Friday, October 21, 2011

First Review of "I Stand Here Shredding Documents"!

Today I'm a bit tired after a great poetry reading last night, which I'll write more about (with pictures!  but no video/audio) tomorrow.  It went well:  a neat venue, good friends, appreciative audience members, a wonderful chat with a perceptive teenage audience member afterwards.  But it was a late night, since we couldn't start right at 7:30 and since the theatre is further away from my house, and since I was the carpool driver who dropped people back off at their houses.

What a wonderful treat to wake up this morning, not only with happy memories and leftover tiramisu in my fridge (easy recipe tomorrow too, so that you can make some), but to read Kathleen Kirk's insightful review of my latest chapbook.  She says,  "I Stand Here Shredding Documents is also a gentle, humorous, and pithy critique of contemporary life, particularly 20th- and 21st-century woman's place in it." 

It's always interesting to read/hear what others think of my work, but it's wonderful when my work has the effect I intended.  When I first thought about putting together these poems into a manuscript, I wrote a blog piece in which I said, "I'm seeing a manuscript develop from poems that I've written that explore the shortcomings and frustrations of modern work life, especially from a woman's perspective. I wonder if the manuscript would be too depressing. But then I think of books like Deborah Garrison's A Working Girl Can't Win, and I'm determined to see where this leads me. How many books deal with the mid-life disappointments of working women? Working women without children?"

I did worry that the overall effect of the collection is gloom, but when I read it, as a whole work, I see the hopeful notes amidst the absurdity and strain.  My spouse worries that my timing is all wrong, that in a time of horrible economic decline when so many people have no jobs, the audience for a book that explores the modern workplace may have dwindled.  But one of my goals as a writer has always been to write about life as I experience it, particularly my life as a woman in this particular time, in these particular places.  As a literary scholar, that aspect of literature was always what fascinated me most:  what can I learn about the lives people lived by reading this literature?

Still, I don't want to be a complete bummer of a writer.  So, I was relieved to read Kathleen's final insight:  "But there's a sense in the book as a whole that some of the unfinished work is yet to come, after the regular workday, and isn't boring, and is meaningful, and it's here, woven into poems."

Thank you, Kathleen, for such a generous review!  You've made my morning, and likely my whole week-end.

And if you're reading this blog and Kathleen's review, and you're thinking that you'd love a signed copy, contact me, and we can make arrangements.  Or click on the cover to the right, and you can buy an unsigned copy from the publisher.  Or you can stay tuned, for my special holiday promotion, coming in just a few weeks!


Kathleen said...

Your humor and patience permeate the book, Kristin, dispelling any gloom. Also, some of the uplift I feel reading it right now in tough economic times is that people losing their jobs are losing some of this tedium and meaninglessness, too. Yes, it will be hard to make a go of it and find the next source of income, but it will pull energy, creativity, and resourcefulness from us, or that's my hope. I also hope it will pull us together in remarkably divided times....

Sandy Longhorn said...

Great review! Congrats!

Jeannine said...

Congrats on the thoughtful, wonderful review!

Kristin said...

Thanks for your congrats, Sandy and Jeannine. And Kathleen, I love what you say in your comment, and I'll keep remembering it--our colleagues who will be RIFed will start leaving Nov. 4, so I'll need something positive to hang onto.