Happy National Poetry Day! Why not celebrate with Issue 6 of Phantom Drift? It’s just hit the stands and it features my poem, Sphinx (think Thebes, not Egypt). Be sure to swing by their site and pick up a copy. It’s got great cover art by Irene Hardtwicke Olivieri and the sub-title: The Impression of Irreducible Strangeness. What more could you ask for? Issue 14 of Elbow Room should also be available for purchase any day now, so keep an eye out for that. In it, you’ll find two of my poems: Fundamentalism and Monument. Last but not least, wish me luck. I’ll be debuting a new poem (see my earlier post about things found in old books) tonight at the Museum of Futures’ National Poetry Day event.
Recently, I realized that my Publication History was a mess, so I took some time to revise the layout and make it easier to browse. Now, everything is in reverse chronological order and broken up by year, with my most recent publication announcements at the top. I also put the magazines and online journals that no longer exist down at the bottom in their own section. If you’re interested in what I’ve been up to, please take a minute to check it out.
In the process of doing this little tidy up, I came across a few more publications that have seemingly moved on to the netherworld that awaits knackered lit mags. Orion Headless was an online journal that featured a piece of my photography called New York Scraps. Now that their site has vanished from the web, I thought I’d share that photo here.
The other sad news was regarding This Great Society is Going Smash, which seems to have fallen silent after 2013. Like Orion Headless, it was a digital publication, but it really stood out as being nicely designed and generally well put together. It featured my poem, Opa, at the very beginning of my publication history back in 2011. One of the great things about my interaction with the team behind This Great Society was that they saw the poem’s potential and gave me a chance to rework some of its weaker parts. Not many journals will expend that sort of time and effort on a new writer, but in my case, it was just what the poem needed and they accepted the revised version. They even went so far as to feature it again in their Best of Poetry retrospective. On both of these occasions, Opa appeared alongside a great illustration by Lara Hughes and I thought the two went together nicely. But the piece was intended as a tribute to my grandfather and I’ve always wanted a chance to present the poem with the photo that inspired it, so I’ve included it below.
Candid photograph, the old man turns his head
too fast for the shutter and he’s transparent.
Chin rests against hands held together.
It’s prophecy, the light’s trick mirrors time.
Ticking like the gold watch around his wrist,
Following the snake, shedding wrinkled skin.
Moon-white hair slicked back, thinned,
and large glasses over dimming eyes.
Following moon-white feathers,
opened wings taking flight, god willing,
New York Scraps
Have you ever opened up a second-hand book and found something strange left behind by a previous owner? I certainly have. A black & white photograph, a sheet of newspaper from 1959, a letter written in Chinese on Brigham Young University stationary – these aren’t the only things I’ve stumbled across, but they’re the most striking examples. In fact, I found them all so intriguing, I dedicated poems to each one.
The most recent of these poems was inspired by the aforementioned Chinese letter, but the note itself was only one half of my motivation. The other was the approach of October 6th, the UK’s National Poetry Day. Last year, I carelessly let this special occasion pass me by without even noticing it. How embarrassing! I was determined to do better this time around and then I heard about the theme of this year’s festivities: Messages. “This is perfect!” I thought. “I can finally get that letter translated and write something about it!”
Obtaining a translation was an interesting process in and of itself, but the poem is more or less ready now and I’ll be reading it for the first time in Surbiton (or, as I like to call it, Suburb-i-tron) at The Museum of Futures‘ National Poetry Day Celebrations. You can find more information about this event at the Seethingography blog, so be sure to stop by and reacquaint yourself with the world of poetry. And if you’re wondering about the other two poems I wrote about the photo and the newspaper, they’re currently unpublished and looking for a home, so feel free to contact me if you’re interested.
Trying to get poems published is a strange process. Sometimes, months and months pass without any acceptances or imminent publications to announce, but at other times, the news just seems to pile up all at once! Fortunately, this just happens to be a busy time for my work.
In addition to recently being published in Pioneertown (see my previous post for details), I have a piece called Slow Dance appearing online in Issue 2 of the South Florida Poetry Journal. What I really like about SoFloPoJo, besides the fact that the short form of their name sounds very Judoon, is that they invite authors to include an audio clip alongside their poems. This added dimension provides people with a fuller experience of the poetry and makes it accessible to the visually impaired at the same time. As SoFloPoJo is a relatively new journal, it’s especially important to support them at this early stage of their existence, so be sure to give this issue a thorough read. After all, it’s free!
If you prefer to read tangible print objects, you can get hold of two more of my poems, Inversion and We Pass, in Inwood Indiana’s Reaping issue. Both of these poems draw on the time I spent living in eastern Pennsylvania and I’m excited to share them.
Reaping promises to be a fine collection of writing and it’s available for a modest sum, so consider this: Inwood Indiana is among the first publications I’ve found who’ll actually PAY ME for my work. And what makes that possible? People like you buying the issue. Sometimes, you might hear talk about investing in the arts, but this is the real deal. Buy a literary journal so that they can pay their writers. Simple.
Alright, I’ll get down off of my soap box for now, but just so you know, I should have at least three more publications to announce later this year, so keep checking in for updates.
Newsflash! My poem, Bookworm, has been featured by Pioneertown and you can read it here: http://www.pioneertownlit.com/bookworm
This piece will probably strike some people as surreal or bizarre, but the strangest part about it is that it’s true. I heard the story from a friend of mine who actually encountered this character when he was living in Boston. By the time I sat down to write the poem, quite a few years had passed and I was fuzzy on the details, so I tried to find something a little more concrete online. After a decent amount of digging, I wasn’t having much luck. But then I found this: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2010/11/08/woman-eats-bible-for-spiritual-and-physical-nourishment-part-1/#comments
FYI: the pop-up ads on that site are a nuisance, but if you get past them and you want a little context for the poem, the video is worth a watch.
