In Track a Book, we follow one manuscript’s journey from creation to publication. This monthly series looks at Brent Newsom’s CavanKerry release Love’s Labors, coming out in April 2015.
When my author copies of Love’s Labors were delivered to our house, I was still at work. So my wife packed up the box of books and our two kids and surprised me at the office. It’s fitting, of course, that my family celebrated this moment with me; the book wouldn’t exist without them.
An extended sequence of poems in the collection deals with the joy, anticipation, and sheer anxiety I felt in the months leading up to the birth of our firstborn—the weight and wonder of becoming a father. (That’s him posing as a ninja in the photo, by the way—sporting his Lego Star Wars PJs because it was “pajama day” at school.) All of that joy, anticipation, and anxiety was met, of course, by a greater joy, and by the realization of immense responsibility. No matter how much we had prepared to bring home a newborn, there was suddenly so much to do and so much to learn.
I don’t want to push the analogy too far, lest I confuse my priorities, but publishing a first book has been a little like bringing home that first newborn. There were the months of anticipation and preparation, laced throughout with a similar cocktail of mixed emotions—giddiness, fear, pleasure, worry. And now the book is here, and there’s suddenly so much to do and so much to learn. I want to give the book a firm footing in the world, and to honor the faith that CavanKerry has shown by publishing it. Happily, where a newborn demands continual feedings and diapers and bathing and soothing, a book simply asks to be read and shared.
From now through the end of April, that means lots of travel to give readings and attend conferences. In case you’re wondering if we might wind up in the same zip code for a few hours, here’s the itinerary:
- March 23: Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, OK, 7:00
- April 2-4: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, East Central University, Ada, OK
- Reading Fri., April 3, 3:30
- April 9-11: AWP Conference & Bookfair, Minneapolis, MN
- Red Dirt Offsite Reading, Thurs., April 9, 7-10, Gluek’s Restaurant & Bar
- Book signing at CavanKerry Press table (320) at AWP Bookfair, Fri., April 10, 11:00-11:30
- Texas Tech Alumni Reading, Fri., April 10, 7-8, Hilton Garden Inn, Lake Como Room
- Book signing at Red Earth MFA table (1319) at AWP Bookfair, Sat., April 11, 11:30-12:00
- April 17-19: Poetry at Round Top, Round Top, TX
- Round Top fellows reading, Fri., April 17, 9:30 p.m.
- April 23-24: Howlers & Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Seminole State College, Seminole, OK
- Reading Fri., April 24, 8:05 a.m.
- April 26: Featured Reader, Full Circle Poetry Group, Full Circle Books, Oklahoma City, OK
- Reading at 2:00, with open mic to follow
Perhaps I’ll see a few of you at one of these spots, and we can meet and talk poetry for a bit. Or we can do the same (well—a digital approximation of it) on Twitter. If not, I’ll be doing some other traveling eventually, and maybe I’ll wind up in your neck of the woods. A couple of lines from Whitman come to mind: “Missing me one place search another, / I stop somewhere waiting for you.”