Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Poet Amber Decker with The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Writing Across Borders

Poet Amber Decker Begins Her Journey
There is nothing like receiving a photo in your inbox of a friend holding your new book in her hands. Poet Amber Decker sent this lovely photo of herself along to me this afternoon. Since The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Writing Across Borders is less than a month old, I'm not used to seeing it anywhere other than my computer screen. To know that Amber is reading it on the other side of the country makes me ridiculously happy. To hear from her that it contains "incredible stories and is full of good advice" is cool, too. A few weeks ago I met with the lovely Seattle poet and pie maker extraordinaire, Kate Lebo, to brainstorm travel ideas with her after her reading of the book. It's pretty cool to bring two things I love so much --- poetry and global travel --- into one gorgeous volume.

This was my first experience editing an anthology and I learned so much! I worked with a fantastic team of people including Catherine Barnett, Ilya Kaminsky, Brian Turner, Beth Allen, and Jared Hawkley. And then there were the leagues of fact checkers, proof readers, permissions coordinator --- and a host of other key players. I can't imagine doing such an undertaking alone.

The idea for this book came from a conversation Ilya Kaminsky and I had a number of years ago when he came out to Seattle to give a reading at Highline Community College where I teach. We bemoaned that fact that young poets wanted to get out and see the world but had little idea how to make this happen if their pockets weren't lined with gold. Surely, there must be a book that could inspire poets to do what other American poets had done before them. Elizabeth Bishop, W.S. Merwin, Phil Levine, and Yusef Komunyakaa all spent considerable time living outside the United States. And they wrote about it -- how it influenced their poetics and their worldview.

The book also contains a large resource section with information on how to apply for grants, fellowships, and jobs abroad. It's a book I plan on using as I dream about poetry trips to India and Italy, Turkey and Thailand. Happy travels!

1 comment:

  1. I will buy this book as well. Thanks for this delightful commentary.

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