I keep writing about the great creative energy in Savannah these days.

Savannah-based poet Patricia Lockwood has just published her first book: Balloon Pop Outlaw Black from Octopus Books.

And things are going swimmingly, with the book at #29 on the poetry bestsellers as tracked by the Poetry Foundation. If #29 sounds pretty far down the list, take a look at some of the names ahead of Lockwood: Mary Oliver, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Billy Collins, C.K. Williams, Sharon Olds, Mark Strand, Natasha Trethewey, Wendell Berry, and other familiar names.

Bill DeYoung at Connect Savannah wrote recently about Lockwood. From The word absurd, which came out in advance of her first book:

The daughter of a Catholic priest, Lockwood grew up as part of a strict religious family in Indiana and Missouri.
Both precocious and a self–professed nerd, she started writing poetry at the age of 8. “I was obsessed with Greek mythology. I had a fossil collection. I was extremely lame.”

As a teen, things got a bit more serious. “You have a sort of insane self–confidence that what you’re doing is genius work. And obviously it’s not. But if you persist in that belief for a period of like 15 years, that gives you the sort of swagger that’s necessary to sit down every day and write.”

Young Patricia entered one poetry contest after another, and as the years passed, and her work took on a more surreal tone, she got published in The New Yorker, The Awl, Denver Quarterly, American Letters & Commentary and other prestigious publications.

“I was always very ambitious, even psychotically so,” she explains. “In the sense that when you’re 16 and you have this manuscript of awful poetry, and you’re sending it to contests, clearly you want it to be your destiny that you eventually have a book published.”

Here’s Lockwood at Seersucker Live in fall 2011 reading “An Animorph Enters the Doggie-Dog World”:

Lockwood can be found occasionally on her blog, but she’s especially busy on Twitter, where she has over 15,000 followers. She’s currently on a tour of the Northwest promoting the new book.

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