As you know, I have, as yet, been unable to find a publisher for Chestnut Ridge. My state of mind about the collection shuttles back and forth between confidence and despair . . . confidence because whenever I read these poems in public, audience members--many of them fine writers themselves--respond to the work intensely and intimately; despair because no publisher has shown any sign of responding in a parallel way. Regarding this collection, I have lapsed into a state of suspended animation: I cannot figure out what to do next.
Meanwhile, this past week has been a kind of apex of crushing poetry disappointment. So today, when I received a long email from a friend who, several months ago, had asked to read the manuscript, I was reluctant to open it. I knew he would be kind, but I just did not want to keep kicking the bruise that the manuscript has become.
What he did for me, though, was to resurrect a modicum of joy. It seems that, by chance, I had found one reader who was able to respond to the collection in the spirit in which I had constructed it. He was not focusing on individual pieces but reacting vividly to the arc of the book. It was, in a way, an Easter gift, a private resurgence of hope . . . not hope for publication necessarily; rather, hope in the collection as a coherent conversation.
I wish you all such a moment today, in whatever realm you most need.