Thursday, February 22, 2007

What Work Is, Part 4

I've been busy this week with my day job (many small projects and two board meetings) and with school (papers to grade and mid-terms coming up) and I've also been working on a new poem, so you know the drill:

1. On Wednesday I met with photographer Jeff Cunningham to do a photo shoot for the cover of Figured Dark, my full-length poetry collection that is forthcoming from the University of Arkansas Press. Today I had a chance to look at the results and I think this is the one we will be using.

Generally, I don't like to look at photographs of myself. I tend to have my eyes closed, or look too much like what I am--a slightly overweight middle-aged man. The Quarter Pounders are stacked against what we think we are, I hear someone saying. Well, true enough. But I am pretty happy with this photograph, which will be in black-and-white and on the inside back cover of the book. I hope you like it, too.

My thanks to the talented and patient Jeff Cunningham.

2. All of the blurbs are in, the jacket copy is written and the only thing that remains to be done (well--I'm sure there are many more things, too, but I'm not a book designer) is to choose an image for the front cover. I may be able to tell you something more about that before the AWP Conference.

I didn't realize how worried I was about all of this, but I feel that a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I only hope that the book is as nice looking in my hands as it has become in my head, but I have all the confidence in the world in the good people at the University of Arkansas Press. They've been a dream to work with and they put out such wonderful books.

The other three books selected for publication in the Series this year are by Robert Gibb, Donald Platt, and R. T. Smith, so I feel like I'm in rather stellar company. My understanding is that Donald Platt's My Father Says Grace and World Over Water by Robert Gibb will be available at the AWP Conference, so be sure to check the University of Arkansas Press table.

R.T. Smith's book and mine will be released in the fall.

3. I've been working on two sets of new poems. One series is lyric and concerns a figure from Greek mythology, the second (involving a 19th Century American painter) is quite narrative. I'm not sure yet how they fit together, but the poems seem to be coming as quicky as I can set aside the time to write them. That is very strange, and yes I am grateful, but I don't want to say too much yet about the poems, for fear that I will break something.


Blogger miriam said...

Freedom from work:

10:12 PM  
Blogger Matt said...


I am contacting you because I am working with the authors of a book about blogs, and I'd like to request permission to use the photograph you have posted in this book. Please contact me at, and I'd be happy to give you more information about the project. Please paste a link to your blog in the subject field. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.



3:23 PM  

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