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22 items found for ""

  • Poem: "Cyberpunk Protagonist"

    Exomorphosis, the 2024 edition of Havik, which features my poem, "Cyberpunk Protagonist," is now available. A print copy can be purchased here, while the collection can be read in digital format here. "Cyberpunk Protagonist" appears on page 243.

  • Clackamas Literary Review XXVIII

    The 2024 edition of the Clackamas Literary Review is now available for purchase! My poem, "It Still Comes To Mind," is featured in the collection. You can purchase the edition here. I may or may not post "It Still Comes To Mind," here on the website at some point, but I've decided to keep it exclusive to the collection for now, other than a small sample you can read below. It Still Comes To Mind Dad had cried at the makeshift Holocaust museum that our eighth-grade class had made. It was comprised, mostly, of diaries: imagined artifacts, once held by hands whose youth, whose hopes, whose warmth had been too brief...

  • Poem: "After"

    I'm very glad to be a part of new literary magazine Prairie Home's second ever issue, in which my poem "After" is featured. Read it here.

  • Poem: "When Lovely Words Will Not Appear"

    My poem, "When Lovely Words Will Not Appear," a kind of ode to writer's block, is now published in Uppagus Issue 62. You can read the full poem here. When Lovely Words Will Not Appear They are not in the fragile rim Of that white, porcelain vase Placed, to beautify the foyer, Atop the claw foot table there...

  • Tiny Steps: a Jazz Haiku Microchap

    I recently came across the Origami Poems Project and was inspired to make use of their format for "micro-chapbooks" that can be printed on standard letter paper and folded origami-style into a miniature book. For my own microchap, I decided to feature a selection of my jazz haiku, several of which are featured in Jerry Jazz Musician's 2024 Jazz Haiku Collection, alongside some never before seen additions (thank you again to Jerry Jazz Musician for supporting my work). If you are interested in printing out a copy for yourself, you can find a pdf at the bottom of this post. Instructions for folding can be found here. Additionally, I plan on littering (in the legal sense) some copies around Pittsburgh, so be on the lookout if you are a fellow yinzer!

  • Quibble Quarterly and Other Updates

    I am excited to announce that the inaugural issue of the Quibble Quarterly, dubbed "Ripple," is now available in print! You can buy the issue here, or subscribe to the quarterly here at a discounted rate. My poem, "Triptych: Squashed Bird on Driveway," is included in the collection alongside other great writing and art from over fifty contributors. Additionally, be on the lookout for new poetry forthcoming in A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Prairie Home Magazine, Symphonies of Imagination, and Pittsburgh's own Oakland Review. I've now cleared thirty poems (!) accepted for publication in over a dozen outlets - I am very grateful to the editors and readers who have supported my work.

  • Poem: Silicon Valley Ghazal

    I'm excited to announce that a recent poem of mine, "Silicon Valley Ghazal," was featured today on Autumn Sky Poetry Daily. Subscribing to Autumn Sky's mailing list is a great way to start each day with compelling writing, so I'd definitely recommend doing so! The ghazal is a rather ancient poetic form originating in seventh century Arabic poetry, although it is often associated with the great Persian poets, such as Hafez. The form is comprised of couplets, each being a complete statement or idea. The form also includes a complicated rhyme scheme, where a "refrain" word is repeated at the end of each couplet, preceded by the rhyme (in my poem, for example, "old machinery," "cold machinery," "household machinery"). The ghazal began to gain prominence in english poetry in the mid 20th century, beginning with attempts to translate the form that forwent many of of its structural requirements (see "bastard ghazals"). The english language ghazal found more solid footing in 90s, although it apparently remains fairly common to ignore some requirements. With this in mind, I wanted to do my best to stay true to the form, with one exception: the classical ghazal takes up themes of love, eroticism, longing, loss, and the spiritual or mystical dimension these notions encompass, but in my case I utilize the form somewhat ironically to comment on our contemporary reliance and addiction to technology. You can read the full poem here. Silicon Valley Ghazal An endoskeleton draped in steak’s outdated, old machinery. Your flesh will fail—why not live on as sterile, cold machinery? You think an android maid is just some gimmick that’ll come and go? You’ll wonder how you went without this key household machinery...

  • Forthcoming Poetry Roundup

    I've gotten some good news regarding accepted poems over the past week or so, so I thought I'd collect all the updates in a single post. "Re: Little Green Men," a piece I wrote in response to the UFO/UAP fever that has gripped popular culture and discourse over the past couple of years (did you notice how many superbowl ads featured aliens?), is forthcoming in Millennial Pulp, Volume 4 in the spring or summer of this year. I will provide another update when the publishing date is finalized. This publication is exclusively available in print, so I am planning to post the full poem here on the blog once the issue has been out for a while. "It Still Comes To Mind," a poem about my experience participating in my middle school's annual "Holocaust Museum" capstone project for the eight grade, is forthcoming in the Clackamas Literary Review in early May. This will also be a print exclusive. "Parade [Art Installations]," "Something's Rotten in the State of Oz," and "Join our Club," will be out in miniMag, Issues 101, 102, and 104, respectively, in June. Finally, a reminder that "When Lovely Words Will Not Appear" will be out in Uppagus in May and that the print version of Quibble Quarterly, Volume 1, in which my poem "Triptych: Squashed Bird on Driveway" is featured, will be available in late March.

