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.
I am honored to be reading with the Swedish-American poet and translator Malena Mörling online on June 19, 2020 at 5:30 PM. Malena Mörling has received Guggenheim and Lannan literary fellowships. The online event is sponsored by SOMOS (somostaos.org).
Saturday, June 20, 2020, from 10 am to 1 pm, I will be conducting an online workshop on the ghazal form under the auspices of the Society of the Muse of the Southwest (SOMOS). The ghazal (pronounced “guzzle”) is a centuries-old Arabic couplet form that has become popular in American contemporary poetry. To register, go to:
M. Scott Douglass has been publishing Main Street Rag out of Charlotte, NC, for almost a quarter century (1996). Although I have entered his chapbook contest more than once, the poem he accepted, “House,” was my first submission to the magazine. He also offers a full book prize and has his own press and offers book design and printing services. The one thing he states he won’t do is repair bibles. At the moment, he’s got quite a rant on his Bulletin Board.
I was honored to be asked again to partner with a Vivo Contemporary Gallery artist for its Giving Voice to Image exhibition. The project is a collaboration of art and ekphrastic poetry. For my part, I visited Tracy King’s studio and selected a painting of hers to compose a poem about. (The resulting poem is called “Dolphin Thought.”)The show opens in March, and on April 3 at 5:30 pm will be the first of two readings where the poets and the artists present their work. The show will be commemorated in a publication. Among the other poets I am proud to be among in this project are Diane Castiglioni, Gary Worth Moody, Barbara Rockman, and Jeanne Simonoff. The second reading will be May 1 at 5:30 at Vivo, 725 Canyon Road in Santa Fe.