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Update: The Grief Committee Minutes now available for pre-order!

Cover and back cover of new book, The Grief Committee Minutes.

Those of you who’ve followed my news know my new book of poems is forthcoming from Saint Julian Press. The official publication date is Sept. 15…less than two months away!

Yesterday, my publisher let me know he had put a press release about the book on his website, and would be populating it with pre-order links as they became available. At the time of this writing, pre-order links are available at Bookshop (order now at a discounted rate!) and at Barnes & Noble; Amazon link will be coming soon.

The press release was a nice touch; it includes sample poems and all of the advance praise the book has received from a handful of remarkable writers who were willing to contribute their generous words: The wonderful poets Alice Friman, Erica Wright, Jen Karetnick and Chelsea Dingman, along with the amazing Cynthia Barnett, a non-fiction writer and National Book Award nominee who lives in Gainesville where I do and who I have known for over 30 years.

I want to say, and say again, and say forever to anyone who’ll listen, that I know it is a big ask to request a book blurb from another author, but especially when the deadline to receive such blurbs is….one month. To do so amounts to asking them to put aside their other priorities, to make time to read through a book of over 50 pages, to think about what they might say about it, write that thing down and communicate back and forth with you as needed. All of the authors I approached, I had previous relationships with, although two I’ve never met in person. None of them said no, and they all delivered, with insightful blurbs I am proud to have included in full form at the front of the book and as excerpts on the back cover. I can’t thank them enough.

There are others who have gotten The Grief Committee Minutes to this point, namely my friend, the graphic designer Mary Cecelia, who responded to me on a weekend with ideas when I was discouraged and worried I didn’t have the right concept. Within a day or so, she had submitted several design options, all of which were beautiful and could have worked for the book. Once I’d decided on the final version, she helped select the fonts and worked with my publisher to convey the necessary information for him to move forward. I am so grateful to her.

The images I had to work with for consideration¬† were photographs taken by wildlife photographer Stephen Tabone, whose work I discovered online over a year ago. I had a specific vision for the book; I wanted an image that showed sandhill cranes and Paynes Prairie, both of which represent my home and “old Florida” to me. Sandhill cranes make a couple of appearances in The Grief Committee Minutes, as do several other types of birds, and when I saw Stephen’s images of sandhills flying over the prairie at sunset, I knew I’d found the right photos to consider for the book.

In the coming weeks, I’ll have news about an upcoming in-person book launch event I’m planning for the fall. More fireworks to celebrate my debut full-length collection with friends, family and co-workers who have supported me at every turn. And speaking of fireworks: Happy Independence Day, everyone!