  • Poetry: Jazz Haiku at Jerry Jazz Musician

    Jerry Jazz Musician has just released its second collection of Jazz Haiku, in which several of my pieces are included. You can read them here.

  • Poem: "Triptych: Squashed Bird on Driveway"

    I am happy to announce that my poem, "Triptych: Squashed Bird on Driveway" is now online at Quibble Lit. This poem will also be coming out in print as part of Volume I of the Quibble Quarterly. The print edition will be available for purchase in late March of this year, but you can pre-order now at a 25% discount! This is my first published piece that will be available in print, so I am very excited to be included in the Quibble Quarterly alongside other impressive writing and art. I am extremely grateful to anyone who is interested in purchasing the print edition. Without further ado, you can read my poem, "Triptych: Squashed Bird on Driveway" here. Triptych: Squashed Bird on Driveway Bird It's still sitting there - if you can call it that - neither "sitting," nor "resting," nor "lying down" can quite convey its lack of life. Suffice to say: it's there...

  • Essay: In Defense of Incarnadine

    I am a literate person (dear reader, grant me that!), but I did not receive a literary education in the proper sense. In a small step towards rectifying this perceived deficiency—or, to put it more precisely, this deficiency which I perceive many of my competitors in the conquests of publishing to lack—I have begun reading Louise Glück’s essay collection, Proofs and Theories. The first essay, “Education of a Poet,” is taken from a 1989 lecture Glück gave at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. It contains early on the following comment: The axiom is that the mark of poetic intelligence or vocation is passion for language, which is thought to mean delirious response to language’s smallest communicative unit: to the word. The poet is supposed to be the person who can’t get enough of words like “incarnadine.” This was not my experience… from the beginning I preferred the simplest vocabulary… such language, in being generic, is likely to contain the greatest and most dramatic variety of meaning within individual words (4). I imagine Glück paused following the utterance of incarnadine, leaving room for a chuckle from the crowd. Let it be known: I love the word incarnadine. I loved it even before I knew what it meant. Perhaps the fact I had to look up the meaning speaks to Glück’s point, but I found that moment of discovery to redouble my enjoyment of its formerly nonsensical phonemes. Incarnadine, I learned, is a color, a pinkish red—flesh red, as in carnal or carnation. Of course it should be a color—what else could it be? I felt a beautiful harmony between sound and meaning unfold before me upon reading the definition, perhaps not delirium, but something energizing all the same. Furthermore, and adding a third note to the harmony, I found it is a Shakespearean word, describing the red-handed Macbeths. I attest that no small share of this enjoyment would be withheld by red, the most generic and universal synonym. On learning it, I decided I simply had to use incarnadine in a poem forthwith, which I suppose is the exact inverse of what Glück’s comment would imply I should do—luckily, I had yet to read her essay. I admit there is an artificiality inherent to writing this way, but when writer’s prompts are available for purchase in the form of fridge magnets, tarot cards, and sets of dice, why not? My efforts resulted in the following lines: These hues bestowed by evening sky— violet, gold, incarnadine— which grant the day a warm goodbye and make the evening hour fine… I will concede: my reader may never have seen an incarnadine sky; my reader will have, however, very likely seen a sky that could reasonably be described as red. Behold the universality of the generic in action! Yet all the same—and maybe it is no more than a young writer’s narcissism that leads me to do so—I maintain the superiority of incarnadine in this context. In particular, the above lines are from a poem about losing one’s self, or illusion of self, in a vista of the natural world—here, the sky; it is pleasing that a word connoting flesh can be, first of all, so easy on the ears and, secondly, can be employed to color in that sky, into which the flesh of the self is to be spread and dissolved. This connotation is communicated by red as well, but only etymologically so by way of red first connoting incarnadine. Furthermore, although one immediately recognizes the phrase “flesh red,” it is not this connotation one usually thinks of when they hear “the red of the sunset.” This observation, mind you, is not out of step with Glück’s—it is the household nature of red that gives it access to the widest range of connotations, which is powerful indeed, but this universality dilutes any one shade of meaning. There are times when the specific conjoining of sound and meaning found in a word like incarnadine is called for. There are other words Glück might have used as her example which I would have been similarly inspired to defend. Laburnum is a personal favorite— a kind of flowering tree. The flowers, yellow, grow in drooping clusters, looking something like bunches of grapes, only lighter and more delicate; it carries the common name Golden Rain. Again, I say: what else could it be? What else could so beautiful a word denote if not a flower? Effulgence charms me with the teeter-totter action it requires of the palette in flipping from the teeth-on-lip position of “eff” to the tongue-on-roof position of “ul.” I like also its closeness to effluence, although the etymologies appear to be only tangentially related. Mellifluous sends the teeter-totter back in reverse, and is another lovely example of sound harmonizing with meaning, as one must be mellifluous of voice to mellifluously pronounce mellifluous—particularly three-times-fast. While Glück’s nudge towards simple vocabulary is a gentle one, this is not always the case. I once came across a poetry journal’s call for submissions which admonished against “flowery language” (my paraphrase—I don’t recall the exact wording), noting that use of the word azure, while not strictly outlawed, was something of a red flag. I was a little put out by this and at once thought of the “azure steeps” which appear in Hart Crane’s “At Melville’s Tomb,” hoping that Crane—whose ear for sound, whose “silver snowy sentences,” strike me as singularly gleaming, as shining forth with brilliant radiance (dare I say effulgence?)