in january of 2021 i was holed up in my bedroom in our flat for about a week w/ boxes of genealogy materials (courtesy of my mom), old books (digital and paper) on nineteenth-century mining and geology, old plat maps, and books on the blackhawk war and on woodland effigy mounds, concocting a long narrative poem in segments. the effort’s purpose was to forge in the imagination a commingling of my own family lives, my ancestral family’s history, our inhabiting of particular locales (esp’ly milwaukee, janesville (wi), vinegar hill (il), cornwall, and the black forest), and the geological forces that bequeathed the rock, hydrology, and plant life that we’ve all shared. all thru the master trope of mining, since my mom’s earliest family in the area came here as lead miners. it’s set primarily in a middle cornish meter of randomly alternating 7- and 4-syllable lines.
it was a task a long time in the making.
anyhow, it’s called leads and diggings: a conglomerated family history, and the new adversus press was kind enough to publish five sections of the longer work. you can read them here if you have an interest, and the full work will be featured in my new collection, be radiant: a sonata pome, coming out in jan 2024 (more on that soon…). (there will be images from those old books in the full version)