The Green Light: Valentine’s Day 2020

There’s nothing like lush, spring green popping up on Valentine’s Day.  It gives me a fresh outlook on the day, regardless of snow and rain and winter temps outside.  So you can imagine the delight of reading the Green Light’s Valentine’s Day 2020 Collection.  I’m happy they included my “Palmistry of Reading” in this collection.  It is an older poem, but one I’m happy to see land on a heartfelt page.  Happy [late] Valentine’s Day!

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Gnashing Teeth Publishing

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I’ll confess, I’m not much of a cook.  Lately, I’ve been more into setting out boards of cheese, crackers, fruits and veggies for the sole reason that chopping is easier than cooking.  But there are some things yet I love to make, once I put my mind to it.  And there are even some things I make that end up in my poetry, like crepes and Dutch fry baby.

I am over the moon to have my poem “How to Cook a Moon” appear in the pages of Gnashing Teeth Publishing‘s first anthology, Heat the Grease, We’re Frying Up Some Poetry.  The cover is this delightful array of words and mixed media art.

I look forward to watching where this publication lands in a year in terms of submission calls, chapbooks and hopefully another round of anthology.

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Autumn House

Autumn House Journal promises publication of work that “lingers and haunts…of abandonment, decay, everyday magic, fairy tales, ghosts, nature, paranormal, relationships, solitude, and anything located deep in-between the cracks.”  I am grateful to editor Sandy Benitez for including “Beckon” in its fold.  I am guessing this poem falls under everyday magic.  I look forward to perusing the work gathered here.

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Camas: Winter 2019, Decay

Camas_Winter2019SubPosterGosh, it’s challenging to write about a magazine for which I have utmost respect.  Camas has been in publication since 1992, a vision created by Environmental Studies graduate students at the University of Montana.  Their primary goal is to celebrate the land of the American West, the land that connects us all.  Another goal is to honor cultural resilience.  They hold publishing space for both emerging and established voices.

So I was over the moon to learn my poem, “Awaiting Burial,” was accepted for this winter issue exploring the theme of decay.  It’s also not lost on me that Alaskan poet and former faculty member of the UAA MFA program, Eva Saulitis, has also walked among these pages.

I leave you with the blog announcement introducing this latest issue because editors generally say it best about a given issue.

From the Camas blog:

Camas Winter 2019 Release

Decay. De-cay. /dəˈkā/

Verb: rot or decompose through the action of bacteria and fungi.

Noun: the state or process of rotting or decomposition.

The theme “Decay” may sound grim, but unsurprisingly, the talented writers and artists

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Cover photo by Anthony Pavkovich

in this edition of Camas Magazine have teased glimmers of hope and beauty into their work. Throughout the pages of the winter issue, the magazine presents varied and very human responses to one of the things that is most terrifying—and in some ways, comforting—about life on earth.

 

Decay evokes startling imagery—the writers, photographers and artists didn’t shy away from the occasional grotesque images. “Skulls and Moths” by Kathy Bruce illustrates two animal skulls in the process of being treated in a water-bleach solution. Moths and leaves on the surface of the water add an accidental artistry to the image of the waterlogged skin peeling away from bone. The artist described this process by saying, “the effect is often mysterious and ethereal.”

Chris La Tray, our featured writer for this issue, invites readers into a midnight rumination on both the seriousness and lightheartedness of death in his essay, “Back to the Mud: or, Melodramatic Thoughts on Death and Decay.”

La Tray is an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. His book “One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems and Essays from the World at Large” (Riverfeet Press) won the 2018 Montana Book Award and a 2019 High Plains Book Award. His next book will be published by Milkweed Editions in Spring 2021. La Tray can also be found at Missoula’s favorite community bookstore Fact & Fiction.

Kitty Galloway’s nonfiction essay “Crossings” examines the effects—physical and psychological—of the roadways that cut across our landscapes. Her essay is paired with “Iguanot” by Chris Daley, an image of a lizard that has been flattened on the roadway.

One fiction piece “Volumes” by Natalie Storey is set in modern rural Montana, and uses gritty realism in combination with artistic fantasy. In contrast, “On Speaking Terms” by B.A. Van Sise is set amid the backdrop of high-society, mid-century New York City. Both pieces are compelling in communicating the theme of decay in ways that makes them feel like natural companions despite the difference in time and setting.

