06 December 2008

SUDDENLY SLOW: POEMS is finally published!

Sorry for my unusually long silence in this blog, but I've been very busy finishing one book after another as well as preparing a pair of new one-acts that will open in February 2009. (Yes, my office assistant Rocky is still very much in my employ even though he sleeps an awful lot on the job. When he's awake, he loves to supervise even though I'm supposed to be his boss [heh!], though, so of course, he's a wee bit too good at that. I don't mind, though. Such a fantastic dog, though.)

These past eight months have been amazingly creative, not only in terms of quantity but (if I may say so) more importantly of quality. I haven't seen this much inspired stuff since the summer of 1990 when I wrote St. Michael's Fall: Poems, This Way to the Acorns: Poems, and most of Mute: Poems (finished that one after 20 years of working on it), half of Sylvia Plath Made Me Do It: A Fiction in Verse, and most of my first novel Men with Their Hands--all within an eight-month period! Now, in the past eight months alone, I've written three one-acts and two full-length collections of poems, finished two more long-standing unfinished books of poems, and began my first brand-new novel in well over a decade. (No, Lansel doesn't quite count because it's not even halfway completed, but don't worry--I intend to finish it in 2009. In fact, one of my New Year's resolutions is to write more fiction.) In any case, I'm very pleased with the way my new novel is going, as it's certainly taking me into new directions I never thought I'd take in my own writing. I wish I could be more specific here, but I'm afraid that I dislike talking about my works in progress as long as it's still an unfinished first draft. But this novel is definitely one that I was born to write, which is why I know I will finish it. It may take me a few months of constant rewriting once I finish its first draft; even though the book is already 82K words (and still counting), I feel that I'm only halfway there with its story; maybe not. Only time will tell. I'm just very excited about this novel.

Speaking of books, I will have three titles coming out in 2009. RID Press will publish Assembly Required: Notes from a Deaf Gay Life in the spring; Suspect Thoughts Press may also bring out Men with Their Hands: A Novel around the same time. Then Gallaudet University Press will bring out a collection of my full-length plays called Playing it by Eye: Stage Plays about the Deaf American Experience in the fall of 2009. I'm not too worried because I'm already looking forward to working with my new director Evonne Bilotta-Burke and her wonderful actors in my show Un: 2 short plays about love, which will open in St. Paul, Minnesota on February 19, 2009. The one-acts are called Unconditional Murder and Unhappily Ever After; since both titles begin with the letters "Un," the show is called Un. More details on the show and actors as soon as they are confirmed. They'll have a web site (but of course!) to promote the show as well, so please be on the lookout here for such salivating details!

More importantly, I am proud to announce that Handtype Press has finally brought out the first title of its limited edition chapbook series: John Lee Clark's Suddenly Slow: Poems. This collection of poems opens with a stumble: "It was not there / until I tripped over it."

But this is fitting because John Lee Clark bounces back, as he always does, artfully and unexpectedly, to make an astonishing statement. Snowballs, his long white cane, pears, Braille, bedsheets, sign language, and even morning light come alive in this deaf-blind poet's hands like they have never before.

Thanks to his sparkling language, his intellectual playfulness, and his capacity for wonder, together with his unique perceptions of life, his poems add a much-needed new wrinkle to the lexicon of imagination. What he reflects on, others cannot see in the same way again, and that includes the poet himself: We understand that he is like the rest of humankind in all the most important ways.

Better yet, read more about what others have to say about the book here and read a sample poem ("Something to Sleep On")! Sure, you can get the book via Amazon, but if you order directly from Handtype Press, you will naturally get your copy a lot faster. Actually, a lot faster!

I'll blog more later this month. Until then, may you all have a most Happy Holiday season!