—that Crane would be my vanguard; hoping that I, in time, could join him atop those azure steeps whereupon we could share a scoff at the anti-pretentious pretensions of whichever azure-deriding magazine that was. But alas, Crane too struggled against the editors of his time, remains under-appreciated today, and is not coming to my rescue now. This same anecdote came to mind when I began reading Nabokov’s Pale Fire, which I recently finished. The novel is written in the form of a poem with commentary, the poem by one character, Shade, and the commentary by another, Kinbote; Shade’s poem notably begins: I was the shadow of the waxwing slain by the false azure in the windowpane (31)… Well, I’m no expert (yet!), but this strikes me as a hell of a lot better than, “the false blueness in the windowpane,” or any other swap (to at least try and give the substitution a fair shake, I came up with “by unreal blueness in the windowpane,” but the repeated “buh” sounds, followed by the “puh” in windowpane, conjure up three crashing waxwings rather than one, loading an undo heaviness onto the line). Indeed, there is something about “false azure” which stands out—which extends to the whole couplet an intriguing mystique. I believe that some of this mystique is owed to the comparative rarity of azure itself—to its very status as a so-called literary (flowery?) word. There is a danger in dismissing such words as literary, pretentious, flowery, or archaic—who gets to draw the line? A word like laconic, for example, which Glück herself uses later on in her essay, may seem a trifle to a couple of freakishly engorged brains such as you and me, but to high school Juniors preparing for their SATs it is likely to be no laughing matter, embattled as they are by the need to cram rapidly several dozen words similarly situated on the hierarchy of the recondite into their heads. I felt myself similarly embattled while reading Pale Fire, although I was more than happy to be so; that novel has the distinction of sending my brain—no longer feeling itself to be all that freakishly engorged, yet brimming with eager anticipation—abustle to the refuge of the dictionary more frequently than any I can remember. It obliterates any and all demands for an austere vocabulary, replete as it is with words like otiose (which I had actually already picked up from Atwood’s The Blind Assassin), fatidic (the meaning of which I really ought to have guessed), and goetic (which my word processor insists is not a word at all). Of course, Nabokov’s goals were different than Glück’s. The amount of characterization the former is able to wring out of Kinbote’s diction alone is astounding. In poetry, on the other hand, the speaker is generally taken to be the author, a smudgy reflection of the author, or some kind of universal “I,” and in any of these cases the poet rarely seeks to erect a facade akin to Nabokov’s Kinbote. I as well do not seek to erect a facade through my poetry—certainly not a facade as difficult to scale as Kinbote’s, as much I, personally, enjoyed scaling it— and acknowledge that for otiose, goetic, and fatidic to appear together in a single line or single stanza or even a single poem would be a little much (although the slant rhyme of goetic and fatidic is tempting). However, I maintain that these words, alongside azure, mellifluous, effulgence, laburnum, and—of course—incarnadine, have their place in contemporary poetry, as do all words found in the dictionary and even some that are not, or not yet. I will endeavor to write with the words I enjoy reading and, especially, the words I enjoy speaking, even if they are not the words I would use when speaking to a stranger on the street. I will endeavor to celebrate both the sound and the meaning of these words and, in so doing, I seek not only to defend but to rejuvenate them; for words, to be spoken is to be alive. Having written this little defense, I find my initial reaction to Glück’s comment on incarnadine to be rooted in a nagging awareness of my poetic verdure—(only kidding!)—that is, of my greenness as a poet, which leads me to hunger for the advice of the seasoned masters with their enviable patinas. I have wrestled with this particular piece of advice, implicit as it may be, and have elected to take it more as theory than as proof. I have come out the better for doing so. As for you, reader, I hope you will join me high in the azure steeps, the incarnadine sky, or—when the occasion does call for a pure, Glückian simplicity—plain-old literary heaven.

  • Two Poems in Jerry Jazz Musician

    I am pleased to announce that Jerry Jazz Musician's Winter 2024 collection, in which two of my poems are included, is now online. The poems are "Black Saint," and "For Eddie Palmieri," which you can find by searching the page, but feel free to read the rest of the collection as well! The collection can be found here. For Eddie Palmieri Eddie saved my life last night, with his bandmates on the bandstand; what a bastard was I to turn my back on loving rhythms...

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