You Exist. Details Follow. — coming next month!
My seventh full-length collection of poetry is heading to the printer later today, after a bunch of rounds of edits and proofreads. I have never before tinkered so much with a collection after it hit page proofs. Somehow, though, there were some thing that seemed visible only after the poems were typeset and laid out.
You Exist. Details Follow. is being published by Brian Kaufman's Vancouver-based Anvil Press. It's my third book with Anvil. And it is, perhaps, my most eclectic, and maybe challenging, poetry collection. It's a deliberate grab bag of the "normal" and the "weird," and with no apologies. I'm expecting some brutal reviews, if it does get reviewed. But it's the book I needed to put out there now, given what I've been up to in my poetry practice over the past few years, and given the poets I've been reading.
It's packed with centos, cut-ups, list poems, quasi-sonnets, cubist poems, New Year's poems, a couple of new Razovsky poems, and some very conventional autobiographical free-verse poems. It kicks off with the title poem, for which I fused together seven poems written using the River of Words process, while listening to John Ashbery's poem "A Wave" in my Poetry Boot Camps. The book's patchwork structure emulates some of my favourite poetry books: Ron Padgett's Tulsa Kid, Charles North's The Nearness of the Way You Look Tonight, Ted Berrigan's In the Early Morning Rain. These books are roller-coasters where you never know what's going to happen — content-wise or form-wise — from one poem to the next. In a sense, that makes them not as reader-friendly as, say, a book by Mark Strand or Sharon Olds or James Tate or Charles Simic, a bunch of other poets I admire but whose books are cohesive and perhaps predictable.
Here's the cover for You Exist. Details Follow. It's by an old friend of mine, the renowned artist Gary Clement, who also did covers for my collection I Cut My Finger and my anthology (with Stephen Brockwell) Rogue Stimulus: A Stephen Harper Holiday Anthology for a Prorogued Parliament.
The epigraphs kicking off this collection are by the American poet Paul Guest and the late Canadian fiction writer, and very dear friend and mentor, John Lavery.
The book should be printed in a few weeks. It launches in Toronto at the Magpie Tavern on April 5 and in Vancouver at Café Montmartre on April 29. There will also be launches in Ottawa and Kingston, as well as in the Kootenays.
Over and out.