So…the First Weekend.

As you know, on Thursday night last week I launched my Kickstarter project in support of the launch of my new book of poems, The Sharp Edges of Water. And now I’m going to give you a little report on how the first weekend has gone.

Um…pretty well.

Kickstarter projects, historically, fund all the way if they reach 60% funding. By historically, I mean 98% of the time. As of Sunday, my book is out of the danger and despair zone. It is, in fact, currently about where I worried it would be three weeks from now. So that’s good! We had an excellent opening and have gotten a little momentum. If you’re one of the contributors so far, thank you! I really appreciate your support! As if that weren’t enough happiness for one author, yesterday Kickstarter marked my book of poems as a “Project We Love.” It was in this exhilarating category with only three other active poetry projects, which, you know, made me feel awesome.

But I know that support tends to come in waves, and I also know that the “close friends and family” surge is winding down, so now it’s on me to hustle this campaign to its end in under four weeks. I’ll be posting updates to the campaign, of course, and those who have contributed to it and are following it on Kickstarter will get those. Some of those updates will be excerpts from the book, artwork, and even a short film or two.

I’m also going to be posting updates and goodies here on the blog now and then. Don’t worry, The Sharp Edges of Water won’t completely take over the blog. You can still expect Monday Earworms and (during October) Witchy Weekends. And I’ll be doing my own modified version of the NaNoWriMo as well, so there’s that to look forward to. (And wow, I’m looking forward to getting back to work on the current WIP, once the 3rd edition of Finis. and The Sharp Edges of Water are out the door. It’s been a busy season, y’all.)

Anyway, thanks for your continuing support of my work. I love what I do, and I love that you’re interested in it, so I guess I’ll keep on doing it!

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In Which I Tell You That I (Cannot Believe I) Just Launched A Kickstarter Campaign

I’ll keep this brief because I’m basically zinging with nervous energy right now, but I just kicked off a Kickstarter campaign, which I’ve never done before, to launch my new book of poems, The Sharp Edges of Water. I am so very, very excited — and also? Maybe slightly terrified right now.

Doing this is, frankly, a huge personal and emotional risk for me, and it took quite a lot of talking me into doing it from some of my very close friends. But I believe that healthy professional risks can lead to growth, and so here I am! Wheee! Yikes! ZOMG.

Here is the link to go to my campaign, which ends in about 30 days.

Let me tell you a little about this new book of poems. It is a collection of work that I’ve written over the course of my adult life thus far. Quite a few of the poems have been published before in various places — a proper acknowledgement about this will appear in the back matter of the book — and some of them are brand-spanking-new, written just this year. When I turned in the first completed draft of the manuscript to my editor, the wonderful Sarah Cortez, she took the fifty poems I sent her and culled it down to just over three dozen, shaping them into a relatively cohesive narrative. As a storyteller and fiction writer also, I love this, and I’m truly thrilled with the way this manuscript has turned out.

cover design by Lucianna Chixaro Ramos

Now let me tell you some about the way Kickstarter works, in case you’re not yet familiar with it. I’ve launched this campaign in the hopes that people will become interested in my project and support it. There are many levels at which to give support, and all of them come with rewards, or “perks.” (I guess crowdfunding is a type of investment, as it were.) If enough people support the project to get it to my goal, then fantastic! The project funds and the book gets made! One of the risky things about Kickstarter, though, is if the project doesn’t fund all the way…

It doesn’t happen. No funds at all. Backers don’t have to pay, and the creator sees no benefit.

So yes. It’s a risk.

BUT I am hopeful that we’ll have a successful campaign here! I love this project and am really, really proud to share it with the world. I’ve got an excellent professional team behind the finished product, including Sarah Cortez (the aforementioned editor), Lucianna Chixaro Ramos (the cover artist), and Jesse Gordon (the book designer). They all do amazing work, and I’m thrilled to be able to work with them.

One thing I love about crowdfunding platforms is how they foster independent arts. Indie artists are part of a creative movement that isn’t bound by what marketing departments know are a sure thing, and while that can be scary sometimes, it’s also exciting.

Anyway, I’m at risk now of babbling, so I’ll stop. Go check out my campaign, see what you think. I’ll be grateful if you do. And thank you for supporting the arts!

Spontaneous Poetry: A Festival and a Challenge

Finding the August Postcard Poetry Fest was an accident. It was just one of those dozens of submission calls that overwhelm my inbox every week, but this one, I happened to read. Click here to learn more about how it works, but the concept is simple: you sign up the week of July 4th, you get put into a group with thirty-one other people who have signed up, and then you commit to Continue reading “Spontaneous Poetry: A Festival and a Challenge”

Radio Silence (Actually, Let’s Hope Not!)

Normally I like to post a little more often during the summer months, but I have been neck-deep in poetry revisions for my new book coming out later this fall. (More details on that later!)

