& now Andrea Baker answers Kate's first-book questions
How has your life been different since? Were there things you thought would happen that didn't? Surprises?
First I'm so happy about it and proud of it. "My book. My book!! Oh my God, I wrote a book!!" And that's all very good and never changes, even through all my bleak thought.
But there is a lot of bleak thought. Primarily, my trouble is that the book has no real weight and/or the weight it does have is false and I cannot reconcile this with how important it is to me. One problem is that poetry has nothing to do with my real world, the place I really live. If a book meant that the next time I might get an advance that would pay for time to just write, that would mean something pragmatically. Or if I wanted a teaching job and a book meant I might be able to get one, then it would have an impact. But I don't want to teach.
Though these things are just true and always have been true, I feel more deeply in touch with the fact that hardly anyone cares about poetry and that it really does not matter. For some unaccountable reason it matters A LOT to me--and it also matters to me that I am read, but vanity is the only reason I come up with.
I have also come to understand that I had expected the book to transform me on some level... Make me smarter?? Bring me money?? Make writing easier??
Obviously, it's done none of these things.[...]
Read the rest (& stay tuned for more).