Fun fact: this is the poem that Renee Montaigne read on NPR’s Morning Edition in 2008.
Jen wrote a really lovely newsletter about the piece, some of which I wanted to share here:
I met Austin in person in Austin, TX, when I was there for SXSW, and was glad to get to spend time with him as he was on the brink of big things—spending time with artists on the brink of big things is one of the true joys of my job. His book—which you can pre-order on Amazon—was available in the conference’s bookstore. We went to dinner on the same evening that we both got to hold copies of it in our hands for the very first time. Austin was frazzled and flustered and flattered by the attention that was beginning to percolate. He was anxious about what was to come, and whether the book would sell, and what comes next when it does or it doesn’t.
There were four of us at dinner, each representing a compass point on the map of North America—California, Canada, New York and Texas—sitting at a picnic table on a scrappy patio beneath trees strung with Christmas lights, sipping sweet tea and eating barbecue and talking about poetry. I mean really talking about poetry, because as it turned out, all four of us are pretty big poetry nerds. It struck me then that for all the talk about what was to come, Austin’s accomplished some pretty amazing things already and those things deserved a good portion of the credit for convening us there that evening. And being there? That was pretty great.
With all the insanity going on in my life right now, the giveaways, interviews, reviews, Amazon rank, etc., I really needed to read this.
To remember what’s important.
As I told the group that evening: the best part (for me) of being an artist and a writer is the people I’ve been able to meet–totally awesome people–whether it’s in blog comments, or on twitter, or in person over BBQ.
I’m a very lucky guy. So big thanks to y’all, and thanks to Jen.