New Poem “Lent” out now in Mead: A Magazine of Literature and Libations

I was happy to learn this week of a new poem, “Lent”, out in MEAD: A Journal of Liteature and Libations. Each issue is edited by a “house barkeep” who creates a heady mix of poems, not necessarily alcohol-related, but designed to warm like good spirits or intoxicate like effervescent wine. Suzanne Parker, a wonderful poet herself, called the shots this time around. What makes this publication all the sweeter for me personally is that one of my favorite poets, Mark Doty, has a poem in this new issue, too. It all comes on the heels of a recent Pushcart Prize nomination and a few other nice surprises. Sure, there have been rejected poems, too. But you have to celebrate the victories, right?  You can read the poem here.

Reading it will also explain the rationale for the photo of these  delicious-looking almond cookies.


Shopping in the Asian Grocery Store

Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to live in Bella Vista near the Italian Market, which, these days, is also home to large Mexican and Asian populations. A block or two from our house is a large plaza wit20121113-002437.jpgh an Asian smokeless barbecue restaurant, a pho noodle shop, a Chinese restaurant and a grocery featuring everything from glass noodles to live eels to baby bok choy. Recently we picked up Chinese food, and while waiting for it, strolled the aisles of the nearby grocery.





And it all pays off in the soup I made Friday: mushroom with vegetable noodles and bok 20121113-002517.jpgchoy, and a bit of scallion and pepper. Plus my own secret blend of diced dried vegetables to flavor the broth with that extra kick. Not bad, if I do say so myself.


New poetry books atop my reading pile…


My poetry pile has some great new additions by Bryan Borland, Nate Kostar and Phillip B. Williams, I’m happy to say. And what are YOU reading out there in cyber-land?

My First Puschart Prize Nomination!

I got some  good news this week: one of my poems, “Annabelle”, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize! That’s a first for me, and I want to thank Stone Highway Review for the support. If you are in the Philadelphia area, come help me celebrate at the Jubilant Thicket reading, details below and on Facebook. The news certainly brought an electric gleam to mid-term teaching duties and the increasingly robotic tasks of everyday life.

If you are interested in reading the nominated poem, “Annabelle”, it’s available for free as a PDF in the issue of Stone Highway Review where it appears.

This has been a good year, with several publications and a Best of the Net nomination as well.
And in related reading news…

Jubilant Thicket presents Kelly McQuain, James Arthur and Huey West & his Banjo!

Sunday, November 11, 2012 at Moonstone,  7:00pm
Robin’s Books and Moonstone Arts Center
110-A S. 13th St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
(near 13th & Sansom)

Kelly McQuain’s poems recently appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer and on National Public Radio as part of Poetry Month. In 2012, his work was nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize, and has appeared or is forthcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly, MEAD, Kin, Chelsea Station, Stone Highway Review, BLOOM and Assaracus. His prose has been anthologized in Obsessed, Skin & Ink, Philly Fiction 2, Best American Erotica, The Harrington Gay Men’s Fiction Quarterly, and elsewhere. He recently debuted a series of occasional columns on city life for The Philadelphia Inquirer. You can find out more at or at Apiary Mixtape, where his video poem is currently featured:

James Arthur’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Poetry, Ploughshares, and The American Poetry Review. He has received the Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Scholarship, a Stegner Fellowship, a Discovery/The Nation Prize, and a residency at the Amy Clampitt House. He is currently a Hodder Fellow at the Lewis Center for the Arts in Princeton. His first book, Charms Against Lightning, is available through Copper Canyon Press.

Huey West picked up the banjo about 9 years ago after his mind was blown during his first taste of old-time music. He messed around with “Scruggs style” picking for several years before being introduced to “clawhammer” style picking by a beautiful and mysterious young lady. When Huey moved back north from the bowels of the deep South, he started busking–playing music for tips in and around Philadelphia. Through developing his own unique solo style of playing, Huey creates a sound that is raw and skilled at the same time. Huey is always available for gigs and private parties and can be reached at

New poem in Painted Bride Quarterly

Fall is a good season for poems. I have the first of three upcoming ones in coming issues of Painted Bride Quarterly, out now at Other recent poems have been featured online in Kin. A few others are coming soon in Mead, Paper Nautilus, Bloom and Blue Lyra Review. Time to get busy and send more out! I’ll be reading some of this new work Nov. 11 at Moonstone at 7 pm with a banjo player and poet James Arthur, whose credits include The New Yorker and APR. Details are at Come if you can. Moonstone is closing soon, so come celebrate its impact on Philly with me.


I’m reading Nov. 11 at Moonstone Arts with poet James Arthur and Huey the Banjo Player

Dear Poetry Friends: I’ll be reading at Moonstone Arts Nov. 11 at 7 pm. Moonstone is closing their CC location. Help me celebrate the end of the era with Jubilant Thicket and esteemed poet James Arthur and Huey the Banjo player!