I recently received a letter from Finishing Line Press that my chapbook manuscript, Saudade, was one of the top 20 semi-finalist in the New Women’s Voices 2012 chapbook contest. Finishing Line Press has asked to publish my work in their 2013 Finishing Line Press chapbook releases. I accepted the offer, and Friday I sent off the signed contract. This is a new step for me as a writer, and it will take me in new directions. Having a chapbook will encourage me to share my work in a more public manner, and I will have the opportunity to see how others respond to it. I feel appreciative of the many people through the years who have read my work via e-mail and who have encouraged me to keep going.
Saudade, the title of the chapbook is a Portuguese word with a wonderful definition for which we don’t have an equivalent in English. Wikipedia explains that ” Saudade was once described as “the love that remains” after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone (e.g., one’s children, parents, sibling, grandparents, friends, pets) or something (e.g., places, things one used to do in childhood, or other activities performed in the past) should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence.”
This thread of longing weaves through the book. From running through Borneo’s rainforest in order to see an orangutan to observing camels from a cliff in Saudi Arabia, to listening to fado music in Portugal, Saudade’s 19 poems emerge out of my experience as an expatriate living and traveling abroad, but they are also more than travel pieces. They explore the themes of loss, hope, the meaning of home, and how to live within the borders of our own limitations and unfinished possibilities.
Hopefully, there are a number of you out there who will want to read the book! When I get details about dates for pre-publication sales from the publisher, I will announce it here and then you can help me spread the word to others.
Currently, I am working on a series of poems about immigrants from southern Italy to San Francisco, and am thoroughly enjoying all the many things I am learning about Italy, about immigrants, San Francisco, and about the time period! Among other things, I’ve come across fascinating historical clips of Calabrians dancing the tarantella, found some fantastic Calabrian recipies from Rosetta, born in Calabria but who now lives in San Francisco. Writing is a wonderful way to continuously open yourself to a deeper understanding of the world.