an effect.

In the meantime, I'm going to be posting some of the revised poems that will be part of the book here on this blog. I would dearly love to get feedback from readers, but I will be proceeding with the project regardless. I would also be happy to mail hard copies of the collected poems for the project to anyone who asks. Just e-mail your address to me at jeffepton07@comcast.netand I will send you a packet of poems.

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