I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, and known for some time that I wanted to put a pamphlet of poems together. I wasn’t so confident, though, in how to start the process of seeking publication; this still felt like something that was a bit shrouded in mystery. To start with, I brought together a collection of around 25 poems which I liked and thought hung well together, all written at various points over the past five years or so (I write slowly!). Gingerly, I started to research and then contact publishers. The pool of poetry publishers who hold open pamphlet submission windows isn’t huge, and everything takes time, so I was delighted when Jennifer at Green Bottle – a press I really admired – got in touch with me to say she liked my work, and was interested in publishing it. That is such a good feeling, to know that someone out there has read what you’ve put so much of yourself into, and thinks it deserves a wider audience.
Beyond that initial green light, I had to wait a little while longer to get to the point of publication, as the Green Bottle schedule was brim-full. In that time, I wrote more, of course, and my style and poetic interests kept developing. Although I was initially anxious about this, it was wonderful to return to those ‘older’ poems when it came time to work intensively on the pamphlet manuscript earlier this year. I could trace the development of my voice, and the thematic connections between older and newer work (which I was able to include in the final pamphlet). Having an editor as sharp and engaged as Jennifer was so helpful, posing all the tricky questions that ultimately help to create a tighter, more coherent collection of poems.
Seeing the finished pamphlet is exhilarating. It’s a slightly unnerving – in a good way – feeling, knowing that words which have for such a long time lived quite privately in your head are now out there in the world, existing on their own terms.