Tuesday, June 30, 2015

For the birds

Local steel sculptor Tony Armeni loves animals, and he calls his series of original, sculpted bird baths For the Birds.

Lit Youngstown is raffling this sweet piece of art and we’ll split the proceeds with Tony. To buy a ticket ($3.00 for one, $5.00 for two), visit us at the July 1 reading in our First Wednesday Reading Series featuring Larry Smith and Paul Gentile.

Larry Smith, editor of Bottom Dog Press, will accompany himself on guitar as he reads new work, and also poems from his collection Lake Winds. Larry Smith is an Ohio institution, and we’re lucky to have him. 

Bottom Dog Press published several books this year, including one by our second featured reader Paul Gentile. Salvatore and Maria: Finding Paradise is a well-researched working-class immigrant family story. 

The readings will be followed with an open mic, emceed by Youngstown author Carmen Leone.

We will draw the winning raffle ticket the afternoon of Sun. July 12 at the Summer Festival of the Arts at our Lit Youngstown booth, where you’ll find the winning poem of our ekphrasis contest (writing from art!), “Disco,” by Cleveland poet Dianne Borsenik. We’ve printed Dianne’s gorgeous poem on a reusable tote and will give them away at our booth. We will also have writing activities and readings. It will all be amazing. Hope to see you there! For more information, visit Lit Youngstown.

For more information, visit

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thank you, editors

I’ve long admired these journals, so I’m particularly pleased to have my work included. 

Diode Poetry Journal, edited by the amazing Patty Paine, accepted these five poems for the anniversary issue. This is my third time in Diode, and I’m a big admirer of the spare layout and the aesthetic range. I also like the way I can scroll down and read multiple poems by the same poet. Bob Hickock also has several poems in this issue, and while I’m blown down by any one, the force of all of them in one reading is tremendous.

I’m a big fan of Waccamaw, and grateful my poem “Code Violations” found a good home.

My first creative non-fiction came out in PoetsArtists. I’ve lived in many places and was messing around with a list one day, and realized I’ve defined much of my experience in living with animals. Thanks to guest editor Nin Andrews.

And my first short story was published by Ragazine, a terrific journal produced by talented editors in Binghamton, NY. I like writing fiction—all that space!—and plan to do more of it, so I appreciate the encouragement that comes with seeing this story in print, or e-print, so to speak.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Good News Comes All At Once

Incredible mail week!

My poem “Autobiography” arrived on broadsides. The poem was chosen for the first annual William Dickey Memorial Broadside Contest. San Franciscan Larry Lafferty was influenced by William Dickey as a student. Dickey was lost in the early AIDS epidemic that devastated San Francisco, and Rafferty said he’s been wanting to honor his mentor for a long time. The judge of this year’s competition was Tony Hoagland, whose work I have long admired. I don’t know Dickey’s poetry, and Im taking a liking to it. 

The broadsides were crafted by Lisa Rappoport of Littoral Press, also in San Francisco. They are beautifully designed and I love the deckled edge on the light gray French rag paper.

hit & run press in NYC, founded by Rafferty, will host a celebration of William Dickey’s work at the Housing Works Bookstore April 13. Poet Mark Doty will read.

It is thrilling to have this work made tangible, and to be connected to such a meaningful project. 

As if that weren’t enough happiness, my new chapbook arrived! I am a big fan of Kattywompus Press, directed by Sammy Greenspan. I am in amazing company of Kattywompus authors. I am also mad about the art on the covers by Akron artist Chris Meyers, so talented, and a kind and generous human.

Black sand beach was just a short walk away from the Headlands Center for the Arts where I was in summer residency a few years ago. Although I’ve always loved the ocean, I’ve been largely land-locked my whole life. Walking the trails along the shore and down on the beaches made of black basalt was personally renewing, yet also troubling. Even in a place that seems like paradise, there is trash on the shore and signs that marine life is struggling. I felt compelled to take some action, even as I was exceedingly grateful I had the chance to live and write in that beautiful place.

My endless gratitude to my professor at the NEOMFA who encouraged me to apply for an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellent Award, to the OAC for this award and the residency, and to Headlands Center for the Arts for a memorable experience.