Writing and Publishing Year in Review

Thank you to the editors who have published my work this year, and to the readers who have read it!

Taken together, there are some very clear themes to this year’s published work. I am honored to have been published at every one of these journals, and I’m grateful to The Shore for their Pushcart nomination and to have been selected for print anthologies by Nick Virgilio Haiku Association/Nick Virgilio Writers House and Hippocampus Books.

Here’s the list of published works for 2021, again, with my profound thanks and appreciation.

Great Dams on the Land at Belt

Stop Me if You’ve Heard this Before, Superego at The Daily Drunk. This piece was also noted by the Existential Poetics newsletter.

Doorjamb at Bandit Fiction.

A Poet of Hope at Appalachian Review

On Billy Joel and Thomas Pynchon: It Was Always Christie Lee at The Daily Drunk.

Salvator Mundi at Still: The Journal.

Prepositions at VIA: Voices in Italian Americana, Vol 32, Issue 1.

Ospitalità (Nonno Flirts with Death)  at Schuylkill Valley Journal.

The Effects of Ground-Level Ozone on the Ecology of Pennsylvania Highways and Ode to Wallace Stevens at The Shore. The editors at The Shore nominated “The Effects of Ground-Level Ozone…” for a Pushcart Prize. I am very grateful.

Bear and Mountain and Well Past the Harvest at Dodging the Rain.

Last Standing the Closing Country, which first appeared at Brevity, was selected for publication in “Main: An Anthology” by Hippocampus Books. Here’s the description from Hippocampus: “Main: An Anthology, part of The Way Things Were Series from Books by Hippocampus, celebrates small town America. The collection features stories about family-owned businesses, such as the stores and specialty shops that used to rule Main Street America. Our contributors share how these businesses define themselves and their family members, how the efforts evolved over time, through the generations.” Read more here.

Wage Slave was selected for publication in the Haiku in Action anthology by the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association and Nick Virgilio Writers House. From the publisher: “This collection of contemporary poems from around the world includes hundreds of haiku in its various forms, from the traditional style to senryu, monoku, and more. The anthology is perfect for lovers of haiku who want to read poems focusing on the events of 2020 from an international and diverse range of both established and emerging poets. More than just a collection of poems, this book also features haiku categories, writing prompts, essays from the NVHA staff, and an extensive lesson on haiku writing from renowned teacher, Tom Painting.”

Co-wrote the lyrics for “Radio Jesus” with John Hardt. Performed, recorded, produced by John Hardt.

Two Pieces I Found Today

I read two pieces I really liked today, one by bart plantenga and one by Sue Powers. I don’t know either of these writers (I don’t even know them on twitter) and had not read their work before, but I think these are both excellent. They’re short reads, but exactly enough.

bart plantenga: The Beer Coaster Haiku 1 at The Daily Drunk.

Sue Powers: Grace at Burningwood Literary Journal.

Journal of the Day: Paperbark

From the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in collaboration with the School of Earth and Sustainability, the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and the UMass Libraries comes Paperbark Literary Magazine. It has a very clean and modern-looking website and a compelling mission:

Paperbark Literary Magazine is an expression of the intellectual and artistic currents working to shape collective consciousness about issues of sustainability in the information age. Born in New England, Paperbark draws on the unique heritage and culture of the region to support and stimulate creative engagement with progressive ideas. Rooted in themes of stewardship, innovation, and possibility, Paperbark’s content is motivated by a desire to trace the connections between science, culture, and sustainability. Paperbark lives at the confluence of imagination and critical inquiry, and is an integral tool for the promotion of sustainability initiatives on the University of Massachusetts campus. The magazine strives to illuminate the impacts of human society while nurturing our intrinsic capacity to catalyze positive change.”

Check them out. Send them love!

Discovering New Poetry and Fiction Markets

If you have the time, resources, energy (or general privilege) for self-improvement during the pandemic, you may be looking to get some writing done. You may be looking to get some writing submitted. You may be looking for some new journals to read and reach out to.

Creativity may be an essential way you interact with the world, and you may be frustrated because there’s not a lot of time or energy for that right now. You may be experiencing trauma. You may be exhausted, even though it feels like you’re not doing much.

But you’re probably doing a lot. This is what trauma feels like. It’s real, and it’s important to recognize.

I have a dozen tabs open, a dozen journals I’m going to submit to. At some point. At some point today. Maybe after I finish this post. Maybe after I take a walk. Maybe after I take a few minutes.

Here are some I have discovered recently:

Cream City Review

Midway Journal

Blood Orange Review


Little Fiction Big Truths


Kissing Dynamite

Orange Blossom Review

Porter House Review

The Stinging Fly

Salt Hill

Jellyfish Review

Submit yourself to staying home. Submit your work if you can.

Where to Submit Short Stories in 2020

“In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you’ll dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dull and know I had to put it to the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused.”

-Ernest Hemingway

It’s romantic, maybe, or idealistic (perhaps), or naive (probably) to think that getting published was so much easier back then. Fewer literate people, after all. No MFA programs. No teeming ranks of well-read, well-educated, would-be writers, all very talented, all very good, all very hard-working, all with great ears. All dulling their instruments, all competing. It must have been, after all, a matter of picking the right Parisian cafe. Ford Maddox Ford, Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude Stein…they would have championed your work, too, if you’d been around then.

For the sake of this post, I’m going to assume we’re all very dutifully dulling and sharpening our instruments. And after?

Every Writer has a very good top 50 list here. I’m sad to note that since this list was created in February of this year, both Tin House and Glimmer Train have ceased to be.

I’m not sure what to make of this contraction. Certainly, there is no shortage of good work in the submissions queue. It could be that most of the people who read literary journals are people who want to be published in literary journals, and that we’re so busy, after the writing, with managing the massive numbers game of getting published that we have very little time left to support the market. I don’t think that’s it, but it’s interesting to think about. Of course we buy the journals (although we can’t afford to buy all of them), and of course we pay the submission fees.

And it’s only two journals. But they’re two of the most celebrated. They’re two that consistently appear on everyone’s list. And they’re two of the more recently-established heavy hitters.

It’s a little disheartening. But, thankfully, there are still plenty of whetstones.

Alright. Back to work.