I sent it, mostly out of curiosity, to a couple of contests, even though it didn’t feel finished, yet. I’d heard how awfully hard it is to get a first book taken, and I was worried about that, so I wanted to test the waters. Then, a few months later, I’d had a breakthrough concerning structure, and it felt finished, so I sent it out to five places—all on the same day. One of those places was the Bakeless. So, maybe seven in all, but I ended up withdrawing it from three of those places after it won.
After the Ark is, more or less, my MFA thesis from Hollins University. There are a few poems from the years before, and one or two from the year after. I think it came together in the relatively common way: poems strewn across the floor of my living room. I spent a few weeks walking among the poems I’d written during that three year period, moving them around, searching for connections in image and some sort of coherent narrative...