Saturday, April 30, 2011

Not the magnitude of an event, but rather the amount of passion it generates, determines its greatness in a person's life.

Arran Hecatus, Spider Face, Eagle Spine

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Acceptance: Stickman Review

It is a very wonderful, very happy moment for me to announce that two of my poems were taken by this great--and I would say unforgettable--literary magazine. Stickman was born in 2001 and is still richly vibrant. It is a tremendous testimony to the dedication and soulfire of Anthony Brown, the editor and founder. The following is from the “About” section:

I founded Stickman Review—along with Darrin English, a friend and former colleague of mine—in 2001 while living in Flagstaff, Arizona. As an MFA student at the University of Arizona, I had the pleasure of serving a few years as Editor-In-Chief of Sonora Review, the university’s award winning literary magazine. I enjoyed it so much that after eight years of deliberation and procrastination and “settling in” to a life outside the writing community, I decided to launch my own magazine; thus, Stickman Review was born.

About section of Stickman

The perseverance of Editor Brown is just one facet of this superb journal. Visit the archives to behold the first hint of an encompassing brilliance. The stunning cover art, the resonant ambience, and the absolutely beautiful display of ten years of compelling literature, are your gateway into a masterful editor’s domain.

What is the essence of Stickman? As you might intuit, it is archetypal and primeval--and yet fresh, modern and splendidly sensuous. It is the beast in us 50,000 years ago growling into the face of a Saber Tooth, or grunting around fire without the slightest scrap of civilization. And yet Stickman is the rest of our existence too, alloyed in a labyrinthine embrace with the warrens of our animal heart.

Don’t take me literally: This is not a single-face journal wedded to a caveman theme. The vast majority of the work does not bare the neolithic. Anthony Brown does not select poems to pigeonhole them in nicely defined niches of concept. You’ll find everything on most all topics here, excluding the distasteful. The only commonality is the genius and shifting filter of Mr. Brown’s indefatigable mind.

I would also like to take a moment to praise his laudable stamina in giving so much time to nebulous hordes of querulous writers.

Stickman used to pay contributors but harsh financial times have intruded on this hook, not that the journal needs it. Its reputation seems magnetic.

Not only that, Editor Brown is stretched even by our society’s frantic standards. The Great Recession hit him personally and yet:

I plug on ... reading as much as I can as quickly as I can. (With three young girls and a more-than-full-time job, it takes me quite a while to turn things around.) I enjoy keeping this small connection to the writing world active, and I hope that this small window I’ve opened offers others the same pleasure it gives me when I read a particularly compelling story, poem or essay. (from the About page)

The latest issue of Stickman Review presents a formidable array of apex wordsmiths:

Mary Christine Delea
Kate Krautkramer
Robert Hill Long
Ronald Moran
Lee Passarella
Simon Perchik
Helen R. Peterson
Don Russ
Erik Tschekunow

The collective accomplishments of these accomplished poets can certainly wow our collective consciousness. Read about them here:

Contributor biographies

I’ve had some good acceptances over the long, painstaking years. I was in Chelsea before that legendary journal sadly fell. Not long ago, three of my poems were taken by the Portland Review. I’m exceedingly proud to say that my approval by Stickman ranks among my happiest moments as a penurious, hair-pulling poet.

My happiness is due to the quality of the venue, yes! But also: I truly admire the persistence of Anthony Brown. He has found a place to be Good.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Reflections on the Empire's Idiocy

The sick US Empire is now attacking its own teachers, firing them because the economy was destroyed by the greed of bankers on Wall Street. Why teachers are being attacked because avaricious bankers decided to cheat the country is beyond logic. It is, instead, a lesson in the ignorance of the masses and the sly hate-mongering of monsters on podiums.

The Empire has recently entered its third ridiculous war, with hardly a shrug from the people, who are so inured to long-term violence that dropping missiles on innocent children never troubles their daily routine of denial.

Every previous Empire, from Roman to Britain, was destroyed by the accumulation of wealth through unscrupulous methods worthy of a demon and infected by greed. What makes the US stand out is the rapid pace of its decline, which took about fifty years. It seems that advanced technology, and the greater short-term power it brings, magnifies corruption and the rate of moral decay. Narcissistic plutocrats, whose conscience is threadbare if it exists at all, swill as much lucre as they can as fast as they can get it. When they overdose, it brings all of us, hostage to their callous machinations, down with them.

Being on this planet is truly tiring when you have a decent level of ethical perception. You see wars waged so rich men can get richer. You see stupid hordes of citizens not only deny this fact but also attack teachers--some of the most noble and giving people.

