Thank Yous from Martin and Me

Euphony, a student-run biannual literary journal at the University of Chicago, has chosen “Fireside Chat” by Martin Ott and me for a future issue. “Fireside Chat” is currently the final poem in the manuscript for our second collaboration, Yankee Broadcast Network, coming out on Brooklyn Arts Press at the end of this year. Thank you, Euphony editors, for choosing our poem.

Beecher’s Magazine, published annually in Lawrence, Kansas and run by the students of the graduate program in creative writing at the University of Kansas, has selected “Ghazalgate,” also by both Martin and me, also part of Yankee Broadcast Network, for its upcoming print issue. Thank you, Beecher’s busy bees, for choosing our poem.

A third chunk of gratitude goes to Rob Sturma and Ryk McIntyre, editors of MultiVerse, which will come out on Write Bloody Publishing in late 2014. Rob and Ryk accepted “The Dry Cleaner,” from American Wonder, Martin’s and my third manuscript (still very much in progress). MultiVerse will be the second comics-themed anthology in which one of our poems has appeared.

Finally, we’d like to thank Andrew T. Powers, who wrote a great review of our first joint collection, Poets’ Guide to America (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2012), for the latest issue of Prick of the Spindle.

More Thank Yous

I’m grateful that two of my poems have been accepted for republication by other journals. “The Anxiety of Influence,” which originally appeared in The Café Review, will soon be printed by the Broad River Review, the literary magazine for North Carolina’s Gardner-Webb University. And “Legends of the One Percent,” which is set to be published in Ireland’s The SHOp, will also be in Dream Catcher, a magazine from the East Midlands of England.

Even more recently, a third poem, “On Kandinsky’s Open Green, 1923″ was chosen for the print annual by the editors of Painted Bride Quarterly, published by Philadelphia’s Drexel University. Thank you to these editors as well.

Many Thank Yous

This has been a pretty cool weekend. I wasn’t able to fly out to California for the San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival, which would have been a joy to attend, but other good stuff has been happening.

On Friday, Martin Ott and I were notified by Sarah Freburger, a member of the editorial team for Collier’s Magazine, that they would like to publish two of our poems on their website. We’re excited by the possibility of appearing in a national magazine with a long pedigree and a tradition of seeking social justice, though we’re still waiting to work out a couple of details before we sign all the paperwork.

Also on Friday, I was contacted by Karina Basso, assistant managing editor for Rock & Sling, a literary journal of witness, published twice a year at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. The “literary journal of witness” part means that they’re interested in discovering my relationship between faith and the poem they accepted, “Just the Facts Concerning Jack Frank Buck”; I’m not sure how I’m going to respond to that request, but I’m glad they mean the concept of faith in general, not any particular narrowly-construed “faith.”

On Saturday, Rock & Sling contacted me again, this time editor-in-chief (and Spokane poet laureate) Thom Caraway accepting my poem “He.” Again, they’d like 300-500 words on the intersection of faith and my literary creation. Hmm…

But maybe the most rewarding experience this weekend were the events surrounding the eighth installment of the 2013-2014 Mark Webster Reading Series, a platform for MFA students in their second year of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. I was lucky enough to read my poetry in conjunction with the fiction of Blair Austin. Blair took the stage first, delivering two pieces: first, a dramatic monologue of sorts in the voice of a football announcer from a parallel universe; after that, a shorter story about a pack of feral dogs hunting two boys. Blair’s a great performer with a masterful grasp of verbal nuance, so I was a bit nervous knowing I’d have to follow his act. Fortunately, his second story was in more of a minor key, which provided a better segue-way into my own work.

Once it was my turn, after a wonderful introduction by my friend and colleague Kenzie Allen, I think I acquitted myself well enough. Raquel and I had practiced my set a few times in the preceding week, so I kept her tips in mind and I knew the performance should come in right under the twenty-minute limit. I read “Stash,” “Weather Report,” “Wait Till Your Father Comes Home,” “Soar,” “Last Straw,” “Ground Stood, Value Assessed,” “2020 Vision, “and “Weird.” Everyone was congratulatory afterward, and a number of folks offered positive comments, especially about the last three poems. The one pisser was discovering on Saturday that I’d also read “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home” for my first-year MFA reading last April. I really dislike repeating myself, especially since I have plenty of other poems that might have deserved some attention. But at least I had revised the poem since last year, so it wasn’t a total repetition.

