Kestrel Pushcart Nomination for “Scrape the Velvet from Your Antlers”

Just when I needed a nice shot in the arm to tackle some new writing projects, I got some terrific news from the journal Kestrel. The editors there nominated my poem “Scrape the Velvet from Your Antlers” for the Pushcart Prize awards. The poem is the first poem in my forthcoming poetry chapbook, Velvet Rodeo, due out from Bloom press in early 2014. My thanks to the editors at Kestrel for making my day!



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.

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