It's always a good feeling to find yourself in one of your hometown lit magazines, and Up The River: A Journal of Poetry, Art, & Photography is a gorgeous literary web-zine hosted by Albany Poets, an organization promoting events and writers in the Albany, NY area. My poem "Spiders at Night" appears in Up The River, Issue Six, alongside the work of other poets I really enjoy, like Kevin Ridgeway, Alan Catlin, and others. Check out the poem and scroll the through the other issues for a lot of excellent poetry. Thanks!
Two of my poems recently appeared at Winedrunk Sidewalk, an online daily poetry journal that also subtitles itself "Shipwrecked in Trumpland," and focuses on anti-authority, political, and working class poems. These two, "Lo Cool, 69 Degrees" and "Soft White Infinity" certainly fall along those lines. I hope you enjoy.
BONED Every Which Way 2017 is an anthology of the poems that appeared at the BONED online magazine over the course of the year, and the new paperback edition includes two of my poems, "Dry Tide" and "Going Ghost." The first poem, "Dry Tide," first appeared in my mini-chapbook The Darkest Bomb from the Lantern Lit, Vol. 1 collection, which is also available online. The second, "Going Ghost," takes me back to my days in Berlin, Germany almost eight years ago. Feels like yesterday. Anyway, the collection is full of great poets, including Mikey Sivak, Wanda Marrow Clevenger, Susie Sweetland Garay, RM Engelhardt, Matthew Borczon, Mat Gould, and others. The anthology is also edited by Nate Ragolia, who is a fine poet himself. I hope you are able to pick up a copy, it's pretty darn affordable at just under $12. Enjoy!
My new poem, "The Guest Room Closet," now appears at Lonesome October Lit, one of my favorite online publications. As they say at their website, Lonesome October Lit "is a horror webzine for poetry as well as short fiction. The founding editor felt there was a lack of space out there for horror poems in a market flooded with mainstream literary venues and homes for genre prose fiction." If you love spooky, scary, atmospheric poetry and short fiction, this is the place for you. My poem is about an eerie childhood visit to a small village in the Hudson Valley, where something dark waits for a wayward guest. I hope you enjoy!
Two new pieces that relate to driving along the more remote and nostalgic stretches of highway are now posted at the Punch Drunk Press website. My narrative poem "West Texas Skyway" concerns a memory of driving out to Ft. Davis and Alpine with my father and sister, and my poem "We'll Take a Trip to See" concerns memories of returning to a small town long after leaving a life and relationship behind, many years prior. I hope you enjoy, and many thanks to the editors at Punch Drunk Press for including my work at their website!
I recently had the privilege to be part of Up The Staircase Quarterly's 10th Anniversary celebration, in which April Michelle Bratten, longtime editor of the incredible magazine, asked me to help select one of the best pieces over the last 10 years. Since one of my own poems appeared in UTSQ in 2011, she asked that I scour that year for a choice poem, and I selected "waking//daydream//or I MAY JUST CEASE TO EXIST:" by Faith Mingus. It's an excellent poem about her truest self, an existence of choice, a reality running counter to her day-to-day life. I highly recommend not just this piece, but the entire issue, which is full of other great selections, poets, and reviews! And keep submitting your own work to UTSQ, which I hope will be going strong for another ten years and far beyond!
One of my favorite literary and cultural magazines online, Drunk Monkeys, just named my latest collection We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine as their pick for the Best Book of 2017. It's a massive honor and I'm blown away by the response, especially from a group of editors and writers I already deeply respected. In their post, they said, "It’s a powerful, transformative, and funny work - and our choice for Best Book of 2017. ...no book moved us, challenged us, and inspired us like James Duncan’s poetry collection We Are All Terminal But This Exit is Mine." Check out their website for the entire review. As always, I owe a lot to Bud Smith at Unknown Press for working with me on the book and for pushing me in new directions. And thank all of you for reading the book (signed copies are still available!) and for supporting me over the years.
Kleft Jaw #11 just blew a hole in the internet with their 11th issue, and I'm grateful to have two pieces within, a poem titled "Lo Cool, 69 Degrees" and a flash fiction story called "$10,000" which used to be a poem I originally wrote in Colorado but I fleshed it out to an actual story because it needed more room to detail the weird encounter I had with a man in a coffee shop out in Ft. Collins a few years back. You can read these pieces in the online magazine, and please check out the other work and art in the issue. It's a wild collective over there and I'm always pumped to be included in some Kleft Jaw chaos.
