Thursday, May 27, 2010

Acceptance: Vox Humana

In addition to the literary magazine, Vox Humana Press is an outstanding publisher of books as well as a cynosure of cultural and human narrative. They take the works of very few poets, striving for poignant pieces that delve into the turmoil and incarnate struggle of the empathic soul.

The three poems they accepted form a triad that distills the totality of my meager wisdom, both as a philosopher and artist who has bridged the 20th and 21st centuries, and hence millennia. They are simple yet complex poems that hope for accessible excellence. Based on this wonderful moment, I am brought to tears by the possibility that somehow I succeeded. It is rare and special to produce a few gems among all the failures.

Go to the website, if you want more on this journal and its producer-broadcaster-novelist-world-traveler Philip Hyams. You will find a wealth of knowledge and beauty. I am burdened by the clock and speechless with gratitude, unable to do justice here.


Monday, May 24, 2010

A Very Proud Moment

Go check out the latest issue of Brink Magazine, which includes the work of only two poets, one of whom is me:

I am very proud and pleased with this publication. Brink's editors are highly discerning and incredibly selective. They strive for a rarefied excellence on par with the great classic journals. It’s a honor to have some of my best poems appear under their auspices.

In the Editor’s Note, Sol Park, describing my work, distills the essential question in these poems: How to transmute thought into words.

I find that the better I become at channeling daemons, the more isolated I am from the mainstream. There’s a danger of drifting off. If you hold a lantern to the Id, it costs you.

I think it similar to how a shaman learns to delve into spirit world without going totally insane.

Thank you, Brink editors, for giving me this joyous eddy in the current of time.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Homeless Story of J, 4

This is entirely a work of fiction. The author in no way implies endorsement of the ideas inside. Homeless Story of J, 4 I have lots of time to watch people. From my vantage, they move in swarms with predictable rhythms, and show hardly any creativity at all. They seem like parts of something. When they get in a car, they become a car-flesh creature with a new personality. When they enter a mega-store, they become an enzyme in a beast of sarcoid cement. J’s Second Law of Social Physics: Humans + Machines = new creatures with their own behaviors that are neither humans nor machines. A person driving an SUV is neither a person nor an SUV, but rather a cyborg beast, commonly with the trait of belligerence. I have come to define “machines” very broadly to include buildings with moving parts like sliding doors, carts and forklifts; and also humming infrastructures of wires, ducts, fans, spy cameras, muzak, and megaphone announcements. Once you add humans to buildings you get strange cyborgs of great size and hunger. Humans + Buildings = Hungry Monsters. For a long time, I puzzled over the role of parking lots in the constitution of mega-stores. Parking lots are full of car-flesh creatures that act out linear and tedious variations on simple patterns. The car-flesh beasts, which are cyborgs, are somehow part of the mega-store, which is a machine if empty, or a hungry monster if there are enough humans inside to provide a pulse. It dawned on me that not only humans could be combined to form greater entities. Hence corollaries: Cyborgs + Machines = New Creatures Cyborgs + Cyborgs = New Creatures Cyborgs + Hungry Monsters = New Creatures You can then plug in the specifics to solve the problem of parking lots, which are collections of car-flesh beasts: (car flesh beasts) + (buildings) = new creatures with their own behaviors that are neither car-flesh beasts nor buildings. Every time you add a human to a machine you get something new; and every time you add a cyborg to a machine or another cyborg, you get something more than a cyborg or machine: you get a collection of cyborgs, a Colossus, which is part human, part cyborg, part machine. An example of a Colossus would be a Wal-Mart complex, which includes humans, car-flesh beasts, and machine buildings, all interacting to create a huge hungry life-form. Colossi can probably be combined too, and on and on, up the scale. But those tremendous conglomerate Leviathans are beyond my observational range. Ask Hobbes. At the heart of it all, scurrying in streams that make a pulsing blood, are humans, humans who wash over machines like magic potions, turning them to life, which in turn births new life and more technology and more machines. The humans have no idea what they are doing. Their awareness is limited to servitude. Even the machines they create are meant to help them be better slaves. I am not sure of the role of thought. Clearly thought makes it all happen. Thoughts are the most powerful and dangerous things, at least in the minds of humans. Thoughts are addictive drugs. Thoughts are spells. What I hope is that some thoughts are good. Some might be from angels. And these, I pray, can help set me free. J

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Interconnected Collectivity

It looks like my "House Pet" poem summoned a spider spirit. And if you click on the spider spirit, a mandala of awesome aboriginal art and webs of wonderful wordplay appear!

