Spectral Forms

In the spring of 2013, Traprock Books in Eugene published my chapbook, Spectral Forms.


Traprock focuses on poetry collections by Oregon poets. I appreciated publisher, Erik Muller, making this book the final title published by his press.

Spectral Forms became something of a neighborhood project. Erik lives about half a mile from me. We corresponded for years when I lived in Portland and we traded journal subscriptions (his Fireweed and my Northwest Literary Forum). When I moved to Eugene in 1997, I had no idea he was my neighbor and it took several years before we met in person. The cover art is by textile artist, Linda Lu, who lives around the block from my house. She calls her wall hangings “the edge of chaos.” Herb Everett, of Peace Rose Graphics, designed the book. Herb lives about two miles from me and has designed many books for Mountains and Rivers Press.

This project developed out of my interest in how poetic forms often fail to deliver on their promise (Lu’s “edge of chaos” description fit perfectly). Initially, I thought that there was simply irony in a form like haiku trying to fix a transient moment or objectively convey one person’s experience to others. As I explored the failures of various forms, however, I began to think differently about what such failures might suggest about poetic form itself.  This chapbook is a beginning step toward developing my understanding of how formal failure actually operates as a metaphor for form.

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