Back in the BP (Before Pandemic) days, circa late 2019, Eve Burton (the librarian who is our liaison at the Quince Orchard library for the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading) and I started talking about having a local poets poetry collection at QO that would feature, to begin with, poets who had read at DiVerse. We both thought it would be a great accompaniment to the readings as well as the poetry workshops that Eve facilitates. Eve talked with her manager and got the necessary okays to get the ball rolling and we put out a call to the poets and books rolled in. The books were sent to be catalogued and then everything shut down. And stayed that way for more than a year with our books inaccessible.
Finally with the re-opening of the library, they have come back and are now shelved and we’ve put out a second call to those who missed the first opportunity to contribute their titles. The books will be housed at QO but can be checked out online from Montgomery County Public Libraries. Here is a picture of the first books on the shelves (except those that were already checked out when the picture was taken!). More coming soon. What an amazing resource for anyone who wants to read more work by local poets!
As I believe is the tradition, I chose “Inheritance Of Aging Self” as the title of my book through a process that involved auditioning 556 different options (by auditioning I mean throwing darts at them and playing eenie meenie miney mo), meditated, consuming substances that I shouldn’t have, and enduring months of angst and sleepless nights.
Despite that unfortunate process, I think the title of this volume is a good descriptor of what’s inside the cover. It is also the title of one of the poems which is based on a conversation that I had with my mother a few years before she passed. I was visiting with her and we were getting ready to go out. She was taking awhile and I went to check on her and found her in front of her vanity brushing her hair and staring at the mirror. I asked her if everything was okay and she threw down the brush and angrily told me, “I do not know this old lady”.
She had developed some memory issues over the years and when she said that, I was badly panicked that she had just taken some precipitous leap further down that path. Cautiously I asked her what she meant. Her reply was one of the most righteous rants ever about how she still expected to see her sixteen year old self when she looked in the mirror. When she saw her elder self instead, it was like seeing her grandmother and that pissed her off! So we spent a few minutes shouting out all the things that pissed us off about growing older and we both felt much better and went on about our day. That conversation inspired the title poem as well as another poem in the collection, “Mirror Image”.
Here is the title poem as it was displayed recently in the Maryland State Arts Council’s “Identity” exhibition.
With Inheritance Of Aging Self now available for pre-order from Finishing Line press, I wanted to come up with some fun book swag. Fortunately we quilters tend to have a lot of fabric scraps around that are begging to be put to good use. So some of mine became handmade patchwork bookmarks that are going to people who pre-order my book and tag me on social media to let me know they’ve ordered the book! Before I sent them out, some of them posed for a group photo:
I am thrilled that my full length collection of of poetry, Inheritance Of Aging Self, is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press and will be published and shipped in October.
I’ll also be doing some readings (hopefully in person!) so keep an eye out for the details and dates on social media. And if you know of a book shop, book group, or other venue that would love to host a poetry reading, let me know!