Today I received the welcome news that out of thousands of submissions to the new magazine, Coastal Shelf, my poem, “Dreaming to Updated Mountain Songs” was selected for the first issue. Moreover, because one of the editors made a strong case for its inclusion, Editor Zebulon Huset plans to publish my poem together with a “mini-essay” by the editor who especially appreciated it.
I am very happy about this because I like this poem a lot. It was inspired by a recital you can listen to here, and specifically by Robert Beazer’s “Mountain Songs for Violin and Guitar.” I highly recommend the whole recital, but the “Songs” begin at 45:36.
I liked the combination of traditional idioms with a new sensibility and new techniques in the piece, and later I liked how imagery came together in the poem in a way that was dreamlike but at the same time made a forceful statement about my feelings regarding what has happened to my country, not only recently, but repeatedly over the years in different places and in different ways, as ignorance, greed, and violence tragically put their stamp on the land and its inhabitants. It is good to know that someone else appreciated my statement, and I look forward to seeing precisely what that editor took away from the poem.