The Story of My Book: Carol Edelstein

Published periodically, “The Story of My Book” posts bring our collections to life through a series of five questions we ask all of our poets that highlight what makes every book unique and why Perugia is the right home for each of them (and may be for you and your book too).

Carol Edelstein on The Disappearing Letters (Perugia, 2005)

1. What was the genesis of your Perugia book? 

The Disappearing Letters began as an accumulation of individual poems written without a plan for a book. When I had published a few, and believed I might have a book, I looked for resonances in theme and imagery, winnowing out pieces that to my eye and ear did not belong. Along the way I got valuable advice on the manuscript from several trusted readers who worked with me on revisions of individual pieces and on altering the overall structure. I received many rejections (an encouraging one from Perugia Press) by the time the completed manuscript was accepted for publication—over three years, during which time I made major revisions and changed the title twice.

2. How did you find out about Perugia Press? 

Susan Kan, at that time the director of Perugia Press, introduced herself after a reading, told me about the press, and encouraged me to submit work.

3. Describe an experience that confirmed Perugia Press was a good fit for you? 

Too many to single out just one. The great experiences connected to Perugia are still unfurling for me. The process of seeing the manuscript become a beautiful printed book was a joyful one. Susan Kan’s dedication to making it the best it could be was an affirmation I’ll never forget. And through the press I have met many other wonderful people who have become important to me: friends of the press, board members, judges, and my inspiring sister Perugia poets.

4. How have you changed as a poet, writer, or creative person since your book came out?

One answer is that I have become more confident as a writer, which for me means trusting the places my writing process brings me, even when the way is not clear. But mostly, I don’t know.

5. Other than poetry, what moves and motivates you? 

I am moved by my experiences of the natural world. I am moved by hearing and reading the stories of others. Physical activity is key to my sense of identity: I love to row, swim, and run, although my running has become mainly walking. All forms of art interest me, even art I don’t like. Friends and family sustain me. I love good food. I love a good joke. I love babies. 

Photo by Robin Barber

Poetry Month Announcement!

Carol Edelstein’s new book, Past Repair, is just out with Simian Press. For the first 25 folks who order The Disappearing Letters from our bookshop, we’ll send you *a free copy* of Carol’s new book as well. If you love Carol’s work, you’ll love the gorgeous new collection, and if you already have The Disappearing Letters, consider purchasing another for a gift and give yourself the gift of this beautiful new book in the process.