I guess there really is a Dreamtime, and our minds are its roots--and our thoughts can emerge from the soil and flourish there.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Poem: House Pet

This poem was originally published in Wilderness House Literary Review


House Pet

the spider
hangs like a bindi
on a brow of ledge,

as any ornament,
though just as fair.

a hint of style, purpose,
and vogue.

god might just ask,
why did you ignore
this precious dot?

and i might reply,
too many little fiends
to know.

seven sets of wings
have gone between
the eight legs,

and that was just one yesterday
of writer’s block
and idyll stare.

the spider,
more than any shitzu,
is a house pet.

it just showed up one day,
and knew it was home.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

TCE Releases Latest Issue, A Must Read!!

Read on to rub elbows with TCE's naked man and much more!

The Centrifugal Eye has just released its latest issue, “Renewal, Revision & Recycling.” If this conjures in you a humdrum farrago of eco-minded platitudes, guess again. Think creativity and broken boxes. There’s all sorts of weird improbable stuff--and somehow it is quintessentially edifying and nature-esteeming. Not even a smack of stale lecture.

An excerpt from Editor Eve Hanninen’s Intro demonstrates how broadly the theme plays:

“Poets and writers are the master word-recyclers. They are faced with reusing a basic vocabulary and finding ways to be creative with diction. One group of words becomes a wholly different arrangement of sentences with the renewing efforts of each author. Every poet revises and reenvisions an image, a concept, or even the language itself, when fashioning the new from the existing. And this is what our May 2010 issue of The Centrifugal Eye is all about.”

This outrageous outlier of spin has nothing to do with Mother Earth. But don’t worry. Hanninen is being a bit disingenuous. There’s plenty of Gaia-friendly poetry, art, and philosophy, including essays and a unique and fascinating interview with Robert Schiffman, a world-traveling masterful wordsmith, who is also a shamanic bird-whisperer and “Hindu- and Buddhist-inspired writer.” His breadth of literary learning is tremendous. His wise explanation of the value of poetry legendary.

In fact, it is one of the best explanations of the importance of poetry I have ever seen. If you feel the slightest bit guilty for taking time to write, check out the Schiffmann interview!

Also savor the luscious poems and peruse the essay titled, “The Fluid Looking-Glass” by yours truly, Owl Who Laughs! (there might be some poems by me in this issue too ... heh heh)

There’s one more reason you should read TCE. Hanninen is one of the very best editors I have ever seen. If you have seen movies like The Paper Chase and The Insider (one inside the Washington Post the other inside 60 minutes) you get an idea of the hum of energy and pulse of excitement among the staff of TCE (who are many). I told Hanninen she had emblazoned a professional standard that should be the norm, and she replied as follows:

“You know I agree with you -- this type of editing experience should be the norm. Once it was. I grew up almost inside the industry (my mom also "grew up" inside the University of Washington Press and exposed me to its workings from early adolescence on), and also studied markets and editors, as well as took advanced editing courses, over the years. What I learned early and onward was invaluable and what the editors of the 70s and 80s practiced still impresses me for its caring professionalism. I emulate those decades. And I feel bothered by the editors of today who don't get involved with their "partners" -- their authors.”

How’s that for coolness? You can’t beat it!

Now, there is one complaint I’ve heard about TCE: that its ethereal terrain is hard to navigate. The equivalent of a shoal to a sextant. I have some simple handy instructions:

(1) Go to the site. (

(2) Click on the naked man.

(3) Scroll down. Click on the naked man again!

(4) Let the screen load, then click the arrow to the left of the naked man’s elbow. (It’s like you’re rubbing elbows with him ...)

(5) Voila! You’re in!

Now head right on over the TCE and try it out. It’s fun. And a great read too. Hanninen and the vortex gang have done it again!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Acceptance: Clutching At Straws

I finally found a journal bold and wacky enough to take one of my strangest poems, “Philosophy On LSD.”

The editor calls himself “misener” but he does have a full name, and the poems on his site, Clutching At Straws, have that rare sarcastic bite that isn’t silly or juvenile. Well, okay, some of the poems are silly and juvenile; but they have other characteristics that make you forget, things like serious wit, rakehell charm, and delinquent brilliance.

I mean it. Editor misener has something very cool and alternative going down. The title of his own publications gives you some clues: God Sheds His Gravy On Thee and Dry Humping A Fire Hydrant.

