poetry

Feral Kingdom is Now Available

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My latest collection of poetry, Feral Kingdom, is now available from Kung Fu Treachery Press, and you can find copies at either Barnes & Noble or at Amazon. A small number of signed copies will be available at future readings and free reviewer PDFs are always an email away, just ask! The collection features poems about that wild and lonely landscape between old lives that have fallen away and the new ones we have yet to find, a place of raw nerves and awkward nights, of bars drenched in neon and highways promising something better. There’s a feral kingdom out there, and all of us have to walk through it, live it, survive it, one way or another. For samples of the kind of poetry you’ll find within, check out “Spiders at Night” from Up The River, “West Texas Skyway” from Punch Drunk Press, or “My Ex’s Father” from Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. My deepest thanks to Kung Fu Treachery Press and to all of you for your support!

New Poem in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine

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My poem “My Ex’s Father” now appears in the April 2019 edition of Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, an online journal published by University of Arkansas-Monticello. It’s an older poem that I recently unburied and revised, and to me the poem speaks to the idea that when we break up with someone, the greatest loss isn't always that person, but the others we no longer get to call a part of our circle. My Ex’s Father” will also appear in my upcoming poetry collection titled Feral Kingdom (from Kung Fu Treachery Press, date TBD) alongside other similar pieces, and I will post more details as soon as the book is available. Thanks for taking a look, and I appreciate all of your support over the years.  

New Poem Posted in Trailer Park Quarterly, Volume 9

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My poem “an unordered list of things that remain” is now up in Trailer Park Quarterly, Volume 9, a magazine I’m very fortunate to have appeared in before now and I’m extremely honored to be in there again. The issue features a bunch of other writers I respect, such as John Dorsey, Tobi Alfier, Kevin Ridgeway, Jason Ryberg, Wendy Rainey, and many others. This particular poem is about the passing of our family dog, Rocky, and it means a lot to me. I hope you enjoy it.

The Blue Hour Anthology, Vol. 4

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I'm ecstatic to announce that two of my poems now appear in an amazing collection, The Blue Hour Anthology, Vol. 4. This press has supported my work for a long time and to have my poems "Badlands" and "Sunday May" in their new assemblage is a real honor. They always put out gorgeous books and they have a great eye for writing. Being included with such writers as John Dorsey, Megan Gray, Heather Minette, Allie Marini, and Johnathon Dowdle (among many others) proves it. My deepest thanks goes out to the editors for including my work, and you can pick up copies at their Etsy shop!   

"Long Before Twilight" at Lonesome October Lit

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One of my favorite online literary journals, Lonesome October Lit, has published my poem "Long Before Twilight," which contains all sorta of fun nostalgic references to my grade school library, books about werewolves, and childhood daydreaming. The poem also appears in my narrative poetry collection We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine, which is available at Amazon. Be sure to read the other eerie, spooky poems and stories over at Lonesome October Lit too, and let me know what you think! Thanks for reading.

New Poetry at Up The River: Issue Six

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!

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Two Poems in the 2017 BONED Anthology

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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!   

Honorable Mention for the 2018 Stephen A DiBiase Poetry Prize

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It’s a huge honor to announce that my poem “Strawberry Fields Forever” has placed as an honorable mention in the 2018 Stephen A DiBiase Poetry contest, and I’m joined by a bunch of excellent poets including Martin Willitts Jr. (1st place), Richard Foerster (2nd), Rebecca Schumejda (3rd), Olivia McKee, Mary Panza, Dan Wilcox (all honorable mentions), and others. There will be a reading in May in Albany, NY for winners and finalists and it’ll be open to the public. I’ll post more details soon and I'll be there. My poem, “Strawberry Fields Forever,” is from my book We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine and looks back on a childhood memory of picking strawberries with my mother at a farm that no longer exists, or at least it doesn’t exist the way it did way back when. I miss simpler times like those, and this poem is a nostalgic one for sure. My deepest thanks too the judges and those who organized the contest. You certainly made my day much brighter.    

Piece By Piece: Writing Your Way Out of a Creative Dry Spell

Piece By Piece: Writing Your Way Out of a Creative Dry Spell

It happens to all of us at different points in our writing lives: we hit a stretch where we can’t seem to finish anything, or the ideas have dried up faster than morning rain on an Arizona highway. It happened to me this last year when I finished one novel and was excited to start a fresh project, except each novel idea I started fizzled out. They weren’t right. Same went for a few short stories I had rattling around in my head. I’d make it halfway through before casting each aside. Even poems felt forced. I felt stuck. I WAS stuck. And I was breaking Neil Gaiman’s wise and important rule: “Whatever it takes to finish things, finish.” It was a hollow, scary feeling.

But instead of sitting back and waiting for inspiration to strike, I tried a few of the methods below to jumpstart that old excited feeling, to help me start something I could finish. I picked these up from other writers, so it's not like these are fresh, original ideas, but they helped me out, bit by bit. I’m hoping that if they worked for me, they’ll work for you. 

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StoryHarvest: Write for Yourself, Write for Us All

StoryHarvest: Write for Yourself, Write for Us All

Watching a twelve-year-old child working a typewriter is a special kind of magic in our modern era, magic enough all on its own, but when he finishes and says he wrote about his feelings on police brutality and runs off to give it to a friend, that’s not magic, that a game changer.

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Two New Poems At Punch Drunk Press

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!   

Up The Staircase Quarterly 10th Anniversary Issue

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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!  

Tom Petty Poetry Tribute at Hobo Camp Review

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The Tom Petty poetry tribute is now live at Hobo Camp Review, and features poetry inspired by Tom's work and lyrics by such poets as Ally Malinenko, Jonathan Dowdle, Jake St. John, Bridget Clawson, Annmarie Lockhart, and even one by myself titled after his non-album track, "Surrender." I couldn't resist adding a poem too, as Tom was such a big influence and a constant musical companion throughout my life. The issue also features four book reviews, inclduing one by our new associate editor Rachel Nix, and two interviews with Ben Sobieck and Destini Vaile. Plus we have some non-Petty poetry too, including three poems by one of my favorites, Orooj-e-Zafar. It's one of our biggest and best issues yet and I'm really proud of how it turned out. Check it out if you have the time!  

New Poem / New Flash Fiction in Kleft Jaw #11

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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.  

New Poetry Featured in Free Lit Magazine

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. 

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New Poem Featured in Picaroon Poetry #11

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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! 

"The Green Carpet" Now Appears at Words Dance Publishing

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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 jhdwriting@hotmail.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.   

NOW AVAILABLE: We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine

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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 jhdwriting@hotmail.com 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.

Can you Hear Those "Prayers from Dunwich"?

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!   

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Rusted Ghosts of Sidewalk Town

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!