Thursday, October 04, 2007

Awww, yes. Snuggling up with a good book!

I am really surprised at the way I feel now that I am able to hold my book. All the rampant critisms I have of myself have faded, and I feel utterly at peace. I was telling a friend today that this has been such a journey for me. Tarn called it an "epic." I have waited so long, and held on for much longer than almost anyone I know has had to. Most of my contemporaries are on their second or third book by my old age -- nearly forty! Some of the delay is my own fault. I think that I am kind of a famously underachiever. Someone who was always too shy and insecure to really accomplish much. There were a series of events that really pulled me into poetry and made me more self assured.

The first of these was my move to New York, and my access to poets. Then can my marriage to Jim who was on the same frustrating path. A big boost was our decision to create Saint Elizabeth Street. Then, UNM Press accepted my book with the help of VB Price. When I met the poet Andrea Baker ...who lives around the corner...her success provided a new model, and she has been enormously supportive and helpful, as I hope I have of her! Finally, the relentless egging on of my father and Nathaniel closed the deal.

I am in sort of a strange space, however, because my immediate circle has seen the book, but it won't be in the world for another week. Neither of my parents have seen it, nor have Nathaniel and Bill Olsen. It's another waiting game...with lots of work to come. Luckily, I have my students, my kid, my husband, my mother's pending trip to NY, and laundry to distract me!

Blessings are always mixed. Some people who are everywhere in the book will never see it. My beloved sister most of all, my step-mother Elizabeth, Gene, Mary Higgins, and my super-hero of a grandfather. But, overall, life is good...

Now if only I could find that paint guy's number...


richard lopez said...

congratulations jennifer! i'm 40 too and have a couple of chaps under my belt. for me, a lifetime of small-press writing is more than enough.

by the by, been meaning to tell you a few weeks after yr post about yr father lee bartlett and william everson i looked on a shelf and saw yr father's biography of everson. i bought it last year at a local indie bookstore. i didn't make the connection between yr name bartlett and yr father's name, but upon opening it up i read the dedication page where he thanks you and yr sisters. a wonderful [re]discovery.

mjae said...

Speaking of UNM Press books, I've got a sideways invitation for Jim! The Albuquerque Slam scene is putting together a book for UNM Press chronicling spoken word here in the past 10 years. We'd love to have a poem from Jim.

Sorry to do this so strangely, but we've lost contact information for him.

Could you have him shoot me an email?

You can check me out w/ V.B. Price. He'll vouch for me!


Mikaela Renz