If I Cannot Bring You Comfort, Then At Least I Bring You Hope

So, 2018 happened. I woke up in 2019 to a confusion of seasons: frost on the ground, puddles slicked with a thin skin of ice, but in the camellia in my backyard, three bright pink flowers and a verdant hummingbird still going about his business. I want to take this as a prediction for the year ahead--something vague but optimistic about every ending also being a beginning--but what those birds and blossoms tell me sounds more like an old truth, the one to which I've been waking for a long time. "Good morning," they say. "Prepare to be bewildered."

I won't go into all the ways that the last year has baffled and confounded me. Dear Reader, I'm sure you can already name at least half of them. Suffice it to say, the first poem I published this year was about gun violence, and so was the last.

Lest I start sounding like doom and gloom were my only companions these last few months, here's a reason for celebration: On my birthday, I heard that my new poetry manuscript, "Again," was accepted for publication by Airlie Press! This is the book that arose from the Inauguries project, and it's due out in Fall 2020, right in time for the next round of U.S. presidential elections.

What's more, Airlie is a collective, so when my manuscript was selected, I also became part of the press' editorial board. I'm delighted to be part of the collective, to have the opportunity to promote the work of other poets, and to select and edit future manuscripts. Airlie's emphasis is on poets from the Pacific Northwest, so I'm also looking forward to becoming more deeply engaged in the literary community in Oregon through my work with the press. This is what I'm most excited about for the year ahead.

It wouldn't be a proper New Year's blog post without turning my gaze back toward what I read in 2018. I spent time with many good books this year, but if I had to choose a few favorites, these would be the ones:

Nonfiction
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, Janet Mock
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, Ursula K. Le Guin
Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches, John Hodgman
The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships, Suzanne Stabile

Fiction
Exit West, Mohsin Hamid
An American Marriage, Tayari Jones
The Consuming Fire, John Scalzi
The Overstory, Richard Powers
Circe, Madeline Miller
There There, Tommy Orange
Friday Black, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Poetry
Good Stock Strange Blood, Dawn Lundy Martin
Don't Call Us Dead, Danez Smith
My Ariel, Sina Queyras
Silk Poems, Jen Bervin

Children's Books
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, Jill Twiss

With that, I bid adieu to 2018, and welcome 2019, with all the wonder and weirdness, the splendor and stupefaction it will undoubtedly bring!
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Published on January 01, 2019 16:03 Tags: best-of-2018, closing-of-the-year, new-publication, poetry
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