Five-Line Stanza and Other Births
The December issue of First Things magazine publishes my poem, "To an Unborn Child." In keeping with the incarnational nature of poiesis, it is written in a nonce cinquain, or five-line, stanza. (Click the logo to read.)
This has indeed been an autumn of births. In October, Angelico Press published my second full-length collection of poems, The Hanging God. The initial reviews have been positive and about a dozen more are promised in the coming months.
November brings the birth of the fellow described in this poem. We're counting on it, or down to it.
For December, I also have exciting news. Readers will be aware of my first full-length collection of poems, Some Permanent Things, which Wiseblood Books published in 2014 to a very good critical reception. Although the book continues to sell, I have long since decided that I would like to refine the volume and make it a book as perfect as it can be according to my somewhat more seasoned lights.
And so, next month, Wiseblood will issue a second, revised and expanded, edition of the volume. The second edition of Some Permanent Things will differ categorically from the first in three ways.
First, every poem has been significantly revised, indeed, rewritten, to attain a greater clarity of meaning, meter, and rhyme; the classical qualities that readers appreciated have been more fully realized. Second, the poems in that volume were originally intended to appear as four separate short or chapbook collections. Two actually appeared, Four Verse Letters and The Violent and the Fallen, before Wiseblood asked to publish the whole collection, which I had then ordered to look like a single unit. Now, the original four divisions into four separate sequences or books has been restored.
And this allowed for a third, important change. Two of my Advent poems appeared in the first edition; but readers will know that the remaining four of the poems of my Christmas sequence have since been published or are soon to be forthcoming. And so, for this second edition, I have added a fourth, final short sequence, The Christmas Preface. The final poem of that sequence will appear in America this Advent, just prior to the release of the second edition. I think anyone who reads it will agree that it is my best poem, or one of them.
There's an irony in taking such a harsh editorial pen to a book entitled Some Permanent Things, but indeed the title is what summoned the changes. I now believe that this first book of mine compares well with The Hanging God. Between the two of them, I think I have made a contribution of substance to contemporary American poetry. I hope you will discover them and judge for yourselves. That is my aim in any case.
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