so it looks like you're planning on publishing THE HILL WE CLIMB, that amazing poem by amanda gorman she recited at the presidential inauguration. that is fabulous. no, seriously, the next day i was hearing about all these teachers who were going to talk about it in their classrooms. let me correct that: all these teachers were going to use the text for discussion the day following the inauguration. people connected with it so immediately, and for good reason. it was lyrical and stunning and just the kind of showstopper worthy our attention.
i was so happy to hear it would be the title of her forthcoming book of poetry... in september?
no, i was not so happy to hear that part.
honestly, you can do better. and you have.
remember in olden days -- january of 1993 -- when we had a new incoming president, and another dynamic poet read at the Inauguration? on that particular day in january maya angelou read ON THE PULSE OF MORNING and people were equally agog, if memory serves. and even if my memory is hazy about the reception, there was a book. an octodecimo chapbook-looking thing that was on every bookstore counter across the country. you couldn't escape that little thing with its gold title on the cover and cream pages inside with the words that sung right off the page. and it didn't matter that it looked like something out of the 'zine scene of the time. it was poetry, and it was pocket-sized, and i'm guessing the margin was high on that stapled bit of pages.
and that little chappy? it was published and distributed -- by YOU, dear random penguin megahouse -- within a MONTH.
so let's keep this simple and not throw shame any further: you did it then, do it now. publish THE HILL WE CLIMB as a chapbook and get it out there. let it be the start of a new day for poetry, for a new generation who might be hungry for this kind of inspiration. let people hold it close to their hearts as we continue to be pandemic-struck. you aren't going to draw away precious sales in the fall when you publish ms. gorman's collection by sharing this one poem now. if anything it will be the sample that encourages a double scoop of goodness in a waffle cone down the road.
what do you think?