In 2016, I grew soft and cautious. I entered, willingly, into a cage of my own design. To rest. To observe. To breathe. To prepare.
In 2017, I will make an escape so that the true nature of my consciousness may expand beyond the timid limitations which have been placed upon it recently. How does an animal behave after being released back into the wild? With actions geared toward satiating hunger. I salivate, wantonly, for the future. My teeth ache for a fresh feast.
But enough of all that nonsense for now, right? This is a time for Dionysian revelry and celebration. The new year has come with kisses of karma. Pucker up, buttercup. It gets as good as we want from here. Manifest destiny with vision that sees past illusions.
It was a great honor to be named the 2016 Poet of the Year by Michael Lee Johnson for his Contemporary Poets group. A number of my friends are included among the 10,000 members of the group, and the inspiration I regularly receive from their work helps keep me on-point, so I consider it all to be a synchronized reciprocal process. But I’m also wont to look at life like that most of the time, in general, as it were, anyway. It sort of makes me who I am.
I received three Pushcart Prize nominations in 2016, each of which was more humbling than the last. Even though I’ve had fairly decent success getting published in various indie markets over the past couple of years, it’s still an incredibly nice feeling to know that editors truly respect my work. CTU Publishing nominated “Detoxification” from my book, Happy Hour Hallelujah. Transcendent Zero Press nominated “Sacrificial Pawns” from my chapbook, Songs of a Dissident. And Spirit Fire Review nominated a standalone poem titled, “Expansive Salvation.”
Weasel Press was amazing to me this past spring when they took on my book, Chaos Songs. A week prior to the book’s scheduled release by another publisher, they closed up shop. I had to scramble. I sent the manuscript to Weasel Press. They accepted it, and then published it soon after in September.
A month before that, in August, CTU Publishing released Happy Hour Hallelujah. Raja Williams is an awesome person to work with. The entire process was peaceful, calm, and smooth from beginning to end. I’d love to return the favor and start selling a higher volume of copies. Anyone interested in helping the cause can find out more information at this author’s page that was set up by the publisher. It features commentary about my work from contemporary writers whom I respect greatly.
Songs of a Dissident from Transcendent Zero Press was released just before 2016 kicked off, but it did receive six reviews during the course of the year that were published in: Asian Signature; Ragazine; Tuck Magazine; Section 8 Magazine; Indiana Voice Journal; and Adam Levon Brown’s site. All the links can be found on the Reviews page here at 17Numa.
There are also pages that feature links to the interviews I gave, and to performances throughout the year where I read poetry, including a number of videos posted on The Southern Collective Experience’s YouTube channel. I am stoked about all the good things 2017 holds in store when good people get together and create fine art. The SCE’s radio program, Dante’s Old South (NPR/WUTC), continues to grow more fun with each episode. We take our work seriously. Hopefully this fact shines through in the final product.
On that note, I’m also looking forward to continuing my work as a contributing editor at The Blue Mountain Review. My contribution is just a drop in the ocean, but I take pride in being part of a publication that promises to put out high quality issues every quarter. The winter edition is set to be released soon.
There are a number of poets I’m excited about featuring and interviewing at Walking Is Still Honest Press in the coming months. I have a slew of Showcase Spotlights lined up to publish here at 17Numa. I’m going to take a more active role as an editor at The Peregrine Muse this year. It’s my intention to publish essays, reviews, and interviews more regularly in my capacity as a contributing editor at Novelmasters. I’ll continue to write my weekly piece at Dissident Voice. And my next book, A Black Wave Cometh, is in the final stages of editing. So, full plate, and that’s just the surface level. 2017 is going to be off the charts. Deep breath. Dive in.
Wait! One final note on 2016. I’d like to thank all the editors associated with these 17 venues for accepting and/or publishing my work in December:
Dissident Voice; Whispers; Lucifer Magazine; Caesura Journal; Duane’s PoeTree; Leaves of Ink; Eunoia Review; Anti-Heroin Chic; CTU Publishing; Visual Verse; Mad Swirl; The Poet’s Haven; Piker Press; ELSiEiSY; Horror, Sleaze & Trash; Poetry Pacific; and GloMag.
I do have great love in my heart. I only want to watch it grow. Thank you for being beside me on this journey. I wish everyone health and happiness in 2017! Selah