My 2017 writing life started by trying to revise a novel I had worked on for almost a decade, before deciding around March that it just wasn’t working. Plot holes kept shifting, twists I added to make the story unique only made other part of the story implausible, and I kept blending too many genres to the point where I didn’t know if the story was taking place in the past, present, or future, if it was a dystopian story or a noir or both or neither. I admit, I was making it too hard on myself, too complex, but I had lost the clear vision needed to simplify that story. I was in too deep and it just wasn’t working out. I love the characters so damn much, but I decided to stop for good (or...for now?) and pursue other projects I wanted to work on.Read More
Earlier this year, the editors over at Cahoodaloodaling asked if I would join them as a guest editor for one of their issues, and I jumped at the chance. They also allowed me to suggest a theme. It was a huge honor being asked, and right away I knew I wanted to edit an issue based on the idea of solitude. Solitude is a major theme in my life, both as a comforting thing and as the sometimes lonely side effect of being a writer in need of quiet time in order to work. It can be good and bad, and for others, it can be a relief or a tragedy, something to embrace or to fear. It means so much to so many, and in this issue we capture a lot of that, covering an array of feelings about solitude and what it means, in an issue we titled Solitude's Spectrum.
Though we read blind submissions, there are a lot of writers I know and respect in this issue, including Megan Merchant (who wrote our spotlight piece "of use," Rebecca Schumejda, Bridget Clawson, Shanti Weiland, and many more, as well as an interview with another favorite poet/editor, April Michelle Bratten. My deepest thanks goes out to Raquel, Rachel, Hannah, and all the other editors and readers at Cahoodaloodaling for letting me join the team, if only for a little while. And thank you as well for taking a look at the issue, my interview within with Rachel Nix, and at everything else Cahoodaloodaling offers at their site. Enjoy!
My poem "September in the Attic" now appears (on page 31) in the new issue of Free Lit Magazine, which has a unique "Magic" theme, and climbing into one's attic in early fall can certainly become a magical adventure full of nostalgia and daydreaming, something I explore in this poem. You can read the issue online or download a PDF, and I hope you'll consider sending them your own work. My thanks to the editors for including me, and my thanks to you for reading.
My poem "The Mice Have Abandoned The Woodpile" is now featured in the new issue of Picaroon Poetry (it's on page 7), edited by the talented poet-pirate and sea-witch extraordinaire Kate Garrett. The collection features a slew of excellent poets, including Jessica Mehta, Ali Jones, Emma Lee, Spangle McQueen, Russell Jones, and many others. The poem is perfect for this early winter season, as it was written in November one year ago and speaks to themes of oncoming winter, loneliness, and what happens as you attempt to move on from a failed relationship. You can read the issue online, so I hope you take a look, enjoy, and send Picaroon your own bounty of poetry. Thanks!
Our upcoming winter issue of Hobo Camp Review is open to submissions that span all topics and themes, but we also plan on having a tribute section to the late Tom Petty, one of our favorites here at the Camp, and we'd like to include poetry, flash fiction, art, and other artistic offerings that are inspired by Petty and his lyrics, song titles, albums, etc. To be clear, we are NOT looking for work specifically *about* Tom Petty, his passing, or what Tom meant to you. Instead, we want to see his influence in your own work, either as subtle references, riffs off his lyrics, poetry exploring themes and characters in his work, stuff like that. Keep his artistic vision alive in your own work! We have a tentative deadline of 12/15/2017, but we may keep it open longer if great work keeps rolling in. Please take a look at the Hobo Camp guidelines and consider sending something our way! Thanks, and I'll see you down the road...
My poem "The Green Carpet," which also appears in my new book from Unknown Press, We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine, is now featured over at Words Dance Publishing, a fantastic site that posts all kinds of great literary content. The poem looks back on my fond childhood memories of my elementary school library and how formative that place became, and all the feelings that can overcome you later in life when you realize those warm, wonderful places feel so far behind you that you'll never be able to reach them again. It's a good example of the kind of work you'll find in my book, which is available at Amazon or by contacting me at email@example.com. My deepest thanks to Amanda Oaks for accepting the piece over at Words Dance. Definitely check out their site! And thank you for reading.
Things have been rolling this week. On top of my new book dropping Halloween night, I have three new poems appearing in three different magazines around the net.
My poem "Hunger" joins a slew of others in a special edition of Drunk Monkeys: The Year of Trump, a collection of poems, prose, interviews, and art about life in this "new normal" that shouldn't be normal at all. The writers here are no fan of 45, and my pieces laments over how to deal with loved ones who have gone lockstep in a strange and frightening direction. The issue is full of wonderful writers, like Rachel Nix (Hobo Camp Review's new associate editor!), Ally Malinenko, John Grochalski, Cat Conway, and others.
Another "Trump" poem of mine, "Last Cigarette," appears over at Winedrunk Sidewalk. This site publishes a new poem every day about life under 45. Keep checking in for all kinds of voices speaking up and out.
Finally, Lonesome October Lit (one of my favorite new online journals) has included my poem "The Incident at Choke Cherry Farm" in their big Halloween extravaganza yesterday, and I'm so happy to be part of it. Anyone who knows me knows I adore Halloween, so this is super cool. My deepest thanks goes to poet and editor Kate Garrett, who also selected my poem "Prayers from Dunwich" earlier this October.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you all down the road...
