Forming the Manuscript

In her initial attempts to pull together a book from her recent poems, Goedicke used the following categories to group her poems:

General-Earth ending

Grief

Still here - Dark

Still here - Lighter

Idiosyncratic love

Where do We go? How do we know each other?

As you might note, most of these categories concern death or mourning.  Even the poems in "Idiosyncratic love" are tinged with a sense of grief.  Note the arrows traveling between "Idiosyncratic love" and "General - Earth ending." These arrows indicate where the same poem appears in different lists. "Where there Were Once Trails," for example, falls under categories about love and death, since it delves into a particular aspect of Goedicke's relationship with her husband during Robinson's years with dementia.

One should also note that the various drafts of the manuscript interweave poems from various categories to a certain extent. In the published manuscript, the first five poems come from the categories of "General - Earth ending," "Idiosyncratic love," and "Still here - Lighter."  In a letter to Emilie Buchwald in the next section, Goedicke compares a poetry manuscript to a novel in terms of a focus on a particular theme or plot.  With this in mind, the categories initially created by Goedicke may be viewed as different pieces that combine to form a larger experience that the book attempts to convey.

Prior to grouping the poems into categories, Goedicke wrote notes on each. You may view these notes along with this grouping in the full record for this item.

Initial grouping of poems for As Earth Begins to End, February 25, 1998

 

Notebook entry dated January 24, 1998

Despite the date listed (1/24/93), this entry is more likely from 1998, which is indicated by the rest of the entries in the notebook which date from 1997-1998. The circled entries are particularly informative of the direction in which Goedicke took the manuscript. They discuss the eventual decay and unraveling of all things.

 

Notebook entry dated January 26, 1998

In this entry, Goedicke reflects upon Otherwise, by Jane Kenyon, who died from cancer two years prior to the release of Otherwise. Many of the themes touched upon by Kenyon's poems are similar to those examined in As Earth Begins to End.

On the second page of the entry, Goedicke writes the title of her manuscript and a brief quote that accompanies the title.

 

Letter to Michael Wiegers of Copper Canyon Press, April 29, 1999

This letter to Michael Wiegers was written days before Leonard Robinson passed away. In addition to describing this personal context of the book, this letter also includes a number of details regarding the process of publishing and promoting the book.