The guy is some kind of sardonic joker genius. His skill at literary comedy is something you are either born into or envy.

Check out the site and you’ll see. My only criticism is that there aren’t enough women on the contributor list. Curious. Are there more male comedian poets than female?

In any case,check out the zine and say hi to misener!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Homeless Story of J, Part III

(Note: Although J is a character in a story, who doesn’t necessarily reflect my views, all references and articles are real and refer to the Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2010)

The irony is this: as I stand hungry and dirty on the fringe, I see where it’s all going; and yet the millions of ants scurrying around me, clean and well-fed, toil blind. Not only that, I am powerless to affect a single soul. They, in contrast, hum with collective power.

J’s First Law of Social Physics: There is an inverse relationship between awareness and power. This, of course, makes god the most powerless being of all. A mute invisible bystander helpless to stop humanity from destroying what took millions of years to unfold.

I have partaken too much of god’s sad sight. Today I found a discarded newspaper, damp with gutter scum and smelling of grinds. All the necessary clues are in it, All the answers to save ourselves, too. Why can’t anyone see? WHY???

O chalk-eyed, ice-tongued people, you have earned your reward.

Page One of the dirty smelly news: “In Amazon, Rain Forests Make Room for Mall Rats.”

Can it be true? Does this article really spit on the grave of a great activist, Chico Mendes, all the while offering up praise to suburbs, malls, and teeming purchases?


“The latest mall project broke ground in March in Rio Branco, a once-isolated outpost near the spot where rain forest activist Chico Mendes was killed in 1988.”

Don’t they see? Can they really be replacing the rain forest with big cubes full of vain trinkets, and do it with glee and corrupt pride?

“The proliferation of Amazon shopping malls marks an economic turning point for one of the world’s last frontiers. A modern consumer economy is taking root.”

Oh, we’ve done it. Wrecked and converted one of the last places where the Primal Green was relatively untouched. Our “modern economy,” in the future, will be judged as a viral blight. Don’t they see this? That gold is heavy and sinks?

“The Amazon’s development also alters the game for environmentalists. Amazon city dwellers now have more clout to demand that roads, power plants and other projects be built in the region.”

Ignorance. Destroying what existed in great diversity. And for what??? What??

Philistine neurosis.

If there is a Satan, he rides a tsunami of materialism, and his acolytes have dollar-signs for eyes.

Do you think I’m done? No. Here is the next article: “Public Still Backs Offshore Drilling.”

Can you believe it, spirits? Can you believe what I am reading?

“Public support for expanding the offshore hunt for energy is sturdy, a ... poll suggests, even as a damaged well continues to gush crude into the Gulf of Mexico.”

GREED!!! It all comes to down to money. What repulses me the most is that the worker-drones claim to believe in heaven, and to believe the words of Jesus, but their actions are tethered to cash, not spirituality. Not virtue. Not kindness. Not goodness.

The Sermon on the Mount means NOTHING to them. "Blessed are the meek." To them it is a fig leaf over their lies.

They don’t care about wrecking an entire coastline, if there is money to be made.

Their pharisees exclaim: Why protect god’s beautiful world when we need gas to drive our fat cars and live our fat decadent lives?

GREED. You worker-ants, scurrying around me to meet your deadlines, you are all hypocrites. A black wound on the face of Gaia bleeds right in front of you, and yet you turn away. Turn from the signs, from the prophecy.

You are vile pigs that sniff for treasure while grubbing in immoral muck.

Am I done? Ha! Next article: “Rig Ignored Red Flags.” Oil barons, in their headlong rush for profit and “development" (a code word for mutilation) perpetrated a great sin. It has cost the naiads their lovely kingdom.

“Managers at oil giant BP PLC decided to forge ahead in finishing work on the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig despite some tests suggesting that highly combustible gas had seeped into the well.”

All the ant-people scurrying around me, serving money, trapped in their grey prison of insect-worthy thoughts, they heard the oil barons get called down. They know it from watching their media cubes. They know that BP, Halliburton and TransOcean are bickering and blaming each other for poisoning the Gulf of Mexico. These corporates are exhibiting a “ridiculous spectacle,” said even the President of their Empire.

BP is full of greedy crooks. WHY don’t the ant-people break out of their masks of chitin and admit it? Why don’t they challenge the avarice of their overlords?

