Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Poem in The Centrifugal Eye

One of my favorite online journals has a new issue out with a poem of mine, another one by good friend and fellow NC poet, Harry Calhoun, and a review of Helen Losse's new book of poems, Better with Friends. The Special Theme of this issue is "Troblems & Prubbles," so you can probably tell it's a lot of fun. Eve Hanninen and Karla Minnifield have done a great job with it. Here is a link so you can take a look yourself:

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Note from Malaika King Albrecht

Here is a note from Malaika King Albrecht about her upcoming book. This is one I recommended to Main Street Rag. Obviously, I'm convinced it's a good book. Click on her link to read my comments which will be on the back of the book.

From Malaika King Albrecht:
Thank you to everyone who has encouraged my writing! My poetry book is being published by Main Street Rag Publishing Company.

Lessons in Forgetting is scheduled for release in early May and is available for advance order right now. The advantage of ordering in advance is that you can buy it at a discount. The cover price will be $7, but by ordering it online from the publisher's website, you can get it for $3.50 plus shipping.

Here is a link that will take you directly there: or the book can be ordered from the Coming Soon page of the MSR Online Bookstore.

Print run is based entirely on advance sales. Advance Sale Discount price of $3.50 (+ shipping) will be available until April 27. Release/ship date will be May 4.

Please note: For those who would rather not order online, Lessons in Forgetting may also be ordered by check or credit card directly from the publisher; however, the discount is not as much if ordered this way. Send to: Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001. Credit card orders, call 704-573-2516 (M-F 9am-5pm EST).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Note from Susan Meyers


(formerly known as the Main Branch Poetry Series)

proudly presents



SCOTT OWENS, of Hickory, NC

Tuesday, Feb. 23

7 - 8 p.m.

Circular Congregational Church, Sharpe Room

150 Meeting St., Charleston, 29401

Free & open to the public

Co-sponsored by The Poetry Society of SC, LILA, and the Charleston County Public Library.


From our featured poets we’ll hear distinct, memorable voices:

--“I walk in wind and a wonderful emptiness. / Aesthetics is all about space, I would say. . .” –from Michael Lythgoe’s “Georgia O’Keeffe Remembers Texas”

--“Take a sip of wine, / let it worry your mouth. / Open up the dirty window. / When moonlight is weeping / on the lawn, scatter crackers . . .” –from Linda Annas Ferguson’s “How to Forgive”

--“We put it together like any future / you might imagine, stroke by stroke / spreading blue across the page / and beyond the page, pencil-thin. . .” –from Scott Owens’s “Making Sky with Sawyer at 2”


MICHAEL H. LYTHOE’s chapbook, Brass, won the PSSC Kinloch Rivers contest in 2006. He is an Indiana native now living in Aiken. As a retired Air Force officer, Mike has lived in Saigon, Izmir, Turkey, Madrid, Spain, and London. He taught at Syracuse University and worked at the Smithsonian in D.C. He has an MFA from Bennington College. He will be reading from his full collection, Holy Week.

LINDA ANNAS FERGUSON is the author of five collections of poetry, including her newest book, Dirt Sandwich (Press 53, 2009). She was the 2005 Poetry Fellow for the South Carolina Arts Commission and served as the 2003-04 Poet-in-Residence for the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston. A recipient of the Poetry Fellowship of the South Carolina Academy of Authors, she is a member of the Academy’s Board of Governors. Her work is archived by Furman University Special Collections in the James B. Duke Library.

SCOTT OWENS, author of five collections of poetry, is editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review, author of “Musings” (a weekly column on poetry), founder of Poetry Hickory, Vice President of the Poetry Council of North Carolina, and a writer of reviews of contemporary poetry. His work has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the NC Writers’ Network, the NC Poetry Society, and the Poetry Society of SC and received a Special Mention from the 2009 Pushcart Prize. Born in Greenwood, SC, he has lived in NC for the past 25 years and currently teaches at Catawba Valley Community College.


Please come out to support this series and hear this talented threesome. Hope to see you there!



Susan Meyers
P.O. Box 188
Summerville, SC 29484

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Aroma of Art Winning Poems Selected

Aroma of Art Winning Poems Selected

Twenty-two poems were submitted for the 2010 Aroma of Art Ekphrastic Poetry Contest. Each poem was judged anonymously by two widely-published poets, and a consensus was reached on 9 poems that will be framed and hung next to the works of art that inspired them for the remainder of the Aroma of Art Benefit Auction at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse in downtown Hickory. These signed, framed poems will then be presented to the winners of the corresponding works of art during the Aroma of Art Grand Finale from 5:30 to 7:30 on March 4.

