My friends at Chicken 3000 designed a lovely-looking chapbook with fifteen of my poems that have appeared in Poetry Magazine, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Boulevard, Beloit Poetry Journal, and others. You can now download a PDF of that dope little book here, for FREE:
Ah, sweet defeat. I submitted a book manuscript last year to Tupelo Press and just found out it was selected as one of seventeen finalists for their Dorset Prize by the rad poet Robert Pinsky, who said: "“Truth and music, or to put it another way, reality and real lines: those were the criteria I used to select (these 17) book manuscripts for a final, excellent batch." Finding out you were a finalist is, I suppose, the most encouraging way to receive the news "YOU LOSE," so here I am with a happy #HumbleBrag. I'm at least taking this as a sign that I don't need to start a new manuscript from scratch. And it really is an honor to have my poems so carefully considered by Robert Pinsky, whose work I adore, and by Tupelo Press, who publish outstanding writing year after year.
This Saturday, April 25th, I'll be reading poems with Betsy Sholl and Adrian Blevins at The Local Buzz in Cape Elizabeth, Maine as part of the National Poetry Month celebration.
The theme of the reading is called "Poetry's Legacy" and we'll each be reading a poem by another writer that has influenced our work, and then read some of our own poems that live somewhere under, beside, or in resistance to that influence.
Here's the details:
4:00PM - 5:00PM
The Local Buzz
327 Ocean House Road
(at Pond Cove IGA Shopping Center, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107)
Come hear us read while enjoying custom blended teas and coffees, wine or cocktails, and delicious locally sourced food. More information at
FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Betsy Sholl is a former Maine State Poet Laureate. She has published eight collections of poetry, including Otherwise Unseeable (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014), Rough Cradle (Alice James Books, 2009) and Late Psalm (University of Wisconsin, 2004). Her work has been published in many anthologies, including,Best American Poetry, 2009, and Best Spiritual Writing, 2012, and in literary magazines, including The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal. She was a founding member of Alice James Books and recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, and two Maine Writer's Fellowships. Sholl has taught at MIT and the University of Southern Maine, as well as conducting poetry workshops in prisons, public schools, and for various community organizations. She currently teaches in the MFA in Writing Program of Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Adrian Blevins is an Associate Professor of English at Colby College, Waterville, and the author of the poetry collections Live from the Homesick Jamboree (Wesleyan University Press, 2009), The Brass Girl Brouhaha (Ausable Press, 2003), and two chapbooks, The Man Who Went out for Cigarettes (Bright Hill Press, 1996) and Bloodline (Hollyridge Press, 2012). She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a Kate Tufts Discovery Award for The Brass Girl Brouhaha, a Rona Jaffe Writer's Foundation Award, a Bright Hill Press Chapbook Award, and, more recently, a pushcart prize, a Cohen Award from Ploughshares and a Zone 3 Poetry Award. A collection of essays she edited with Karen McElmurray titled Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia is forthcoming from Ohio University Press in 2015.
Me? Me you know. Hope to see you there!
I'm very happy to have a poem in the amazing POETRY Magazine this month. It's called "Nano" and you can read it on the Poetry Foundation's website. The poem's epigraph is from a Fresh Air interview with Emily Anthes, author of Frankenstein's Cat, where she talks about not-so-secret Pentagon projects to weaponize animals and turn bugs into tiny surveillance drones. In the same week that I heard this interview, I met a guy who leads a poetry workshop for veterans. He told me that one of the writers in his group is a drone pilot who suffers from PTSD in a uniquely isolated way, at a distance from the other soldiers in the workshop who'd found an easy camaraderie sharing their experiences of "real" combat. Those veterans seemed to disdain the drone pilot's expressions of trauma because he'd executed his tasks at a safe remove — even though the lives at the end of those executions were, obviously, no less real. He constantly doubted the legitimacy of his stress and grief, which made it harder for him to move through it. Thankfully though, the workshop leader seemed to think the poetry was helping the man "have a dialog with his demons, rather than the demons doing all the talking." Well, maybe I've given the whole poem away at this point, but that's where "Nano" came from. Read it HERE.
----POETRY Magazine is my favorite monthly publication, and I've subscribed for years, so — psyched — I ordered, like, a billion contributor copies (shown below). They arrived right before last week's blizzard. Speaking of, I need to go outside now and shovel my driveway for the ninth time in seven days. Brrr... ... and cheers!
I made another of my seasonal pilgrimages to Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon. Here's the damage:
Earlier this summer I played a couple sets of music at a kind of house party/book-launch event for Maine poets Marcia Brown, Bruce Spang, and Betsy Sholl. Here's Marcia reading:
A lovely muggy day in Midtown, which smelled a little like "Pitopia." I was there for BookExpo America, a very non-poetry kinda publishing event.
When my MWPA award arrived in the mail, I'd been hoping for an illuminated leg like in 'A Christmas Story,' but this is nice too. And yes, I AM short.
Another recent purchase. Best title for a poetry collection... ever?
Dinner before my reading on Peaks Island for the Stone Boat Poetry Series was watermelon salad sandwich. Tastier than it might sound or look:
Last weekend I went way up north to the place Mainers inexplicably call "Down East" and spent a few days on the coast with some fine people and poets: Betsy Sholl and her husband Doug, Bruce Spang, Rachel Contreni Flynn, and our host Kathleen Sullivan. We all did a poetry reading on Friday at the Cape Split Chapel:
This was the view from my room the following morning. Hello, quiet!
We spent the rest of the weekend kayaking, hiking (see below), cooking, eating, reading, writing, and talking politics and poetry. Pretty much heaven. Thanks, Kathleen.
I was in New York last week for BookExpo America, so I couldn't attend the Maine Literary Awards ceremony on Thursday, May 29th in Portland (hosted by The Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance) — but I awoke Friday morning to an email with news that I'd won the award for "Short Works Poetry." Wicked! Thanks to Joshua Bodwell for organizing this annual lit-shindig, and to Gibson Fay-Leblanc for reading my quickly-prepared acceptance speech in my stead. Also, big thanks to fellow finalists Bruce Spang and Rachel Contreni Flynn who are both fantastic writers and who've been helpful readers of my own poems. Lastly, the hugest thanks to badass poet Betsy Sholl for being such a welcoming force in my new writing life in Maine.
Just found out that I'm a finalist in the category of "Short Works Poetry" for the Maine Literary Awards this year. Even better, my fellow finalists (the competition!) are both friends of mine: Rachel Contreni Flynn and Bruce Spang. So we can all have a celebratory drink of Moxie no matter who wins. The Port City Poems anthology in which I had a poem appear last year is also a finalist in the Anthology category. Woo-hoo! Winners will be announced at an awards event on May 29th in Portland. Check out all the categories and finalists HERE.