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Monthly Archives: October 2017

18 October 2017


ELEVATOR PITCH for my new book-length, professionally edited manuscript of poems in search of a publishing contract—-


The manuscript title, Breath Debt, signals to the reader most of the book’s content: subject matter, governing metaphor, and my technique for composing lyric-narrative and lyric-elliptical poems. “Breath debt” refers to my indebtedness to the airborne voices, songs, and gestures of my family, friends, poet-teachers, and strangers. “Breath debt” also means suffocation: my late father’s respiratory diseases exacerbated by four years of Army service; and my yearning for emotional and physical (a slight birth defect) resuscitation. In addition, “breath debt” evokes my breathless awe at both the exotic beauty of foreign places and languages, and the ordinary charm of my backyard lawn (the grass of which I cut with only a pair of kitchen scissors). Finally, “breath debt” articulates my ars poetica; that is, I seek to compose poems that begin with a sharp intake, that exhale audibly down the page, and that expire into metaphor. My technique is indebted, in part, to this statement by Robert Frost: “Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting.”



NOTE: from “The Figure a Poem Makes,” an essay by Robert Frost: “Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting.”



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