2018 was the fruition of unimagined dreams. What I need is hard to know except by experience and hindsight, as Kierkegaard said, Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards – easier to muster one’s courage now in the pursuit of desire.
When I first began writing all I wanted was to approximate a certain clarity of emotion. I’d hoped and continue to hope for verse that taps my peculiar music as shared gift for the deeply reflective and compassionate person. In 2017, it was both joy and surprise when I began to be published widely.
Sixty-two times in 2018, I received the happy news that my work had been accepted for publication, resulting in seventy-one of my poems being published, in forty-six print and online periodicals, in five anthologies across Canada, the United States, and the UK. I had work translated, for the first time, into another language—Farsi, and I received four manuscript finalist honours and won the Poem of the Week Contest with Silver Needle Press.
I was beyond thrilled to gain three Pushcart Prize nominations from great weather for MEDIA, Crannóg Magazine, and Priestess & Hierophant Press. I also received two Best of the Net nominations to bring my total nominations for that honour to three.
Solitary creature that I am happy to be, I still owe thanks to several people who have supported me through a stressful period in my personal life.
I worked this past summer with Ottawa poet David O’Meara, whom I will be sharing the podium with at VERSeFest Ottawa 2019 sponsored by Arc Poetry Magazine. My initial apprehensions about letting a stranger into the solitude of my creative process proved to be unfounded. David guided my amendments using clear illustrations from his poetic ethos to question the choices he perceived as not serving the entirety of the discussed work. This exploration with him was one of last year’s highlights.
I thank Christian Sammartino who has now edited me across three different publications. I can’t say enough … or rather it’s impossible to say adequately! how much his encouragement and continual faith in my work has helped me hold a bold vision for my poetic.
Amy Mitchell and Aaron Schneider editors of The /tƐmz/ Review are exceptional literary citizens faithfully promoting current publications from past contributors. They have taken the time to think of me regarding other opportunities not directly related to their review, and I am grateful for this brotherly love and generosity of spirit.
Thanks to Arc Poetry Magazine for their amazing and ongoing support in providing a mentorship and public reading opportunity—I am humbled! Thanks to the editorial team at Oxidant | Engine who accepted a mini-manuscript for publication this year, and to Alicia Cole’s dependable faith in my work.
Thanks to Lillian and The Doll you know what you’ve meant to me. Gratitude to my Twitter fam Bob Sykora (one of earth’s truly beautiful men), Bola Opaleke (who is going to do great things in poetry), James Rees, and Robert Frederic Kenter.
I had my first public reading in NYC with great weather for MEDIA in support of the terrific anthology, Suitcase of Chrysanthemums, thanks to Jane Ormerod, David Lawton, Thomas Fucaloro, and host George Wallace.
My deepest affection and gratitude to John “Whit” Schweizer who has been, from the start of this journey, a motherfucking prince as my staunchest advocate, faithful reader, and emotionally present and loving friend.
As I’ve said elsewhere, in the work of creating it can take a breeze to bring you down but it takes a construction team of a hundred and a bucket of your blood to build one sound stanza. I’m thankful for the team in my life. I share the construction of 2018 with you.
Chebet, thank you for your kind words and comments. You can find many links to my poetry available online here: https://oceansandfire.com/about/desire-paths/
In spring of 2020, I will have a full-length poetry collection released with McGill Queen’s University Press.
I wish you good fortune in your literary endeavours. Warm regards!
“When I first began writing all I wanted was to approximate a certain clarity of emotion. I’d hoped and continue to hope for verse that taps my peculiar music as shared gift for the deeply reflective and compassionate person”
Hello there 🙂 this is beautiful. I must read your work!
I just started blogging fiction this year for a similar reason. I am still working on exploring my methods and habits and intentions. Sometimes it isn’t clear and I ask myself more questions. I’m still finding my lyrical footing. That being said, I also have some wonderful things to be grateful for for having shared my work.
I just stumbled onto your blog and I’m glad! Congratulations to you and thank you for sharing your thanks and for inspiring me. And for the thoughts your quote has churned. Enjoy your day 🙂