Yesterday morning a journal accepted a batch of four poems from my newest manuscript, Songs about Women and Men, meaning that, as of now, nearly all of the pieces in that manuscript have been placed. That does feel good. Still, I'm not enjoying the awkwardness of juggling two manuscripts simultaneously. I can't help but compare them against each other, even though they're entirely different entities.
But at least a few editors are reading the poems, and responding to them, so that is a comfort. And today I will blunder on with my Vietnam project, hoping I will find some new rabbit hole to swallow me up. Last night I checked out two more library books: Yusef Komunyakaa's poetry collection Warhorses and John Prados's history The Blood Road: The Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Vietnam War. It has become clear to me that my uncle's Special Forces group was heavily involved in covert actions to stem the flow of North Vietnamese soldiers and armaments through this trail, and indeed the book includes the first mention I've seen in print (rather than online) of the sapper attack that killed him.
I'm also going to follow up on a strange coincidence: the fact that a prominent leader of the antiwar group Students for a Democratic Society was also named Paul Potter. There's no family relationship, and I have no reason to believe that my uncle had any thoughts about him, one way or the other. Still, the overlap is odd, and I like coincidences.
That said, I am not thrilled that Vladimir Putin and I share a birthday. So please do not write a poem about us.