LizAnn Carson

Releasing stories into the world


Reflections on Poetry and News about Books

SA with GotE coversThings have settled down in my writing world, and now I can look at not one but two books complete, published, and off to meet their fates in the real world.

Major lesson learned: don’t change versions of your software half way through the process. Word 2010 and Word 2013 are not the same, and they don’t handle some things the same way. Even the font I used (Book Antiqua) doesn’t look quite the same in 2013.

But never mind. It’s done. Seducing Adam is out in paperback. Hooray! Hats flying in the air in mad celebration!

There’s more, though. I belong to this fabulous book club, and for several years now they’ve been the main audience for my occasional forays into poetry. I have loose-leaf notebooks full of the stuff. Some of my fellow readers have encouraged me to publish a volume of poetry, and I’ve dreamed for years of exactly the same thing, so this past December I finally buckled down to it. And Goddess of the Edges is a reality.

The process was much, much easier than it was for Seducing Adam, despite having to merge about a hundred Word files, some of them dating back to Word 2000, with poems formatted in assorted ways – and of course the inevitable tweaking of words here and there. Is it possible I’ve learned something?

One reason I’m proud of Goddess of the Edges is that it’s entirely my own, including the cover design and photography. (I designed the cover of Seducing Adam, but using stock photography.) Start to finish, my baby. And yes, I’ve found a mistake (a title missing from the alphabetical list of titles in the back) but I’m living with it. I gather that in Islam there’s a belief that the artist never creates a work that is perfect, because only God can do that. I like this idea and will adhere to it as I move further into my writing career.

I’ve also learned through poetry that everything’s mutable. I attended a day-long event with the poet David Whyte here in Victoria a couple of years ago. I have his collected works (River Flow: New and Selected Poems), and was happily following along as he recited some of his poetry – and realized that what he was saying and what I was reading weren’t the same. I furiously made notes in the margins, then asked him about it when it was my turn to get his autograph in my book. What he told me changed the way I look at the printed word in general, and poetry in particular. To paraphrase, he said, “I realized I could do it better.” So he is – and he also said the ebook version of his collected works would have the new wording.

Revelation. Just because it’s in print doesn’t mean it’s dead.

I seriously doubt I’d ever go in and change one of my novels. But poetry is an art form unto itself, capable of changing the shape and direction of its flow. Why not?

I’ve posted a couple of my poems on the website – look for the “Goddess of the Edges” page. I hope you’ll enjoy them.