Poetry News

Just wanted to mention that The Portland Review published two of my poems online this week, and they will appear in print later this year. The first, “The Summer of Our Fall,” can be read here. It’s a poem left over from the Front Man manuscript, but it was taken out during the final edits. The second poem, “Missed Cues,” which is part of my new manuscript, can be read here.  I also have three poems forthcoming in Yes, Poetry. They will appear online in October. I also have a poem forthcoming in the fall issue of Evening Street Review.

I also want to announce that the Osterhout Free Library in Wilkes-Barre is hosting free poetry workshops throughout the fall months. I’m hosting one in November, and several of my friends are also involved. The workshops start next week and run from 6:30-8. The dates and some blurbs are listed below.

September 6–“Writing Tools and Habits.”
Rachael Goetzke, teen poetry coordinator, will host a session on environment, writing tools, and making poetry a part of your daily life.

September 20–Dawn Leas “Channeling Memories.”

October 4–Amye Archer “Language Poems”

October 18–“Performance Poetry”  Not sure who’s teaching this section.

November 1–Alexis Czencz Belluzi Not sure what her focus will be.

November 15–Jenny Hill “Heavy Metaphor.”
We’ll explore the use of metaphor in prose and poetry and use the library resources to write our own extended metaphors.

November 29–Brian Fanelli will focus on writing about home/place in poetry. We will look at how certain poets depict home/place in their work, and do some writing prompts that tie into home/place.

All sessions held in the Gates Lab.

Final workshop/oration/open mic December 13 (Reading Room)

Upcoming Events/Readings

There’s some upcoming events I wanted to mention briefly on my blog. First, I’m going to be a poet-in-residence tomorrow at a fundraiser/benefit called Tree of Life, which aims to preserve farm land and animals in Wayne County, PA.  This event will be held at 33 Osborne Road in South Sterling, PA. I will be hosting a reading at 6 pm., and the other featured readers include  fiction writer Bridget McIntyre and poets Dale Wilsey Jr, Victoria Garafola, and Steve Keating. There are a slew of other events throughout the day,including an art program led by my girlfriend, Jenna Casaldi. That takes place at 3 pm. For more info and a full schedule of events, click here.

On Saturday, August 27, I’m reading at Cherry Alley Cafe in Lewisburg, PA with fellow poet Alexis Czencz Belluzi. The reading starts at 7 pm, and the cafe is located at 21 N. 3rd Street.

If you can, try to come out to one of the events!

Some updates

I took a much-needed vacation over the last few days and camped at the historic beach town Cape May with my girlfriend, Jenna. After doing readings nearly every weekend since the fall and the release of Front Man, I needed to lounge on the beach and decompress.

But now that I’m back, I want to give a big thank you/shout ou to Jess Meoni, Dana Bloom, and everyone else involved with the first ever Scranton ZineFest. It was remarkable to see so many zinesters from the East Coast (Philly especially) come together to exchange ideas and publications. Also, everyone that read at Anthology that night killed it! I hope this will be an annual event in Scranton because it did indeed feel like something special.

I also want to announce that I’m now writing poetry book reviews for PANK, a national literary journal. My first review was just published, and you can read it here.  Also, I have a fairly new poem, “One Night,” published in the new issue of Pennsylvania Literary Journal.

I also have a few readings coming up.  On Tuesday, July 26, I’ll be reading at the KGB Bar in New York City with some other writers I know. More details to come soon. I’ll also be reading at the second Prose in Pubs series on Sunday, July 31 at Jack’s Draft House in Scranton with Matt Hinton, Jen Diskin, Mischelle Anthony.

Some Plugs

There’s a few announcements I want to make today. One, I placed five new poems in the Oregon-based journal Indigo Rising Magazine. You can read them online here. They will also be in the print edition. What’s really cool about this is the fact that one of my former students at Keystone, Tricia Kinney, also placed poems in the same magazine and our work will be in the same print issue. You can read her poems here.  I think I’m more exicted by the fact that this is Tricia’s first national publishing credit! Furthermore, I’ve worked with her on some of these poems during a community poetry workshop I taught at the Vintage Theater, so it’s nice to see that the revisions paid off.

Second, I am doing a reading this Saturday with Dawn Leas for National Poetry Month. The reading will be held from 2-4 p.m. at the Osterhout Free Library, 71 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre. We’ll also have our books available for sale, and we’re also going to read a few poems by other poets. I have Langston Hughes and Terrance Hayes on my list so far. May add one more.


Radio Interviews and New Poems

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with Erika Funke, host of WVIA Radio’s ArtScene program. We mostly talked about my latest poetry chapbook, Front Man, and some new material I’m writing. I had a blast sitting in the studio and talking poetry with her.

The interview will air on 88.9 FM in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area this Thursday (March 3) at 11 a.m. They will rebroadcast the interview on Sunday, March 6 at noon. If you aren’t in the area and want to listen to it, you can listen to it online by clicking here.  The interview will also be posted as a podcast by Monday. The podcast will be available here.

I again want to thank Erika Funke for this wonderful opportunity.

In addition, I want to mention that one of my new poems, “Dive,” was published this week by the national blog Young American Poets. You can read the poem by clicking here.  I mentioned Young Amerian Poets a few months ago, and I like it a lot because they give voice to poets born after 1972, new voices in contemporary American poetry.

