Posted by: Viola | January 29, 2015

Picking a title for my chapbook

Last year, when the editors for the chapbook sent me their feedback and suggestions for the manuscript, they gave me the opportunity to pick a title for my chapbook. I went back and forth in my mind for a long time, trying to decide what to go with. The editors told me their top two options. So things had already been narrowed down. This was a big help, since I tend to have tons of ideas for titles of poems and titles for my book projects. I get very excited and carried away, sometimes, just thinking about titles. I am not sure why. But I do. I can spend days thinking about how to title something. It’s a little obsessive, I admit. In any case, I was grateful to have things already narrowed down.

After mulling the chapbook title over and not feeling confident about what to go with, I decided to ask my parents what they thought. My parents are divorced, and though they were married for many years, they are such different people. So imagine my surprise when, given the title options for the chapbook, they both echoed the same choice. Their views on the title were very similar. Some of their reasons were different, but they tended to echo the same idea. They thought that BIRD FROM AFRICA was the best title to go with.

I argued with each parent, trying to suggest that maybe it was not the best title for a chapbook. But they were steadfast in their selection. They shook their heads and said BIRD FROM AFRICA was the way to go. It was the title they would go for. I resisted–maybe out of my desire to contradict them. And so I kept torturing myself with indecision.

Finally, I went ahead with their selection. I had some of my own reasons for going with that title, but I think the biggest influence was that, for the first time in a long while, I saw that these two vastly different people were in agreement. They both liked the same title. They both defended it as the best title. And that was hard to argue with. It was also hard for me to argue, with myself, over the fact that I do love my vastly different parents. Love them both very deeply and wish to honor them, in my own poetic ways. And so the chapbook is here now, and it is titled as my parents would like it to be. BIRD FROM AFRICA. And they approve. ❤


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