Additionally, 3 of the 9 poems were selected to be read by their authors as part of the entertainment during the Grand Finale. The 3 poems to be read are “Fostering a Child” by Jeanne Ackley, “Faded Rose” by Ann Fox Chandonnet, and “Beloved” by Bud Caywood. My own poems “Once Upon This Balcony” and “Relic” were also chosen to be read, but unfortunately I will not be able to be in attendance at the Grand Finale.

Poetry Hickory and the Aroma of Art would like to thank all of those who participated in this interdisciplinary, charitable project and would like to encourage lovers of poetry and art alike to visit Taste Full Beans during the month of February to place bids on the many beautiful works of art that have been donated to benefit the AIDS Leadership Foothills Alliance and the Catawba County Humane Society.

Each of the 9 poems selected for display are printed below. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who submitted work.

Fostering a Child
by Jeanne Ackley
after the Doug James’ painting “After a Swim”

Her eyes were not able
to shut out the violence.
Her ears could not help but hear
the curses, the threats.

We finally found
a swim suit
that hid some of the scars,
covered most of the bruises.

She wades into the pool,
waits silently
for the other children
to begin splashing and screaming.

Slowly, her hands hit the water,
with clenched fists.
She screams,
but not with glee.

for the first time,
when I smiled at her,
she smiled back.

Faded Rose
by Ann Fox Chandonnet
after collage by Sara Frisbee

"years ago, but always like yesterday"
Miep Gies, 1987

Shards of memory
from a brain dig.
Scraps of pink net flutter in the breeze.
Bristles and dental picks probe
at what might be vertebra or vase,
shoe leather or locket.
More broken china;
is that a rose?
Carbon dating will settle the issue.
Was this chipped flask filled with chipped tears?
Will Homer tell this tale?

Sweet sisters giggle under the weeping willow,
making daisy chains.
Three children perish within four days.
Their mother buries them. Then their father.
Then she too is gone, and a neighbor takes the screaming baby home.

A horn button, a veal knuckle,
a flattened silver thimble.
Do we find what is lost
or only a faded dream of a faded dream?

by Bud Caywood
after Sara Frisbee’s “Beloved”

In the beginning,
there was a loud clamor of many voices,
and men and animals were called to the beloved child;
their murmurs mingled with fears and dreams,
with old prophecies that had been told again and again.

Don’t blame us now that many are still blind to believing,
deaf to the songs, and lost to not knowing the truth.
There is still a child’s voice in the middle of the heart
that would have us rise from a restless slumber,
out of that tangle of fears and memories
to a soft halo of light where the beloved
still waits for us patiently.

Once Upon This Balcony
by Scott Owens
after Meredith Janssen’s photograph “Et Juliet”

Once upon this balcony,
or another one just like it,
the sun might have shone,
at least it might have seemed
that way from below.
The moon might have drawn
its curtain of day
across a humbled face.
One might have spoken
and remained unheard
yet still made an impression
the way anything not heard clearly
seems more important than the actual words,
and isolated on such a promontory,
only a tree and stars for company,
what was might easily have been
mistaken for what might seem.
One might have been seen
from afar through hyperbolic eyes,
just a girl really, one too young
at that for such talk of virgins,
such contrast with stars.
One might have been the object of obsession,
of overactive imagination,
of inappropriate desire.
One might have weighed
love and obligation, passion and truth,
counseled treason, conspired.
One might have deconstructed
names and words and the whole
premise of symbolism,
leading, of course, to the idea
of pluralism which proved
as always a better idea
than reality can ever bear.
Then again, given all that played out
before her, one might have just jumped.
There was, after all,
if any truth to be told in plays,
plenty of jumping involved
once from this balcony,
a simple balcony,
a bit aged,
and much too open.

by Scott Owens
after Joe Young’s photograph “Time Goes By”

Time does go by
not to mention around,
through, in,
and eventually over.
Tortoise-like it plods on,
patiently waiting
for the moment we stop,
stand still too long.

Even masters of space,
speed, and distance
know of this inevitable
reclamation but remain
unprepared, unbelieving,
just the sort of thing
we think happens
only to other people.

Who, possessing
even a shred of such
power, could be anything
but incredulous,
each thing its own
Ozymandias, pride
half sunk, only
passion surviving.