The ant-workers suffer horribly for their cowardice. They have venom in their karma and it has killed off their spirit guides. They can’t listen to deep voices. The world around them gets uglier, more and more a Potemkin Village of sin. An obese place starved of miracles.

Am I done? Ha!!!!

Next article, same newspaper: “A Factory That Fits On a Pin: Tiny robots Made of DNA Can Walk, Pivot, Work With Microscopic Forklifts.”

How dangerous is this technology in the hands of an impoverished culture, one that strives to undermine the esteem of its citizens so that they will buy stuff that will never satisfy them?

How dangerous is this technology in the hands of a War Machine that is always looking for deadlier weapons?

“For the first time, microscopic robots made from DNA molecules can walk, follow instructions and work together to assemble simple products on an atomic-scale assembly line, mimicking the machinery of living cells.”

I used to take some comfort in the privacy left to our bodies. At least, I thought, the industrial masters couldn't invade the interstices of my flesh.

Now they can. Now they will, with their microscopic “assembly line.”

The new pin-head factories offer great power: the power to destroy anything, from the smallest to the greatest life. From microbe to ecosystem.

Don’t like spiders? The nano-machines can infect and destroy the spleens of spiders, spreading like a plague throughout the arachnid world.

Don’t like coyotes? The little assassins can be engineered to wipe out every single coyote.

Don’t like the Chinese? Let’s design an assassin for their DNA, just in case.

Does anyone hear the lyrics of Green Day:

City of the dead,
at the end of another lost highway,
signs misleading to nowhere.

City of the damned,
lost children with dirty faces today--
no one really seems to care.

I want to tear my eyes out and see no more. I feel like a prophet in a city of walking dead. I’m homeless and unheard. I’m afraid.

Do you see now why I am so upset, spirit guides? I sit on the curb and watch as Mammon wins. Wins so completely and efficiently that the ant-people don’t even know what they have lost.

They are so blind.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Acceptance: Bolts of Silk

These days, my middle name is “busyness” and there is no end in sight. This means I am going to disappoint myself by expressing only a tidbit of my admiration for a most wonderful literary nonesuch called Bolts of Silk.

Bolts of Silk is more than a literary journal. Here is part of my response to editor Juliet Wilson when she told me she was keeping my poems “Piebald” and “Taken”:


Whenever you take my poems, I feel they have found not only a good home but a healing and wise place, a cross-roads of many hearts, all joining to praise the Earth and Her many wonderful forms of life. Bolts of Silk is a continuous prayer that is beyond religion yet ultimately spiritual. You have built, through your caring, a nexus of invocations. We reach out with our loving voices, with the best side of humanity, to Gaia.

The more we do this, the more likely we are to change and learn. We weave strands of interconnectedness with our poems--and you have provided the loom.

Very Best,

[Owl Who Laughs]


The greatness of Wilson’s journal will always beggar even the most sublime words. But I like the metaphor of an exquisite loom, the threads thereon the soul-offerings of many poets. Wilson excels at selecting pieces which celebrate nature. There’s never a hint of cliché. In fact, the opposite: the poems of Bolts of Silk enliven and surpass. In a world of grey mega-buildings and sulfurous asphalts, this is just what we need to keep struggling and bolster our hope.

According to my records, Wilson first honored me with approval in 2007. Due to the fantastic organization of her site, all thirteen poems I’ve had accepted are quickly accessible. This is one of the strengths of the journal: an interface which fosters an aura of timeless beauty. The clock loses its dull trod as you conjure up, with great ease, poems from many different years at once. Bolts of Silk is a holism of profundity.

Another charm is the perfusive feel of health and rejuvenation. Bolts of Silk hums with social vigor as you experience not only well-crafted stanzas but also links to numerous poetic sites--blogs, twitters and home pages--all of them seeming to chirp away on the side of the screen, somehow like happy magpies, through their RSS feeds.

Perhaps no other editor has engendered, so well, such a living breathing artwork. A dynamic convocation to regenerate our love of the wilds. This basic yet deep-seated love often gets steamrolled by our fast-paced factory world; but not after visiting Wilson’s bowery loom of magnificent spells.

More than any poet or editor I know, Wilson, who is both, advocates passionately for the sylvan vim beyond urban cement-scapes. April flowers, cicada chirrs, autumn scarlets and winter diamonds. Wilson embraces all seasons in myriad aspects. She traverses the Internet like a joy-stung sparrow, collecting and sowing delight. Her profile has many thousands of views. Her bewitching blogs attract an abundance of merry comments.

