About a year ago, Big Table Publishing accepted my manuscript of poems that became a chapbook- Front Man. Since then, I’ve done a slew of readings around the tri-state area, making new friends and meeting fellow poets along the way. With the readings winding down once the fall is over, I’m going to have time to work more on a second manuscript of poems. I worked on it heavily this summer, and I’m always surprised where the writing process can take you, once it takes over. I thought this second book would be another chapbook of 25-30 poems, much like my first manuscript. I thought it would be centered on relationship-based poems and the way men and women communicate with each other. There are certainly a lot of poems that deal with that, but after spending the last few months working heavily on this project, this project has spread out more than I envisioned. I started writing about my hometown more, the people that inhabit it, its working-class history, the working-class struggles of the here and now in this political climate.
I think there’s a thread to all of these poems, in the sense that a lot of them deal with relationships, not only with the opposite gender, but also with home, family, and friends.
These poems also differ in the sense that they stray from the punk rock language and imagery that anchored Front Man. There are a few poems that re-use some of those characters, but only to depict them as older, to push their narratives forward, and to speak to some of the other poems in the new manuscript.
I’m also thinking this project could grow larger than a chapbook, especially since I already have about 35 pages or so, and another 15 would make it a full-length manuscript. I didn’t plan that either, but I’m just writing and writing.
I assume other writers encounter similar cases where they plan something so specific, but once they dig in and follow the writing process, the project changes somewhat. This can be a a wonderful thing because being so anchored and hooked to a particular subject matter, form, or thread throughout a manuscript can sometimes leave little room for other poems and other voices. Write and see where it goes!