Disillusionment of Color Change
by Scott Owens
after David DeJesus’ photograph “China Town”

Pink shades, green walls,
fire escapes always descending
from perfectly squared landings,
places to stand still in.
Maybe a fan or a.c.
to cool the day’s oppression
break the monotony
of brick piled on brick,
carefully mortared to close
all hopes of anything open.
Pink shades, green walls,
only in one left open shades
of blue, a suggestion of clouds,
a hint of some horizon.

Motel in Memphis
by Cherie Berry
after Hulda Bewley’s photograph “Motel in Memphis”

Women had a place, on their back, beneath men.
She introduced an element of honesty, a balls-out competition
for customers.
The new kid on the block was by far the biggest earner.

Dressed in skyscraper heels, a red leather mini-skirt
and a blond wig, three times divorced, she had learned the
painful way that you make more money.

On a business and professional level, she didn’t like it then,
and she didn’t like it now.
This business chewed you up and spit you out like a bad taste,
but, sometimes you got lucky.

With the grace of the dancer she once had been, slowly and
insolently she turned in front of the seated man.
He was tempted to put his hands on her, but he did not get up.
No one wanted to be featured in a headline, no one wanted
to get caught.

She gave him a look from eyes that had seen it all and done
it all twice.
He smiled and mimicked putting tape across his mouth.
Every man has a weakness.

by Patricia Deaton
after Sara Frisbee’s “Concrete Love”

Don’t hand me that. Flowers won’t do it.
And don’t tell me it will be all right.
This will NOT. EVER. BE. ALL. RIGHT.
All the party-color trappings in the world won’t make this a celebration.

I’m broken here.

The last slow dance is over.
The lights have come on.
The band is packing up.
Not even a chance for a one-night stand.

What happened to the hugs and kisses?
XOXO, love, for the record,
Happening carefree and written down.

Touching, talking, Not touching, not talking,
The X’s and O’s unfamiliar, gone wild
Like crazy confetti from hell raining down.

I’m a party of one and I’m broken.

An Invitation with Strings Attached
by Jeanne Ackley
after J.W. Baker’s painting “Black Bear”

If you are
a member of the Bear Clan,
or on a sacred journey,
follow me.

I will take you
to the Dakotas, to Bear Butte.
Follow me,
to our sacred circle.

We will gather in the Black Hills.
Follow me,
into the sweat lodge,
where our sacred ceremonies are held.

Follow me,
if your heart is in the right place.
Sacred knowledge is not for sale.
We will know if you are sincere.

Paternity is Out

I received my author's copies of Paternity yesterday, on the exact day my publisher said they would be ready (I'm always impressed with efficiency). Thank you Scott Douglass and Main Street Rag.

For those who ordered Advanced Copies, that means you should be receiving yours very shortly as well. If you don't have a copy yet, you can still order one at or you can buy one from me at one of the readings I'll be giving, the first of which comes up this Thursday, 2/18, at 7:00 at the Bethlehem Branch of the Alexander County (NC) Library. My co-readers there will be Tim Peeler, who also has a new book out, Ann Chandonnet, and event organizer, Bud Caywood. This will be the first such event held by the Alexander County Library, so I'm hoping we have a big turnout to encourage them to do it again.

Other upcoming appearances include the following:

*Tuesday, February 23, 7:00, Main Branch Poetry Series, Circular Congregations Church, 150 Meeting StreetCharleston, SC, with Linda Annas Ferguson and Michael Lythgoe.

*Wednesday, March 3, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, Classroom Readings, Catawba Valley Community College, Hickory, NC.

*Thursday, March 4, 2:00, Ragan Writing Center, Barton College, Wilson, NC.

*Thursday, March 4, 7:00, Wayne Community College, Goldsboro, NC.

*Thursday, March 18, Noon, Durham Technical Community College, Durham, NC.

*Thursday, March 18, Time TBA, Wake Technical Community College, Raleigh, NC.

