Due to budget constraints and other logistical difficulties, Potomac Review was forced to alter plans for publishing my essay “Peace to the People: Inside Kyrgyzstan’s Yellow Revolution.” However, my piece “Within Timur’s Empire: Uzbekistan Journal” will appear in upcoming issue no. 52. “Peace to the People” is now available again.
Nov. 18 saw the one-year anniversary of the Peace Corps’ announcement that it was suspending its operations in Kazakhstan, where it had served continuously since 1993, or 18 of Kazakhstan’s first 20 years of independence. The news was unexpected, though not entirely surprising; Kazakhstan has developed to the point where such assistance is no longer needed. It was truly an end of an era for me.
Yet a new era is beginning: my wife and I are moving to Oregon! More on that later…
Nov. 6, 2012: Matter Press has posted by statement on compression in writing here. The press’s Journal of Compressed Creative Arts has scheduled my work to appear on Nov. 12.
Sept. 27, 2012: My poem “Bon Voyage!” won Second Place in the Free Verse category of the Oregon Poetry Association’s Fall 2012 Poetry Contest, as judged by Charles Goodrich, Program Director for the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word at Oregon State University. My poem will be published in the OPA’s annual anthology Verseweavers.
Aug. 30, 2012: My chapbook Lake, and Other Poems of Love in a Foreign Land has won the Peace Corps Writers 2012 Poetry Award! The PCW Book Awards are given annually for books published in the previous year. They are not selected by other returned Peace Corps volunteers but rather by panels of magazine and book editors and writers. For more info, please visit Peace Corps Worldwide.
The Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award was won by Kevin G. Lowther for his excellent The African-American Odyssey of JohnKizell: A South Carolina Slave Returns to Fight the Slave Trade in His African Homeland, which I reviewed in May and may be found again here.
Aug. 17, 2012: My chapbook Lake, and Other Poems of Love in a Foreign Land has been nominated for the Peace Corps Writers 2012 Poetry Award!
Aug. 3, 2012: My short-short “Aceldama (An Allegory)” is now available to read here as part of the “Rust Belt Tales” issue of About Place Journal. There’s a lot of outstanding work in these pages. Please take some time to read and listen to the many other stories, poems, photos, and songs of fellow artists with links to the Rust Belt.
Of special historical interest is the artwork of famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts, which graces the cover and is sprinkled throughout. These frescoes were painted from 1932 to 1933, during the time Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo lived in Detroit.
July 19, 2012: I’ve had two piece of creative nonfiction ephemera accepted for publication by the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, a publication of Matter Press, a nonprofit literary press associated with Rosemont College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. “Notes to Self When Writing” and “Wrules of Righting” will appear with a brief Q&A as part of the journal’s DECOMPRESS features.
Additionally, the editor selected my statement about compression as it relates to my writing, which will run separately (with author photo!) on the Matter Press website.
I’ll provide the relevant links when each goes live.
June 28, 2012: I’ve fully updated my Links section, which you may visit here.
June 27, 2012: My fictional short-short “Aceldama (An Allegory)” has been accepted by About Place Journal for their upcoming special issue “Rust Belt Tales,” currently slated to appear on Aug. 1. About Place Journal is published by the Black Earth Institute, a progressive think-tank dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society.
June 14, 2012: My essay “Place as Self” has appeared in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, a publication of Oxford Journals. You may access it here. Please note that single copies of the essay can be printed for personal research/study purposes only. Those wishing to make commercial use of the essay may visit here. This is the Advance Access version. I will post another update when the essay appears in a paginated issue.
Also, it’s funny how life works sometimes. Despite my unwavering belief in a certain short story—I always felt it was one of the stronger ones I had written—it was turned down more than any other. I just kept submitting it. Then in its last round of submissions it became so popular I couldn’t withdraw it fast enough. “Maps and Compasses” was just accepted for a third time. I had to turn down the second acceptance, but not this one—they publish reprints. So my story will reappear in the Fall 2012 of Soundings East, the literary journal of Salem State University.
