Today I had an incredibly fun interview with Marcia Epstein on her hour-long "Talk With Me" podcast, where she speaks with poets, writers, and artists about their work, their lives, and how the two intertwine in happy, frightful, productive, and connective ways. We spoke about Hobo Camp Review and how it all began, my upcoming collection of poetry We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine (which will be ready to release VERY soon!), and about my experiences going through cancer and trying to maintain some sort of "normalcy" in both writing and social aspects of my life, and also about trying to decide when, why, and how I wanted to share these experiences with those around me. It's the first time I spoke about all this in such a public way, and many of the poems I read on the show are about this time in my life as well. I hope you enjoy listening. You can also download the show at iTunes, I believe. A big thank you goes to Wolfgang Carstens for connecting me with Marcia. Wolfgang is a kickass poet, the editor of Epic Rites Press, and a Hobo Camp alum, so please look for his work! As far as my book, Bud Smith and I are in the final proof stages and it's almost ready to launch. I'll be giving away free extras with the first wave of books going out the door - more details about that soon. Thanks very much!
epic rites press
While we’ve all rolled around in the muck that became 2016 and mourned the loss of one personal hero or another, or fumed at the political atmosphere that continues to become more toxic with each passing month, I’ve experienced a number of personal ups and downs that made the year something more complex than “the worst year ever”.Read More
A new review of my chapbook Dead City Jazz now appears at Albany Poets. In the reviewer's own words, the collection "explores the geography of human emotion, love, loneliness, desperation, fear and indifference using robust imagery while simultaneously intertwining narratives." All of the poems take place on or are inspired by alcohol-infused and neon-lit evenings in San Antonio, Texas, and while some are certainly bar poems, others hover in more remote corners of the night, on back streets and in quiet rooms in a suffocating silence. The review does a good job of getting to the heart of the poetry, especially the part where the reviewer recognized "how we improvise through our experiences like jazz music," through every conversation and relationship, every night and day. I'm proud to have my hometown poetry organization host this review on their site. Take a look, and thanks for all of the support! Single copies are still available through me, but the whole Punk Chapbook Series from Epic Rites Press is just that, epic, and is worth your time and money.
This October hasn’t unfolded how I first envisioned when the leaves began to change colors and the cool air began to skirt through the woods and across the lakes of my small upstate New York town. I haven’t visited any haunted hayrides as I hoped, no haunted houses for that matter either, very little apple picking, and just a handful of cider donuts; a tame and rather muted season all in all. The reason for this is I’ve been busy working on some writing projects, locking myself away most nights to try to cross the last t and dot the last i.
Now that Epic Rites Press released Dead City Jazz for the world to read, my focus shifted to my other poetry collection, We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine, something I’ve been waiting to release for a while. I’ve worked out a deal with a phenomenally talented artist for the cover art and I added a couple of new poems to the mix this month, but after some long and productive conversations with the original publisher, I decided to place the book elsewhere, with the hopes of working with Dark Heart Press again sometime in the future. Thankfully, Bud Smith over at Unknown Press has agreed to tackle the manuscript over the winter and we’ll be working together to put out the best book possible with the collection of poems I have gathered. I’m very excited about the new direction and I believe it’s the best move for all involved right now. More details on that soon.
I also finished work on another novel, one that I think is not just my best work but my best shot at finally acquiring representation with a literary agent. That’s my goal with this one, and I’ve started sending it to agents I’ve met over the last few years. Fingers crossed. This one is a 40s-era mystery, a bit of Humphrey Bogart meets X-Files with a dash of Twin Peaks. It is currently titled The Girl in the Mountain and is a fictional account of a very real and unusual case of a missing college student in Vermont in 1945. Months after she disappears without a trace, two new investigators try to pick up the cold trail, and with the help of local reporters they discover that the number of missing persons, as well as the strange manner in which they disappeared, goes far beyond what anyone expected. I’ll let you know how that goes.
I also updated two other novels this year, a dystopian hardboiled mystery and a more literary ensemble-cast novel in the vein of Cannery Row and The Heart if s Lonely Hunter. Yet another novel I have written but want to revise, a middle-reader for grades 4-6, is on my To Do list for November. My goal for the end of the year is to have all four novels ready to hand to anyone for publication, and I’m almost there.
After that, my writing slate for 2017 is blank. I have some ideas and outlines, but nothing firm. That’s both an exciting and scary feeling, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Dead City Jazz, my chapbook about the neon and nightlife of San Antonio, TX is now available as part of the Epic Rites Press Punk Chapbook Series, in which you receive 12 books for $40 (plus shipping) all at once. I should have VERY limited signed copies available by early October, but there are so many talented writers in this series that your best best to to get them all before they're sold out. Below is a sample poem from Dead City Jazz called "Death of the Cool".
Death of the Cool
sewing through Alamo Heights
after midnight, headlights and red lights
and Chet Baker, Miles, news of
your suicide in that cracked little
bungalow further downtown, soft
highway sounds like the ocean
we loved so well
your records and books were gone
by the time we got there to pay respects
but that’s alright, we’ll always
have the night, and all the
pain in the world
Epic Rites Press will release my poetry chapbook Dead City Jazz as part of their Punk Chapbook Series 2, coming this October. Last night I added one more poem to the chap, "Death of the Cool," and and now the chap has a cover too, with artwork provided by Janne Karlsson. The book is available in bulk with all the others, 12 books in total that ship in one package. For details, check out Epic Rites Press, and I'm going to try to get my hands on a couple individual copies for future readings and such. Stay tuned for all that.
Epic Rites Press has selected my poetry collection Dead City Jazz for inclusion in their Punk Chapbook Series. This is the second season of their series, which includes 12 chapbooks released over the course of a year to subscribers for just $40, a little over $3 per book. This is an exceptional deal considering the subscription includes work from Ally Malinenko, William F. Taylor, Karina Bush, and many other talented writers, with more to be announced.
Dead City Jazz is a collection of San Antonio poems, of late night breakdowns and smoky bar crawls, of darkened streets and glowing cantina lights, of fading love and frightening lust, of death wishes and jukebox laughter. I'll see about getting my hands on signed copies, but I don't have full details yet on how the series works as far as that goes. But at the price listed for all of the chaps in the series, it really is a good deal to go all in. Many thanks to Wolfgang Carstens for accepting my work! More details coming soon.