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.

How Many Submissions do Poetry Journals Get? One Interesting Example, and Some Extrapolation.

I discovered And Other Poems today via Twitter. It’s a very well done project.

And Other Poems opened to new submissions in November in a sort of relaunch. I don’t know exactly when their window closed, but we’re only halfway through December, so it couldn’t have been too very long ago.

They share that over 200 poets submitted over 700 poems in whatever the relatively short time frame was. Some new journals get less, some get more. Long-established venues get many, many more. Still, any way you look at it, 700 is a lot of poems. Reading them and giving them the right attention is a lot of work. No doubt a passion project.

Across the literary world, thousands of editors this past year have collectively read, what, probably millions of pieces? Mostly as volunteers. Mostly because they believe in the power and beauty and necessity of words. They believe their work and the work of the writers they publish matters and makes a difference. Thank you, editors, publishers, laborers of love. You make all of this happen.

Forthcoming at Quatrain.Fish

Quatrain.Fish publishes very short poetry of four lines or less. Here’s their Editor’s Note:

I know for myself, when I set to write a short poem, I tend to end up with about six lines. Those of course, won’t be welcome here at Quatrain.Fish. Most poetry of four lines or less (fewer, if you insist) isn’t a poem at all, but part of a poem or an ill-formed thought. Yet if, as Poe claimed, long poems aren’t poems at all, then perhaps the most poetical of poems is the shortest of poems.


True or not, a perfectly crafted, tiny poem is like a sharp knife or a sex-laden wink, an empty elevator shaft or the perfect vista bursting through fog: perfectly captured images and emotions that can creep into our lives and never leave. We hope Quatrain.Fish publishes one or two or three or thirty that can be that for you.

A piece of mine was just accepted for publication. I look forward to sharing it soon.

In the meantime, check out Quatrain.Fish. They are permanently closing to new submissions in December, so get your short work to them soon.

So We Had a Wake

This is a story about a dream, or a memory of a dream. It was published years ago at another ghost town called Slingshot.

I think these pieces leant themselves very well to the the kind of online writing that was emerging in the late 00’s. It’s a shame so many of those venues, many of which were very good, are no longer around. Pour one out for each of them, I guess.

So We Had A Wake

You came over in red high tops from a yard sale and your old bandana with a Rubbermaid trunk of things for me to keep. Your Junior Legion plaque. Records from the bank you worked at one summer, but you never worked at a bank. You worked in a furniture factory and a Bible software company. There were toy baseball bats that I thought I might let my son play with but would maybe keep wrapped forever, a baseball with funny faces, binders from Seminary and records. “Have you heard any news of any kind?” I asked, afraid of why you were doing this. “I haven’t heard,” you said and I tried to remember how I felt when you were given back to us. I don’t remember what I said when I found out, like I’d missed the news but still knew it, like I coveted the chance I must have had to jump and yell and strip and beat my chest. I should have bruises there like butterflies, their brown shadow wings spreading from my sternum. My knuckles would be burger meat, my lungs would break my ribs, my throat would cut and chafe on the impossible proclamation, would scab and petrify, vanity, I’d bleed the truth out in a dribble. If you hadn’t really died, once, if I found out they had been mistaken, a clerical error, even a resurrection. What they can do with medicine, now. But I don’t remember. 

I think you better leave me with the trunk, too, so I have a place to keep this all just how it is, you know, and I don’t say just in case because just in case is doubt and doubt kills t-cells, eats your organs. You have been so positive. You smile at everything you show me. “I probably shouldn’t have taken these,” you say about the jump drives from the bank that are branded with Jerry Dior’s batsman. “They might be interesting.” 

I wonder if you were lucid all those mornings you slept through class, if you were conjugating Greek declensions, parsing Hebrew in your dreams. I wonder if you parse me now, if first and second person are constructs of the living. If your Thou to my I is only feltboard Jesus. 

I understood that you were private, but I understand now, after our visit is consumed by things I don’t sleep through — my wife calling after church to wake me up for lunch, my son in the background saying “Hallelujah, Daddy!” — why you didn’t want a funeral. You couldn’t say goodbye and wouldn’t let me, either. And so when you visit in the morning, as often as the intervals in which I’d always seen you, we don’t have to talk about how we miss each other, I don’t have to ask if the end hurts or know how scared you were to go. The night is hypothetical and it seems we both are only sleeping.