Thanks to Poet & Writers for featuring John Belk and his debut collection, The Gardens of Our Childhoods, in their “The Beauty of Being: Our Eighteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets” feature! As always, we love hearing about the poet’s process and approach. Of his collection, John says,
I knew I wanted to braid multiple poetic sequences together into a loose thematic narrative that moved wildly outward into space, and I knew I wanted the Perry Saturn sequence to be the engine of that movement. Then Mike Good with Autumn House suggested a few rearrangements, placing key poems earlier in the manuscript to help the reader get their bearings and learn how to read the book. This was brilliant since the book is filled with interconnections and Easter eggs across poems, and I think the reordering really helped highlight that.
To read John’s full interview, as well as hear from seventeen incredible debut poets, check out the feature on the Poets & Writers’ website.