Friday, February 26, 2016

Order Now: "Life in the Holocene Extinction"

This week brings exciting poetry news:  my forthcoming chapbook, Life in the Holocene Extinction, is available for pre-publication purchase at the Finishing Line Press website.  It will ship June 17, 2016.

This week I got to see the cover.  I had provided the art, but it's always hard to visualize how it will look as part of the cover.  I am so pleased with this cover:

I love the title of the chapbook, but I do worry that people will think of it as too bleak.  What I didn't anticipate:  that people might not realize we're in the middle of the 6th mass extinction for our planet, and that some have labeled it the Holocene Extinction. 

But my collection is not altogether bleak, although it does ask the question:  "How shall we continue in our daily life in the middle of a catastrophe, a catastrophe we do not comprehend fully?"

I'll include the title poem in a different post, but for today, to prove my point, here is "Benediction."  It was first published in Referential, an online magazine which is still up (my poem is here).  I think it's the perfect example of a mix of despair and hope that characterizes much of my work:

After a long day at the hospital–
tests performed on her mother, tests that leave
her mother radioactive–the woman heads
towards school and spends
her evening with her English impaired
students. She struggles
to help them learn the rules
of grammar that they should have learned
years ago. The more advanced students wrestle
their sentences into paragraphs and shape
essays out of chaos.

She drives home late, stinking
of stale hospital air and close
classrooms. She notices the dark
spire of a neighborhood church, the garish
neon of surrounding fast
food dives and a strip joint.

She wishes the church
had a drive through. Short
of time and shorn of sleep,
she could use a benediction
to go. She longs for the celestial
bath that could strip
away her earthly grime, leave
her pure and prepared
for the next day’s struggles.

Instead she returns to her snug
cottage of a condo. She submits
to a quick shower while tea steeps
in the pot that she crafted in a different life.
She cuts some coconut bread
left by a concerned friend. With tea
and bread, ensconced in a comforter,
she reads the Psalms and waits
the night watch, willing sleep to come.

Go here to order your chapbook now.  And it's never too early to think about the holidays--poetry collections make great presents!

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