My summer vacation technically started a few weeks ago, once I turned in my spring semester grades, but since then, it hasn’t felt like I’ve really had a day off. I’m one of those people who constantly needs to be doing something. Since the spring semester concluded, I have drafted/revised four totally new poems, some of which have found their way into my new manuscript. I’m also teaching a poetry workshop at the Vintage Theater in downtown Scranton, and I have a wonderful group of students that offer insightful, intelligent comments on poetry we cover. I’ve also done a few poetry readings, especially at the end of May, and I have more coming up in June. I view these readings as the last push/leg of all of the readings I’ve done over the last 6 months or so for Front Man. When fall begins, I’ll be able to ease up on the readings and do last revisions to my new manuscript.
I’m also spending this summer placing the poems in order for a new chapbook. Some of the poems have already gotten published, including in Indigo Rising Magazine, Word Fountain, Young American Poets, WritingRaw, and soon the Pennsylvania Literary Journal. I hope to get the new chapbook accepted by a publisher (maybe Big Table Publishing again) at least two years after Front Man came out. That is enough time after the first book came out, but also not too long so people don’t forget about me. Whenever that next chap comes out, I wonder what people will think about it. Gone are the music/punk rock/indie rock references, for the most part, though there is a poem that does reference Bob Dylan. But these are more coming-of-age poems, poems about love, poems about loss, poems about father/son relationships, and all from a male point of view. Some of the poems are also in tighter forms, unrhymed quartrains especially, while some are longer narrative poems.
I am indeed getting there, but there is a need to also trim the fat, to cut out a lot of poems that will make the book sound too repetitive. In an ideal world, I’ll have a solid polished manuscript by the end of the summer, with the poems ordered, but I know how fast the summer turns to fall, and how soon I have to prep my work for the poetry course I’m teaching at Keystone starting in mid-July.