Acquisition Notice: ‘Spring Flurries’

My poem, ‘Spring Flurries’, has been acquired by the online literary magazine, Mothers Always Write. Though I’m not a mother quite yet, I’ve written quite a ton of poetry about the babies I nanny. I really hope you will all enjoy this one, about my current little baby-dreamer, when it is published. In the meantime, check out what some other mothers, fathers and caregivers have written about their little (and not so little) ones over on the site!

2013 in Review


Well this sure has been a huge year for me- besides graduating from college this month, all year long I’ve been breaking my own goals for writing and taking the first several leaps that I need to become serious about this whole being a poet-and-author thing.

This year alone, I have:

-Been published in thirteen journals

-Had twenty-three  poems published

-Participated in my first 48-hour Film Festival as a writer and associate director

-Published a thesis through my college (Lumen Metaphoram: The use of metaphorical reality theory to evangelize in the modern Roman Catholic Church)

-Have  fifteen  poems already acquired for the year 2014 in seven journals

Which brings my career total to:

27 unique journals publishing my work

59 poems currently published

15 poems acquired and awaiting publication

Not too shabby! Let’s see if I can break that total in the coming year!

Pre-Order ‘The Wayfarer’

On of the journals that I’m included in is now available for pre-order! The Wayfarer, a journal of contemplative literature through Homebound Publications, has ‘The Forest’ and ‘Time in Africa’ within the pages of of its third issue. And I can attest, after just seeing the proof for the issue, that this issue is just unbelievably gorgeous. If you’ve been wondering what new poetry journal to start subscribing to, I honestly would suggest this one. You can pre-order a print version for yourself here, though a free e-version of the journal will be available June 21st!

Chaffey Review, Number Nine!

I bet you didn’t know I was such a rebel, did you? My poem, ‘300, was included in the ninth volume of the Chaffey Review, which had a theme of Innocence & Experience. Though the volume looks beautiful, and includes some pretty striking art, the volume was stricken from the shelves at the college it was printed at, due to the graphic nature of some of the content- which relates directly to the theme in sometimes heartbreaking, and other times darkly humorous, ways.

Now, I’m not one who likes to tout the fact that I’ve been a part of a project that is deemed necessary of censorship. As a writer, I am keenly aware of the need for tact and sensitivity when it comes to the world of art. However, there comes a time when there is a line drawn between simple sensibility, and a kind of blind fear. Some of the things in this issue of the Chaffey Review are not exactly my cup of tea, and some of it is right up my alley. But as I am aware of my own preferences, I am also aware and respectful of the preferences of others. The theme, Innocence and Experience, relates to many people in many other ways. Some of us have been able to make it to our college years with our innocence intact- I’ve seen many adults and some elders are well who, by some virtue of protection, keep it almost until death. Some consider ‘innocence lost’ to be the moment when they couldn’t trust their parents to tell the truth anymore after they found out that Santa wasn’t real. Some consider it to be the moment when they were abused, or the first time they smoked a cigarette.

For my part, my poem relates a moment when I was deeply involved in a theological discussion with a Jewish boy who I was attracted to, and who had thought an instant soul-mate of sorts- that is, until he brought out a line of cocaine and snorted it right in front of me. I have had many other ‘losses of innocence’ in my life since that moment, including many that were much more violent and much more privately traumatizing (some of which I’ve written, and others that I never will), but for me this was the defining moment of the loss of my ‘innocence’- the loss of my belief in a moral black and white, a loss of my veil of ignorance regarding those suffering from substance abuse, and the beginning of my struggle to truly understand what it meant to respect God’s wishes for my life, and to discern how to best love my neighbor in a way that only I could. For me, this loss of innocence was a huge stepping stone to where I am today- asking the hard questions that I had been ignoring, and truly becoming invested in the people around me and seeing where I could challenge my beliefs, instead of blindly protecting them.

