The forthcoming publication of Collected Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black was announced more than a year ago. You can tell from the title that the book is something of a compendium of my works in poetry, basically combining three previously published books: I Made My Boy Out of Poetry, Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black, and The Bridge of Silver Wings. Taken as a whole, they make up the bulk of my poems written, performed, and published over the past two decades.
So why the long wait for publication? Partly because I have yet to settle on a potential publisher for the title, and, because a potential publisher has yet to settle on it. The other reason is because much of my literary energy over the past year has in fact been dedicated to editing and promoting the works of others. Some might find such a statement odd and wonder why I would take time and effort away from own work to apply to someone else’s. The answer involves something I have always considered a major motivating principle behind America’s celebration of Thanksgiving: it’s all about the sharing.
Individual aesthetic sensibility combined with collective creative vision is what makes moments of literary significance possible. The singular names of authors such as Agatha Christie, Richard Wright, or Salman Rushdie might stand out with personalized intensity for many readers but it doesn’t take much digging around to discover that all at some point required major support to elevate them to the iconic status eventually achieved. For me, the goal has never been so much about attaining such status as it has been about tending to the culture of meaningful literature in all its forms, helping to safeguard its priceless the legacy, and living the brilliant heat of its passionate inspiration. One of the very best way to do all of that is precisely by contributing what one can to the endeavors of others.
That, however, does not leave Collected Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black in a state of limbo. It means only that the title continues to develop and mature in its own way. And it is in honor of that time-tested process and in the spirit of literary Thanksgiving sharing that I am posting the book with sections from it at this time. Please enjoy it, share the pages, and have a great holiday season,