Yesterday, a good day for mail.
1. A copy of the new Indiana Review with my poem "Having Been Begotten." This is one of my favorite newish poems, and I've been submitting to IR for over 5 years, so it really is amazing to see my poem in there with Arielle Greenberg, Denise Duhamel, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Gary Soto, and others. The issue also contains a special feature of poems, fiction, and art with a funk aesthetic. I'd recommend it just for that, let alone my work...which, sadly, lacks the funk, being doused in a rural Midwestern sensibility. As always, the production of the journal is top notch.
2. A used copy of Larry Levis' Elegy. I have often remarked that there are some books/authors that come to us before we are ready for them. This happened to me first with Tolstoy and Anna Karenina. I tried to read this novel in high school and failed to get past page 50. In undergrad, I made it to page 100, but it wasn't until grad school that I actually finished the book and could see the mastery and mystery of it. Then, there was Charles Wright's Black Zodiac. My cousin gave it to me when I started grad school, and I couldn't get into it at all. Luckily, I kept it on my shelf, because two years later I plucked it up and fell head-long into Wright's meditative lines, which were a window to my own voice. All of that is a long way of saying, I've had the same experience with Levis. Only recently did I decide to try again with his work b/c I was looking at titles of poetry books with "elegy" in them. This time, the library copy wasn't enough. When I read the first few poems, I felt whatever barrier had existed before loosening and suddenly the poems blossomed on the page. Now I have a copy I can write in.