A Suitable Church

1981, Copper Canyon Press

Within a year after The Man Who Kept Cigars in his Cap came out Sam Hamill with Copper Canyon Press asked me if I had a poetry manuscript. I did, one that I had been tinkering with for several years. It had almost been taken by Wesleyan University Press, but wasn’t, so I no longer knew how much faith to have in it. Sam’s invitation inspired me to work on the manuscript again, write a few new poems, revise some of the old ones–and the book happened. I was working at Centrum in Port Townsend at the time. Tree Swenson did the book design–and designed this book, sometimes coming to me with such particular questions as “Should we jump to the next page after this line or after this line?” Barbara Arnold was a fine pen-and-ink artist working at Centrum. She did the drawing on the cover and the sketches inside. I loved the group effort in making a beautiful book.

Of course, it is now out of print, but many of the poems in this collection are included in my new and selected poems. The reading sample poem I have here has not been reprinted, but it has had another life off the page. Jazz artist Kurt Elling used the poem “Approaching a Hill in November” in his song “Storyteller experiencing total confusion,” Blue Note recording titled ” Close Your Eyes,” 1995.

about Jim Heynen

Best known for his short-short stories about “the boys,” Jim Heynen has published widely as a writer of poems, novels, nonfiction, and short fiction.

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