... to find that I have over forty poems written towards the new series or project or whatever it is that I'm working on. Some will end up getting junked, many will end up getting revised -- of course. But I didn't realize how much work I'd done already. Wow.
Along those lines, I'm looking for recommendations. I'm interested in books of "poetry as biography" (whether of historical or fictional personages, I don't care which). I recently finished leadbelly by Tyehimba Jess, which is a good example of the kind of thing I'm looking for -- and is a phenomenal, powerful collection to boot. I'm currently reading Your Own, Sylvia by Stephanie Hemphill, which is another one; I'm not blown away by the individual poems, but I like the concept, the way the poet writes from a bunch of different points of view & includes footnotes to explain some of the biographical details. And while I was in Colorado for Christmas, I spent a few hours at the Tattered Cover Bookstore (aka "heaven") in Denver & picked up It's Hard Being Queen: The Dusty Springfield Poems by Jeanette Lynes. Haven't read that one yet, but it looks most intriguing.
Are there others I should know about? I'm interested in how others have worked with similar material -- chronology, plot, structure. I'm toying with the idea of interspersing bits of ephemera among the poems -- snippets from interviews and articles, that kind of thing -- and am currently debating about how much of the plot (you know, the "facts") I need to lay out & how much I want the reader to have to trust the gaps.
Books that aren't necessarily biographical per se, but which use individual poems to tell a larger story, would be of interest as well. I'm less interested in the "verse novel" sort of thing than in books of individual poems that fall together to tell someone's story. What I'm envisioning has more in common with a series of linked short stories than with a novel, if that makes sense.
I'm also interested in poems that use the imagery of rock & roll. Those are a little easier to find, I think, but I bet there's some I don't know about.
Any & all recommendations are most welcome!
Also: Happy New Year one and all! May 2009 bring us all prosperity, happiness, and the right words at the right time.