The Monday Tape

It seems like the success bug is going around, and it's bitten a much larger number of friends than I can possibly post in a Top 5. So, with the caveat that I can't include everyone, here's a sampling with links to some recent works.

Top 5 Bits of Good News/Publications from Friends

5. Austin Kodra, a former poetry student of mine at the University of Tennessee, just had a chapbook published and he recently accepted a full ride for three years to one of the country's best MFA programs. Austin's chapbook, There Is This, is just out from Medulla Publishing and is available for purchase at Amazon. Watch for a lot more soon from Austin, and watch this blog for more about his chapbook.

4. Brian Simoneau, a former MFA-colleague from the days back at the University of Oregon, has one helluva poem up in the most recent issue of Waccamaw. The poem is a single sentence which begins:
"We must tease it out from every surface in winter,
must shovel-scrape asphalt, push the blizzard-drift
aside, slide, scuff, lift and flip, must free up space for feet, breath
rising in huffs and puffs the flakes keep falling through, piling
faster than thoughts of the infinite flee our feeble grasp..."
It goes on from there. Read it. Click here. Also, check out Brian's blog: Heartland Perhaps.

3. Adam Prince and Charlotte Pence, University of Tennessee comrades in the Creative Writing Program, both had collections picked up for publication by Black Lawrence Press. Adam's short story collection, The Beautiful Wishes of Ugly Men, is forthcoming, and Charlotte's chapbook, Branches, will be published in the near future. Congratulations to both. Here's a link to Charlotte's review blog.

2. Matthew Nienow has a fine new chapbook out from Codhill Press. It's called The End of the Folded Map and includes a number of fine poems which you may have seen in some of this country's best literary journals, including New England Review, Prairie Schooner, Blackbird, and Indiana Review, among others. I had the privilege of recently reading Matt's full first book manuscript, and I doubt it will be very long before a major press sees in his work what so many other editors have. Here's a link to Matt's blog: It Goes Without Saying.

1. Luke Johnson is really making a name for himself. His first collection, After the Ark, was published by NYQ Books only a few months ago, he's got poems coming out in top-notch journals all over the place, and he just had a piece featured in The Wall Street Journal. Here's a link to Luke's blog: Proof of Blog.

I've previously posted a handful of Luke's poems in my 2010 book round up, and you should check them out and you should buy his book if you can, but mostly I want to call attention to his Wall Street Journal article. Here's the title and a brief excerpt. Poets have said as much for years, but it took Luke to get it inside the page of The Wall Street Journal. It's a must read.

from "I'm a Poet. Yes, That's a Real Job."
But, alas, glow doesn’t pay the rent. So, poets teach, or they go back to school so they can later teach, or they collect obscure job titles to one day use in a cheeky contributor note (I currently work as a Pet Service Specialist). Some of them, often the best of them, will go undercover—wear suits and carry briefcases, returning to their writing desk only after the sun has gone down and the city has gone to sleep. Most mornings I wake up and set to tinkering before sunrise. Commas become periods. Needless adjectives disappear. Lines transmogrify into new lines. It’s a chiseling, a removal of anything and everything getting in the way of the good stuff, that initial glow of the poem’s composition. A friend once called the writing of poetry a “thankless act,” and he may be right. After hours at my desk, the most I’ll ever have to show is another poem, and that is enough (it has to be).