*Tuesday, March 23, 1:15, Mayes Pit, Cohn Auditorium, Wilkes Community College, Wilkesboro, NC

*Tuesday, March 23, Time TBA, Wilkes County Library, Wilkesboro, NC

*Friday, March 26, 7:00, Green Rice Gallery, 451 E. 36th St., Charlotte, NC

*Saturday, March 27, 2:00, Gaston County Library, Gastonia, NC

*Thursday, April 1, 7:00, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC

*Saturday, April 10, Time TBA, Burke County Library, Morganton, NC

*Sunday, April 11, 3:00, Quail Ridge Books, 3522 Wade Ave., Raleigh, NC, with Nancy Carter and Peter Makuck

*Monday, April 12, 7:30, Mitchell Community College, Statesville, NC

*Saturday, April 24, Workshop at NC Writers Network, UNCG, Greensboro, NC

*Tuesday, May 11, 6:30, Poetry Hickory, Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse, 29 Second St., Hickory, NC, with Neva Bryan

*Wednesday, May 12, 10:30, Coffee with the Poets, Phillips & Lloyd, Hayesville, NC

*Wednesday, May 12, Time TBA, Curiosity Bookshop, 46 Valley River Ave., Murphy, NC

*Wednesday, May 12, Time TBA, The Book Nook, 115 Cleveland St., Blairsville, GA

*Thursday, May 20, 6:30, Caldwell County Library, 120 Hospital Ave., Lenoir, NC

*Saturday, May 22, 1:00, Redheaded Stepchild Reading, Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse, 29 2nd St., Hickory, NC, with Malaika King Albrecht, Michael Beadle, and more.

*Sunday, May 23, 3:00, Osondu Booksellers, 184 N. Main St. Waynesville, NC

*Sunday, June 6, 3:00, Poettrio, Malaprop's Bookstore, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, NC

*Tuesday, June 8, 7:00, Patrick Beaver Library, 375 3rd St. NE, Hickory, NC

My thanks to Scott Douglass, Tim Peeler, Tony Abbott, Joanna Catherine Scott, Bud Caywood, Helen Losse, Jessie Carty, Al Maginnes, Sara Claytor, Margaret Booth Baddour, Carol Peters, Jim Clark, Janice Moore Fuller, Mindy Evans, Roxanne Newton, Glenda Beall, Margaret Osondu, Ed Cockrell, Malaika King Albrecht, Jeff Davis, Joe Milford, and everyone else who has helped with this book or the readings to follow.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Helen Losse Reviews "Paternity"

Helen Losse has just posted a beautiful review of "Paternity" in the "Dead Mule School of Southern Literature." Helen has been a faithful reader of my work since "The Fractured World." In fact, she has published a number of my poems in "Dead Mule" during that time. Her familiarity with so many of my poems makes it possible for her to place this collection in a context of themes that came before and will exist after this book.

She says, "My first observation, concerning Scott Owens’ second book, is that Paternity begins where his first book, The Fractured World, ended. . . . Owens’ first book The Fractured World, also published by Main Street Rag, concerns his escape from an abusive childhood and his determination not to repeat the “sins of [his] father.” By the end of the book, Norman, the man who is part father part symbol and bit of anything Owens needs him to be, explodes and frees Owens for new adventures. . . . In Paternity, Owens searches for meaning in fatherhood, especially in the birth and young childhood of his daughter, Sawyer."

Here is a link that will allow you to read the entire review:

My gratitude to Helen Losse, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and all who read the review and order the book.

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Review of Paternity

Here is a new review of Paternity. This one was written by Bud Caywood and published in the Taylorsville Times on February 3. My thanks to Bud and The Taylorsville Times

Book Review
Main Street Rag

People who love this world, who pay attention, are poets. Because poetry is not just about writing. Poetry is about cherishing. And to cherish, one must be present in life. Scott Owens’ previous book of poetry, A Fractured World, was written to sustain a regenerative force inward, a personal witness to a troubling generation. In his newest work Paternity, Owens draws that force back out and finds solace in fatherhood. In this moving collection of poems, Scott Owens is at his most introspective. His poetry is fine and deep; it reads like a blessing. His special sharing is to connect us with our feelings in his paternal world. Paternity completes a cycle in the context of his two collections. Here he has moved from the inside world of examining his history to the gentle yet powerful territory of being a parent and then celebrates memory with discipline—“I think of things I missed in my own childhood: / a father’s gentle reminder, the chance to try, / to help, to think that maybe I could.”…and then… “And even as you hold them up, / you have to be careful you’re not / holding them back.” The poems are controlled, yet dense with emotion. They are clearly located in a real world, but pay attention to cherished moments. Paternity enchants the reader with the experiences of fatherhood, the purity of love, and the glow of children’s imagination brightening life.