Of course, it’s not just about me and my poem. Make sure that you browse the rest of Pioneertown’s site and get a feel for the great writing they’re showcasing. As I’ve said before, I couldn’t do what I do without the support of these publications and they can’t do it without your support. So please, check them out.
I’ve been flying below the radar for several months now – no new publications to announce and hardly any poems completed. One of the reasons for this has been art.
I find it difficult to juggle my interests, so I occasionally devote a disproportionate amount of time to one while neglecting another. Though I haven’t produced many poems since last summer, I have completed six new pieces of art in my ongoing exploration of pi (3.14 etc.). I’ve been meaning to buy a few frames and take some proper photographs, but impatience has gotten the better of me again, so here are some low quality phone photos just to give you a sense of what I’ve been working on.
New pi art
Fortunately, things have turned around for my writing as well. I’ve recently completed three new poems. Three of my other poems and two of my photos are appearing in the June edition of Verse-Virtual. Another is about to be featured in the Seethingography blog. And yet another piece, which was previously included in Kind of a Hurricane Press‘s Twice Upon a Time anthology, is also going to appear in their 2015 Storm Cycle “Best of” anthology. That’s right, back in the proverbial saddle once again! Just a reminder: two of my poems should be appearing later this year in Elbow Room as well, so keep an eye out for that.
Just a few quick announcements:
1. You can now read Issue 14 of Structo, which features my poem In Brighton, for free.
2. The literary magazine, Out of Our, which featured my poem Outlines and Associations in their 13th volume ended their run with Volume 17. I was going to provide a link to their site, but it doesn’t even exist anymore. The site for Thoughtsmith, which featured my poem Seeds, has also ceases to be. So, that makes eight journals which have featured my work and then gone bust. I certainly hope I’m not bad luck. Regardless, I’ve included the poems below so that they can live on (for whatever that’s worth).
Outlines and Associations
In one breath: necessity, invention. The brush strokes of a single day.
When your eyes have been closed, nothing looks quite the same.
Between prayer and purchase, the asymmetry.
Fondness makes the heart grow distant.
The hymnals sit untouched for years.
Paths forged and followed decide where you’ll find
your source of light and cast your shadow.
By development or disaster, we’re all backed into corners.
The wrong things matter in these circles, like the lesser
and greater gears of machinery grinning with stained, broken teeth.
Always traveling, often lost. Do birds appreciate their wings?
Flowers grow towards rays and moths fly into flames.
Suddenly, another option. I trace silent flecks of dust
floating in the stream of light sliding through the windowpane.
Audience to the paradox, my favorite distraction:
the hand that catches the snowflake and the eyes that watch it melt.
I often feel I’m on the verge the way an animal appears
partly obscured by the bars of its cage. What am I meant to learn
from silence? Inconspicuous: unsent letters, blueprints scrapped,
passing away like broken habits. Don’t wait for it to happen,
anchored to everything you can deny. So easily swayed,
yet so hard to convince. Will you recognize it when it’s time?
The boy with a sparkler can’t understand.
For him it’s all just light and color.
No connection between bombs bursting
in air and comrades tattered by shrapnel.
Ornate explosions could easily be flowers
blooming, leaving imprints you still see
with closed eyes and a holiday pride
putting down its deepest roots subtly.
Hey, remember when a poem of mine called Location appeared in Issue 29 (Winter 2014/2015) of The Dawntreader? No? Oh, come on, just go along with it!
Well anyway, those folks have been kind enough to include me in their fine publication yet again. In Issue 32 (Autumn 2015), you’ll find Bowling Green Park – NYC, a meditation on the New York Stock Exchange and (what I perceive to be) the failure of the Occupy Wall Street movement. At The Dawntreader’s site, you can buy one issue for a tasty sample, or go whole hog with a four issue subscription!
As I mentioned in my previous post, my poem 10th, 11th was featured in Moonshot’s fourth issue: Correspondences. What I failed to mention is that they’ve sadly closed up shop. Whenever a journal that’s included me falls by the proverbial wayside, I make it a point to eulogize them and I think it’s particularly worth drawing attention to this relatively short-lived publication for several reasons.
First of all, each and every single one of their five issues features truly compelling cover art. Everybody knows what they say about books and covers, but ignore that for a minute. When you’re looking at a literary journal that also publishes visual art, their choice of cover says a lot about their overall aesthetic. One look at an issue of Moonshot, and you can tell they’ve got an eye for quality. Molly George‘s cover for Correspondences is a perfect example. It makes it pretty difficult to resist the urge to open up the issue and delve in.
And once you do delve in, what you find is just as fascinating as the cover. I was especially struck by the graphic (illustrated) poetry of Simon Moreton and Alexander Rothman. These people are pushing the boundaries of what a poem can be, but not in the exclusive ways that some excessively experimental poetry movements encourage. Their art invites people into the poems by giving them something familiar and then leaves them with poignant words to ponder. It’s a powerful one-two punch combo, but I don’t come across it in many other journals (though I’m probably not reading widely enough).
Fortunately, Moonshot’s website is still live and you can find digital editions of all five of their issues their. Even more fortunately, the founders of Moonshot have a new project in the works called AADOREE, which I can’t wait to get my hands on. Please check it out and support these people. I’ve said it before: without publications like this, writers like me have nowhere to place our work.