And this evening I’m going to be co-hosting the LivingArt program on KPFT, Houston’s Pacifica station, from 6:00-7:00 (Houston time). If you’re here in the city, it’s 90.1 FM. If you’re looking for it online, click this link.

I cannot deny that I’m (probably ridiculously) nervous about this radio appearance — far more so than for any other radio spot I’ve done before. So send some good vibes this way, please. Our guests this evening are the very excellent John Hovig and Adam Holt, and I know they’ll be great.

Catch you on the other side of my editor’s duedate for this book of poems, my friends. And I can’t wait to tell you more about it!

Bonus Poem: Charlie C Petch

I hope you all enjoyed this year’s Poem-A-Day series in honor of National Poetry Month. I know it isn’t still April, but one poem caught my attention after all the poems had been curated for this year, and I really wanted to share it now rather than wait till next year because it is so relevant now. In truth, it has always been relevant, and frankly, I’m not under any optimistic delusion that it won’t still be a year from now — sadly.

In case you didn’t see John Scalzi’s blog today, he discussed in excellent detail some of the ugliness surrounding the nonsensical “incel” garbage movement. If you’re not sure what that means, go click on that link to his blog. It won’t take long to read, it’s funny, and it summarizes some of the problem rather well. (There’s also a good bazinga at the end.)

It’s useful to note that the poem I’m sharing with you today is directly related to the recent Toronto murders-by-vehicle, which was a result of an “incel” pudknocker getting his panties in a wad believing, erroneously, that the world had wronged him.

Thanks so much to poet Charlie C Petch for the use of this poem.

***

Forward & Reverse 9/30

The day after
toxic masculinity
turned a Toronto/Tkaronto rental van
into an automatic weapon
to kill women with
I was afraid to walk faster
than the man ahead of me
of the men who spilled from
bars to pat my dog
afraid for her when she
didn’t want their hands
clawing at her
helping themselves to her body
“is it a girl” they say “she looks like a girl”
she looks at me why she looks at me stop
and because they are each a cocked gun
I say that she is and smile and walk away
aware we are always moving targets
who are only allowed to not smile
in death
.
The day before
toxic masculinity
turned a Toronto/Tkaronto rental van
into an automatic weapon
to kill women with
I was afraid to walk faster
than the man ahead of me
of the men who spilled from
bars to pat my dog
afraid for her when she
didn’t want their hands
clawing at her
helping themselves to her body
“is it a girl” they say “she looks like a girl”
she looks at me why she looks at me stop
and because they are each a cocked gun
I say that she is and smile and walk away
aware we are always moving targets
who are only allowed to not smile
in death

***

Charlie C Petch is an award winning playwright, spoken word artist, haiku deathmaster, host and musical saw player. Petch is touring two spoken word theatre pieces, their multimedia piece “Daughter Of Geppetto” and their vaudeville play “Mel Malarkey Gets the Bum’s Rush” which got “Best of 2017” from Electric City Magazine for the radio play accompanying album “Odes & Acts.” They have published books with WordPress and LyricalMyrical and poems with Descant, The Toronto Quarterly, Matrix, and Oratorealis journals. Petch is the creative director of “Hot Damn It’s A Queer Slam,” a multi-city touring poetry slam series.
Find out more at www.charliecpetch.com.

Poem-A-Day: Stan Crawford

For our last day of National Poetry Month, I’m featuring a piece by Stan Crawford, whom I met years ago in a poetry workshop and whom I now see around town at poetry events every once in a while. He’s a very kind and interesting person, and it’s always fun to hear him read his work. In particular I admire his blend of accessibility and intellectualism and his subtle sense of humor.

Stan is very much a Houston poet, as this piece which refers to Ken Lay (of Enron infamy) will hint at. The devastating impact of the Enron debacle on Houston probably can’t be overstated. Even though it was nearly twenty years ago, we haven’t forgotten about it, or its perpetrators, or about the crimes which radiated from their choices.

***

After Reading in San Francisco About the Death of Ken Lay, and Consulting Orwell and Balzac

I scrutinize my morning face,
all folds and puffs.
Hair slack, gray-streaked,
random as straw.
A balcony of skin beneath each eye.

At fifty we have the face we deserve.
I too must be guilty of something.

Near Embarcadero a homeless man
with dreadlocks tangled as CIA plots
defies the signs that forbid feeding pigeons
and scatters his scraps of illicit bread.

Disheveled panhandlers and skateboard punks
hang on Haight Street and litter the park
with detritus of undertow
drenched in gold light.

Behind every great fortune, a crime.
A prison placed near the golden gate.
Sour inextricable from sweet
inside the chambers of our grapefruit hearts.

***

Stan Crawford is an attorney and poet who lives in the Houston Heights with his wife Dawn and their menagerie of pets. His poetry collection Resisting Gravity (Lamar University Literary Press) was selected as a Finalist by the Texas Institute of Letters for its First Book of Poetry Award in 2017.