I’ve been updating my Events page with more and more upcoming poetry readings and what not. One of the most exciting is rather poetic. Next Saturday, January 27th, I’ll be reading in my old hometown. Just weeks after starting a new job as a library director, I’ll have the honor of going back to my very first library, the one I used to hide in when I was a kid, the one where I taught myself how to use the old card catalog. And there I’ll be giving my first public reading from Moons, Roads, and Rivers, my debut poetry chapbook from Finishing Line Press. I’m so excited!
It’s miles away for most of you, thousands of miles for some, but if you can be in central Pennsylvania next weekend, I’d love to meet up with you at the Ross Library, 232 West Main Street in the riverside town of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania at 2:00 pm. Just between you and me, I confess to feeling tremendously tickled to see my name in the old county libraries’ upcoming events list. I’ll have books with me for sale, of course. Or if you’ve already pre-ordered one, just bring it along and I’ll gratefully sign it!
(The above snowy image is from the Ross Library website)
I have been lucky to work for more than two years for a place that allowed me to edit their literary magazine. That’s right, allowed, as in they paid me. Granted, I still had to get all my library work done too, but it was assumed that I would work on the magazine while on the job. Holy cow! For a while, I was paid for my poetry—at last!
Tomorrow I start a new adventure, as the director of another library in the system, a few miles upstream, but I’ll continue to help to edit Word Fountain as a volunteer editor for as long as they can, or until they don’t need me anymore. And who knows, there may be more literary adventures with the new library. The board seemed very interested in what we did with WF.
In the meantime, this beautiful baby that we brought back from hiatus in 2016 will continue! I can’t wait to see what Ainslee has in store for the cover art this time. You can check out current and past issues at WordFountain.net. And follow the link below to send your poetry and short fiction for consideration for the Spring/Summer 2018 edition.
As of January 15th, we have begun reading your submissions of poetry and short-short fiction (1500 words) for our Spring/Summer 2018 issue. Please continue reading this page for the complete guidelines for sending your work to us!
We invite emerging and established writers to send us their previously unpublished stories, poems, flash fiction, and mixed genre work. We prefer very short pieces as we seek to pack quality and variety into 40 to 60 pages. We’re looking for concise writing with a strong, human voice.
Read the guidelines. They’re pretty straightforward and simple: Submissions
Finally, my author copies of Moons, Roads, and Rivers have arrived! The press was running behind, and the holidays slowed things down even more, but here the little lovelies are and I’m very happy with them.
Since my batch came straight from the printer, the preorder copies will be a few days yet before they arrive at your doors. Thank you! If you haven’t ordered yet, you can by visiting Finishing Line Press’s site, or by contacting your favorite, hopefully, indie bookstore.
I say all of this because several people have contacted me saying that they are worried that their order got lost. Probably not. Just a very overwhelmed press with a release time too close to the holidays. From what they are saying, it might be until the 16th before some of you have your copies. I am so very sorry about that.
If you are new here and haven’t been subject to my incessant self-promotion, Moons, Roads, and Rivers is my first chapbook. It’s a collection of both old and newer poems. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time on the road and a fair amount of time on, in, or by the river. I grew up along the West Branch of the Susquehanna and now live on the far North Branch. In between, I lived where the two branches meet. But the poems also recall college days in the flatlands of Indiana as well as the wooded hills of central Pennsylvania.
I was divorced from my sons’ mother for most of their lives, so I’ve racked up a lot of driving poems, and since much of that driving was at night, the moon showed up frequently in those pieces. It seemed like a good idea to combine these works and see how they might come together in a small collection, and I think I’m very happy with the result.
Mostly, I think these are mood and memory pieces. From childhood to fatherhood, it’s the feelings evoked by those travels, those surroundings that permeate these poems, more than any particular “message.”
I hope you enjoy them and order a copy of the chapbook for yourself. I’ll be sharing some information about upcoming readings (You can also check my Events page) and, of course, as is my habit, I’ll be recording a few on SoundCloud and Youtube soon!
These are the last poems from Word Fountain’s recent print issue to be added to their webpage. It was an honor to record Janet Locke’s poem, “Attention,” especially since she told us, after it went to print, that the friend she speaks of in the poem was my beloved Shakespeare professor Doctor Ervene Gulley. I had no idea that impeccably prepared and seemingly perfect woman had a reputation among friends for being late.
This seems a good time to bow in appreciation for the mentors and teachers we have lost. Please follow the link below to hear the reading.
Happy 2018 to you. May your year be full of serendipitous discoveries.
Please take a moment to relax, close your eyes, and listen to a reading of a fine poem. Okay, you don’t have to close your eyes.
A Barred Owl
By Richard Wilbur
The warping night air having brought the boom
Of an owl’s voice into her darkened room,
We tell the wakened child that all she heard
Was an odd question from a forest bird,
Asking of us, if rightly listened to,
“Who cooks for you?” and then “Who cooks for you?”
Words, which can make our terrors bravely clear,
Can also thus domesticate a fear,
And send a small child back to sleep at night
Not listening for the sound of stealthy flight
Or dreaming of some small thing in a claw
Borne up to some dark branch and eaten raw.