For the record, this experience did not make me stop believing in God, or in the goodness of people. I also didn’t take any drugs myself- the boy put the coke away as quickly as he had brought it out, saving me from the awkwardness of having to refuse it.  It simply complicated my understanding of what I thought I already knew. It was an uncomfortable moment for me, to be sure- the fact that I’ve fixated on this moment, above many other moments, for nearly four-five years afterwards is testament to how much it really stuck to me, sometimes in ways that kept me up late at night, sick to my stomach.

For me, striking a volume like this from the shelves is a bit too much. That kind of censorship robs others who may never have the opporunities (or want to have the actual opportunity) to lose their innocence the way people like me have, or to gain the experience that we have through confusion and pain- but want to be able to empathize and open up their understanding in new ways. As I’ve seen reported, the volume was put back on the shelves with a disclaimer regarding the graphic content, which I think is appropriate. Some of the art in here shocked me as well, though I respect the experiences of others to realize that for them, it may be necessary expression of lived experience. I just skip over those pages, to be honest. No one can force me to see or listen to what I do not want to see or listen to.

So there’s the story about how a largely-religious poet came to be published in a censored literary magazine. I hope you all get the chance to read it sometime soon- I will probably be posting a video/audio recording of ‘300’ in the next couple days, if there is any interest in that.

When Submitting, Slow Down

I just committed my first extremely grievous publishing faux paus today. Or, rather, I was made aware of it. I had one poem accepted for publication by two literary magazines (lets call them x and y) because I failed to alert magazine x immediately when magazine y accepted it. Thankfully, magazine x offered to publish two poems, the offending already-acquired poem and an other one, so if all goes well they will still accept the second. In all actuality I had submitted to magazine x first and was more-than-normally jazzed to receive their offer of acceptance. (Not that I regret in any way getting the offending poem published by someone else).

I am flattered and humbled that more than one publication liked this specific poem. I also know that, in the long run, it’s not like magazine x is really taking any kind of hit to the heart just because they don’t get to publish both poems by little ol’ me. I’m not mortified because of some kind of sense of self-importance where I think I’ve just ruined someone’s life because they don’t get to feature my work in the way that they wanted. If nothing else, it hurts my reputation more than anything. Even that will heal, and probably rather quickly as its not like I have any major reputation to begin with.

What I am ashamed of is that I didn’t take the two seconds to respect the editors of x to the fullest extent of my ability. To me, that’s the most embarrassing. We poets may grime and gripe about the way publishers treat us now and again with form rejection letters, long wait periods and seeming hatred for our ‘budding genius’ (read: undeveloped talent that really needs some developing, or hey in all honestly a horrid poem), but without our publishers where the heck would we be? I’m not just talking about some situation where publishers swoop down their dainty little hands and pluck us starving artists out of the muck like they have all the resources in the world. Most publishers, especially publishers of poetry, are people who are in it for the love of it just as much as the writers are. Which means there is not much else profit but that love and appreciation for them as well. They put in countless hours reading through all types of poetry- from brilliant to mind-fumblingly mundane- then have to be the bearers of both awesome and terrible news alike. They get the brunt of responses both indignant and pompous. Then they put it all together, more hours and more work that they are least likely to get paid well for just to give us poets some kind of platform to share our work in the hopes that we’ll build resumes large enough to feed our families (oh, who am I kidding I’ll be lucky to pay one bill! the fun is more in the pride of being able to say, with the power of credentials, that I am a ‘poet’!). They put in all this work for me and my peers, and I can’t even bother to mark down correctly what I sent and to whom?

I’m not saying I think that this is the end of the world. Do I think magazine x will still accept the second poem in good faith?  I have no idea, honestly, but I hope so. Do I think this is the end of my poetry career? Of course not. Do I think apologizing to the internet in general excuses my rude behavior? No, and this is why I apologized to magazine x as well. Do I think my mistake is somewhat inexcusable  Of course not, everyone makes mistakes, looses track of time, gets busy etc.  So why am I posting this huge rant about it? Because I think it’s important to remember. I think it’s important to remind my fellow poets. I think it’s important to remind myself.

Mark your submissions well, and respect the editors you submit to as much as you wish to be respected!

But don’t beat yourself up if you do mess up- there’s plenty of room to learn.