Putting together the manuscript was this past summer's project. The book includes the craft tips from my Poetry Newsletter—all of them written by accomplished poets. It also includes the model poems and prompts based on those poems. Again, the poems are all by accomplished poets. The prompts, written by me, call attention to the various elements of craft in the poems and ask readers to practice those elements in a new poem of their own. I've also included the Poet on the Poem features that I have posted on my blog over the past two years. Each poem is followed by a 5-question Q&A between me and the poet. The questions are primarily focused on elements of craft in the poem. Finally, there are Bonus Prompts.
The principal challenge of writing this book was organizational. How to get all that material into some sensible kind of structure? I hemmed and hawed for days and days. I tried one plan and then another. At last I landed on the one that made sense. So it's now organized into 10 sections. Each section includes several Craft Tip pieces, each relevant to the section's concept. Each craft tip is followed by a model poem and a prompt. Each section concludes with a Poet on the Poem piece and a Bonus Prompt.
The subtitle, "A Portable Workshop," indicates the various ways in which this book might be used. Many of us can only work from home. We might not have been able to go for an MFA. Or we have done so and now want to continue our education independently. This book gives readers what they need to work on their own. It assumes that the reader already has an understanding of the basics of poetic craft and it builds on that knowledge. But the book can also be used in a group workshop or as a text in a classroom. It's portable and will go where you go.
This has been a new kind of venture for me, and I'll confess to being pretty excited about it. I'm especially happy about the number of astonishing poets who are part of this book. Now I'm refining the bios, obtaining permissions and writing the credits, and compiling a list of recommended books. There are a few more pieces to plug in, but I'm confident that I'll meet my deadline.
I'll keep you posted.