May the Year 2015 Find You in a Peaceable Kingdom
Family, friends and health take the top spots when it comes to giving thanks this time of season. Reflecting back, 2014 was a series of highs and lows, from celebrating weddings and publications with friends to experiencing the blistering reminders of how hard this country’s citizens often have it. The country’s grappling with racial and economic issues made for many an interesting conversation with family members and friends, and fed into the development of new teaching materials for my students as well as the occasional bit of political writing. I am lucky to teach students at Community College of Philadelphia, and I am often reminded throughout each semester of the hardships and hurdles they must overcome to achieve their dreams. I learn from them, too.
Somehow despite writing numerous poems and a few articles, I found time to start a new Facebook page on seasonal folk traditions, an interest of mine, and to catch up with friends in an old-fashioned Christmas Letter. I wrote new prose projects for The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Good Men Project, and Cleaver Magazine. As a poet, I was blessed with good reviews for Velvet Rodeo in Cleaver, Out in Print, MEAD Magazine, and the Philadelphia Review of Books blog by such wonderful writers as Jerry Wheeler, Kris Bigalk, Daniel Wallace and Suzanne Parker, and Matthew Girolami—and I thank them! I think there are even a couple others I am forgetting here (my apologies). These join a spate of early reviews from the summer. Thanks so much to all the reviewers who have shown support and made me see my little red book in new and different ways. These join a spate of early reviews from the summer.
As for poems, a handful have come out online lately. You can read “Architect” from the journal Codex. Two other new poems appear in the fall issue of The Fox Chase Review, “Ritual” and “Two Street, After the Parade”. The first is set in my home state of West Virginia and based on a true incident concerning a bat. The second is offered up as a love letter to Philadelphia and the holidays, especially the annual Mummer’s Parade on New Year’s Day and the after-party that occurs on 2nd Street.
It’s nice to share good news like this to offset the many lulls and lows we inevitably go through as writers. As I was working on this entry, another rejection popped in my mail queue. I choose to take that as proof that you need to keep writing and to believe in yourself. So believe in yourself!
Finally, a big shout out to editor Charles Flowers for shepherding Velvet Rodeo into print and to poet C. Dale Young for selecting it. Most of all, I thank John for continuing to put up with me for another year. And I thank you, for reading my words from time to time.
#Cleaver #Mead #GoodMenProject