Small Press Black Friday Ideas

Ah, Black Friday, our most Holy of Days. I assume that you’re all reading this on your phone while waiting at Wal-Mart to buy your new flat screen dishwasher or whatever. But, just in case you’ve already been trampled, I have some suggestions for Giftmas presents you can order right from your hospital bed!

First off, I’m assuming you already bought ten or twenty copies of The Ship is Sinking. I feel like this guy every time I mention it, so let’s speak no more of that book except to say you can purchase it on amazon or straight from me or…

Ahem. Let’s talk about other people for a change.

You know Lawrence Gladeview by now, right? A typical Gladeview poem is straight-forward, funny, and human. Always accessible: Perfect for the folks in your life who don’t read poetry, or think they don’t like poetry. Seek out his first collection, Just Ignore the Beer Stains, then grab Lowlifes, Fast Times & Occasionally Love. This year, his excellent chapbook Praying For a Spare, the story of a group of bowlers finding comfort and friendship along the lanes, was part of the Punk Chapbook Subscription from Epic Rites Press.

Praying For a Spare reminded me of another fantastic book I read this year, Waiting at the Dead End Diner by Rebecca Schumejda. This one’s a full length collection of poetry drawing on Schumejda’s years as a waitress. It reads like a novel, and is really pretty awesome. Her previous book, Cadillac Men, is about running a pool hall with her husband; I haven’t read it yet but would like to, in case you’re shopping for me.

Kevin Ridgeway is another favorite of mine. Inventive, exciting poems. He’s published everywhere, just search around and you’ll find a ton of his work. I loved an earlier chapbook from him, All the Rage, but recently was impressed with On the Burning Shore, a new one from Arroyo Seco Press. A really nice collection of poems reflecting on his younger years, nostalgic but never sappy. Great stuff. There’s also an earlier chapbook of his out there called Burn Through Today that I haven’t read, in case you’re still shopping for me.

How about one more? If you haven’t yet, read R L Raymond. Raymond writes poems that tell stories, that satisfy, that intrigue. His first collection, Sonofabitch Poems, is probably his most accessible. Powerful, brutal poems there. Then there’s a chapbook called Weakdays and a full length called Half-Myths & Quarter Legends that both offer a hell of a ride. He released another chapbook, anTipas, earlier this year, though print copies are sold out as I understand, so if you missed out, I guess you missed out.

This post is getting long. For the sake of brevity, I’ll just say that pretty much anything from Epic Rites Press or Lummox Press is worth the money, and would make a great Giftmas present. Order something at random, even. Your Great Aunt Susan is sure to love whatever you get her.

Thank you, Southbury

Thank you to everyone who came to the reading last night. And of course, big thanks to Thomas Hahn for inviting me. I had a fun time, and hopefully didn’t bore anybody to death.

I think everything went pretty well. I even unloaded a few of my old chapbooks, which was cool. Speaking of which, I should probably apologize to the guy who asked me to sign a book for his girlfriend (who wasn’t there at the time), and I wrote “We’ve never met but I love you already. Wait for me.” In retrospect, that might not be funny.

Anyway, here’s a neat activity you can play at home. Try to figure out which one of us, in the picture below, is heavily medicated.

Join me on Poverty Road

Sort of a last-minute announcement: I’m reading tomorrow night in Southbury, CT. You should, uh, come.

I’m doing this sort of as a favor to Thomas Hahn, an old friend who had organized this reading. Someone else scheduled to be there dropped out suddenly, and Tommy asked if I could fill in. For some reason, which I can’t remember now, I agreed.

I’ll be reading a combo of poetry and some short fiction, probably. I haven’t picked anything out yet, so who knows. Anyway, here are the vitals from Tommy:

“An Evening of Fiction and Poetry”
Friday, April 29 – 7pm
Southbury Public Library
100 Poverty Road
Southbury, CT

It’s on Poverty Road, people. Poverty Road.

If you’re one of my Albany friends and would like to come, maybe give me a call or email and we can arrange a carpool. It’s a two-and-a-half hour drive. Bring snacks.

Headlock Press

Happy new year. Old friend and former writing prof of mine Paul Agostino has started a lit website recently, and I’ve got a piece up in his latest issue.

The site is called Headlock Press (“Writing that grabs and holds.”). It’s got a nice selection of poems, stories, and essays. A lot of good stuff. You can even make an account and comment on all the work, if you’re into that kind of thing.

The poem of mine up is “Class Photo.” It’s an older piece and, if you’ve been around a while, you’ve probably at least heard me read it somewhere. But now you can read it yourself, for free, on the Interweb. I know, it’s like a Christmas miracle, two weeks late.

There’s also a poem up there by John Ferraro. Remember that guy?

The Love of a Sleeper

sleeper-smI don’t normally do book recommendations or things like that (hey, this blog is supposed to be all about me, right? Me!), but I’ll pause the self-indulgence for a minute and tell you to buy a copy of The Love of a Sleeper by Adam Penna.

It’s a poetry chapbook published by Finishing Line Press, and is available from them on amazon as well as their own site.

The poems in the collection are mostly quiet and introspective, but moving (more so, at least to me, than a lot of what I’ve been reading lately). One of my favorites right now is “On Finding My Hair in the Drain,” with lines like “I didn’t think of death right away either. / Rather, I thought of riding buses / and being anonymous everywhere I went.” I could go on, but you should check it out for yourself.

In the interest of full disclosure: I’ve known Penna for years now. He’s a great guy. He runs Best Poem, a blog-style lit journal that seeks to publish, “not necessarily every day, a poet’s best poem.” Way back, almost a year ago, I had a poem published there.

Shorter Than Fiction

Shorter Than Fiction

If you were at the Live From The Living Room open-mic in January, then you probably got a copy of the split-chapbook John Ferraro and I put together called Shorter Than Fiction. If not, then here’s your chance. It’s now available for purchase online, believe it or not.

Alternately, I still have a few copies left over from the reading, so you can always email me for one, if you prefer that personal touch.