Been hustling a little as of late, both as a poet/writer and as a publisher. I am sure most folks have heard by now that my first poetry collection is due our in the coming months. I’ve also been rather busy with the publishing side of things, most notable wrapping up work on the release of Jerrod Edson’s The Moon is Real and the Ford City Anthology. Hustling does necessarily mean that things get done when you want them to be. But they’ve all seemed to have cleared their final hurdles, so this leaves me with that small bridge of time between projects.
What better time is there to be had then tuning into your alma mater’s campus radio station and just start playing with some old and new work and just see what comes out? Because of this, I’ve lately been finding myself burning away some open journal sketching and revisits to earlier work with the soundtrack of Bozeman, Montana’s own KGLT kicking into the night. It’s been bringing back some memories of my time in the Treasure State, fondly so, and left me wondering about breathing some new life into my early starts at poetry and fiction about that time way out west.
A lot of this did, honestly start back up , after meeting with fellow local poet Denis Robillard and talking shop about Brautigan and our very different times out Bozeman way.Talk of course leads to more reading and then turning on a feed from the station that provided a soundtrack to your life a decade back. Montana is always sort of there for me because my better half hails from that neck of Turtle Island. But somehow talking about writing and Montana have somehow turned that part of my mind to thinking about my work set out there.
Regardless, all of that brought me to collecting together some of my early drafts of my Montana poems and crafting a chapbook manuscript entitled “The Gravel Lot that was Montana” that I have started shopping around. A lot of the work was done during my early time at Indiana University in Bloomington. A lot of it I owe their respectable forms to poets Catherine Bowman and Campbell McGrath’s attention to getting them somewhere. But they needed a lot of updating, still. I mean, I am still digesting a lot of what those two told me years ago. What I managed was some solid revisions of about 25 pages of poems. Some manuscripts are off with some prespective chapbook people and some indiviudal poem drafts have started making some appearances in lit journals (“Rain Falls on the the Copper Kings” is forthcoming in The Cape Rock), but the act of this work has led me to more questions. Most notably about my fiction set in, around, and about Montana.
This means resurrecting that work I did for thesis with “To Stoke a Bitterroot Fire.” The collection of long short stories does feel like it inhabits a portion of my mind that needs to be finished. I’m only about 3 years removed from limping through the completion of those stories and know that there is still some work to be done before it is in a place I’d like to leave it. There are still stories that need to be added to it. Writing that needs to be updated. But after those poems, and that chapbook, it feels like something that need be finished up. Old work can have way of dragging you back, pulling down on you as try to get through and to new the new stuff. So maybe, a return to this work.
See what talking to poets can do? Or maybe it’s listening to distant college radio stations. But the fondness of a place you left nearly a decade occasionally returns in the most unexpected ways. The view from here at the edge of Canada, where it rests just south of the Medicine Line, is still very pleasant. But the sounds of distant places is just as pleasing. And perhaps enough to draw more work into the light.