Bud Caywood

Friday, February 5, 2010

My Favorite Book of Poems in Years

My Favorite Book of Poems in Years

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my favorite poem from the last few years. It was “Album” by Felicia Mitchell. Today I’m writing about the author of my favorite book of poems from the last few years. I read about 100 new books of poems every year. Half of those I don’t like enough to finish, but the other half all impress me, many of them enough to motivate me to write a review of the book. Reading that many poetry collections makes choosing one as a favorite quite difficult, but the one that I’m declaring to be my favorite is simply the one that has lingered in my mind the longest. The remarkable lyricism and compelling narrative of Joanna Catherine Scott’s Night Huntress made reading it an unforgettable event.

While I’m discussing favorites, I’ll mention that the most enjoyable poetry reading I’ve ever given took place last spring at Catawba College. What made it so enjoyable was not just the hospitality of the college or the 200 or so students in attendance, but the person I was reading with. This was my first time meeting Joanna Catherine Scott, and it was a meeting I’ll never forget.

That night I discovered that Scott was a beautiful speaker and an unequaled intellect, and when I subsequently read more of her work, I realized she was simply the most impressive writer I had encountered in many years. Her poetry and prose are both lyrical and accessible, familiar and exotic, concerned with both individual and international issues. In a review of Night Huntress, I recently wrote, “Scott possesses the true writer’s gift, the gift of empathy, the ability to see inside another’s pain, loss, hope without being blinded by it.”

Scott has applied that empathy to stories and poems about everything from Vietnam veterans, to a family’s loss of their daughter, to prisoners on death row, and on February 9, she will share those stories with the audience at Poetry Hickory, held at 6:30 in Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse in downtown Hickory. Scott says her intention at that reading will be to tell the story of how her novels The Road from Chapel Hill and Child of the South led her to Death Row and her current project, a collection of poems entitled An Innocent in the House of the Dead.

I anticipate that this will be one of my favorite Poetry Hickory events not only because Joanna Catherine Scott will be reading, but also because her co-reader will be Felicia Mitchell, and the Open Mic readers will be Poetry Hickory favorites and two of my favorite people, Jessie Carty and Tony Ricciardelli, and first-timer, Bill Blackley, former President of the NC Poetry Society.

Here is a poem from Scott’s Night Huntress (first published in Damazine) to whet your appetite.

In Which You Tell Me You Have Set Islam Aside

I used to dream, you say, that one day
I would take a pilgrimage to Mecca,

but I have given Islam up.
I have taken my name off all the lists.
I no longer go to pray,
although I pray to Allah in my heart.
I thank him for the Qur’an,
which I also have inside my heart.
Get knowledge and understanding,
it instructs me.
And so I read and read and think,
and argue with myself, and others too,
and have become a wiser person
on account of it,
which is why I have set Islam aside.
What point is there,
I came to understand,
in fighting with an enemy
who has the upper hand?
What point in setting myself up
for persecution by the guards and warden
because I wear the Muslim cap
and fast for Ramadan?
A man must act upon his wisdom.
So I have set aside the kufi.
I do not abase myself.
I have light within me, though.
They cannot take that away.

… And I Drive Home in the Rain
The fallen sky laying itself out
and laying itself out along the road
like grey-clad pilgrims
abasing themselves full-length
and rising,
and then the abasement,
and the rising up again,
end-to-ending themselves
like inchworms inching their way
across grey countryside
toward the holy city,
pelted on, and blown up
into a thousand falling fragments
by lumbering grey trucks.
Gathering themselves together.
Shaking off the insult.
Rising and abasing.
Rising and abasing.
And being blessed for it.
And blessed for it.
That glittering
spinning of the wheels.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Making Time for Poetry

Poet, Ann Chandonnet, wrote this profile of me, and last week the local weekly newspaper, Outlook, ran it. I love what Ann did with this, and after a student of mine told me his wife cried when she read it, I loved it even more. More than anything else I want my words to have an impact on the reader (I imagine this is the goal of most poets), so when an article about my words stirs a reader's emotions to the point of tears, it's pretty gratifying and a very complimentary reflection on the quality of Ann's writing. Thank you, Ann and Outlook. Pick up a copy of Outlook or visit the blog tomorrow for a poem from Joanna Catherine Scott, author of my favorite book of poems from the last several years and Poetry Hickory reader next Tuesday (2/9)

By Ann Chandonnet
The literary artist—the novelist, the essayist, the poet—must make time for his art.

Why? Because the literary artist is the most ignored artist of all in the United States.

In the Soviet Union (or whatever its politic name these days), they name battleships after poets. No such thing in the land of gummy worms and sound bites. Actors and embezzlers become celebrities while the poet is shunned like a leper.

