Buy books, bookmarks, custom poems and more at my new Merchandise page.
from Sagittarius A*.
“After” is one of the small poems near the end of the chapbook and intertwines ideas about death and the nature of time, pondering how we see those things in the real and the perceived.
First, don’t forget to pre-order Sagittarius A* here.
Second, once I have proper stock, I’ll be selling autographed copies on this site.
Third, I’ll also be selling branded Sagittarius A* bookmarks – one side with the bright, gorgeous title bar, the other side with headshots and blurb text. The headshots will scale from rated G to R, with the price escalating as such. 25% of the bookmark sales will be going to the LGBTQ Freedom Fund, a great organization doing amazing work with LGBTQ+ folks in jails and immigration facilities. (I use the word facilities loosely.) You can learn more about what they do and support them here.
Two poems debuted last week at No Contact, a very cool NYC based publication.
“Fever” and “Unmute” were written during and about the pandemic. No apologies to any colleagues who might “see” themselves in “Unmute.”
I wrote an entire chapbook worth of pandemic poems. Not sure there’s much to do with them. Writing them was exorcism as much as anything else.
A few things happening.
- Sagittarius A* is officially on sale. Pre-order your copy here.
- I flipped out when I learned I was the 2020 recipient of the Christopher Hewitt Award for poetry.
- The awarded poem: “It Was Never Supposed to Be Ours.”
- A few days later, I flipped out again when I learned Claudia Rankine named my manuscript Twang as a finalist for the 2020 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry.
Yes, I probably should’ve made individual posts about each of those. But…yeah, life is busy! Work – where we are attempting to re-open our library for fall semester – has overtaken my life.
More news soon! I have a couple of cool projects coming up!
August has a special place in my work. Many of my poems (probably too many) that circle back to the farm take place in August. It’s often the month of new projects – often without me realizing it. I tend to write a lot of first drafts of poems and start a dozen short stories that I won’t have returned to a year later.
A month of transition despite having the same hot, muggy long days, August was frequently one of our least busy months on the farm. Uncles and cousins took vacations. We spent afternoons in the swimming hole, maybe going to a matinee at the movie house in Wheelersburg or Ashland. I would sit on the porch with my notebook. We’d spend at least one day at the Scioto Country Fair in Lucasville. (The Lawrence Country Fair was not good.)
This August will also bring lots of exciting news and developments that have me…excited for the longest month.
Revision has become my chosen creative enterprise lately.
I’ve crafted a few new poems, but as the pandemic has endured, by interest in writing about it or other fresh topics has waned. My attempts at writing protest work about the prevalent injustices are best left in draft; I’m at least smart enough to know I lack the agency or the life experience to write capably about some things. Thus, I’ve returned to old musical favorites – late 80s/early 90s Prince, British trip hop, Ray of Light, etc – and commenced rewriting old poems, drafts and ideas I had between 1996-2000.
I wrote mostly short fiction in those days. I completed two terrifically bad novellas and one collection of paranormal short stories in that time frame. (Published a couple of the stories in long forgotten journals. I think my contributors copies are in a box somewhere in my parents’ basement.) I wrote poems, or least their outlines, and often emailed them to myself in my old Hotmail account so I’d have them forever, if possible. Revisiting these texts has been revelatory. I had forgotten how heavily HIV/AIDS weighed upon me then, despite my often risky proclivities, and how going into public library work altered my understanding of the social contract, our social fabric and life in general.
Anyway, a few of these rewrites are beginning to take real shape, becoming the kinds of poems I wasn’t sure I could write ever/anymore. I don’t know if a new collection is taking shape, if these poems can join other bodies of work, or if I even want these shared with the world. I’ll see how my beta readers react and pivot from there.
I hope everyone is staying safe, behaving wisely, and engaging their creative self!
Sadly, no one took me up on the donate/social justice/poem idea. So I’ve been quietly donating my own money.
I wanted to highlight one particular organization: the Freedom Fund. Their mission and work is on point and they use PayPal.
Meanwhile, life continues as such: wake early, have coffee, writing new poems set between 1994-1999, FTE work remotely all day, workouts at home, long walks, evening cocktail.
Tonight’s drink was a lavender gin martini made with Empress 1908.
I received some major poetry news today that shook me to my core. Still haven’t processed what, if anything, it means.
Instead of payments in this time of uprising against injustice, when others are on the streets working toward greater recognition, understanding and ultimately freedom, anyone requesting a poem should first donate to a bail or bond fund – a great list here – and share your receipt of donation with me along with your poem request.