Have you ever had moments when you realized that the big, scary, beautiful world is smaller and more intricately connected than you thought?
Unless this is your first visit here (and if so, welcome!), you know that I recently landed a second chapbook publication. Angels & Adultery was selected by Nickole Brown for the Robin Becker Chapbook Series at Seven Kitchens Press, and was released officially in May of this year. The big release party was our Poems at the Pub event in June. You can read more about that event and news the wonderful people involved in both previous post (some in the above links) and some forthcoming updates here on the blog.
Last week I was contacted by Seth Pennington, one of the beautiful folks at Sibling Rivalry Press and the author of one of my favorite poetry chapbooks, Tertulia. I remember reading and commenting on Seth’s husband’s blog (Bryan Borland) on another platform years ago, and have since followed their journey as editors and poets with great interest and shared joy. Seth asked if it was okay that he put one of my poems to music, and could he share it?
Oh, my heart. I think that was one of my first responses, in fact—oh my heart. It’s one thing to know that your work has moved someone, even better to know that it’s moved someone to create something of their own.
I once told my friend, Michael McFarland, that his paintings made me want to write poems, and he said that was amazing because my poems made him want to paint! That’s the main reason I asked Michael to do the cover for my previous chapbook: Moons, Roads, and Rivers. And a beautiful job he did of that too.
So, today I’m feeling drunk on gratefulness. Seth, I am honored that you included this as one of the first in a series of poem covers. I love that phrase—poem covers. I think of my recordings that way, the hundreds I’ve done of other people’s poems, with permission, or often not, on YouTube and SoundCloud. It’s always fascinating to hear one’s poem in the voice of another. And when the interpretation includes another medium, in this case, music, it’s an astounding trip back into your own work, a chance to see things you didn’t even know were there through the perception of another artist.
I love where Seth breaks lines and stanzas by instinct here, and this discovery might very well alter how the poem lays out in any future printing. From the gut and soul, I thank you for this, Seth. So humbled to have our creative urges meet like this. And, of course, now I can’t stop humming the poem to this tune. Read the post on his blog for the whole story about his process, which I find fascinating and delightful.
Oh, and as for that big/small, intricately connected world I was talking about. I mentioned above that Nickole Brown was the judge who selected my manuscript, There was a poem in Tertulia in which Nickole and her wife Jessica shared a scene. Read Seth’s post about that poem, and his connection to Nickole. It was one of many in the collection that deeply touched me when I read first read it last year. I did not know the identities of the players in that tale, and I could not have foreseen that Nickole would soon also connect with my life and writing, saying some beautiful words about my work that would both surprise and sooth me. It was a scary, vulnerable collection to put out there, and she understood. She got it. She got it, and she said to others: Here, this is beautiful, you read it too.