I am grateful to Chris Graham for the opportunity to write about my experience of compiling and publishing my “Selected Poems”.
Firstly, one might ask, why produce a ‘Selected Poems’?
In the case of myself, I have published 6 collections of poetry: “Dalliance: A Collection of Poetry and Prose”, “The Girl Who Wasn’t There and Other Poems”, “Refractions”, “Lost in the Labyrinth of My Mind”, ” My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems” and “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems”. In addition, I have composed a number of other poems which do not appear in the forgoing publications, but are included in my “Selected Poems”.
I did, briefly consider publishing a “Collected Poems”. However, to be totally frank, I wished to only include those poems that (in my admittedly biased opinion) constitute my best work. And I am not equally proud of everything that has poured forth from my virtual pen (all of my poems are written on my laptop). Consequently I determined to publish a “Selected” rather than a “Collected” Poems.
So, how did I go about choosing the poems?
Many of the poems included in my “Selected Poems” first appeared on my website, kmorrispoet.com. Many of these attracted a significant number of “Likes”, together with some extremely kind comments. However, whilst I am grateful to each and everyone of my blog’s readers for taking the time to like and comment, I had to feel, deep in my heart that each and every one of the poems included in my “Selected Poems” constitutes my best work. Consequently not every poem which attracted a large number of “Likes” and/or comments, is included, whilst others, which have attracted rather less attention do appear in my book. Had I asked a friend or another reader of my blog to make a selection, I am sure that some of the poems found in my book would not have been included, whilst verses not thought worthy of inclusion by me would, I suspect have found there way into my “Selected Poems”.
What about the organisation of the book? I hear you ask.
My “Selected Poems” is divided up into 4 sections as follows: “Time and Mortality”, “Nature”, “Love and Sensuality” and “Progress and Human Nature”.
The above organisational scheme does, I believe work well, as, I found poems which do, broadly speaking fall into the aformentioned categories. For example, there is no doubt in my mind that “My Old Clock I Wind”, “Time”, “The Picture” and “Shadows“, all clearly belong in the section entitled “Time and Mortality”.
However, in the case of other poems, I found that they could have been included under more than one section. Take, for example my poem “What is A Double Bed?”, which runs as follows:
“What is a double bed?
A place where the dread
Of what comes after this brief life
Is momentarily lost
In the arms of mistress or wife.
What is a double bed?
A place where the lone head
And sometimes weeps.
What is a double bed?
A place of joy and pain,
Where we return again and again,
Until we are slain
By the final sleep”.
“What is A Double Bed” appears in the section “Time and Mortality”. On the whole I believe that this is the correct place for this particular poem, as it’s main theme is mortality (specifically how men and women forget their mortality, albeit briefly in the arms of lovers). However the poem also touches on love and sensuality so, arguably could also have been included under that section, rather than under “Time and Mortality”.
Again, my poem “Autumn Bird” (which is also included in the section “Time and Mortality” could, arguably have been included under “Nature”.
I suspect that anyone drawing together a “Selected” or a “Collected” poems, will find themselves wrestling with the same questions as me, as to under which section a given poem should be included.
So what do I conclude from the above?
Producing a “Selected Poems” concentrates the mind. One is forced to sit down and think, very carefully as to what in your own (admittedly subjective view) constitutes your best work.
Having made the selection, one is then faced with placing poems in the appropriate sections of your book, (unless, of course you determine not to break up your work in this manner).
“The Selected Poems of K Morris” can be found here, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WW8WXPP/.