Monday, September 24, 2018

Poetry Meme Monday

Thought I'd make a poetry meme, to try and find a laugh on this typical Monday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Punk Rock Presses AWP Panel in Portland 2019

Surprised but stoked that our Punk Rock Presses panel got selected for AWP 2019 in Portland.

Of course it was pretty much a last minute thing, but so are most of our best projects. I was contacted by my friend Rosemarie Dombrowski (founder of Rinky Dink Press and reigning Poet Laureate of Phoenix) because another panel that she was involved with fell apart. She asked if I would be interested in helping her put together a panel on presses with a punk influence/ethos (probably because she remembered that I used to perform with my friend Rocky Yazzie and his bands Turquoiz Noiz and The Skinwalkers). We both got excited about the possibilities and the three other presses we wanted to approach in hopes that they would join us and it all worked out.  

Punk Rock Presses: rinky dink, Forklift Ohio, Cardboard House, Wax Paper

Punk is a style of music, a state of mind, and a subculture of the small press world. Though punk is often perceived as nothing more than an anti-establishment posture, a punk ideology espouses a DIY ethos, is non-conformist in its productions, and resists selling out under pressure. These four presses define what it means to be punk publishers, and they’re thriving in a world of better-funded, perfect-bound counterparts…and wondering how long before the raw becomes the cooked.

I'm lucky to be part of such a distinguished team that includes Hans Hetrick of The Wax Paper, Giancarlo Huapaya of Cardboard House Press and Matt Hart of Forklift, Ohio, because they each bring unique experiences and dynamics to our panel. 
Outsiders on the inside!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Special Phoenix Issue of Shrew Literary Magazine

I'm always grateful to be surrounded by so many talented writers, artists, musicians in this Arizona desert. The constant inspiration from these creatives has enriched my writing and my life.

So when Jersey poet Joe Weil asked if I would guest edit a Phoenix issue of Shrew Literary Magazine, I was proud to share a little glimpse of this community. Click on the link or the cover image below for some of the poets and artists who were generous enough to share their work:

Monday, August 6, 2018

Poems, Sculptures, Pathways, and Murals for live/work condos

Recently, I was commissioned to write a poem and perform at the official opening for an art installation at a new mixed use development for the City of Scottsdale Public Art. It was short notice because the original poet involved in the project had to drop out. I was worried about trying to come up with something worthwhile in only one week, but then I had to admit that even if I was asked four months in advance, I would have probably waited until that last week to get started, anyway.

So I agreed to the challenge and went out to walk around and investigate the SOHO development in Scottsdale, which incorporated beautiful murals by artist Lauren Lee (who has created some of my favorite murals around Phoenix), lithocrete pathways by Texas artist Leticia Huerta, and these building block sculptures from Colorado artist Christopher Weed.

Although, I had more than enough anxiety leading up to the event, everything turned out great, I had a wonderful time at the opening, the audience was very receptive, a few folks asked to buy my books on the spot, and I was proud to be associated with the work of these artists.

It was a good reminder that it's okay to go out of my comfort zone every once in awhile and see what happens.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Compass Needle Pointed Toward Diploma

I vowed to keep pace with my writer friends like Kelli Russell Agodon and Donna Vorreyer and post a blog a week in 2018 for the Poet Blogger Revival, but it was just so hard for me to write that last post about Chris Cornell so I got stuck for months.
But I will try to make up ground from now on. I'll probably sneak in some extra posts on as many weeks as possible, so maybe by the end of the year I will still get close to 52 blogs.

One cool thing that happened recently was that I got a poem picked up for a "Poetry Spot" feature on the AZCentral website. That's the online component for the Arizona Republic newspaper that started showcasing poems by Arizona poets. My poem can be read here:

Friday, June 8, 2018

"Like God's Eyes In My Headlights" ~Chris Cornell wrote some of the lines that turned me into a writer

I started trying to prepare for Chris Cornell's death in April 2016.
We all have artists who are foundational to our existence and when Prince died that year I immediately thought of one of my favorite poets, Scott Woods. I knew Prince's work was essential to Scott and reading his stellar essay "Prince & Little Weird Black Boy Gods" (just click that link if you haven't already read it) made me think about how devastated I would be if anything ever happened to Chris Cornell. I wasn't expecting to find out so suddenly soon.

I always resent seeing him grouped together with other contemporaries, because Chris Cornell had no peers. Nobody could do what he did. His voice was extraterrestrial and he knew how to use it across the spectrum to convey each and every emotion worth feeling, while also arranging haunting guitarscapes that perfectly framed dark poetic lyrics. Some of these lines ("like God's eyes in my headlights" for example) have always rattled around in my psyche and continue to influence everything I've created since. When I finally got my first book of poetry published in 2014, it was important for me to give a nod to Chris Cornell, so I included a "found poem" that I assembled from my favorite interview:

There are plenty of fans who were there before I jumped on the bandwagon in 1992 and plenty who went to many more concerts than I attended, so this is just for the record, not for bragging rights: it all started when my friend left the Badmotorfinger CD in my car and the song Slaves & Bulldozers wormed its way into my world. I still treasure getting to see some Soundgarden shows throughout that Badmotorfinger / Superunknown / Down On The Upside stretch as well as some Euphoria Mourning, Audioslave, etc. But Chris Cornell's later solo acoustic shows were staggering. It was pretty much overwhelming to be in the presence of such greatness. His voice somehow regained all the glory of his most powerful moments, but combined with technique and skill that had been honed over the past three decades. Those setlists made use of his entire catalog and exhibited what an incredible stockpile of brilliance he had created. 

I was also lucky enough to meet him after shows during the Euphoria Mourning tour in 1999 and his 2007 Carry On tour. Both of those experiences were more than I ever expected and I am forever grateful.
It makes me sad to go back and read my old blog post about that Euphoria Morning show (

It took me more than a year to post this and maybe I'll post a bit more if I ever figure out what else to say. Just know that I have been listening to those Songbook acoustic recordings nonstop for the past year. The performances and sound quality are impeccable, it's like Chris is still in the room with you and it hurts like a soul breaking but I never want to get to a point where it doesn't still hurt.

To circle this post back around to Prince, this live Chris Cornell cover is gorgeous:


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Rinky Dink Press pocket-sized poetry for the people

One of the projects that keeps me busy is Rinky Dink Press.

It's a little DIY indie punk kind of press that publishes pocket-sized collections of micro-poems. Each folded zine has 5 or 6 poems that are limited to around 20-35 words. A few years ago, I noticed the call for their debut series and I had no idea who was behind it, but I loved the idea so I was eager to submit.
rinky dink press (rdp) is on a mission to get poetry back into the hands (and pockets) of the people – each of our single author collections can fit in your pocket, but we never sacrifice craft, and despite the tiny format, we refuse to sacrifice style.
In short, we’re a microzine press that marries a DIY attitude with skilled poetics and fine-art aesthetics.

They didn't get many submissions for that first series so my odds were good and they published my collection of poems about the clowns that were causing trouble in the California town of Wasco. Here are a few of those poems:

It turned out that the press was founded by a group of ASU students and their Professor who is one of my friends, so they asked if I would join their editorial team for the next series and I've been involved ever since. Twice a year we publish microzine collections from 10 poets and we now get hundreds of submissions from around the world.

We are preparing for the launch of series 4 on Friday February 2nd.
If you're in Phoenix, AZ come to our launch party at the new Local First AZ headquarters (407 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, Arizona 85004). If you're elsewhere, check out our website for submission guidelines and sample poems from all of our titles that are priced to move at ONE DOLLAR a piece: