The Book: About The Dead -
By the summer of 2008 I had settled on About the Dead as a working title poem, around which, the rest of the book would be collected or written. The first draft of the manuscript was completed and shipped off to its first round of competitions—it scored finalist at four competitions: the National Poetry Series, the Brittingham and Pollak Prizes, The Journal Award in Poetry, and the Tampa Review Poetry Prize, and by February, 2011 it was awarded the May Swenson Poetry Award by contest judge Garrison Keillor. In many ways this book was written as a throwback to some of my favorite early collections written by authors like James Tate, Phillip Levine, Frank Stanford, Donald Justice, Marvin Bell, James Wright, and many others. Those poets wrote with a sense of humility, fearlessness and discovery that set their work apart from their contemporaries. I hoped to do the same.