My fourth article in this series on poetry features the greatness of Independent Bookstores, especially our very own Card Carrying Books and Gifts in Corning, NY. This article talks about building connections in the community and how the store’s willingness to feature local writers is helping to influence change and create awareness of poetry in our town. You can read the article at Southern Tier Life Magazine.
Please stop by the store from noon to 6 pm, meet Page the kitty and let Bethany wow you with some great book selections.
Thanks for reading. Read. Write. Be kind to each other.
I am so happy to announce that my collection of poetry, Running Red Lights, is available today from Gutter Snob Books. Michele McDannold has been a great publisher to work with and I am thrilled to work with her again. She was here a the start of my career and published my first ever collection in 2006. Her belief in my work has always held a special place in my heart.
This collection is largely about observing the small moments in the world that other people glance over. Some of these were observed by me, others were back page stories in the news. Here are a few poems to tempt you:
Staring down a white-tailed doe
Small town factories put the hard line on faces. All of them in a vertical destruction of youth, skin hanging there a wrinkle of time.
Generations pulling long hours sucking in black death, diamond death, poverty death.
It is all tattooed on the inside of lungs, painted over eyes, along the jaw clenched unknowingly.
The subconscious is the only faction aware that there were once dreams of something more than making rent and car payments, of cigarettes and six packs
Parked in front of the KFC drive-thru speaker, a toothless woman hangs out the open window of a rusty blue Chevy truck, arms flexed, and crossed over the door tightly as if she fears falling the two feet toward the ground.
Her right hand cradles her cigarette like a lover dragging its breath hard and long enough to cave her cheeks inward to meet each other over tongue and under palate, cutting off the smoke so it slips weakly from the corners of her mouth.
At the end of 2020, Gutter Snob Books had a call for manuscripts. I wasn’t going to answer this call because I just had a beautiful book published in November, but I had also told myself that when opportunities come knocking I was going to answer the damn door.
Earlier in the year I had been playing around with this collection of poems. It started out as a smaller collection and then morphed into a large collection that I ran through my writer’s group. But when editor Michele McDannold said that collection needed to be “concise,” I went back and looked at it again. What I pulled out was most likely the original 30 poems I had wanted together from the beginning.
I cleaned up the poems and sent them out as a chance and was notified on Christmas morning, while I was at work, that the collection had been accepted. I have worked with Michele McDannold before back in 2006 when she ran Rural Messengers Press. She was the first editor to put out a collection of my work. Her approach was creative putting poems on posters, into folded matchbooks, and into layered mini books. It was hand made and warmed my pea picking heart to be honest because it was thoughtful and took a lot of time.
Michele gave me the courage to keep putting work out there and it was enlightening to see a strong female presence in the small press at that time which was male dominated. It was in a time where women had to write from the darker layer of themselves, the sexual layer, the drunk layer in order to get work published. But that collection was about growing up in Arizona, about family hardship, about being the child of alcoholics. This was significant to me and though I still did put on all those layers afterward, she has found me full circle with no layers at all, just me.
Running Red Lights is a collection about watching people, not just in real time, but those people tucked in back of the paper news articles–the ones that don’t make the headlines. It’s a collection about the things we miss when we are racing from place to place, when we run red lights to get there. It should be out around April 2022. Gutter Snob Books is also offering a book a month club for $13 a month, so go check the above link for details on that.