She is, for anyone who gathers inspiration from green writing, a Druidess of Poetry. I do not bestow this title lightly. It is, for me, a station of highest honor and I find her to be, indeed, most worthy.

So, thank you Druidess Wilson! You are a magnificent gift to us all. You have been more than important in keeping up the general morale, and in helping this OWL navigate a meaningful road.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

All around us, reality is eager to come apart.

Galaras Sphinxwyld, Vulture Strength

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Poem: Unipolar

Here's a poem of mine for anyone who has had to deal with major depression, one way or another. It was originally published in Thieves Jargon.



a stone.
a bit like a skull,
but no.

skulls go by
encased in warmth
and stride,

the hum of laughter,
the flexibility

of a face.
it’s not enough
to look like a skull

on a special day
from a certain angle
under the right weather.

a stone. nothing more.
an inch every few years,

while skulls smile,
and travel through the air
to fresh exotic places.

a stone.
it’s not enough to pretend
you can rise up

and escape.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Massive Rejection

Although I don’t discuss it often, I get a rhino's share of rejections. It’s more fun to talk about acceptances, after all!

Things aren’t typically rosy. For example, I recently received a rejection after many months on an essay that was solicited from me by a top quality journal. When you get a request for a piece, and they still reject you, it’s doubly hard.

Another rejection this week was from a friendly sounding editor who I’ve submitted to perhaps six times. He’s published a lot of poets whose work I respect. In an affable way, he gives me brief apologies, once calling me “Mike,” another time “Jim,” even though neither one is my name.

Near the top of painful rejections is that ubiquitous quick sting: the terse form letter. This is especially ouch-ful when I take the time to comment positively on the work of the journal, singling out a couple of poems for specific comments. On top of that, I carefully select poems to fit the style of the editor, which can take days.

This kind of rejection happens to me all the time. One I received just today ran as follows:

Dear [Owl Who Laughs],

Thank you for submitting poems to [our Review]. We will not be accepting your poems for publication. Best of luck with your writing.


The above represents the most painful boilerplate of all. It is not even accompanied by the “please try us again” line." You're basically persona non grata.

Perversely, it's also the most common form of rejection, as well as being one of the sharpest needles.

Another kind of rejection is the almost-but-not-quite sympathy note. These editors are either extremely kind or subtly sadistic (I’m pretty sure it is kindness 90% of the time).

My nemesis in this category is The Pedestal Magazine. I’ve submitted to them over ten times, usually getting the form response that includes “try us again.” However, once I was told I was in the top 2%, but they were only taking the top 1%, so ... too bad. Another time I was told my poem would have been accepted, but ... Ah, this is so classic I just have to dredge it up from my records:


Dear [Owl Who Laughs],

Thanks so much for sending your poems to The Pedestal Magazine.

I enjoyed reading your poems, but in the end have decided to pass on
this batch. My favorite, "Autumn Ends", which has some fantastic
imagery and sharp language, made it into the final rounds of
consideration, but in the end just didn't seem to fit with the way
the issue has taken shape.

Really sorry to disappoint again. Do keep trying us!!


So, I keep trying. However, it has been nothing but form letters for a while now. By the way, the poem mentioned above, “Autumn Ends” has never been able to find a home despite many attempts.

Finally, there’s the rejection that never comes. I’ve given up pestering editors who do this, because, well, I don’t like pestering people who are going to tell me what I already know.

Alternately, if they lost the submission, do I really want to deal with them for another few months?

(Caveat: some editors warn you in advance that they only notify in the case of acceptance. I'm not talking about those efficient and wise folks.)

I have many other stories about rejections. I get new ones all the time, and will happily vent more anguish and angst here.

As a final note, I’ve had a lot of acceptances in March, April and so far in May too; but this means my cache of good poems is depleted. Meanwhile, I am going to get hit with a wave of failures soon, because over the past 8 weeks I've sent out batches to what I call the “blue chip” journals--venues like the Poetry Foundation, Black Warrior Review, Indiana Review, and so on--that never accept my work and seem to telepathically communicate with each other and scheme to strike at once.

It’s a roller coaster ride, for sure!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Acceptance: Heavy Bear Magazine

Jane Crown, editor of Heavy Bear, took all five of the poems I sent. I’m glad I didn’t waste her time!

She does a great deal for the poetry community, not only running a fine journal but producing broadcast interviews with poets on her self-created radio show. Damn impressive!