Poetry in this issue ranges from verses honoring the dead body of a raven in “Awaiting Burial” by Kersten Christianson to a microscopic look at dead skin cells in “Marauders All” by Jan Harris.

Join us for the magazine release this Friday, December 6th from 6-8 p.m. at Imagination Brewery. Copies of the magazine are available for $8.50 for purchase.

Silkworm 12: Survival

Screen Shot 2020-01-03 at 9.36.33 AMThank you to the Florence Poets Society out of Florence, Massachusetts for including “Curate” in the Annual Review devoted to Survival and dedicated to the “memory of fierce poets and friends” Martina Robinson and Teri O’Shea.  While I’ve not read this collection in its entirety, nor chronologically, it is within reach of my thinking chair, available to pick up and open to a random page to see what poem presents itself.  Sometimes this is the best way to read poetry.   And so I leave you with the quote by Audre Lorde that begins this collection:

and when we speak we are afraid

our words will not be heard

nor welcomed

but when we are silent

we are still afraid

so it is better to speak

remembering

we were never meant to survive

BlueHouse

BlueHouse is a new Canadian online journal edited by Meredith Grace Thompson.  Though Canadian, the premier issue launched in Scotland.  The journal strives to gather experimental/hybrid poetry that explores the construct of the first person voice.  I am happy and grateful that “Galeophobia” is included in the launch of Issue 1.

Cheers to December!

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Anti-Heroin Chic

It’s November.  It’s dark.  I’m plugging Vitamin D and my happy light like it’s nobody’s business.  It’s also six days shy of the two-year marker of when Bruce died all too suddenly.  On my darn birthday.

The following summer, I took off north for a couple of months.  I had been awarded a month-long writing residency through Alderworks Writers & Artists Retreat.  Let me tell you, a month holed up in a cabin is balm for the soul.  I read a lot, books like Carmen R. Gillespie’s The Blue Black Wet of Wood and Karen A. Tschannen’s Apportioning the Light.  I read poetry by Emily Wall, Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, Joanna Lilley, Gord Downie of Tragically Hip fame, Margaret Atwood, Carlos Reyes, Gary Snyder, C.D. Wright, James Wright.  I read books on grieving, books by Pico Iyer and started to read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.

But I also wrote.  A lot.  I sifted through the winter’s writing, buried the poems that were too dark, unformed and worked with those that maybe flashed a bit of spark.  My intent was to assemble a collection of poems on bereavement and accomplished that.  A manuscript tentatively titled Clutter & Scree emerged from those efforts.  It shuffled from the table I worked at in a little cabin to the entry in a writing contest with this little niggling thought that this collection wasn’t fully ready or vetted. The poems felt too raw, too close, and frankly, on the other side of hitting submit, I wasn’t quite certain I wanted such a narrowly focused collection to my name.

To say I miss Bruce is a gross understatement.  For 25 years we savored this amazing life together, covered so much wild space, and still, two years out, I feel adrift.  I never felt unmoored with Bruce, in fact, quite the opposite.  So to abandon the intent of Clutter & Scree came to make perfect sense.  A year later, a second draft emerged from the ashes of Clutter & Scree.  Curating the House of Nostalgia (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions) will publish in the spring.  Bereavement may skirt the shadows of my writing, but I don’t want it to be the sole focus, the motif, of a body of work.

So I offer my sincere gratitude to editor James Diaz for including a couple of my poems in Anti-Heroin Chic’s November issue, Grief & Loss.  Both are poems that emerged from this grieving path that wanted to see the light of day. And they are in such fine company.  It’s November.  It’s dark.  And there’s comfort in reading this issue slowly and with intention.

From Anti-Heroin Chic:  Our grief and loss issue is now live. Thank you to everyone who shared a piece of their heart and their loss with us. Beyond all else, in reading each of your pieces, it helped us to grieve and to mend, our hope is that it helped you as well, and now, the world.

 

Sheila-Na-Gig Editions

Three years of writing, these poems have sprouted in the wildest of unlikely places.  They caught the sun and breeze in the windows of a Dyea cabin and later wintered taped to the walls of an empty room.  They have been shuffled, torn apart and revisioned.  Last weekend I signed a contract with Sheila-Na-Gig whose editor Hayley Mitchell Haugen will see them through to publication.  I am so grateful and look forward to reading, in final form, Curating the House of Nostalgia, Spring 2020.

Writerly friends, the application period is open for Alderworks Alaska Writers and Artists Retreat.  Apply!  Apply!

Curating the House of Nostalgia