Joe Jiménez is the author of The Possibilities of Mud (Kórima 2014). Jiménez was the recipient of the 2012 Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Poetry Prize and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. He lives in South Texas and is a member of the Macondo Workshops. For more, visit joejimenez.net.
Joe’s Book Coaching Statement:
Donald Hall tells us that “a poem is one man’s insides talking to another man’s insides.” And so, in the muscles of my book coaching efforts, I ink these three core beliefs—
I won’t tell you how to fix your poems; only you can discover that as you build and rebuild your collection. I will certainly, definitely offer questions and pose suggestions for exploring newness and change and cohesion in your poems. In the fibers of each exchange on the collection you are building, I’ll ask: How does this poem mean? And what does it want and need to say? And how exactly are your poems in dialogue with one another?
I will not tell you what your poems mean; I will offer questions to help you explore symbolism and imagery, word choice, syntax, and technique, as you craft and revise poems and sections in your collection. I can offer mentor poems to show you how others, engaged in similar work, have crafted meaning. I can help you grip why repetition is profoundly different from anaphora, how white space and sound like word play and spondees can offer themselves to us as we make poems. I can tell you what I have done, what I have seen others do, but ultimately, these are your poems, and this is your collection, and so, I firmly defer to your volition, your voice, your vision.
I believe writing and revision exercises are needed tools in making better poems. I am a workhorse, and I believe there is a muscle that makes poems inside each of us, a gorgeous muscle which must be worked, fed, cared for, allowed to marvel at the World.
On my best days, I think this is how I work. I think of myself as a poem-maker, a craftsman, a man who can set ego aside in order to hear the dark music and Shadows, the fuel some of us use to forge our poems, to say something marvelous and necessary about our human condition(s). I bring enthusiasm for craftsmanship and poetry, and perhaps this is an enthusiasm you want or need to share in.