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.”
So on March 6, 2021 I’m looking at my records and notice a poem acceptance date in June 2019 from Cider Press Review. The record doesn’t say what the title of the poem was. I have no luck finding a contributor’s copy of same and have no recollection of that journal ever accepting a poem. So I sheepishly write the editor/publisher, Caron Andregg, and ask if she can confirm or deny accepting a poem of mine in June of 2019. She responded graciously with a link to the poem that was lost to me. “The Book of Lost Connections” is a narrative prose poem in which uncanny events transpire and a book by that name belonging to the speaker is returned by his ex-wife. My almost totally losing track of this accepted poem seems to me to be the doings of the poem itself; this is, it cast its spell of lost connections on me. By the way, for those who insist on reading autobiography into work not identified as such, none of the events in the poem with the speaker’s ex-wife have anything to do with real experiences with my ex-wife and she is blameless for my lost connections.
Crosswinds Poetry Journal, edited by David Dragone in Rhode Island, accepted “Calling on Chagall in Autumn.” It seems they were deciding for this poem about the same time that I read it in the Zoom reading on February 16th with Kyce Bello and Ken Hada. The poem fancies Marc Chagall coming back from the hereafter to paint a scene of levitating groundskeepers.
Boston-based arts magazine Arts Fuse posted a review by Vincent Czyz of my latest book from Red Mountain. The review is titled, “Any Song Will Do, A Worthwhile Discovery.” Czyz, whom I didn’t know, contacted me about a month ago and asked if he could obtain a review copy. I’m very pleased with the result.
The current (Fall 2020) issue of Main Street Rag includes a review by the poetry editor, Maria Rouphail, of Any Song Will Do. The review lauds the poems’ “beauty and artistic competence.” She states that “any poet just starting out can learn much from Levering’s voice, his balance of emotion and reticence, his formal structures and angles of engagement.” She says that “the reader gets the sense of an artist with a powerful way with words.” This issue also features an interview with and poems by Doralee Brooks, the Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Contest (sponsored by Main Street Rag) winner. Main Street Rag, which is published in Charlotte, NC, is available from mainstreetragbookstore.com.
In the span of a few days, I received my contributor’s copies of accepted poems from Ginosko and the I-70 Review. The latter was guest-edited by Lola Haskins and features work by Ted Kooser and Gary Soto, among others. The regular editors are Gary Lechliter, Maryfrances Wagner, and Greg Field. Ginosko, edited by Robert Paul Cesaretti, is an online publication that places the entire publication in PDF format. There are four of my poems in issue 25 of Ginosko, while I-70 included one, “Stretched Sunset at Elevation,” that includes memories of my father, references to frisbees, aboriginal ceremony, and elevation by gin & aviation; and mentions a Gerald Stern poem about his father and bullroarers.
Interlinking happens through time. Pudding House Press, which publishes a magazine as well as chapbooks, did two of my chapbooks, Mr. Ubiquity (1997) and The Fast of Thoth (2002). Recently I submitted poems to their new editor, Connie Willett Everett, for the magazine, and now she has accepted two poems. One of those, “Approaching Labrador,” is a long poem written in mind of a transatlantic flight from the east making landfall over Labrador, Canada. And it just so happens that the cover image of my second book with Red Mountain Press, The Water Leveling with Us, is a stunning photograph by Susan Gardner taken high in the air over Labrador. The other poem, “Between Gates,” also refers to airline travel, an activity many of us are constrained against these pandemic days.
Robert Paul Cesaretti’s Ginosko Literary Journal, out of Fairfax, California, has been publishing since 2003. This is the second time the editor has accepted a group of poems of mine, including “Church Fire Escape” (based on a harrowing dream), “Paperweight” (my fascination since childhood w/ airplanes), “Returning to Nauvoo” (Mormons beware!), and “Toad Mountain Migration” (an ekphrastic poem based on a Jane Shoenfeld painting). The poems are slated to appear in the 25th edition this summer (2020).
My poem, “In Hospice,” was one of six finalists for the 2020 Prime Number Magazine Poetry Award. My daughter took a photograph of the event that inspired the poem, my mother’s first meeting of her great granddaughter as my mother lay dying.
The Midwest Quarterly, out of Pittsburgh, Kansas, had rejected 16 batches of my poems going back to 2005. Yesterday, editor Lori Martin accepted two poems, “Storm” (about a shell-shocked Iraq war veteran during a thunderstorm) and “Insomniac’s Lullaby,” a disguised pantoum, for an upcoming issue. Missourians are supposed to be stubborn, but Kansas-born poets also can be hard to discourage.