May 29, 2012: My review of Kevin G. Lowther’s book The African American Odyssey of John Kizell: A South Carolina Slave Returns to Fight the Slave Trade in His African Homeland (Columbia: The University of South Carolina Press, 2011) has just been posted by Peace Corps Writers. This is an important work, one that should be of great interest to anyone wishing to better understand the nature of slavery and of race relations between blacks and whites in North America and Africa.
March 18, 2012: I’ve reached a special milestone: I recently had my 20th short story accepted for publication! (Does anyone know where I can find an animated GIF of confetti flying?) “Maps and Compasses” is slated to appear this spring in the Homestead Review, published by the Department of Language Arts at Hartnell College in Salinas, CA.
March 8, 2012: You may now hear the podcast of me reading my poem “Still Life” here in the latest online issue of Qarrtsiluni.
March 6, 2012: Two of my fiction chapbooks were recently named semi-finalists in the Sundress Publications Chapbook Contest—or, to put it another way, both made the Top 18. Not too bad. You may find the complete list of semifinalists, finalists, and the winner on the Sundress Publications webpage.
Feb. 14, 2012: Happy Valentine’s Day! And Belated Happy Year of the Water Dragon! Whether the new year is counted as beginning on the Gregorian date of Jan. 1 or celebrated on the lunar new year as the Chinese and others do (Jan. 23 this year), it’s already off to a sweet start for me. My personal essay “Peace to the People: Inside Kyrgyzstan’s Yellow Revolution” was recently accepted to appear in the Fall 2012 issue of the Potomac Review. This is my second piece accepted for publication by this fine journal housed at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD; my short story “A Husband and Wife Are One Satan” appeared in their Fall 2009 issue.
[Later note: Please see my News Update for Nov. 21, 2012, regarding this piece.]
Jan. 15, 2012: My poem “Still Life” has been accepted for publication by Qarrtsiluni for their Imitation Issue, to begin serializing later this month. Qarrtsiluni offers electronic delivery of original poetry, prose, and art, organized into regular, themed issues, with a new post every weekday. They have a full-content RSS feed, also available via email, and the podcast is available for free through the iTunes store. And beginning in 2009, their print division has been publishing poetry chapbooks as well. Visit their website here to find more information on all this.
The journal’s title comes from an Iñupiaq word that means “sitting together in the darkness, waiting for something to burst.”
Dec. 21, 2012: I’ve been awarded a Spring 2013 Andrews Forest Writers Residency! From their website: “The resident writers live at the Andrews Forest for one to two weeks, interact with the scientists, explore the forest, and write.” Situated in the Cascade Range, the forest covers the entire 15,800-acre drainage basin of Lookout Creek, with elevation topping out at more than 5,000 feet, and trees as tall as 250 feet.
My wife and I have been in Oregon for only two weeks, so this is a tremendously satisfying welcome.
Also, some good news to report regarding The Chalk Circle, the anthology in which one of my essays appears: it was named runner-up in the anthology category of the New England Book Festival contest. The book has previously been named winner of a 2012 Skipping Stones Honor Award; was an Amazon Hot New Release, debuting at #2 on the essay bestseller list; and has received numerous glowing reviews. Please see editor Tara Masih’s website for more information.
Nov. 29, 2012: While I received notification that my chapbook manuscript Accomplices to a Tradition: And Other Stories didn’t make the final five sent to the judge for the 2012 Gold Line Press chapbook competition, the editors wrote that my manuscript “was among fifteen fiction semifinalists selected from the hundreds of submissions received during our reading period.”
Nov. 21, 2012: I have a number of news items to catch up on:
First off, my short story “The Cat People” was nominated by the beautiful up-and-coming journal Fjords Review for a Pushcart Prize! This is my third Pushcart nomination overall, and the second for my fiction.
My pieces “Wrules of Righting” and “Notes to Self When Writing” are now available for reading in the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts. Click on the “DECOMPRESS” icon at the end of the pieces to read a brief author Q & A.
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN the page to read my news updates for this year. To access updates for each year going back to 2006, when I first created this webpage, click on the links to the right.