This past Sunday the Buffalo News poetry curator R.D. Pohl published [The Brother October 2014], an excerpt from my collection Organizing Isolation: Half-Lives of Love at Long Distance.
To order a copy of the book from Linoleum Press, click here.
been a week full of poetry #wins.
- Me on Peach.
- Babble at Geneseo.
- Dave Eggers at Bable.
- Toni Morrison on her way to Buffalo.
- Eve Wilson on AFROPUNK.
- Prince on Foundlings.
This isn’t in chronological order, nor is it in order of importance. But this post started as a way to share the poems from my new book that Peach Mag featured today. The Peach patrol picked three poems from ORGANIZING ISOLATION to post. They’re an interesting cross-section of what you’d find in the book — page poems, voice poems, and poems that don’t really qualify as poems.
The Buffalo News Gusto cover last week featured an arresting image: facing out of the page, a man in a black leather jacket, head bent to a slim volume in his right hand, left hand rising and cupping as if around a palmed bird or baseball, lips curled to push out a poem.
This is News photographer Mark Mulville’s shot of Justin Karcher, on the night of the launch party, at Alley Cat, of his latest release, the chapbook When Severed Ears Sing You Songs, from Cringeworthy Poets Collective Press.
This night brought together several of the key players, collectives, presses, and movements Lizz Schumer covered in her excellent Gusto feature “Speak, poet,” on the vibrancy of the Buffalo poetry scene, and on the young people keeping the city’s rich poetic traditions alive and fresh.
Go on — read the article.
Oh, right: and that’s me pictured above, again thanks to Mark Mulville. Schumer was kind enough to include a shout-out to Foundlings, and mentioned the upcoming release party for my collection Organizing Isolation (Linoleum Press).
Last week I got to review Ben Brindise’s new chapbook, Rotten Kid, in The Public. The book, out from Syracuse-based Ghost City Press, contains a fresh mix of fiction and poetry, focusing mostly on memory, the process of finding a voice, and an exploration of a voice’s limitations.
Ben asked me to serve at MC for the night – a great honor, as I got to introduce the poets Eve Williams Wilson, Ten Thousand, Tom Dreitlein, Sam Ferrante, Megan Kemple, and Justin Karcher. I had the most fun introducing Ben, though. In honor of his serious slam chops, I decided to do some “spoken word” of my own.
Earlier in the evening I read two of my poems. The first was an old one, “On Tuesday nights I watch the news on her set,” from Foundlings Vol. One. I read this because of my friend Brian Castner’s important piece in yesterday’s New York Times, “Still Fighting, and Dying, in the Forever War.” Then I read “At the funeral of an atheist I didn’t know,” the poem that Janet McNally selected to win this year’s Just Buffalo Member’s Writing Competition. You can watch them below:
I’m very happy to have won the Just Buffalo Members Competition for 2017. Judge Janet McNally (author of Some Girls and the YA novel Girls in the Moon) selected my poem “At the funeral of an atheist I didn’t know.” You can read it now in The Public, along with the Audience Award winner Khalil Ihsan Nieves’ poem “you should be here now.” Judging was blind, which makes it OK, I think, that I studied under Janet at Canisius, and then returned there to be here colleague on the 9th floor of Churchill Tower. She was even more surprised by the selection than I was. I believe she said she thought a “weird/charming old man” had written the poem. (She wasn’t exactly wrong.)
Rachelle Toarmino of Peach Mag (a dear friend and collaborator and second place runner-up in the contest) said in her “Peach Picks” column said the poem offers “an insightful look at belief against doubt, with a ready lyricism that allows it to stand as a hymn for the nonbeliever.”