It was a great night in general. First I got a drink and some appetizers with Webster series hosts Chris McCormick and Marcelo Hernandez Castillo and with the night’s introducers, Chigozie Obioma and Kenzie. Then came the show. Then Raquel and I got some pizza with Blair, his partner Camilla, Marcelo, Nina Buckless, Zach Braun, Jide Odebayo-Begun, Lauren Clark, and a little later, Dan Hornsby. Then I walked Raquel home and went to the 8-Ball Saloon, the local dive bar, where I saw Chris and Jia Tolentino and had some drinks with Denise Dooley, Nora Byrnes, Phoebe Rusch, Emily Nagin, and Kat Finch. I wish I’d run into Kenzie and Chigozie at the 8-Ball too, but I guess they got there early and left before I arrived.

Anyway, once again, thank you to everyone who played some role in making this a very cool few days. It’s a huge relief not to live and write in a vacuum, to know that I fit somewhere, at least contingently. Thank you.

Thank You, Lindsay!

Thank you, Lindsay Wilson, editor-in-chief of The Meadow, the literary magazine for Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada, for accepting my poem “In the Light of the Sun: A Ghazal” for next summer’s issue. As with “Tension,” I’m a little afraid of my friends who know ghazals reading my modest attempts, but so it goes. I do appreciate getting this chance to see “In the Light of the Sun” in print.

Thank You, Martha!

Thank you,  Martha Silano, poetry editor for Crab Creek Review, for accepting “Repairman” for an upcoming issue. “Repairman” was written by Martin Ott and me for our second collection, Yankee Broadcast Network. Martin and I intended the poem, its title inspired by James Taylor’s song “Handyman,” to explore the world of a secret saint, a humble, truly good man attempting to use the resources of a store’s television department to heal the wounds of the world.

Thank You, Adnan!

According to editor Adnan Mahmutovic, two poems by Martin Ott and me, “Come Marvel at the Catasquaphonous Carnival of Dick Clark’s Rootin’-Tootin’ New Year’s Eve” and “The Mermaid Behind the Glass,” have been accepted for publication in Two Thirds North, a print magazine produced by the Master Class in Creative Writing and Editing at the Department of English, Stockholm University. Sweden marks the eighth country where I will have been published, so that’s pretty cool. These same two poems were also accepted by Pennsylvania English a few weeks ago, but since the two journals are in print on different continents, there shouldn’t be any conflict over publication rights. In any case, we’re pleased and honored to have our work appear in both Two Thirds North and Pennsylvania English.

Thank You, Larry!

Back in late March 2009, having just started writing poems in earnest two weeks earlier, my raw enthusiasm prompted me to buy a copy of the 2009 Poet’s Market and start figuring out places to send my new works. The entry for The Great American Poetry Show especially caught my eye because its editor, Larry Ziman (maybe the same as the poker player?), encouraged poets to send as many poems as they wanted, far more than the usual batch of three to five. I’d been experiencing a long bout of poetic logorrhea, so I had plenty of crappy pieces to send him and TGAPS; I think I started by mailing them 111 poems in a big manila envelope. They were all rejected within the week. Over and over, I sent TGAPS everything I wrote throughout the next few years, both my solo work and my collaborations with Martin Ott. Finally, 368 poems later, Larry called me in the summer of 2012 while I was driving back from Banh Mi Che Cali in Westminster, California. He mentioned wanting to shortlist a few of my poems, and was okay with the fact that two of them were or would be previously published.

Today, about sixteen or seventeen months later, I finally received the official email from Larry that he would like to include “Island Living,” “Reconquista,” and “The Romantic Stylings of G. Albert Touchstone” (a very early pastiche of Eliot’s “Prufrock”) in Volume 3 of The Great American Poetry Show, scheduled to hit the stands in January 2015. (And, of course, he encouraged me to send even more work in the meantime.) Wow, so almost six years after I first started sending this journal my work, it’ll finally publish some of it. That’s cool. I appreciate Larry’s periodic encouragement as much as my own persistence. But it does seem a little bit like the end of an era, or at least of a minor quest.