School has started and the semester is in full swing! Somehow, even though I live in the Snow Belt, we dodged the bullet with this last snow storm, and although it's been cold, we haven't had our usual severe winter weather. I'm not sure if we are going to continue to have a mild winter or if the horrific weather is simply coming later...
For now, however, I've been enjoying the latest issue of The Comstock Review where I'm happy to report that my poem, "Flypaper" won third place in the journal's annual poetry contest. The award is a wonderful honor, of course, but I'm even more excited by the fact that one of my favorite poets, Allison Joseph, was the judge! My poem joins other wonderful work by Steven Lautermilch (who won first prize for "Is the Fish,") and Justin Hunt (who won second prize for "Two West and a Half South").
Writing, so far this year, has been a bit on a slow side. I have yet to write a new poem, and I have only drafted a few prose pieces. Usually, January is a productive writing month for me, so I'm not quite sure what is going on, but I hope to remedy the situation soon, and get back on schedule.
I am not sorry to see 2015 go. Last year was a year of losses, so in many ways, I feel like I am starting the new year emotionally drained. Reading the daily news headlines doesn't help much. And even though we have had warmer than usual temperatures for this region for this time of year, I know we are entering Northern Appalachia's time of gray where I probably won't see the sun anytime soon.
Still, I'm trying to highlight the great points of last year. I was granted a sabbatical and started taking classes in an online MFA program. I had 19 acceptances this past year. I got poems published in some great journals. My poem, "Yellowjackets" was published in Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry series. (Kooser has been a favorite of mine for a long time, so it was quite an honor to be chosen. I also had more prose pieces published, and am looking forward to seeing one of my favorite pieces, "Barefoot by Roadkill" in print in The Briar Cliff Review.
I haven't really made concrete resolutions in the past few years. Last year, I did join the GoodReads Challenge, giving myself a goal of 100 books to read in one year. I actually read 186. That probably seems like a lot, but the reality is that I usually read over 200 books a year. Still, I set myself another modest goal of reading 150 books in 2016.
I would like to write more reviews. I used to write more reviews (both for my personal website and for journals). My last review, a commentary on River Bound by Brian Simoneau, was published in Gravel a few weeks ago. Still, I know that writing reviews is a time-consuming task, and I'm not sure when I will find time in the upcoming months.
This is what is happening: I'm taking more coursework towards my MFA. I am also teaching a brand new course at JCC (Well, the course is brand new for me). For the first time in years, I don't have any poems out on the market, and I really would like that to change. But first, I actually have to write some new poems, and I haven't written a brand new poem in months.
So much to consider.
I am a poet and professor from rural Pennsylvania. This page is dedicated to my publishing news and events; for book reviews published online go to the Reviews tab above. For my own personal reviews, explore the Book Picks tab.