After my first book, Eating the Heart First, came out in 2012, I got very involved with the writing community in Acadiana. We recruited writers to join various writing groups and literary life took off. I worked as a participant and a leader, too. For the past almost five years, I’ve developed quite a great amount of “new” writing through the group work.
My mother died in 2014 and it gutted me to the core. I have been blessed to have made friends with many deeply spiritual and wonderful women after my mom’s death. All of them poets. One of them, my bestie Bessie Senette, is a very special woman. I was at her home feeling very depressed. This was in late 2015. She said some important things to me that helped me feel better then she pointed a finger at me and said, “You need to write another damn book.” That day I began working toward a manuscript with much of the material I had produced over the years since the first book.
When I had something cohesive, polished, and strong, I mentioned the manuscript to J Bruce Fuller. I told him I felt the work was too edgy; had strong adult language and sexual tones for my first book’s publisher’s apparent tastes. He said, “Send it to me.”
J had it for several months. I decided that I would not send it out to any other publisher until I heard back from J, because I love the work he is doing with his team at Yellow Flag Press. On May 22, J Bruce let me know (in public, at a reading, while he was on stage at the microphone) that Yellow Flag Press was going to publish Seek the Holy Dark as the 2017 selection of The Louisiana Cajun and Creole Poets Series. It was so thrilling and a real surprise. J didn’t think I was going to be so surprised, but I was completely blown away!
I hope those of you who have pre-ordered the book know how deeply grateful I am. I love this book. It is an exclamation of the adult me. I used to say that Eating the Heart First was written for human beings. This new book was written for human beings but also for poets. I take risks with language and experiment with form. I go deep and focus hard on my subject–life–physical and metaphysical. I hope those of you who take the chance of buying it will be enthralled. That is my hope.