M. Scott Douglass, Editor of Main Street Rag, still notes on his website that although he publishes books and chapbooks and a periodical journal, he won’t repair bibles. Perhaps that qualification is necessary in Charlotte, NC, where he’s been in the lit bidniz since 1996 or 7. Mr. Douglass took two pandemic inspired poems for future issue, “Fever” and “Quarantine.”
I received my contributor’s copy of the Winter 2024 issue of Main Street Rag. Main Street Rag press is the same operation that produced my last book, Breaking Down Familiar. It’s a well put-together magazine with a variety of stories and poems, commentary, and a feature interview with Anne M. Kaylor. As usual, the lively presence of the editor, M. Scott Douglass, is sprinkled throughout with his photographs, motorcycle travelogue, and political commentary. The poems he selects are tight; I enjoyed seeing ones by people I know such as John Nizalowski and Jason Ryberg. The two of mine included are, “Full of Wind,” a political pantoum and “The Mangas Coloradas Skull Installation,” an imaginary installation artist’s statement.
In 1979 the Wisconsin Review published two of my poems. Last year, they again published a poem. And now in 2024, 45 years later, the Oshkosh-based journal accepted two poems, “Breaking News” and “Treelike.” Both are fanciful prose poems with a political tinge. Thanks to Senior Editor Jordan Brown and his staff.
The Midwest Quarterly poetry editor Lori Martin has accepted “La Música del Fin del Mundo” for the Pittsburgh State (Kansas) based publication. The title is in Spanish because the narrative takes place in Chilean Patagonia, and “the end of the world” literally means a settlement at the southern tip of the continent. While traveling in that part of the world, my wife and I kept seeing highway signs telling us how far it was to the end of the world. The milieu of the poem concerns the figurative meaning of the phrase. This will be the third poem Ms. Martin has published in the esteemed journal.
Today I received my contributor’s copy of the September 2023 I-70 Review. This Kansas City based journal, edited by Greg Field, Gary Lechliter, and my friend Maryfrances Wagner, is a handsome thick tome with a plum cover featuring Dixie Salazar’s mixed media extrapolation on Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” Inside is a wide selection of poems including those from many folks I know, such as Walter Bargen, Mary Gilliland, Ken Hada, Ted Kooser, Denise Low, Al Ortolani, and Tyler Sheldon. I’m honored to have therein a partly true poem about my birth in a hospital overlooking the Kansas City train yards and my father’s paper route and wild marijuana growing on the banks of the Kansas River, and of course I had to work in Charlie Parker busting the charts on “Salt Peanuts” and “Hot House.”
It’s gratifying when a literary editor “gets” your work. Brian Daldorf of Coal City Review has accepted four previous poems for as many different issues, and now has selected “Circulars” for the next issue of his Lawrence, Kansas-based publication. Although I’ve got long-standing connections with Lawrence, I’ve never met Brian, though I’d like to. I like that Brian is “old school,” in that he continues to carry on his lit bidiz by US postal mail, eschewing the electronic Submittable mode that most other editors use. The “Circulars” in the poem were one page butcher shop sales flyers that I used to deliver when I was a boy in Oceanside, New York.
My book with Main Street Rag Press was awarded the 2023 National Federation of Press Women’s 2nd Place in the Creative Verse Book Award. The book was forwarded to the national contest after having won 1st place in the New Mexico Press Women’s contest. Needless to say, one needn’t be a professional journalist or a woman to enlist in the Press Women organization to become eligible to submit to the contest which has 60-some categories of judging.
Don McIver kindly invited me to read at the Chatter program at 10:30 am on June 17th. As is customary, I will be presenting poems between the two musical numbers. Giovanni Bottesini’s Gran Duo for clarinet, double bass, and piano and Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet no. 15 in E-flat minor, op. 144 will be performed by James Shields, clarinet; Emily Cole and David Felberg, violins; Laura Steiner, viola; James Holland, cello; Toby Vigneau, bass; and Luke Gullickson, piano.
I received my contributor’s copy to Crosswinds, IX-2023. This is the contest edition, where senior editor David Dragone and the other editors feature not only the winners of their annual contest, but the other finalists and a generous number of other contest entrants. My poem, “Relations,” was among the also-rans, as were poems by other poets I’m happy to be in the company with, such as Elton Glaser, Andrea Hollander, and Mark Rubin.
The editor of my last book, Breaking Down Familiar, M. Scott Douglass, has accepted two more poems for his magazine, Main Street Rag. One could be called “an imaginary ekphrastic” in that the work of art it addresses, an installation of a fabricated larger-than-life reproduction of the Apache warrior Mangas Coloradas’ skull, is purely imaginary. The second poem is in pantoum form with a non-sensical, actual quote from Donald Trump for an epigraph. Both poems are darkly political, which is a type of poem I think Scott leans toward in his magazine.
My contributor’s copy of Pudding Magazine’s 71st issue came in the mail this week. My poem in it, “Hipbones of the Patriarchs,” goes back many, many revisions and about 25 years since I first drafted it. The partnership of my poetry with Pudding House publications goes back even farther. By my count, I have now published 10 poems in 9 issues of Pudding beginning in 1995. Besides those individual poems, Pudding House published two of my chapbooks, The Fast of Thoth in 2002 and Mr. Ubiquity in 1997. The current editor, Connie Willett Everett, identified issue 71 as the last one; she’s closing shop. She inherited Pudding House from Jennifer Bosveld, who founded Pudding House in Ohio in the 1970s. Connie moved the operation to Florida about fifteen years ago. Thanks to these hard-working editors who kept this publishing enterprise flourishing for so many years.