It takes education to make most people even passably good and moderately aware of how leaders connive and manipulate. This is probably why education--especially the Humanities, a bastion of insight into the soul--is withering in my woeful country.

We slaughtered the Native Americans. We install dictators and undercut the freedom of our neighbors. We've turned ourselves into shallow, materialistic jingos -- all for boundlessly selfish needs.

I worship a Goddess, and I don't believe she did this. I believe other Gods are responsible for creating the malignant seeds of human evil. I shudder at these Gods and I struggle not to hate the dozens of millions of humans who serve them, unknowingly, with broken and mangled hearts.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ants have journeys too.

Vanessa Moonray

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Release: Pirene's Fountain

Four of my poems just went up at Pirene's Fountain.

Current Issue of Pirene's Fountain

OWL at the Fountain

This is a lovely, amazing, brilliant journal, which I have raved about before. I am just so tired now, I cannot rave on, at the moment. I will always be grateful that they took so many of my works. It is a great honor indeed. I hope you have time to stop by and read them, and if you send the editors an email, praising their journal, it would surely make their day. Editors are so under appreciated.

Very Best To All or Any,


Monday, April 18, 2011

Poem: Small

Note: If you are looking for my poem "Owl" go here:


Originally published in Scythe Literary Journal. I wish I had more mental power to say good things about Scythe and its incredibly dedicated editors, Joe and Chenelle Milford.

Right now, I feel like a plastic zombie, whose every word is ridiculously lacking in substance.

Carry forth!




i dissolve
into the gyri of a metropolis,
feeling like protein juice
swilled by an AI.

as if Twitter were galactic,
my sentience small.
vesicle in a capillary
of a hive.

what purchase
in this asphalt nest?
how to nudge the orbits
of vain colossi?

bursts in me like a nova.
i have comets and craters
for tears.

but the great black
eye sockets of empire
pass right over,
as if i were a planchet.
nothing there.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Regrets On Missing the 2011 Plunkett Festival

Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival 2011

OWL's Review of the 2010 Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival

I deeply regret with true sorrow that I cannot attend the Plunkett Festival this year. The reason is that my travelling money has already been spent on a couple of trips to protest the removal of Judy Taylor’s mural from the Dept. of Labor. During one press conference, I gave a speech, which you can find here, if you like:

My Press Conference Speech--Put It Back!

Anyway, the Festival this year has every indication of avoiding all the shortcomings that hampered last year's presentation. In my review, I had three main criticisms (and a number of compliments as well): (a) the poetry presented was spread out among too many community poets, resulting in mediocrity and a lack of focus on excellent invited individuals, (b) the panel discussion was depressing and demoralizing, (c) the Administrator who started off the Festival didn’t seem to take poetry seriously as a deep and evocative art.

Looking over the schedule this year, I see that Friday night has one featured poet (Ira Sadoff); statements by the Plunkett family; and a welcome by UMA President Allyson Hughes Handley. This seems like a good recipe for a memorable and magical evening. Last year, in contrast, four poets read on Friday night--too much, too weak. And the Administrator spent a lot of time telling one-liners and presenting a portrait to a retiring colleague.

Also I am very hopeful that President Handley will confer on the Festival an aura of importance and grace. The Friday program retains the presenting of awards to student poets, one of the best features of last year’s festival.

It is probably going to be a great night, and I am most sorry I won’t be there!

On Saturday, the Schedule is very different from before. First off, the emcee is Ellen Taylor. She did a great job last year and is sure to please again.

Second, the horde of community poets is gone, replaced by a select number of individuals. The Panel topic is Poetry and Communication In the Digital Age, which should produce positive feelings and motivate, given that the Internet has seen a proliferation of high quality sites.

Indeed, the art of poetry has burgeoned and spread in response to the freedoms provided by social media. Great outlets are everywhere. Not only that, poets can now easily start their own lit journal, or display their work on a web page. I only know one of the panel members, and only as a distant acquaintance; but I predict a lively, engaging discussion that encourages rather than dowses the struggling artist.

This year's Festival has every indication of excellence. It's going to be a wonderful gathering, a celebration of the aesthetic sorcery of words. Will someone write a review?? I will be happy to re-post it here.

Best To All and Keep Writing!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Poem: Street Addict

This poem appears in my recent chapbook Man Watches January, and was originally published in Vox Humana.

