Barely South Review and Other News

0612161702

Yes, I took this photo.  A one-word poem on a tree.

I’ve been so busy working with Word Fountain, the fantastic little literary magazine that my employers enable me to edit (along with three super-cool coworkers who are editors and artists for the mag.) that I forgot to post about the excellent lit mag Barely South Review where my poem “Advent” was recently published in their spring issue!

Check them out. Check out the rest of the issue, and do all that stuff like “liking” and following on social media. All that sort of support is helpful, especially now as we fight the forces who would defund the arts.

I’ll also have a poem upcoming in 2 Bridges review‘s spring issue. And since they are only about two hours to my east, I’m heading to NYC to read with them at the KGB Bar in Manhattan on March 7th for the launch. If you are in the city, I’d love to see you there!

Also, earlier that week, on the 5th, I’ll have the honor of again being the featured poet at the Priestley Chapel‘s First Sunday secular service of music and the spoken word. My friend Steve Olofson will be providing the music. For those of you living among the Amish badlands of Central Pennsylvania, the event gets underway at 9:30 am and last only about 45 minutes.  Oh, and we’re always hoping to find friends who will join us for brunch afterward.

Speaking of Word Fountain, as I did at the top of this page, I want to encourage you to send us your good words. We are open for submissions (poetry, very short fiction, flash fiction, prose poetry, and the like) until March 31st for our spring-summer, 2017 issue. Details and guidelines here.

And finally, you may remember my mentioning that I had three chapbooks in the works. I’m still editing and re-working the other two (more coming soon about how you might be able to help me find a publisher for them) while Finishing Line Press has accepted the third for publication, which will happen sometime later this year. Look for more information upcoming on my little collection of 18 poems, entitled Moons, Roads, and Rivers, coming soon to a pre-order sale near you.

For those with short attention spans, breaking it down:
  1. Advent” published in Barely South Review
  2. “Wednesday, Want, and Worship” upcoming in 2 Bridges Review
  3. Readings upcoming in Northumberland, PA and NYC on March 5th and 7th
  4. New American Press Reading series continues in April in Wilkes-Barre (just figured I’d slip that one in now–more details forthcoming soon)
  5. Call for submissions for Word Fountain’s spring-summer issue
  6. Chapbook forthcoming from FLP later this year!

So, there ya go.  And to further dispel any misconceptions that I’ve been a lazy luke lately, I’m off to finish my laundry. Have a great weekend!

Three Poems at Yellow Chair Review

Yellow Chair Review’s new issue is up, with three of my poems included. Read, “Coyote,” “Cleaving,” and “Timothy” by clicking right here.

Also, please read an excellent little piece that just embodies the art of saying it between the lines by checking out “Reel Mower” by Timothy DeLizza. I had just moved this poem into the “Yes” folder for Word Fountain’s winter issue when Timothy contacted me to let me know that it was already snatched up by Yellow Chair Review! So now I guess I can’t complain. It’s good to be in great company!

Check out the whole issue of Yellow Chair Review here.

George, a Poem by David J. Bauman

William_Butler_Yeats_by_George_Charles_Beresford

George’s favorite “modern” poet.

Recently I shared another video in which I was reading a poem.  It was well received, but what surprised and delighted me was a comment from a former, and favorite teacher of mine, that the “lady moon poem,” which followed that piece, was “fabulous.” I had forgotten that it was included in the video clip. Having said that, what follows is not the lady moon poem, not yet.

Not only is that poem unpublished, but to be honest, I had never even submitted it anywhere. It’s a good piece, so why have I been holding on to it? I think it’s because of something that happened at the last meeting I had with another major mentor in my life, Mr. George Pfister.  You see, he was ill, having been fighting complications of MS for years. I had been watching that tough, Bronx-raised, cranky old poet shrink. Okay, so he wasn’t that old, but his illness and disposition made him older than his years.

I remember asking him who was his favorite modern poet. With conviction, he answered, “Yeats.”

“George,” I said, “Yeats is not exactly modern.” *

“I’m doing the best I can,” he growled.

I don’t know how he managed to prepare snacks for us that day, let alone how he made the climb up those narrow stairs to his apartment, but using his walker, he had set out a plate of crackers and cheese and had neatly put out two glasses and a bottle of wine. He wanted me to bring some of my poems to read to him again. So I brought the lady moon poem. And the tough old bird had me baffled because he was wiping tears from his face, and softly laughing. I wasn’t sure if he was happy or sad. Apparently, he was both.

I asked what was wrong. He shook his head, and said, “That’s very publishable. Just do a little editing and send it out.” He waved his hand, anticipating my questions, “You’ll know what to do. It’s beautiful. Someone will publish it.” The thing is, I think he knew that we wouldn’t have many more meetings like this, and he confessed that he was having a hard time maintaining his focus for long periods of time. He seemed so tired.

Well, the moment was beautiful anyway. I will heed his word and send the poem somewhere. Maybe I’ve kept it mostly to myself because I wanted it to be perfect, to honor him the way he should be honored, or else I just didn’t want it to face rejection by an editor. But it’s been edited, carved, and polished many times since, and now and then, as in the case of the aforementioned video, I’ve felt the need to read it out loud. I’ll share it with you on the blog once it gets printed somewhere.

