Friday, February 15, 2013

Release: American Poetry Journal 12

APJ 12 is out and I am fully honored that two of my poems are included. This is such a time-worthy journal, edited at the senior helm by someone who has done tremendous things as a leader in the poetry world, and who is a spellbinding poet himself, at the most stunning levels of thaumaturgy. I’m talking about J.P. Dancing Bear, one of the great influences in literature of our age. APJ operates outside the aegis or governance of any university and has no reservoir of inheritance money like the Poetry Foundation--and yet it reaches out to continuously attract the best poets in the world. It is wide-eyed and gracious before the talent of new voices or those tender in their blossom of genius.

What I want to emphasize is this: they are open-minded and unwedded to the culture of mutual backscratching that renders many a mighty journal insular. Virtually unobtainable to the unconnected. There is, indeed, a level of inclusiveness in their appraisal rarely witnessed. I myself have a huge fear when I hold a journal like APJ close. The reason is that early in my writing days, I witnessed the end of Chelsea, an independent free-thinking journal that was one of the first to publish Sylvia Plath back in the 1950’s. Chelsea took my work when I was new on the scene, much in need of validation. The editor even supplied a kind, handwritten note. It was the only major journal to give me anything besides a cold formal rejection. Soon after this joyous moment in my life, the dreaded pendulum of fate swung the other way: Chelsea went down for lack of funds.

We can’t let these highest quality, unbiased journals die for the sole reason that they are unyoked from institutional taps of money!

As it stands, APJ has combined forces with another empyreal journal: the National Poetry Review, edited by C.J. Sage. What you get in the mail is a single slim book, beautifully bound with luscious paper. APJ starts at one end, TNPR at the other. This of course means flipping the book over when you want to switch venues, but they are both housed under the same roof.

I don’t want APJ -- or TNPR -- to go down, not like Chelsea did, in our brutal, greed-withered society. We are not free as artists if we lose the small islands of independent brilliance that carry a torch far greater than their size; that give us outlets unsullied by Boards of Trustees and all the corporate meddling that implies.

Support this journal, even just a $5 donation, if you can:

J.P. Dancing Bear, Editor
The American Poetry Journal
Post Office Box 2080
Aptos, CA 95001

You can also contact them through the website:

If you are a poet or poetry-lover, think about this. It is the dreamers and heart-stung prophets in the cracks that keep us motivated, passionate, driven to break the labyrinths of the dull that easily congeal then harden in our minds.



Poets and their poems in APJ 12

John Nieves


Lorraine Doran


Doug Ramspeck

The Dead In Their Forgotten Fields

Taylor Collier


Stephen Massimilla

At the Edge of Earth, Vacating On the Cheap

Chris Crittenden

Not So Vacant Lot
Whisked Leaves

Joshua Ware

"The Celestial Ennui of Apartments"

Rebecca Farivar

Westman Island

David Moolten


Mark Neeley

Night Birds Plumbed the Aspen Grove

Elizabeth Harmon Threatt


Jessica Jewell

Sisi, Queen of Hungary, On the Bank of Wurmsee

Alan Jude Moore


Rustin Larson

The Philosopher Savant Dreams of War
The Philosopher Savant Again Dreams of War

Paul Hostovsky

Half Moon
Staring At the Blind

Mark Smith-Soto

Human, Unguarded

Jennifer Boyden

As If I Hadn't Worn It Quite Enough, Time...
Tattoos My Arms and Face
Bad Advice

M. B. McLatchey



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