Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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It’s finally happening! “Death loves a Drinking Game” has a street date! and a party! But before all of that, I’ll be featuring at a lovely spot in Red Bank, NJ alongside two astounding poets from New Jersey’s Asbury Park scene: Joshua J. Ballard and Josh “Dogmatic” Matson. There’s even going to be a contest for a giveaway of an advanced copy of the new book! Details for that reading are here.

And now, the biggie: “Death Loves a Drinking Game,” one half of the Duel Book with Keith Baird’s “Before I Die I Want to Swim with Sharks,” is officially being released by Piscataway House Publications on January 18. There’s gonna be a party with poetry and music and a haiku deathmatch! Details are here. If you love me, I’ll see your face and sell you a book.

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Happenings

Posted: February 24, 2013 in Events, Ink's Poetry

First off, work on making Death Loves a Drinking Game into a Duel Book has begun by those tireless SOBs over at Piscataway House Publications! Initial choices have been made, plans for future roundtables have been scheduled, and interesting layout possibilities are being debated. Until that book comes out, I have been working (slowly) on new poems for you to enjoy. The new page to keep an eye on for this dribble of new content is Dumping Grounds. But poems aren’t all I’ve been up to.

Recently, I had the chance to edit a book for a short story writer who has very quickly become one of my favorite contemporary short story writers. Well, I caught the bug and started writing a short story too. It keeps growing though and shows no signs of stopping, so what I’m tentatively calling “The Natural State of Things” might turn into a novella or worse: a novel. I submitted a stand-alone section of this work-in-progress to the Kenyon Review’s Short Fiction Contest, along with a newly edited version of “An Interview with Gretel.” As soon as they’re rejected, I’ll post links to both short stories on this blog only. The work on a new short story is exciting for me, mainly because of the endorsement/encouragement of the aforementioned author as well as the reactions to the snippet from a few select friends in whose unbiased opinion I trust wholeheartedly. Also, I’d like to think I’ve grown as a writer since the labored short stories that appeared in Tripped Tongues & Fallen Cases.

The Tenth Anniversary Poetry Festival: A Celebration of Literary Journals will take place On May 19, 2013 at the West Caldwell Public Library in New Jersey, and I’ll be one of two readers representing the Edison Literary Review at the showcase event. The editors of the Edison Literary Review, in addition to publishing a couple of my more usual poems in previous issues, recently stepped outside their normal publishing criteria comfort zone to place a haiku of mine within an upcoming issue. Gina & John Larkin and Tony Gruenewald are a fantastic team that puts out a quality literary rag (subscribe!), and I couldn’t be more honored that they’ve chosen me to read on their behalf  at such a defining event.

Speaking of haiku, there was a slam put on by Suffern Poetry at the Elk Lounge in Hoboken, NJ this past Saturday evening.  It was the most intense slam I’ve ever attended, which I chalk up to the impact inherent in such short poems as well as cunning choices made in each round regarding tone of topic. It wasn’t a classic haiku slam, but that didn’t stop the daring from bringing out classic haiku here and there. Highlights included a father-son duel, short jokes, STD jokes, all the laughs and all that glorious tension! Also, Mark Brunetti was stalking EVERYONE. You can check out the fruits of his photophilia here.

188135_309347012499824_1562935498_nRecently, I edited a book of poetry for 2012 Asbury Park Poet Laureate nominee Joshua J. Ballard. There’s gonna be a release party on January 30 for I Keep Going to kick-start his next tour, and the author was kind enough to ask me to perform as part of the 5, 7, then 5 (buy via amazon) collective. Several other poets, bands, and artists will be there, so come on out! It’s also my last appearance in 2012 and might also mark my extended retirement from the scene as a whole. So come glimpse my majesty while ye may!

In other news, Death Loves a Drinking Game has been pushed back a little for a 2013 release and is now to be paired with the work of the stunningly touching and immensely talented Keith Baird! Look for more on that as news becomes available.

Hope you have a grand send-off to 2012 and that 2013 treats ya right.

This has happened two years in a row now, and there’s really no excuse. So once again, it’s up to me to alert any and all potential judges to a misprint regarding the 20th Annual Asbury Music Awards:

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While my general mode of modesty is self-deprecation, I can think of no typo more flattering or grievous. Don’t get me wrong; I am truly humbled that someone even noticed my poetry, let alone thought it worthy of such an honor, but the fact stands that almost all of the other nominees in this category, as well as those who were not included but should have been, are far more deserving of the title/trophy than myself.

The laurels typically associated with this title carry with them expectations of honed talent as well as responsibility for promoting readership. While it is true that I can write the hell out of a poem (you cannot imagine how much admitting that makes me cringe), all of the other talented nominees, or at least those I know, are active purveyors of poetry: educators, slammers, open mic emcees, guerilla poets. None simply concentrate on selfishly crafting their own formula of the word (as is my case).

As it stands, aside from a few failed ventures in starting workshop groups, I am naught but words on pages (electronic and otherwise) and an apparition at open mics. I carry a ravenous hunger and broad appreciation for the art of poetry, both on the page and off the tongue, but do nothing aside from lend my specific dish to an already distinguished menu. So please join me in rooting for all the other nominees who have actually earned such recognition. Then, if you still have applause left in your soul and your hands aren’t too sore from applauding, pick up my book(s) or simply let me know what you think of my poems; that’s the best honour I could ever imagine.


(Pictured, left to right: Fanny Howe, Juan Philipe Herrera, Raúl Zurita, Daniel Borzutsky, Nikky Finney, moderator)

Description from the 2012 Festival’s guide:

Some poets take the position that poetry must address the political and social issues of its time. Others believe political debate has no place in poetry. Most, even those who don’t write political poems themselves, agree that if a political matter is of personal importance to a particular poet, it is a valid topic for their poetry. Festival Poets consider how and when poetry might/might not be called upon to bear witness.

What actually happened:
To paraphrase Juan Felipe Herrera, “Tenderness encouraging tenderness, making things that haven’t been said come to light.” If ever there was a panel that could bring about tears from sympathy and thumps of the heart drum from inspiration, this was it. The discussion was so enthralling, I completely forgot to take notes! The urgency behind Zurita’s reading in Spanish, the call to stop being polite in writing (literature having been defined as “polite writing”) to affect positively one’s local community, and to further that and take back the entire world. Large aspirations for such small groups words as poems, but the way the panelists spoke and read and bantered could be enough to sway any borderline heart to compassion (and hopefully action based upon that compassion). Don’t let me tell you how you should b affected. Listen* for yourself and get affected! Then maybe, if you think more discussions like this should take place, go donate a few bucks to the Foundation that made it possible.

Know your voices:
First speaker – moderator
Second speaker – Raúl Zurita
Third speaker – Daniel Borzutsky (translating for Raúl Zurita)
Fourth speaker – Nikky Finney
Fifth speaker – Fanny Howe
Sixth Speaker – Juan Felipe Herrera

*This recording is not sanctioned by the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival or its associated Foundation and is solely offered in faith that 1) no-one reads this blog anyway, 2) it was for the benefit of poetry and those who appreciate poetry that the event took place, and 3) supposedly the Foundation’s own YouTube channel will soon offer coverage of this event anyhoo. In short: please don’t sue. Email me, and I will remove the link permanently as well as delete the files in question from their source.