New Poetry: In Slipstream Issue #34

I first read the magazine ‘Slipstream‘ when I discovered it in the Canisius College library during my first year as an undergraduate creative writing major.  I found about five back issues in our lit mag section – they were a little weird, with a penchant for dark and strange photography; but what most stood out on my first read-through was that the pieces the editors selected – and have been selecting since 1980 – challenged without being inaccessible.  They were funny and sharp and surprised you with empathy.  They were a little bit run-down, in a good, gritty, familiar kind of way (something explained later, when I discovered that the magazine came out of Niagara Falls, NY).

When I saw that one of my professors and mentors at Canisius, the writer, poet, and painter Eric Gansworth, had published in the magazine several times over the past decade (his poem “Histamine” was featured in Issue #26, and his poem “Holding the Shell to My Ear” was nominated for a Pushcart after appearing the in the 2006 issue), I decided to submit.  (I didn’t have any reason to think they’d take me – it was just that the connection, however tenuous made of the shade-like editors figures more human, people who might actually respond.)

Rob Borgatti, Livio Farallo, and Dan Sicoli published my first poem, “A Red Light,” in Issue #33, in the summer of 2013, and in so doing I joined a canon of Slipstream authors like Charles Bukowski and Sherman Alexie.  Living in Buffalo, NY, at the time, I hadn’t had many opportunities to attend launch parties, but the trip to Niagara Falls for the Issue #33 launch that September was a quick, 20-minute drive.  At that launch, I actually read the poem they would end up publishing this year, in Issue #34 – “On First Hearing ‘Brown Sugar’ by the Rolling Stones.”

I’ll miss the launch this year – the trip is a few thousand miles too far – and I haven’t yet held a hard copy of the issue.  It’s always a fun event, if you’re in the Western New York area and fancy some wine, cheese, and verse.  If not, you can still pick up the magazine – it’s available now via PayPal; 96 pages of poetry for $10.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

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