Like the dedicated artist he is, Scott Owens chooses to stick to his literary guns. He makes time for what he feels is important. Although he has three children—one at home, two in college—he finds time. “Two mornings a week [my daughter] is in school,” he said in a recent interview. “When I was younger, I used to get up at 5 and have two hours to work. Now I just take advantage of time wherever I can find it. I take my books to the swimming pool when she swims. I take my stuff to her dance lesson.”

Owens was born in Greenwood, South Carolina. His life hasn’t been easy. He paid his way through college by working double shifts in a cotton mill. To make money while attending college, he gave massages, edited papers for fellow students and took on all sorts of part-time jobs. He has lived in Hickory for eight years, and teaches at CVCC. Two and a half years ago, he founded Poetry Hickory, a group that sponsors monthly readings at Taste Full Beans coffee shop.

As readers of his 2008 collection The Fractured World are aware, Scott was abused as a child. He has worked through that horrific experience, and his calm demeanor gives little clue to his early years. “At the bottom level, poetry was a way out—out of my feeling of desperation,” he explained matter-of-factly. “Poetry helped me think about the situation I was in, in my childhood and helped convince me that [life] didn’t have to be that way. Today poetry is how I know that I exist.”

Owens’ healing is expressed in his latest collection of poems, Paternity, out this month. The germs of the collection lie in his own fractured upbringing and in the love he has for his young daughter, five-year-old Sawyer.

Some of the inspiration for Paternity comes from his “absolutely favorite poem,” “Little Sleeps-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight,” from The Book of Nightmares (1970) by Galway Kinnell. Owens’ second favorite poem, also by Kinnell, is “The Still Time.” Kinnell wrote The Book of Nightmares for his children, Maud and Fergus, and it has been called “a howl against the depravities of social injustice.”

Not all poets are sure they are deserving of the title. How did Owens know he was a poet? “When Robert Grey, the editor of Southern Poetry Review, was teaching me in a graduate level creative writing class, he said he wanted one of the poems I had submitted in class for the magazine. And I thought, ‘Well, maybe I am getting it after all.’ “Owens was 24 at the time of this revelation. Since then he has won many poetry prizes.

The beginning poet often feels lost. What advice does Owens have? “Read twice as much as you write. Make it twentieth- and twenty-first-century stuff that you are reading.”

And take your notebooks along to your daughter’s swimming class. Make time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Review of Paternity

The first review of my new book of poems, Paternity, is online now at Jessie Carty, founder of Folded Word Press and Shape of a Box journal and author, herself, of two chapbooks of poetry and a forthcoming full-length volume, does a great job of tracing the progression of the sections of the book and pulling out the central conflicts and motivations behind the poems. I couldn't be happier with the review, and I hope you'll all visit Poet's Quarterly to take a look.

Monday, February 1, 2010

What a Week

Last week was almost the best week I've ever had as a writer. I had a total of 23 poems come out in 7 different journals. First there were the poems "Absence of Animal Presence," "The Word for What Only 4-Year Olds Can See," and "After the Flood" in Joe and Chenelle Milford's new journal, Scythe, at

That was followed by "Light Falls and Runs Red" in the new issue of The Pedestal at Next was one poem ("Second Chances" and ("All I Want") in each of the two new issues of Waterways, in print only, but info is available at

One of my favorite "blog" journals,, at, then published one of my favorite new poems "Letter to Ahmadinejad," and I published my own poem "Relic" alongside Joe Young's photo "Time Goes By" in Outlook and then in my blog to help promote the Aroma of Art fundraiser going on this month in Hickory. That same day Outlook also published a profile of me written by Ann Fox Chandonnet.

A couple of days ago, Jane Crown released her latest issue of Heavy Bear, at, which contained the poems "Meat Jesus" and "Arse Poetica" and an audio file of me reading 10 of my poems, most of which will be in Paternity, due out in just a couple of weeks. And now, today, Helen Losse has released the February issue of Dead Mule, which includes three of my poems written in honor of Black History Month, "Soundings," "Primer," and "in which the poet speaks as a sixth-grade classmate."

Thank you to each of these editors and to the readers who support these journals.

So why was it just "almost" the best week I've ever had? Because my new manuscript, which I really thought was good, didn't win the contest I had sent it off to, and because like most writers, I suspect, I take the rejections more personally than I do the acceptances. I tell myself to use rejections as motivation, but they still hurt, they still cause doubt, and they still linger in my mind longer than they should. Call me sensitive. Call me insecure. Call me spoiled. Self-doubt is just a tough thing to overcome.