Thursday, June 11, 2009

CavanKerry Press is beginning to enter the production phase of my next poetry collection, How the Crimes Happened, due out next April; and I'm really happy that we're going to use one of my husband's photographs on the cover. At the moment, this blue station wagon (scroll through till you get to it) is the one that seems most likely. Initially I didn't consider it as a possibility, but I've always liked it a lot, partly because it reminds me of Lucky Strikes, which my grandmother used to smoke. The designer argued that even though my poems aren't about demolition derby cars, the image nonetheless matches my poems "which are very American." That remark gave me pause, considering how much British literature I read. But I suppose he might be right.

It's strangely alluring to puzzle over the question of what constitutes the national flavor of an art form. In poetry, the sound of the language must certainly be an element, but I think poets may also reveal an eye for the image that is peculiarly American. And of course, for some reason, American artists seem especially focused on the minutiae of popular culture. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.

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