Shards is now available worldwide
My third Kindle book is now available worldwide. Shards is a small collection of poetry. I am even less prolific as a poet than I am as a fiction writer and thus my entire life's work fits into one tiny volume. Nonetheless, it is now available worldwide on the Amazon Kindle.
American poetry in 2017 is in pitiful shape. Inner city black or hispanic poets have an almost infinite number of venues to publish their work in. Apparently, the rest of us have too much "privilege", and therefore we are not acceptable to poetry journals all across the United States. It is a very odd world indeed when "white privilege" means no one wants to publish your writing. Apparently "privilege" in 21st Century America has a different meaning than it did back in the 70s when I was in high school.
I have hesitated to publish this collection. In point of fact, I started laying the groundwork back in April 2014, but I just could not bring myself to put it on the market. A few days before my 56th birthday, struggling to find the motivation to keep writing anything at all, I pulled the poetry from my portfolio at Writing.com for the third time and began the long work of revision and arrangement. Yesterday I deleted my portfolio at Writing.com and uploaded the final version of Shards to Amazon.
Poetry is an odd beast. For some insane reason people want to assign poetry a "truth" value that it does not merit. Poetry is no more "true" than any other art form. Let me take a moment here to be blunt and offensive: there is no truth in art! All art, even sloppy art devoid of meaning, begins out in the real world. Something or someone has an impact on the artist and the artist tries to communicate that impact. It does not matter if the artist sculpts a statue, paints with oil, or colors with crayons. The art they produce has been filtered through the internal world of the artist. It is, at best, a reflection of the artist's reaction to their subject rather than a "true" representation of the subject. Poetry is no different than any other art. The only "truth" it carries is the prejudices and preconceptions of the poet. By the same token, that inability to create pure "truth" is the very thing that makes all art so important and valuable to us as individuals, as communities, and as societies. Art is our experience of this life in this place and at this time. It is only "true" to the extent it reflects the internal world of the artist. Therefore, there is nothing "true" in art in the sense that there is nothing "real" in art.
It will be very tempting for some people to read these poems and try to find themselves. Doing so would be a mistake. Shards is neither historical nor autobiographical. Most of it is pure fantasy. Anything autobiographical is buried beneath metaphor and symbol. I did this on purpose. I made no effort in these poems to record my real life or my real experiences. Instead, my entire focus is on conveying a combination of emotion and context. All of these poems began with something real, but none of them now contain the reality that inspired them. My effort was focused on finding images that would carry the emotion of the moment, not the reality of the moment. I leave it to the reader to decide whether or not I succeeded.