24 March 2014

The Blog Tour!

My fellow 2013 Lambda Literary Fellow S J Sindu asked me to take part in this writing meme-blog tour hybrid. It’s a way for readers of other blogs to find new writers and for us writers to meet new readers. Welcome!

I am primarily a poet and also write the occasional essay. I also am the poetry editor of two literary magazines: 5x5 Literary Magazine and Codex Journal! I would love to see your poems and if you happen to write in another genre, our other editors would love to see your work as well!

So, on with the blog tour questions:

What am I working on?

I’ve just started sending out my first manuscript of poems called Who Am I to Tell You This? so I am in a bit of a post-project slump. I’ve been cobbling poems together here and there, but nothing definitive has come together yet.

I’ve also begun research on a prominent figure in Pacific Northwest history. I intend to write an essay using some of this person’s writing in tandem with my own. No doubt, this will launch a whole series of poems that branch off in new directions like ivy across brick. I don’t want to say too much about it at this point, but the essay will focus on growing up in Montana, being queer, and my struggle to come to terms with the impact this historical figure had on my childhood.


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I have always hated artist statements; they feel a bit like preening. The main thing that makes my work different from others in its genre is that I am the only one writing my poems. That's an easy out.

What I mean to say is that few writers are producing poems about the queer experience from nonurban centers. I don’t know a great many queer poets who are writing about landscape and environment.

My work’s strengths are image and sound. Think Ziggy Stardust on an episode of Nova meets the musical Oklahoma.

Why do I write what I do?

I write because I have to. I am compelled to put words on paper and then obsessively arrange them and rearrange them. I don’t know what started this. I’ve always written for myself, but didn’t think that one could write poetry to share with others until about seven years ago. I was reading some poems and felt the need to try my hand at it. I haven’t looked back. 

I also write because I want my work to live somewhere outside of my head. I dream about finding my book in a bookstore some day and then in a used bookstore after that--maybe a used inscribed copy to someone whom I remember. I want my work to find someone who wants it as much as I do.

How does your writing process work?

I put a lot of scraps and lines down on paper . Usually I jot a part of a poem or several ideas about a poem…lines, images, groupings of words and let them accumulate on the page. When I think there is enough there to work with, I begin building poems out of the pieces--sort of a lean-to from the branches I collected if you will allow the metaphor.

From there, I shut the poem away and then come back to it again in a few days or weeks depending on how urgent my need to look at it again is. Sometimes I know exactly what it needs next. Sometimes I need to back away slowly and leave it rest.

Poems take a good while for me after the drafting stage. There are revisions, and rebreaking lines, and deciding what isn’t essential. And of course, this all happens more than once.

Oh, and I compose longhand first 99% of the time. I feel like if I type a poem out on the page it loses some of its organic ability to change shape for me. Typing gives words/lines/space a kind of codification that can set a poem too quickly into a shape that may not be the best for it.

Thus concludes a bit about my writing. If you would like to follow me on Twitter, you can do so @poetryphone 


Please check out the following writers, who are also participating in this great blog tour…

Sara Galactica is a tattoo pusher. Big hair believer. Whiskey drinker. Microhistorian. Business lady by day, introvert by night. A little bit nerdy, a little bit rock and roll. 


Joshua Barton is a writer, journalist, and photographer documenting queer life and love in St. Louis, Missouri. He blogs at: www.newamuricangospels.tumblr.com (#nsfw)

17 March 2014

Are You Going to Sign Up?




So, like 8,500 other folks, I applied for the Amtrak Writer's Residency program. The chances of me actually getting one of the 24 Golden Ticket spots are slim to none, but like all things residency and contest based, I treat them like the lottery. If I win, fantastic. If not, it has given me a little space to dream.

You can read a great summary of the current state of the residency HERE.

Similarly, you can read how it all came to be OVER HERE.

13 March 2014

What Are You Reading?

This week I am deep into the biography of John Horne Burns, the gay writer most known for his post-WWII novel The Gallery

The biography Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns by David Margolick paints a picture of a talented gay writer who finds himself unable to his own hardships and disappointments to the world about him.

It is wonderful to read about a queer writer during WWII and after.

Also this week, I am savoring the article by Edward Mendelson in The New York Review of Books about the secret life of W. H. Auden. I won't give any more away, but it is definitely a great read. You can get your hands on it HERE for free!

What are you reading in print and online this week? I'd love to know!

10 March 2014

Return of the Blog Beast


I circled back wondering how long it's been since I've posted on this blog and it was much much longer than I thought.

This isn't to say there aren't exciting things happening in my writing world, just that I have been forgetting to tell you about them. Since sigh October, my work has appeared in a few more journals, AWP has come and gone from Seattle, and I have a few other interviews in the works.

5x5 Magazine has come back in a new and improved digital form and I've also become the 2014 Poetry Editor for Codex Journal.

So please stay tuned and you will hear from me soon, or rather please tune in for the first time. I have some great things to share with you soon.

Also, in the next week, I will be part of a roving blog tour where I answer some questions about my writing process.

02 October 2013

A Joe Brainard Documentary free and online until October 9th!


Joe Brainard was a writer and artist associated with the New York School.  He is most well known for his book I Remember.

His work has inspired some of my own writing, and reading him always motivates me to write in new directions.

Until October 9th, you can watch a short, captivating documentary about Joe Brainard and his work online for free.  Do yourself a favor and check it out HERE!

19 September 2013

The Los Angeles Review of Books Tackles Poetry in a Post-AIDS Crisis World



The Los Angeles Review of Books, often features strong writers who find compelling topics to write on.  This morning's article about reclaiming poetry from the AIDS crisis has a lot of meat and almost no gristle. 

I think this article is a great way to begin a larger conversation about AIDS in general.  Is the AIDS crisis over?  If so, for who?  The latest statistics from the CDC say that after a decade of lowering numbers HIV infection is on the rise again.  Is there another AIDS crisis headed our way? 


18 September 2013

Literary Gossip: Walt Whitman Does Kiss and Tell



So Laura Chandra, a Fellow from this year's Lambda Literary Writer's Retreat posted this link on her Twitter Feed yesterday.  It was one part gossip column and three parts historical fact. The article discusses an American visit between Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman.

Apparently, they were on "Thee" and "Thou" terms.

READ THE ARTICLE and see what Walt Whitman had to say to a reporter the morning after!

Thanks again Laura for bringing this to my attention and to Mallory Ortberg  over at The Toast for putting it together.

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