Meanwhile, the following poem was written before the scene I described above, before the walker had become necessary. But it was only a rough draft, and I never did share it with him. We had bonded over poetry and were really just getting to know each other. I was managing the front of the house at a restaurant and bar near his place, and I just wanted him to get home safely. There is much more to say about George, so I suppose there will be more posts about the scoundrel soon, and probably–hopefully–more poems about him also.

George

As children in the graveyard
we used to play a game
with flashlight and fear,
our minds scrambled
with a nervous delight,
a desire to be missed—
and then discovered.

Now we do like then,
but headlights pass on,
engines fade. No one waits
behind a tombstone here.

Tonight I help you home—
not far, just down the street
and across, but it takes time.
Weaving the sidewalk, we find
a stoop with three steps,
and rest a while.

No moon. No stars. No ghosts.
The other bars let out hours ago.
You and I discuss wives,
children and exes, our need
for gods, or not, thoughts
on the cross, crusades,
and inspiration, scripture
and verse, muses
and the history of prayer.

Eventually we rise,
walk wavering and slow,
not wanting you to go
as other greats have, downed
by a taxi near the tavern.

Seven more steps to the curb,
under a halo of light, you
bobbing slightly as I bring
you around. I am happy we are
here, aiming for your door,
and more than a little relieved
that the graveyard is outside of town.

©2014 by David J. Bauman. Originally published in Contemporary American Voices, June 2014

We could delve into the debate about whether Yeats was an early modern poet or the last romantic poet, but George pretty much knew where I was coming from on this issue.

 

Swing, a School Bus Poem

In keeping with the request that I share more of my published poems, here’s a clip from part of a longer reading at the Joseph Priestley Memorial Chapel in Northumberland Pennsylvania. Two months later this poem appeared in the pages of Contemporary American Voices alongside the excellent poets Brian Fanelli and Jason Allen.

Swing

While I was waiting
for the bus, Miss Shaffer said
“Get off the gate!
It’s not for swinging.”

But I knew better.

Another, on the playground—
I don’t recall her name,
But she yanked
me by the arm, right off

the swing set, and screamed,
“Don’t call me ‘old Lady!’”
I was only trying to yodel
(Yodaladie, yodaladie…).

And one time I wasn’t doing anything,
so I was sent to the principal’s office.
That was when days were for doing
nothing when you could.

When swings were for singing
anything that came to mind.
Fences were just in the way
and every kid knew the truth;

gates do that for a reason,
and it goes against nature
not to swing them.


©2014 by David J. Bauman. First printed in June of 2014 in Contemporary American Voices.

“Father” Published in the San Pedro River Review

San Pedro River Review, The American Southwest Spring 2016The kind editors of the San Pedro River Review and Blue Horse Press have graciously published me for a second time, now in their newly released spring issue of the SPRR, The American Southwest. I would have gotten it sooner had I thought to give them my new address. When Jeff and Tobi emailed me to accept my poem “Elemental” for their fall issue, they asked if they could also keep “Father,” a poem whose metaphor compares my father’s upbringing to the building of Hoover Dam, I was thrilled. I just never thought to contact them after our move.

But between their generous and quick response to my request to purchase two more (I still think Jeff under charged me!) and my former landlord finally getting the original package from the new tenant and mailing it along, all four copies arrived this week. Sadly they showed up on the doorstep as I was running into the house, full-tilt, ill from a stomach bug on Wednesday, a virus that has kept the whole family down for days now, so it’s taken until the last day or two for me to be able to really sit down and digest this hefty volume.

And what a beautiful volume it is, chock full of poems set in, or referring to, the American Southwest. It was a huge undertaking on their part, and I appreciate the care with which they ordered the fine work of so many writers, and distinguished poets like Alex Lemon, Adrian C. LouisCiara Shuttleworth,  and famous Cowboy Poets like Paul Zarzyski and J.V. Brummels.

Of course not all of them are great Western poets like Red Shuttleworth, SPRR is very welcoming to Easterners like Doug Anderson,  and the guy who writes this blog.  I’ve also discovered some new favorites in Lisa Fay Coutley, Ken Hada, and the intriguing Jack Granath, whose rhyme and word play I find delightfully refreshing.

But I confess that the most thrilling part for me personally was not only seeing that my poetry hero Naomi Shihab Nye was also published in this volume, but when I was well enough to crack open its pages, I realized that Naomi’s poem  was right next to mine, the last few stanzas of hers touching mine through the page. Now, this may seem trivial, even silly to you, but I have admired Naomi’s work for so long now. I can only explain it like this: You’re a musician and a big Beatles fan, and without even knowing it was about to happen, you suddenly get the chance to stand on stage and play in the same set as John Lennon, or Paul, or Ringo.

I have recorded at least one of her poems, and featured her in previous posts. She is the poet about whom one of my other long-time heroes, William Stafford said, “She is a champion of the literature of encouragement and heart. Reading her work enhances life.” You may have even read her piece “Gate 4-A” that was making it’s rounds on social media lately, causing a pause for sanity amidst the current shameful and pernicious state of American xenophobia and racism.

So enough about me, order your copy of The American Southwest Issue of San Pedro River Review, and you’ll swear you can see with your own eyes how the river turn to fire at sunset.