Today, I’m holding my first book in my hands, fresh from its Barnes & Noble packaging. It contains nearly twenty years of work: poems that were edited over and over, pushed into envelopes, some accepted and some rejected by journals. Some were loved, some not. Now they will reach a wider audience. And now I say goodbye to them, and start new work.
I was thinking today about Jorie Graham’s “I Watched A Snake,” a poem which examines how passion, desire, and work intersect in our lives. A brief excerpt:
is the honest work of the body,
its engine, its wind.
It too must have its sails-wings
in this tiny mouth, valves
in the human heart, meanings like sailboats
over the mind. Passion is work
that retrieves us,
lost stitches. It makes a pattern of us,
it fastens us
to sturdier stuff