“Kindled by the dying embers of another working day…”

“I’ll be surprised if it sells six copies,” I said, and I meant it. When you test the patience of readers with a poem about moving from the city to the woods, published online over the course of a year in thirteen monthly installments, it’s foolish to expect even a trickle of demand for a paperback version. A print book of formal poetry about life in the Maryland woods, inspired by Old English alliterative verse and ancient and medieval calendar poems! Almost nothing is less marketable.

Yet to my amazement, all copies in the first batch are spoken for, and I’m planning to print up a second batch.

If you’d like a copy from the next batch, please let me know! Use my email address, jeffsypeck -at – gmail – dot- com, either to send me $15 via Paypal ($20 if you’re outside the U.S.) or to tell me you’d like to pay in some other way. The price includes shipping. (To browse the first drafts of each monthly installment, click here.)

I’m grateful to everyone who took an interest in this poem when I posted it in 2015 and 2016. It was one of those projects that takes on a life of its own, consuming your creative hours even though you no longer remember deciding to start it. I rarely write about myself, and I doubt I will again—but I like to think this poem is about something quite beyond myself anyway.

Thank you to everyone who’s giving The Beallsville Calendar an unlikely second life in paperback. Like the move to the country it dramatizes, it’s turning out so much better than I imagined.

10 thoughts on ““Kindled by the dying embers of another working day…”

  1. Marly, you haven’t yet ordered a copy, but I knew you’d want one, so I set one aside for you. I’ll drop you a note. Welcome back from all your globetrotting!


  2. Hey, passers-by, Jeff sends a highly well-packed book! I’ve had paperbacks arrive torn and badly bent, but this one was wrapped to a fare-thee-well and was in great condition.

    Jeff, so glad to see it as a book! Shall read it as a whole soon. Any plans for another long early-form poem? (Every calendar year is different, though. Hmm. You could have The Book of Years!)


  3. Thanks, Marly! It’s important to me that books arrive in pristine condition, in part because I’ve received too many trade-sized paperbacks that got folded in half to fit inside a mailbox. (I’ve also learned a trick: if the whole package weighs less than 13 ounces, you can mail it First Class rather than Priority and save a couple bucks.)

    And yep, I am trying to write a couple more long-form poetic works. I’m also starting to come up with a couple of larger themes for organizing shorter pieces I’m doing. It’s dawning on me that I’m more productive when there’s a central notion or overall framework guiding the poems: fresh inspiration from new gargoyles on the same building, for example, or a piece for each month in the calendar. We shall see.


  4. Finally came back to see the answer… Too busy!

    I for one am curious about what forms you will use. I’ve been digging around in that direction myself.

    You know, I find it so surprising that “Thaliad” keeps perking along, but clearly there are actually readers out there for long form poetry. I’ve thought about setting off on another wild adventure, but I have not figured out what as yet. Blank verse is so nice and fluent for stories! So. Tempting.

    My 2018 book will be connected poems. I wrote way too many and am cutting the ms. down.


  5. Well, among other things, I’m trying my hand at writing a play. It’s presenting different challenges than the ones I expected. Right now it’s a creative victory if I write anything that isn’t specifically for my day job.

    I’m always delighted to hear about you finding new readers for “Thaliad”! I’ve given it at least twice as a gift when I knew the recipient was the perfect sort of reader for it. The story you wanted to tell was perfectly suited for verse, and I’ll be eager to see if you write another long-form narrative poem.


  6. I’m definitely wishing we could sit down and have a chat about this sort of thing! I’ve even wondered if I’m missing some ancient long forms that might be useful.

    On the other hand, Thaliad just appeared to be in my head when I woke one morning, so maybe I shouldn’t bother puzzling over such things! Or maybe looking at vessels helps with what wine to put inside.

    You know, I’ve written two readers theater plays for young adults, commissioned by Christ Church (Fenimore Cooper’s church that he turned into a little Gothic bandbox.) One was a Noah play, one was a David play. 2015-2016.


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