After a few years on and off of deep revision and submissions, and some very close calls with some great publishers of late, I am pleased to announce that the manuscript for my third full-length collection, Our Sudden Museum, featuring a decade’s worth of poems, old and new, was accepted for publication today by Salmon Poetry in Ireland. On the advice of poet Thomas Lynch, I went to see Salmon Editor Jessie Lendennie today at Salmon Book Shop in Ennistymon, County Clare, near the Cliffs of Moher. Though I had sent my manuscript to Jessie a week ago, in advance of my trip to Ireland, I simply looked forward to shaking her hand today, and to perusing the shop for some good books. Following a few hours of breathtaking hikes and jaw-dropping at the Cliffs of Moher, I drove southeast toward Ennistymon. Arriving at the bookshop, a very nice Salmon staffer called upstairs to Jessie, and she invited me upstairs, where she was busy at work at her desk in a wonderfully cluttered office, soft shag carpet and rugs, poetry books sprawled and stacked throughout, her black border collie Zeke sprawled before the fireplace, where turf briquettes crackled. Jessie and I made some rapid-fire small talk about Galway, Ennistymon, Tom Lynch, Ireland, poetry. But five minutes into the conversation, Jessie matter-of-factly said “I’d like to publish your work. I’ve read it. I like it a lot.” Her tone was sincere, direct, her look intense and friendly. My heart swung and hummed, the bright shops and pubs outside the window, the spring air, the sudden realization that like 30 minutes prior, when I stood inches from the edge of a precipice looking thousands of feet down into the ocean, here I was—on another cliff’s edge, the wind of this great moment making me buoyant, and lifting me and my long-hammered manuscript—into flight. Jessie printed the contract, said “Well, you can think about it…” and I told her I’d take the contract and go to a cafe nearby and read it, though I knew the answer was one million times yes already. My heart is in this country and has been contoured and shadowed and brightened in my first few days here to heights and depths I’ve never known. Salmon is a press with a 30-year history of publishing Ireland’s and the world’s great voices. Reading the contract was a formality. I left Salmon, and walked a few blocks away, needing WiFi, to the lobby of the Falls Hotel, and as luck would have it, stepped into the Dylan Thomas Bar. Within minutes, I called Jessie and told her I wanted to sign the contract today. Back at her office, we put the ink on the line, and she let me know that due to the press’s 30-year anniversary in 2015-2016—a busy launch year, she’d have to push my book’s arrival to 28 February, 2017, which—significantly—is also the birthdate of my daughter, Magdalena.
And, suddenly, with great surprise: there it is. My third book is due to have a spine and a face. Oh, and that phrase luck o’ the Irish? Don’t even get me started on how I feel about that now.