A Writer’s Thanks

May the Year 2015 Find You in a Peaceable Kingdom


Allegory Charles Prendergast (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1863–1948 Norwalk, Connecticut)

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

Related Links:










Mead: The Magazine of Literature & Libations

“At Mead Magazine, read about what is taking the tops of our heads off: reviews of books by Martha Collins, Arthur Sze, Ilyse Kusnetz, Tony Hoagland, Leslie McGrath, Tom Holmes, Kelly McQuain, and Lynette Reini-Grandell.” –Michael Broek, Editor, Mead Magazine.

So happy to be in such good company in the new issue of Mead, a literary magazine in which I had the good fortune of publishing a poem called “Lent” a while back. You can read the review of my chapbook Velvet Rodeo by poet Suzanne Parker at this link. http://www.meadmagazine.org/velvet-rodeo.html. Mead is definitely worth checking out. I was especially pleased to see Valerie Fox’s poetry in the new issue. She is also doing excellent things at Poems for the Writing. Another treat was a new poem by San Francisco poet Melissa Stein. “Hive” would have found a good home in her first collection, Rough Honey, and I bet it will end up in an equally good second collection of her work soon. Lisa Sewell, a Villanova professor, also has a fine poem in the issue.

Mead is the Magazine of Literature and Libations. All the poems and prose are divided into varieties of cocktails. Whether your poison is a saintly Shirley Temple or a devilish High Ball, pour yourself a tall one and check them out.


December Update on Poetdelphia and Other News…

I’m posting a link to the salon series I run, Poetdelphia. Come join us, if you like. RYAN ECKES, SUZANNE PARKER & DAVID GROFF are reading this Friday the 13, 2013. http://poetdelphia.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/poetdelphia-dec-13-suzanne-parker-ryan-eckes-david-groff/ David Groff is a poet I met some years ago, a writer from NYC with an amazing new book called CLAY. Suzanne Parker is a poet I met during one of the happiest summers of my life, a summer I spent writing in Prague. Suzanne had won a fellowship for her poetry that year–the summer of 2001, I believe. Her new book is called VIRAL, which focuses on the bullying case of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who killed himself. Ryan Eckes is an affable local fellow whose inventive poetry often depicts working class themes. Poetdelphia attempts to break down the barriers between various writing cliques and to help audiences discover new writers.

In other writing news, it’s been a good couple of weeks with new poems picked up for two anthologies, Drawn to Marvel: Superhero Poems and The Queer South. These anthologies are due in 2014, and they come on the heels of publication of one of my poems in BETWEEN: NEW GAY POETRY, out just now from Chelsea Station Press and edited by Jameson Currier.



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. http://www.meadmagazine.org/McQuain.html


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