Sunday, July 07, 2013

My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass is off at the printer's

I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas: my new poetry collection is at the printer's, with an official release date: August 15. So for me the countdown is on. My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass is a book that I began in 2007, poem by poem--not knowing initially that the poems were working their way toward a book. Before too long, though, I realized that there were a few core obsessions holding the poems together. In particular was the epistolary form that had gotten me started, short poems written to such friends and enemies as the constant bark of a dog, melancholy, the atamasco lily, and the loose wing of a dragonfly. In addition, the poems I was writing at the time kept returning to feelings and premonitions about the natural world; about what constitutes (for me) wonder, burden, and danger; about--what else?--love and death.

In 2009 I started circulating a completed manuscript, which went through additional revisions as it would come back, again and again, without a home. I knew I was getting close when the manuscript was a finalist for several contests, including The National Poetry Series, the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and the Anhinga Robert Dana Prize for Poetry. Finally, last August I received the call I'd dreamed of. It came from editor Ruth Foley: the manuscript had won the Cider Press Review Editors Prize. I am most grateful to Ruth and editor/publisher Caron Andregg for their tireless, creative work in producing what I think is a gorgeous book. The cover art is a bromoil--an early 20th-century photographic stippling technique--by my brother Gene Laughter.

Please do visit CIDER PRESS REVIEW and enjoy getting to know their journal, as well as the books they publish annually. I'm now a huge fan!

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