How many drafts of this poem did you write before going to the final? (And can you share a photograph of your rough draft with pen markings on it?) I can only estimate the number of drafts - somewhere between 50-100. I began submitting it to journals over 40 years ago. The first draft is gone, as well as most of the early drafts.
The oldest one I have left is a draft returned by Poetry in 1985 - rejected, of course. I was so naive when I began sending out work. I sent to top tier journals like The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry, Agni, and all the other top tier journals. (I've attached a photograph of the 1985 draft, which is nothing like the final version.)
Were there any lines in any of your rough drafts of his poem that were not in the final version? And can you share them with us? As I've indicated in my answer to the previous question - yes, there were many lines in early drafts that didn't make the final cut. The entire first stanza was replaced with another. Also, other stanzas were added between the remaining early stanzas.
What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem? Among other things, the poem is about the intersection of cultures and their stories, and how new ones do not have to drown out the older ones. Also, for writers, this poem is a success story of how never to give up on a poem or to quit sending it out into the world. It took over 40 years for the poem to be published after its first draft was written.
Has this poem been published before? And if so where? The poem was first accepted and published by Lisa Hase-Jackson in 2012 in an online journal called 200 New Mexican Poems (2012). The journal celebrated the bicentennial of New Mexican statehood, and was of two journals selected by the New Mexico Bicentennial Committee as an official activity of the celebration. It was also published in Dharma Rain (Saint Julian Press, 2016)
Anything you would like to add? Poets and writers need one another. I am grateful to Christal Cooper for featuring "Shiprock" in her terrific blog. I am indebted to scores of mentors and editors, and to hundreds (thousands?) of readers, without whom much of my larger body of work would not exist, or would not be available through the many fine presses and journals that have so graciously published it. Most of all, I would like to thank my partner, Janet. Without her, neither my writing life nor my personal life would be capable of sustaining the creative spark necessary for success at the level they have attained.
Terry Lucas is the author of two full-length poetry collections: Dharma Rain (Saint Julian Press, 2016) and In This Room (CW Books, 2016). His two prize-winning chapbooks are Altar Call (San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival, 2013), and If They Have Ears to Hear (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2012). He has received numerous other writing awards, including the 2014 Crab Orchard Review Feature Award in Poetry, and six Pushcart Prize nominations. Terry is a guest lecturer for Dominican University of California’s low-residency MFA program in creative writing, and a free-lance poetry coach. His current projects include a memoir entitled Flight, and an in-progress third poetry collection.