It Begins

Whether I’m ready or not, school begins on Monday. More than most years, I have been putting off getting ready. Partly this is simply knowing already pretty much what I’ll be doing — the classes I’m teaching are ones I’ve taught many times before — but I’ve also finally begun to clarify for myself the structure of a long sequence of poems I have been working on for a long time & that has taken most of my intellectual attention. I’m reluctant to turn away from it. This is the sequence, Island Universe, that I took to the Blue Mountain Center earlier this summer, where I didn’t so much work on them as worry about them. It was a productive worry, filled with directed reading, though, & it has begun to pay off. I also need to mention James Smith at The Southern Poetry Review, who has offered some pointed & useful editorial advice over the last couple of weeks while considering some of the poems. I have never, in thirty years of sending poems to magazines, had such a sense of editorial engagement with my work. I’m grateful.