It is interesting to note the several titles this has undergone. At the Colrain conference, I had a long talk with Fred merchant about this. Jeffrey Levine, who was also there, said not to worry about it as he like many other editors will change the title once accepted. I still wanted a good one, one that was compelling and summarized the manuscript. The first title was Mud Angel. Judith Skillman suggested Mud Angels which I thought was a good idea. For awhile, I even played with the idea of calling it The Last Jew. However, this seemed dramatic and limiting for the audience. The same with my other title, Miracle at the Holocaust Museum, which I was particularly fond of. Finally, I decided Through the Floating Door. I shortened it to The Floating Door in an effort to dump the preposition. It had a strange water element to it but sort of felt like something from Wonderland. it never quite felt right either.
So, I thought about the main imagery in the manuscript. I remember Ruth L. Schwartz dividing it into themes of longing and another on family. (She is really good at organizing! A trick she taught me was to connect each poem to the one before it with an image or reoccurring word, which I tried to do here.) The main imagery in my mind: birds, wind, water, rural, mud, and Jewish imagery. So I started putting those things together on a sheet of notebook paper in one line, crossing out words, adding words, like a word game, until I came up with The Breath before birds Fly.