Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Some Thoughts on Grief, Sentimentality and "Faith."

A couple years ago, The North American Review published one of my poems, "Faith." Today they were kind enough to publish an essay/article/blog thing I wrote about the poem. It's up on their blog. Check out out.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Lament for the Dead

My Lament for the Dead poem, "from The Gospel of Bullets," is now up at the LftD website.

It is in response to the death of Robert Dean Shull, Jr, 24 years old, who was killed in Odessa, TX during a shootout with police on Tuesday.

From the LftD project organizer:

"Lament for the Dead is an online community poetry project which will mark the death of every person killed by police this summer, and every police officer who loses his or her life in the line of duty, with a poem.

The first lie that hate tells us is that any other person is not as human as we are.

This project resists that lie by recognizing each other’s humanity, even in the most difficult places."

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Website and Two Chapbooks

This is a long overdue update.

The website is going through a redesign and is nearly finished. Hopefully, it is smoother, cleaner and easier to explore.

Also, I am happy to announce that two new chapbooks are available:

To Gain the Day has just been released by Red Bird Chapbooks and contains a series of poems drawn from my experiences as an exterminator. It also includes two photographs by my wife, Holly Burnside, who also provided the cover for A Generation of Insomniacs.

Everything I Know ... was also released. Many thanks to ELJ Publications for making my "Everything I Know..." poems available. This one includes a great cover by my great friend, Jonathan Schnapp.

Go over to the Books/Store section and you can order your own copies!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Generation of Insomniacs and More

It's officially here. On Tuesday, a big box full of copies of A Generation of Insomniacs arrived. I am so grateful to everyone who helped make this book possible. I have so much I want to say but I'm going to leave that for later. Right now I have other news I will share.

First, I want to announce my first post-book reading. I'll be at the University of Toledo on April 16th. This will be my first solo performance, which is pretty exciting and pretty nerve wracking. But I can't wait. If you're in the Toledo area, stop by. 6:00 PM in the Canaday Center at Carlson Library.

I also want to thank the editors at Redactions, who published my poem "Everything I Know I Learned from The Dream Songs." I've learned that the Board of Contributing Editors at Pushcart Press have nominated the poem for a Pushcart Prize. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I didn't post about it, since I was knee deep in my 30/30 run, but two of my poems ("Exterminator" and "Everything I Know I Learned from Rachel Maddow") were published on Verse Daily, an honor I'm not sure I deserve (but I'm taking it). Thank you to burntdistrict for originally publishing those poems.

And speaking of 30/30, I want to thank my sponsors once again. I set an insanely high goal of raising $1,000 for Tupelo Press. Somehow, I managed to reach my goal. I am proud and humbled by the support my work received.

And, lastly (for now), I am thrilled to announce that ELJ Publications has decided to take a gamble on my chapbook, Everything I Know... I've set up a page (see the bar at the top of the screen) but it has nothing on it right now. I'll slowly be putting info about the chap together and posting it there. Until then, keep your eyes peeled. The chap should be out around October 2014.

What a year and it's still only just begun!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Everything I Know I Learned from Lazarus is Now a Broadside!

My poem, "Everything I Know I Learned from Lazarus," has officially been turned into a broadside by Yellow Flag Press. The first printing is limited to 28 copies and costs a whole $3.00. Yellow Flag Press did a beautiful job on the broadside and I am both thrilled and humbled by it's release. Please head over to their website and order as many copies as you can.

And a little note from the editor that I love: "I had fun making these. They are all foldy and collectible." And that is why I love editors.

Monday, November 11, 2013

30/30 (Confessions of an Undisciplined Poet)

In December, I will be participating in Tupelo Press' 30/30 project. For the unfamiliar, 30/30 is a fundraiser that asks poets to spend an entire month writing, writing, writing. The press refers to it as a "poetry marathon," which is an apt description since my job during the fundraiser will be to write a new poem every day for thirty days. Along the way, I will be looking for donors to sponsor me (by donating to the press in my name, which you can start doing right now if you'd like).

