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.
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...
That title may give some of you pause, but I assure you, it's actually a fairly redeeming story! "I'm Not Doing Coke Off That Dog's Back" is my new short and appears in the Anniversary Issue of Drunk Monkeys magazine. It's about a man who attends a party against his will and discovers he should have trusted his gut, but he's not going to just bail, he's going to turn this into a rescue mission. I hope you check it out! The whole issue is stellar and I deeply appreciate the editors allowing me to tag along for such an incredible ride!
In a review of Drunk Moneys first full issue of poetry and prose, The Review Review mentioned my short story "The Philanthropist" as a notable story within the collection. In calling out the story, The Review Review says it is one of the many in the issue that blurs the line between coincidence and circumstance, responsibility and guilt. The main character in the story is torn about what to do with the last of his tainted money from a heist job in which he gets screwed over by a criminal higher up in the food chain. He needs the money, but it reminds him of his stupidity, his guilt, his shame. He tries various ways to excise this guilt and rid himself of his money, before finally doing so in a most unexpected way. And The Review Review said, "There is something visceral in the relief that the protagonist feels in Duncan’s “The Philanthropist,” after he rids himself of his burden, something animal in his desire for simplicity." Check out the story and all the other great pieces found at Drunk Monkeys. Many thanks to The Review Review for taking the time to read the issue!
My short story "The Philanthropist" now appears at Drunk Monkeys, a fantastic literature and cultural website offering fiction, essays, poetry, reviews of books, movies, and more. This story is my second with them, and it mixes elements of noir and crime with a sobering look at life on the streets and what we value most when there's nothing left of value. I hope you enjoy the story, and if you do, consider picking up one of my short story collections, What Lies In Wait or The Cards We Keep, each full of similar tales. Thanks!
It has been quite a while since my last post, and my absence stems from a plethora of creative and non-creative brush-fires that kept me busy for weeks upon months, but I thought a little update post would do me some good, so here we are.
For starters, I finished the first draft of yet another novel, this one a 1940s-era noir/mystery titled The Girl in the Mountain. It is a fictional account of an actual crime from Vermont in the 1940s that went unsolved…or did it? My take offers a few more conventional and very unconventional possibilities to the real-life missing person case, and I have been calling it a “Humphrey Bogart meets The X-Files, with just a dash of Twin Peaks” type of story. I’m looking forward to starting the second draft before it goes out to a few choice agents. My deepest thanks to my test readers currently reading away!
Also in publishing news, my ninth collection of poetry is slated to appear this summer. Dark Heart Press is hoping to release my book, We Are All Terminal But This Exit is Mine this June. It’s a poetic examination of the hopeful expectations we place on adulthood as a child and the yearning nostalgia we have once he find adulthood isn’t all its cracked up to be, in all its painful and deadly ways.
Atop that I’ll have an interview in the next issue of The Blue Mountain Review, a short story appearing in the next issue of Drunk Monkeys, and a few pieces showing up in anthologies later in the year. So yes, things have been busy, but I hope to make more appearances here at this blog more often now that spring is here. Stay tuned!
Two new poems of mine are now walking around out in the world for all to see. My poem "East Cevallos Street" now appears in the San Pedro River Review, a massive edition focusing on the American Southwest. My poem takes place in San Antonio, TX, and brings a glimmering colorful nighttime cantina into view, where drinks are cheap and so are the prayers to a saintly boxcar train rumbling through the downtown streets heading into the night, into the west. Copies are available for purchase online.
My poem "How to Watch John Ashbery Read Poetry" now appears at Pine Hills Review, the online literary journal for St. Rose, a college in my hoemtown of Albany, NY. This one is about going to see John Ashbery read poetry in NYC, and how these little gatherings are always more uncomfortable than you'd think.
There are a lot of other poems and stories set for release this year, a few appearing in large anthologies, a story set for release over at Drunk Monkeys, and a new poetry collection due later this year from Dark Heart Press. There's a lot going on, and I'll keep you posted as we get further down the road. Thanks for reading!
Call "Long Road to Luckenbach" flash fiction, call it a short short, but whatever it is, it's now live over at Drunk Monkeys, and I'm really excited to be there. The story, inspired by hearing Waylon Jennings' song on a jukebox, is a quick and (hopefully) amusing tale about how quickly plans can go awry when they're made over shots of whiskey in Texas dive bars. The story has a little truthful backstory to it, but I'll let the reader decide what really happened and what's fiction. The names, however, have been changed to protect the guilty! I hope you enjoy.