My new collection of poetry, We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine, is now available from Unknown Press! This has been a long process (over two years!) to get this from the page to the reader, but it's finally ready to share with you all. This collection explores the childhood memories and nostalgic daydreams of a grade-school bookworm now grown up to face cancer, chemo, debt, solitude, and the fear that all the joys and hopes of a bygone youth are slipping out of reach. I couldn't be happier to have worked with writer/publisher Bud Smith on this project, and I included a poem below as a sample of what you'll find inside.
The book is available at Amazon, by special order through your local bookstore, and by writing me at firstname.lastname@example.org for signed paperbacks. (Yes, yes, good old ancient Hotmail.) Blurbs and recommendations are available at the book's page on my website. Free PDF copies are available for reviewers, and I'll have free physical copies for reviewers soon too. If you'd like one, please contact me. Thank you all!!
THE GREEN CARPET
It is a waiting room of chipped plastic tables full of
wrinkled copies of Highlights magazine and cardboard
flip-books about bears flying in hot air balloons, the
scent of rubbing alcohol and Lysol. These children here
are bald or soon will be and I run my hand through my
own hair, find bloody fingertips, red robins in flight
through my very flesh, flying away and away and away.
Opening my eyes and counting my inhale/exhale, I see
that the carpet here is lime green, shag, just like the
green carpet where the small children of Green Meadow
Elementary sat in the library, 1985, ‘86, ‘87…we read
books about dinosaurs and planets and gigantic men who
chopped trees in days gone by alongside blue oxen. There
were books of women who flew planes and disappeared,
and of ghosts who haunted castles, books of egghead
professors with childish brain games, and books of
children who had troubles just like the troubles we had
at home or in our classrooms, on the bus, with bullies,
siblings, nightmares, parents who disappeared, feelings of
isolation, feelings. None of them had the troubles we had
when we grew up though, or the troubles the bald
children here have discovered. Publishers and sales reps
probably don’t like tallying such figures. Back then,
Letter People lined the walls and a TV with Ramona
played on rainy days. There were book club sales, book
reports, and wooden chairs lined up along the wall,
straight and small. All of us sitting on the green carpet. I
believe the rain still falls on the windows there, while
kids here grow old, fall down, their eyes drifting against
the wash of a television glow in hospital rooms and daybeds,
their blood and marrow melting, betraying,
hounding them, the pages of their stories thinning out
and fading blank. And then someone calls my name so I
rise and walk across that green carpet to see how many
pages my own story has left.
I'm a big fan of anything Lovecraftian -- all those tales of ghoulish, cosmic creatures and devilish cultists who aid them in their dark New England dens and subterranean hideouts, with stories full of grimoires and ghosts and slimy undead things that crawl through the night. I also love anything related to October or Halloween, so being able to combine all this has been a fantastic bit of fun. A great new webzine called Lonesome October Lit publishes eerie, macabre poetry and short fiction and they just released my new piece called "Prayers from Dunwich," and any fan of Lovecraft might understand the spirit of the piece. I hope you enjoy this creepy poem, and please consider ending Lonesome October Lit some of your own work!
The editors over at Vox Poetica just sent news that my poem "The Reservoir" is one of their six nominees for the 2017 edition of The Best of the Net. I'm happy to share this honor with Moriah LaChapell, Nancy Scott McBride, John J. McKenna, Mel Paisley, and Simon Perchik. Good luck to all, and thank you again to the editorial team at Vox Poetica!
My new poem "Feral Kingdom" now appears in Picaroon Poetry Issue 9 (on page 19, click on the cover toward the bottom of the page to open the PDF of the issue) alongside a veritable pirate crew of dastardly poets, such as Tobi Alfier, Amber Decker, Darren C. Demaree, Robert Okaji, Howie Good, and more. My poem takes a look at a life spent living out of boxes, on the move, dependent on kindness, luck, and every penny one can scrape together. It's not an easy life, it's not always even a good life, and it's the kind of life that flies by a little too fast if you ask me. I hope you enjoy it. The issue is downloadable as a PDF, or you can flip through and read it online. My deepest thanks to the editor, Kate Garrett, for accepting my work! (She also took another poem of mine for an issue due in November.) And thank you out there for reading. I always appreciate it.
My poem "Rusted Ghosts of Sidewalk Town" now appears at Windedrunk Sidewalk: Shipwrecked in Trumpland, an assemblage of poems about our modern life during the 45th presidency. This particular poems reflects on the unspoken hopes of the homeless, the steel-hearted indifference of our lovely modern age, the hollow men and women who run the show, and the shattered windows, empty shoes, and racist graffiti that trails in their wake. I hope you'll read with an open mind and an open heart. Thanks, and please consider sending them your own work!