Reading Recap

Over the last few months, I’ve done several readings to promote Front Man, and I’ve crisscrossed various venues in the tri-state area to get the work out there. I’ve enjoyed all of the readings so far, but I think my favorite reading  occurred Friday evening, at Anthology New and Used Books. As I had mentioned in a previous post, there have been readings at that venue since it opened a few years ago. Dozens of people squeezed into the venue Friday, and I appreciate the fact that so many of my students, fellow writers, and friends showed up. I like that venue so much for its intimacy and the fact it’s the only used bookstore we have around here.

Furthermore, the crowd there is always respectful. When a featured reader is up there, people aren’t texting or talking to their boyfriends or girlfriends. They’re paying attention and often stay around for a little while after the reading to socialize and make connections. I’ve been to readings where people don’t pay attention or leave in droves after the main reader, but that usually never happens at the Anthology events.

Friday’s reading also meant a lot because my friend and former co-owner/co-manager of the venue, Andrea Talarcio, has stepped down.  I wish her luck in whatever she does now. We were lucky to have her in the community to host these readings. I’m glad Anthology is staying open and the various writing workshops, book clubs, and readings will continue, as long as people shop at the store and help keep it open. We’re lucky to have it in our community.

Bringing it all back home

Over the last few months, I’ve done a lot of readings for my poetry chapbook Front Man. The mini reading tour started up in the Boston area with a reading at Borders that featured other poets from the Big Table Publishing community. I’ve also read all over Pennsylvania and parts of NY. This Friday, I’m doing a reading in my hometown of Scranton, PA at Anthology New and Used Books.  Out of all the readings I’ve done, I’m most excited about this one. Since it opened a few years ago, this bookstore has been a real bright spot for the local art community. The venue has housed poetry readings, writing workshops, and book clubs. It’s been a place for local activist and philosophical clubs to meet on a weekly basis.

I’m also happy to come back home and do this reading because a lot of the poems in Front Man were first read at Anthology, at the poetry open mic nights the fourth Friday of every month. These readings gave me the chance to test some of the poems in public and learn what lines worked and didn’t work. Anthology played a crucial role in putting the book together. Furthermore, most of the poetry collections I read while writing the book I ordered through Anthology. Because of the store, I was able to obtain a lot of collections by new voices in contemporary poetry. You don’t find many of these collections at the local Borders or Barnes & Noble stores.

So, if you’re looking for something to do this weekend, come out to the reading on Friday. It begins at 7 p.m. I’ll sign some books and read some poems. A limited open mic will follow. Anthology is located at 515 Center Street, above Outrageous Jewelry.

Reasons Why Book Marketing Campaigns Fail

The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog ran a wonderful article over the weekend talking about book marketing and why some campaigns to get new readers fail. The first issue the article raised is social media. Certainly social media has changed the landscape in regards to marketing. If used well, social media makes it far easier for writers to market their book or manuscript in progress. But the article makes some valid points in regards to social media. First, it mentions that some writers simply don’t use this tool. I’m always surprised by this. Nowadays, especially in the world of poetry, presses and publishers simply don’t have the funds to launch advertising campaigns for writers. So why not make use of the free services blogs, Facebook, and Twitter offer in regards to promoting a new chapbook or full-length collection? Social media provides the opportunity to gain new readers and have open discussions with other writers.

However, the article also points out that a writer needs to be careful how he or she uses social media services. Don’t just use the tools to push your work or sell your book.  As the article points out, the goal of social media should be to provide potential readers with a level of engagement. Convince them you are interesting. Pique their interest, and that should help get your work read by others. But remember no one wants to get bombarded with messages regarding where to buy your book or where to read your work.

The article also mentions that it’s crucial to invest time in one’s self. I think I underestimated this point prior to the release of my chapbook, Front Man.  I didn’t realize how much time I would spend marketing the book, setting up readings, sending the book out to reviewers. As I had mentioned earlier, presses and publishers simply don’t have the funds to launch marketing campaigns for most writers anymore. So, it’s mostly up to the writer to do the hard work. The book won’t sell if no readings are booked. It’s as simple as that. Make time for these marketing strategies. It’s also a great way to build further connections.

more readings!

This month, I’m doing several readings to promote Front Man even more, and I’m especially excited about these events because of the other poets on the bill.

On Friday, January 21 at 7 p.m., I’m going to read with Dawn Leas, author of the chapbook I Know When to Keep Quiet, available from Finishing Line Press. The reading will be held at the Barnes & Noble in downtown Wilkes-Barre (7 S. Main Street). Dawn holds an M.F.A. from the Wilkes University Graduate Creative Writing Program, and her work has appeared in a variety of journals, including goldwakepress.org, Willows Wept Review, and Writers’ Bloc.

On Friday, January 28 at 7 p.m., I’m the featured reader at Anthology New and Used Books in Scranton (515 Center Street). I’ll read for about 20 minutes, and then a limited open mic will follow.

On Saturday, January 29 at 6:30 p.m., I’m heading up to Ithaca, NY to read with two wonderful poets. The poets I’m sharing the stage with are  Jaime Warburton, an associate professor of writing at Ithaca College and author of the chapbook Note That They Cannot Live Happily, and Charles G. James, who lives in Elmira, NY and does all of his work on a typewriter. How cool is that? The reading will be held at the Owl Cafe,  located on the second floor of the Autumn Leaves Bookstore in the Ithaca Commons.

More info about the Ithaca reading is available by clicking on the link to the flyer below! All of these events are free.