I've written before about the financial challenges of literary presses and about the many ways different presses try to overcome those challenges. I failed to mention 30/30 during that post and in hindsight I feel ashamed about the oversight. It is, after all, a brilliant idea. And, in the end, everyone wins. The press gets much needed financial support. The poet gets some wonderful exposure (which is priceless for someone with a new book coming out). The sponsors get to read a bunch of poems by the person they're sponsoring as well as by the other poets (and in a number of cases, this may be the sponsor's first real immersion into poetry). And the sponsors learn about a wonderful press (Tupelo).

I am excited. I am incredibly nervous. I am, at times, ready to start right now and, at other times, convinced I am going to fail miserably. And I'm looking ahead realizing I still have a forty to fifty hour a week job, plus responsibilities at home (though, my incredible wife who I do not deserve is very supportive of this venture), plus one day a month where I literally work for seventeen to twenty hours straight, plus the coming holidays, plus... plus... plus...

And I'm supposed to find time to come up with, write, and craft (somewhat) a poem every day?


But on the other hand, I haven't written a new poem since last February. And I am starting to ask if that really has anything to do with the paragraph above or if it really has to do with me simply losing my discipline as a writer. But that's for another post. For now, I will say that I have lots of poems I've wanted to write but simply put off. For now, I will look forward to being forced to write and to being forced to write for a really really good cause.

Keep your eyes posted to this blog. I'll soon be putting up information about how you can sponsor my marathon (and for my friends with no money, I'll let you know how you can encourage me). I'm also planning a post where I explain in a little more detail why I decided I wanted to do this. Then, when December comes around, I will have a post tracking my progress. The poems will be published on the 30/30 website. Here I will have a sort of extended cut of the marathon. I'll have the titles of the poems plus some sort of extras (a bit of commentary, maybe a scan from my journal, relevant links, etc...). Until then,


Saturday, November 2, 2013

... And Then There Was a Cover ...

Cover art: "Brownfields" by Holly Burnside

Also of note, Yellow Flag Press will release a limit edition broadside of my poem "Everything I Know I Learned from Lazarus." More details on that as it comes in.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Generation of Insomniacs (Shakin' that Ass)

Well, it's been forever. But I am still kicking and working and all that good stuff. I had hoped to update this site much sooner than this but the stinging insect season has been incredibly busy this year. I've been swamped at work, but I've still got news to spread.

The biggest news is that, finally, after about five years of submitting, my first book, A Generation of Insomniacs, has been accepted by a publisher.  Main Street Rag selected Insomniacs as an editors choice from its 2013 Poetry Book Award. It should be released in 2014, probably mid to late winter. I've put together a Facebook page, where I'll post more info as it comes and I'll do my best to keep this site up to date, including the Insomniacs page at the top of this site. Until then, here's a preview, by way of the cover:

And finding a publisher and working on final edits of the book has made me return to the music that inspired it. Something I've been doing a lot lately with my MP3 player is listening to "Proudest Monkey" by The Dave Matthews Band followed immediately with Nirvana's "Stay Away":

Other news: I have a few poems coming out in a few journals and I'm looking forward to seeing them.

Redactions will be publishing "Everything I Know I Learned from The Dream Songs" and "Pseudo-Autobiography with Pesticide Formulations."

The Dirty Napkin will release "Dirge with Birds" and will also include a recording of me reading the poem. 

Also, drafthorse will release "Spring Rain," "The Doors to the Unemployment Offices Open," and "While Trying To Rat-Proof One Of Toledo’s Historic Victorian Homes, I Listen to the Customer as He Criticizes People who are Protesting Economic Inequality."

In other news, I'm not convinced this song has actual lyrics, but I love it:

And I've been reading. I've just finished re-reading Gregory Maguire's The Wicked Years saga (Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men and Out of Oz), this time reading all four books straight through, which was a lot of fun. I've also been reading Adrian Matjeka's The Big Smoke, which is pretty incredible (no surprise there) and Jim Daniels' Birth Marks, which I think is his best book in a long time (and his other recent books have been killer).

Here's a Tori Amos song. Why? Why not?

And lastly, my wife and I went to The Dave Matthews Band concert back in July at DTE Energy Theater, which was awesome. Here's a clip: