Publisher’s Weekly Announces Giovanni’s Room Will Re-Open


I heard about this the other day, but had to keep mum about the good news. Now Publisher’s Weekly lets the cat out of the bag, or better yet, the phoenix out of the fire! Giovanni’s Room returns sometime soon! New management, new features, same good will. A testament to our history. Keep your eyes peeled for the flames, peeps!


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“Velvet Rodeo” by Kelly McQuain (Reviewed)


Gratitude for the coverage by Valerie Fox for Velvet Rodeo! #poetry #VelvetRodeo

Originally posted on Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets:

Velvet Rodeo by Kelly McQuain

Velvet Rodeo by Kelly McQuain

Velvet Rodeo
by Kelly McQuain
Bloom chapbook series

Reviewed by Valerie Fox.

Velvet Rodeo won the 2013 Bloom chapbook contest. It was selected by C. Dale Young. For more information, visit

Coming of age, finding identity, negotiating family relationships; these themes are all here, explored through Kelly McQuain’s characteristic precise description and formal attentiveness.

“Creation Myth” is a sweeping and ambitious exploration of a time and a place. We can see the narrator’s young parents as they court, and the young poet himself “drawing pictures of Superman/on the back of empty envelopes” in his small town West Virginia church.  McQuain’s observations of his small town beginnings put me in mind of seeing people through the Trailways bus windows when I was coming or leaving home during my own college years. There’s a respect for family here, a sensitivity for how even those (like…

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What’s Poetdelphia up to this summer?

Why having fun readings, of course!  Check out this one at our sister blog:

Ernest Hilbert is one of the best formalists around, and his musical background is extensive.

Nate Kostar is an up-and-comer who is a delight to hear read.

This event at the SKETCH CLUB will combine music with poetry in an exciting way. Don’t miss it!


Tonight at Fergie’s Pub

I’m getting excited about tonight’s reading at Fergie’s Pub, the last one I’ll be doing for awhile. Some nice reviews have started to roll in the last couple weeks. Thought I’d share a few excerpts.


What Reviewers Are Saying about VELVET RODEO

Velvet Rodeo, by Philadelphia poet Kelly McQuain is clearly a winner. These are well-crafted poems with surprises, narrative twists, and a rich use of vocabulary. Several themes predominate in McQuain’s work. The most important is his origins: growing up in rural West Virginia…. [T]he strongest of all the poems in the collection, called “Creation Myth”… describes the early lives of both his father and mother. Extraordinary philosophical questions are thrown at the image of the mother: “How to separate the cosmic egg? Separate the raw from the cooked?” Like his son, the father in the poem was also an artist, if on the fringes of the creative world. In an almost rhythmical ending the poet recognizes the enormous debt to his parents, knowing he can never repay them.” — Dan Evans, “Gay Presses: Alive and Thriving”, The Fire Island Tide, May 23, 2014.

Velvet Rodeo “engender[s] camaraderie among individuals who love lauding language and its possibilities.” – Joseph Myers, “Poetic License”, South Philly Review, June 5, 2014.


VELVET RODEO by Kelly McQuain is the recent winner of the Bloom Chapbook Prize, judged by poet C. Dale Young who wrote of it: “‘The tongue I try to master / is a sticky one, forked and full of tricks,’ is the opening of a poem in Velvet Rodeo, and it becomes a point of return for the collection. These poems understand that to tell the truth, one must lie, play tricks, and even dare to say the unbelievable. Careful and exacting, these poems exact a price from a reader. They linger with you long after you have finished reading them.”


Join me at Fergie’s Pub for a Moonstone Reading!


Wednesday June 11, 2014, 7pm
Moonstone Poetry @ Fergie’s Pub- 1214 Sansom Street.

Amy Leigh Cutler is the author of Orange Juice and Rooftops and a few chapbooks. Some of her recent work can be found on, For Some Time No, Graphite, and The Understanding Between Foxes and Light anthology. Amy tours, teaches, and works as a freelance writing consultant and editor. She is a teaching assistant and MFA candidate in Poetry at The New School.

Teresa Leo is the author of Bloom in Reverse and The Halo Rule (Elixir Press Editors’ Prize). Her work appears in numerous journals, she is the recipient of a Pew fellowship, a Leeway Foundation grant, two PCA fellowships, and the Richard Peterson Poetry Prize from Crab Orchard Review. She works at the University of Pennsylvania.

KELLY MCQUAIN’s Velvet Rodeo recently won the Bloom chapbook award, selected by poet C. Dale Young. McQuain’s poems have appeared recently in numerous journals and in Between: New Gay Poetry and Drawn to Marvel: Superhero Poems. His prose has appeared in Skin & Ink, Best American Erotica, Men on Men and in numerous journals. Open Reading follows, Charles S. Carr, host.


Don’t fear PA’s gay marriages

Today The Philadelphia Inquirer published my essay on the gay marriage ruling in Pennsylvania. Read it here at

People hold up signs and cheer at City Hall on Tuesday to celebrate the overturning of Pennsylvania’s gay-marriage ban. MATT SLOCUM / AP (courtesy of The Philadelphia Inquirer)