Announcing: Serpentine

I spent the morning final-polishing Draft One (which is actually Draft Five, but the first one my editor has seen, so Draft One) of my next collection of poems. I have just now hit the SEND button to Bored Wolves. I’m wondering what to do with myself, and the book, and probably the answer is take a walk.

Good answer. I’ll be back in a bit.

I took a walk. I slept on it. My editor read the manuscript. We’re mutually thrilled to spend the next year enthusing about word and rhythm, and arguing congenially over commas. And possibly now I want to tell you about Serpentine even more.

That’s her name. Serpentine.

To-be-published early summer 2023, Serpentine will have the same compact, backpack-and-large-pocket-friendly format as Tell the Turning.

Also like Tell the Turning, the book will be gorgeously illustrated.

And crowdfunded, which means you will be able to pre-order, along with copies for friends and/or additional goodies, via Kickstarter — and shortly thereafter (much more quickly than Tell the Turning), you’ll have the book in hand.

Pre-orders via Kickstarter mean a ton to me. When a Kickstarter funds, that says something to me about people believing in the need for art, in love for art, in time and (as long as it’s a way we organize the world) money for art, too.

What is Serpentine about? I don’t think I can answer that question without a bit more time editing her, working with the other artists who will collaborate on her embodiment, and probably an essay to figure out what I think. Lacking those, here’s what I know:

Serpentine is blue and green: many shades, from cerulean to viridian to young-alder to haze-above-the-Pacific.

Where Tell the Turning revels especially in autumn and winter, this book springs up with the growing season.

Serpentine is soaked with sun, even when the particular poem takes place at night or in deep shade. Sunshine permeates. Blooming permeates. Celebration permeates.

Refuge permeates. Where Tell the Turning tends toward the shadows of shelter and unshelter, inviting the reader to dance back and forth between them, Serpentine reaches out to help you shuck your anxiety, your exile, and stand whole in the light that has always held you.

I hope Serpentine will turn out to be a strong companion for you — as she has been already, for a very long time, for me.

I have almost a year to make (collaboratively!) sure that she’s as strong, as vulnerable, as sheltering, as healing as she can be. This is the best thing about making poems: this slow and worthy work. I am more grateful to be doing that work than I have the words to express.

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