I’m so thrilled to announce that my manuscript, Accommodations, received the 2018 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Award! This is an unbelievably special honor, and to say that I’m thrilled is a ginormous understatement.
I’ve been aware of Concrete Wolf and its wonderful publisher, Lana Hechtman Ayers, for a couple of years now, and last year an earlier version of this manuscript was a finalist in the competition. I never thought I’d win, but I did decide at the last minute to throw my hat in the ring one more time.
Interestingly, I had pretty much given up on the chapbook in its existing form, and had turned my energies to working with a talented editor, April Ossmann, whose name I found in the Poets & Writers magazine classified section, on a full-length manuscript — which I also had titled Accommodations. The revision process has been pretty intense, but working with April has already gave me some wonderful insights and tools for not only tweaks to existing work but new work. I’m so excited! Exhausted…but excited.
Many of the poems in his manuscript were written not long after my father died in March 2017. They came about the way lots of my poems do, through a need to grasp and make sense of experience and memories that fade too soon. When people ask me why I write, I usually answer by saying something along the lines of “I write to live” — meaning I put words and form to language to create or preserve a thing, a memory or an experience or even a confluence of insights.
The poems in this new chapbook, whith Concrete Wolf Plans to publish in the fall of 2019, will always be special to me because they came out of the experience of profound loss. Somehow knowing they’ll be out there in the world so that others can read and share in their “being” makes me feel like I have witnessed to that loss in a meaningful way, at least the best way I know how.