If, amazingly, your interest in MWJ is piqued, you can go here to find out more, or even purchase(!):

Man Watches January




Street Addict

castration cuts his hope,
the hard-on untouched,
as the pieces windmill through bad days,
shred into fingers
stripping purses from old ladies.

his eyeballs on a carousel,
going round the head,
one the lion, the other prey.
he jibbers while sight devours itself,
sobs like the gazelle’s throat being torn.

someone juiced his balls
and squeezed the fury into his veins.
he knows what it’s like
to have nerves revolt, collapse,
become pitchforks and torches,

he the frankenstein.

the drug kills and pulls him back.
half way.
he smashes windows, yanks drawers.
screeches at car alarms, asks,
“how much for my darkness?”

it never was about Satan,
despite a mother in a church in a bib.
more about loneliness. he was always a tool,
never heard only used.
and so he’ll use.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Release: Ottawa Arts Review vol 5.1

What a pleasure it was to receive in the mail a copy of OAR 5.1, beautifully bound in quality semi-gloss. The cover art, “Transient” by Tracy Drumhann, displays footprints fading into grey-shaded earth. It epitomizes the philosophical theme of this issue.

Editor Kathy Andrews explains, in her preface:

Impermanence is a fact of life. People die, and over the course of time (maybe years, maybe generations) they gradually fade into obscurity, their lives, their cares, and their accomplishments forgotten.

Given this grimly presented scenario, Andrews asks, In what fashion should we live during the precious time allotted to us? Should we be daredevils? Should we be cautious? What is best?

And then she dives into the essence of 5.1:

Whether they speak of life, of death, of memory--or of anything in between--the artists in this volume join the tradition of artists who, throughout the centuries, have speculated about the answers to these questions. Generations and generations of artists have considered the fleetingness of human existence, the shelf life of human creations, the relative insignificance of everyday human concerns.

After reminding us of the immortal words of Tennyson, Keats and Gray, and the relevance of their verbal sorcery to the conundrum of impermanence, she emphasizes in a boldfaced, centered line:

It is art, then, that is the thing

OAR, which has a fine logo--a regal O with an A and an R mostly inside--is a muse of many faces. It receives funding from various branches of both the English and Arts programs at the University of Ottawa, as well as assistance from Alumni Relations, the Development Office and individual private donors. The last few pages of the review are ads for literary magazines and contests in Canada, including Fiddlehead's 21st Annual Literary Contest.

This is clearly a well-received journal with a strong presence within Ottawa and yet also internationally through its varied yet discriminating selection of poems, stories and art. 5.1 contains one short story, one review, nineteen poems and eight pieces of visual art. It’s a svelte volume yet charismatically monumental.

The poetry is excellent and absorbing. Here’s a tiny bit from “Dark Angel In Baskin Robbins” by Laura Sobbott Ross:

Her black bra hooked
across a pair of wings--
tattoos of mitigated flight.
Feathers etched in tar
coloured ink. Arc of wing
spanning should blades,
then down the stark white
shimmer of her back.

William Doreski is a tremendous poet, and here is an excerpt from his “Jerusalem 1944”:

Squat before a goat-dung fire
in fifteen degrees of December,
I wonder how the Jesus-myth
plays in Berlin and London
these days. The plaster walls crack
to reveal the ancient adobe,
a mode of construction older
than the account of Yahweh’s beard
secreted deep in Exodus.

I’m honored that my “Hurt Faun” is one of the lead-off poems in this issue. Here is how it starts. If you want the rest, you have to purchase a copy of OAR, which I strongly recommend!

i wandered places
where butterflies were walls
and tempests confessed,
drank from the great
honeyed lip of pain,
and hid under quilts
of feasting that would never be.

This is one of the best little collections I have held in my hand in quite a while, full of philosophy, passion and sonorous depth. Go to OAR’s website to find out how to get a copy. You’ll also gain a window into the vibrant art scene of Ottawa.

Thanks to all the hard-working staff at OAR for offering the world such an outstanding trove!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Release: Yes, Poetry! April 2011 Issue

Yes, Yeah, and Hooray!

The April 2011 Issue of Yes, Poetry!, including my poem "Assimilation," is up and available for your literary investigations. Scroll down the following link:

OWL at Yes, Poetry!

This is a wonderful fresh lit journal out of NYC, run by the dazzling and diligent editor Joanna C Valente, who will soon be attending Sarah Lawrence College as an MFA candidate in poetry.

Submit your most-inspired work and hope for the best, and do it quickly. MFA programs tend to be harshly demanding and unless assistant editor Stephanie Valente steps up to full-time, it is possible that Yes, Poetry! will go on a fairly long hiatus!


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Acceptance and Release: Wilderness House Lit Review

Five of my poems just went up at Wilderness House Literary Review:

Owl in the Wilderness

I’m honored and proud that they took my entire submission. These poems represent months of hard work and constant editing to finally achieve precision of sound and thought.

Poetry is not a game. It will let you be beautiful for a moment, but only if you give it months of pain.

Thank you Wilderness House, and especially Poetry Editor Irene Koronas.