But Fate is a quirky old lady. On the very same day I showed you that letter, I got a note from Jeffrey Haste, publisher of Boy Land, my first collection of poems. He mentioned that he'd just read and admired my essay about the Autobiography of Malcolm X, which is one of the pieces I'd included in the Unpublishable Manuscript. "Well, Jeff, . . . " I replied despondently. But he asked to see the manuscript, and then he said he'd been thinking about publishing a book of prose, and then he said, "I trust your work."
In short, the man who, in 2003, took the risk of accepting a manuscript of poems written by a completely unknown writer, has now taken the risk of accepting a collection of essays that publisher after publisher has informed me is "simply too difficult to sell."
Saying that I am grateful doesn't begin to cover how I feel about this. Jeff is a stellar book designer who loves poetry and has worked selflessly to bring under-recognized poets into the light. I am so honored and relieved that he has also chosen to champion The Vagabond's Bookshelf.
That said, he and I both know that this book will be a marketing challenge. Its estimated release date will be fall 2014, so we have a year to think about strategy. Because many of you have read uncollected versions of these essays, I welcome any ideas about who might be interested in reviewing the book, adopting it as a classroom text, even interviewing me about the project or bringing me in as a reader or workshop leader. I want to do all I can to make sure that Jeff doesn't live to regret his decision.