Some Poetry News


I wanted to share a quick update on the poetry front. I have a new review published over at 4squarereview on Ariel Francisco’s latest collection, All My Heroes Are Broke. I really like his work, and in the context of the immigration debates occurring in the U.S., his poetry feels especially powerful and resonant at this moment. Check out the review here. 

I also have three poems in the new anthology Misrepresented People: Poetic Responses to Trump’s America, out this month through NYQ Books. The collection includes work by Patricia Smith, Kaveh Akbar, Ariel Fransisco, Kyle Dargan, Gregory Parldo, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, and dozens of others. Proceeds will be donated to the National Immigration Law Center. You can order a copy through several retailers. Click here for more info. There will be a launch in mid-March at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC.


Preorder of Waiting for the Dead to Speak Now Available!

My new book, Waiting for the Dead to Speak, (NYQ Books), is now available! The book will officially be released on Sept. 12, but you can order today. Here is the link.  You have the option of ordering from a number of different places, including Barnes n Noble, Small Press Distribution, and elsewhere. If you want to preorder from Amazon, you can do that too. Here is the link.

Every writer hopes to grow in time and strengthen his/her craft, and I will state that I am eager to share these poems with the world. They are much different than Front Man and All That Remains. I hope that readers like them, and I will be doing  A LOT of readings throughout the fall. More details to come on that when the fall is closer.




A Little Preview

I don’t want to give too much away about my forthcoming book of poems with NYQ Books entitled Waiting for the Dead to Speak, but it will drop in September. I’m doing a lot of readings for it. Stay tuned, and bam, here is the cover art! Thanks to Mikayla Lewis for the cover image!


Where the Person and Political Intersect in Poetry

I’m fascinated by the notion of “political poetry,” of writing verse about social and political issues that withstands the test of time and does not become dated. It’s no easy task, and it’s a challenge that I’ve dealt with in my body of work. Recently, Poets’ Quarterly published my essay, “Going Inside the Cave: Where the Personal and Political Intersect in Contemporary Narrative American Poetry,” on this very topic. I looked at the work of four contemporary poets, Toi Derricotte and Terrance Hayes, specifically their address of personal history and racial issues, and Sharon Olds and Gary Soto, specifically their use of confessional poetry as a means to address issues of gender and identity.

I’d be interested in any comments and thoughts readers may have about the essay. I also encourage you to follow Poets’ Quarterly on Facebook and Twitter because the editors do a wonderful job of posting articles about the current state of contemporary poetry.

The Space for Poetry

Lately, I’ve been re-reading a lot of Adrienne Rich’s poetry and essays, in part because I’m working on a field exam about the intersection between personal narrative poetry and social and political issues. Beyond my research, I’ve always enjoyed Rich’s theories and poetry and teach her work when I can. There are two essays/notebook entries of Rich’s I’ve been thinking about lately, “The Space for Poetry” and “What Could We Create?,” both available in What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics.

In both pieces, Rich addresses poetry’s dilemma in the U.S., namely that is not leashed to profit and consumerism, so it is pushed to the margins, given little space in public discourse. In “What Would We Create?” she states that poetry has been placed under house arrest and is irrelevant to mass entertainment culture and wealth, thus out of sight and out of mind in a hyper-capitalistic society.

In another essay/journal entry from the same collection, “Those Two Shelves, Down There,” Rich explores this idea a bit more while addressing chain bookstores and the fact poetry occupies very little space in such stores. She concludes the essay with the statement, “I’m on a search for poetry at the mall. This is not sociology, but the pursuit of an intuition about mass marketing, the so-called free market, and how suppression can take many forms-from outright banning and burning of books, to questions of who owns the presses, to patterns of distribution and availability.”

I keep thinking about Rich’s essays and journals on poetry and politics and this idea of accessibility and poetry under house arrest. I keep thinking of these essays as yet another report has surfaced that Barnes & Noble plans even more stores closures by year’s end. With the loss of the indie bookstores, thanks to Borders and Barnes & Noble, and now the loss of the chain stores, thanks to Amazon, what does that mean for the state of poetry and its accessibility? Sure, Amazon and other online stores offer countless poetry books, but don’t most people visit those sites with specific purchases already in mind? I find it quite unlikely a consumer is going to discover a poet by browsing Amazon.

There are certainly numerous poetry events happening in communities and countless reading series, but young poets only get better from reading, reading, and re-reading different poets and different traditions. As much as I’ve griped about Barnes & Nobles’ poetry selection, the closure of more stores means greater inaccessibility to poetry. What does that mean for the future of poetry? Will we continue to see the journals and magazines filled with names of recent M.F.A. and Ph.D. grads because they’re the ones most reading poetry? I don’t know, but I’m optimistic that maybe, just maybe, the loss of the chain stores will lead to the rise of more indie bookstores in communities again, run by people that stock not only the heavyweights, but also indie authors and small presses. We’ll have to wait and see how this all shakes out, and meanwhile, I’ll continue to ponder Adrienne Rich’s warnings.


Two Poems

I’m thrilled to announce that The Los Angeles Times published one of my poems in its Sunday edition today! The editors decided to do an opinion page of poetry and received over 1,500 submissions, many of which included multiple poems. I feel honored to have been picked. The poem can be read here.

In addition, the Texas-based journal Red River Review published my poem, “Gov. Perry’s Response,” in its latest issue. You can check that out here.

Calling All Opinionated Poets!


If you have a poem that pleads for marriage equality, or promotes immigration reform, or calls for an end to the war in Afghanistan, then you should check out a contest The Los Angeles Times is running. From now until Aug. 16, the newspaper’s opinion page editors are seeking poetry that speaks to a specific issue. On Aug. 25, the editors are going to print all poetry on the opinion page. They will pick a few additional poems to publish online. A lot of academic and mainstream poetry publications shy away from work with an overtly political bend, so this contest is unique. The submission guidelines can be read here.

I sent a few poems off this morning, and I hope other writers that read this blog will submit their work. I can’t wait to see what the editors decide to publish.