Submitting poems is one of the publicity-seeking poet’s most difficult and important tasks. My technique has evolved over the years from haphazard send-offs to choosing the right poems for the right journals; then I sit on the submission for at least a few days, looking over the selections each day afresh.

This requires an annoying level of struggle as my patience rassles with my antsy urge to "get er done," as they say in rural Maine.

The delay usually results in last moment tweak or two, even though the poems have already been through my edit mill, a process that can take months or even years.

It paid off this time. A compete acceptance of all submitted material. This hasn’t happened with a five-poem sub in many years.

Yeah, Heavy Bear! And Yeah for Jane Crown!!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Poetry Workshop Starts June 6, Consider Joining!

(See the official announcement below!)

Life just took an exciting turn for me. The Editors of Arsenic Lobster, a well-known poetry journal with very high standards and a brutally low acceptance rate, approved my workshop request. This means I will be running a poetry workshop through their online community Rooster Moans!

Because I'm running my gig through Rooster Moans, I am virtually guaranteed some incredible participants, including, if I'm lucky, the editors of AR themselves.

And yes, I would like my blog readers to please please consider taking the workshop. I'd love to bring together a group of poets who don't know each other and create a synergy of cooperation and mutual exploration--as we craft poems that catch fire from some of the freakiest aspects of science.

Skill-level at poetry is absolutely secondary to enthusiasm and willingness to interact in a deep yet friendly way with some fantastic people.

We'll be plumbing the depths of chemistry, physics, biology, philosophy and poetry. AND NO TECHNICAL UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE IS REQUIRED.

So, again, consider signing up. To get involved go to the Rooster Moans website and Register:

See you in the workshop! You will be challenged and yes I will do my best to blow your mind.




The Rooster's next four-week workshop — Natalie Angier’s Wild Science Ride— starts June 6, 2010.

Led by poet [Owl Who Laughs}, an environmental ethics professor at the University of Maine, Machias, this workshop will look at the work of Pulitzer Prize winner Natalie Angier, who uses science as a springboard to ecstasy. We will use excerpts from her book The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science as a lens for poetic inspiration. Prepare to rocket and shrink, dissect and transcend, until notions of the ordinary and lovely/ugly are irrevocably bashed.

[OWL] holds a PhD in philosophy, specializing in environment, ethics and feminism, and has enjoyed hundreds of poetry publications including Chelsea, Portland Review, Atlanta Review, Barnwood Magazine and DMQ. He blogs as Owl Who Laughs.

(Note: The Canon is not required.)

Registration & Fee Structure

This workshop is limited to approximately ten (10) members. Click here to register.

The workshop fee is $20, one-third of which will be donated to The Rooster Moans/Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal.

Alternatively, you may choose to pay $15, $10, or even $5 dollars, thanks to the generosity of our workshop leader.

For full details, please visit The Rooster Moans.

Best regards,

Lissa Kiernan
Founder/Admin, The Rooster Moans
Poetry Editor, Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal

Susan Yount
Publisher, Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal

Monday, May 3, 2010

Acceptance: Portland Review

This is a GREAT moment for me. Portland Review has been around since 1956 and has a world class reputation. It is a fantastic journal. I know this firsthand because I have five issues of PR that I keep nearby and have read over and over. There’s a story behind this.

Many years ago, when I first submitted to PR, I apologized in my cover for being too poor to buy a copy. A few weeks later, without explanation, five back issues of PR showed up in my mailbox. I never learned who was responsible, but my gratitude was great and remains so to this day. I vowed to study those issues and send my best poems to PR once a year.

Because of some anonymous person’s kindness, I formed an attachment to this journal, and I am as pleased as I ever get from any acceptance. This is one of those rare wonderful moments that arrives every three years or so.

But I’m working on narrowing that interval!

Below is the email version of the acceptance letter. They also send a hard copy and contract after initial verification. Notice that they are facing ugly budget problems. Please consider subscribing to this legendary journal. You won't be sorry.

Dear [Owl Who Laughs],

We enjoyed and would like to include your pieces "Patterns in Rotting Wood," "Breakdown at Insurance Firm," and "Sunset Behind Coal Plant" in the upcoming issue of Portland Review. If it still available, please send an electronic copy in response to this email, along with a very short (100-word max) bio. We apologize for the excruciating wait. We've been in the weeds all year, fighting budget cuts and every other thing.


Chris Cottrell
Editor, Portland Review