- Publisher: Gunpowder Press
- ISBN: 978-1-957062-05-1
- Published: February 1, 2023
Part of the California Poets Series, Downtime features new poems by Gary Soto. He describes the process for writing this collection:
The Monday when Daylight Savings, 2021, kicked in, I was left in the dark. The morning light appeared in our eastern window, then was gone by the time I finished washing the lunchtime dishes. The daytime was downright stingy in offering sunlight’s optimism.
A few days later, while I was on my couch with an Afghan around my legs, I sat up from my ten-minute nap, struck by a bright idea. I would write a hundred poems in a hundred days—why not? I pictured myself licking the end of a pencil to get them written in sort of a captain’s log—do it longhand, I told myself. I woke before sunrise, wrote, revised, and got a poem done by lunchtime. Ambitious me.
In truth this Hundred Poems Project was absurd. I knew—other poet friends knew—that more than half would end up the fireplace if not the angry teeth of our paper shredder. For me, that was a given. The act of writing mattered—keep it going, I told myself, be like a beaver and chew on a pencil, put down some lines, don’t forsake this craft! This private project of mine was a reminder to myself that after five decades I remain a poet, a calling few can claim.
I provide forty-seven of the one hundred poems written that fall. I like to think of this period as my downtime on the couch. The writing was anything but restful.