! BOOKS !

Greetings from late August, dear reader!

I am here to share with you some publication news! Two poems from my second manuscript The Long Now Conditions Permit now appear in VOLT Literary Magazine Volume 26, and another poem that is an outlier to that manuscript, but may be pointing to what is next, appears in TIMBER Journal.

In TIMBER, my poems are joined by poems by Shira Dentz, Michelle Murphy, and Marie Kressin, among fire others; in VOLT, my poems are joined by poems by Julie Carr, Eléna Rivera, giovani singleton, and Page Hill Starzinger among wonder others. When my poems rub shoulders and canoodle with other poets’ poems, there exists the exciting prospect of connecting with readers and the wondrous possibility of community. Connection and community!

VOLT Literary Magazine Volume 26 front and back covers

The appearance of my poems “Across the Path That Is Not Mine” and “October Effect” in VOLT 26 marks the third issue of VOLT in which I have been lucky enough to have some of my poems published. Poems from The Minuses appear in Volume 15 (2008) and Volume 12 (2006). For me, this series of appearances signifies the building of community—VOLT‘s, mine, and me and my poems as part of VOLT‘s community. Expanding concentric circles of community. That is what I seek. I want to make lasting connections and build true friendships within the poetry and literary arts communities.

VOLT Literary Magazine Volumes 26, 15 & 12

Jane Miller, one of my graduate school poetry teachers at the University of Arizona, first introduced me to VOLT. What year was that—1992? That makes sense because according to VOLT‘s history, the magazine “was created on an unusually sunny afternoon in San Francisco in 1991.” The issue that Jane shared with me would have been VOLT Volume 1; I remember Jo Whaley’s Atomic Tea Party on the cover and inside, along with Jane’s writing, the poetry of Ralph Angel, Jane Hirshfield, Claudia Keelan, Yusef Komunyakaa, Donald Revell, and C. D. Wright, among gorgeous others. I was immediately captivated. The revving V-V-V of the magazine’s name, intuitively and instinctually connecting me to the seed sound or bija mantra of the sacral chakra, the energy center of creativity. The dimensions—9 x 12—embodying a material substance. There was a felt sense of the substantial even before opening the volume. Then, within: Because poems appear in the issue as they do on 8.5 x 11 paper, they are given their full visual and spatial expression. Hurrah! Plus, poems appear alphabetically, according to the poet’s surname; that organizing principle makes each issue an abecedarian. I love that! Because the issues do not contain editorial introductions or author biographies, they signal a primary focus on the poems. VOLT takes seriously being a poetry magazine.

Gillian Conoley

That’s because VOLT was brought into being by terrific poet and person Gillian Conoley! Gillian and I go back a ways and in time. Loving and mutually good friendships in poetry, and really all other realms, take time and trust. I had the chance to meet and spend time with Gillian in 2003 when she was one of the guest poets at Tucson Poetry Festival (TPF) XXI, which celebrated the connections between poetry and film. I was then the Executive Director of TPF, and XXI was the second in a five-festival series I conceived and directed that celebrated poetry’s relationships and connections to other artforms. During the 2003 Festival’s long weekend, Gillian and I hit it off; she’s warm, fun, and bold. She liked the introduction I gave before her TPF reading enough to ask me for a copy. A thrill and a delightful compliment.

Gillian has been a champion of my poems. First in VOLT, where she gave early homes to poems when I was just starting to send my writing out for consideration. Second on the back cover of my poetry collection The Minuses, where she offered the following words of support:

In these quiet, careful, though searing and poignant poems, Jami Macarty turns her considerable powers toward the dissolution of a romantic relationship in a desert landscape that is at once sustaining and doomed. Here, a body is at one with earthly extinction and failed romance: ‘I am your time to go now.’ These poems are as full of heart as they are of a keen intellect. Exquisitely honed and crafted, The Minuses provides testament to poetry’s ability to speak the unspeakable, to not only survive but to carry on: ‘she’s off-trail but knows her direction.’ This is a beautiful book of courage and the power to live fully, and on this planet, through heartbreak and hard-won joy.

—Gillian Conoley

Gillian’s words wow me in their understanding. It is really and truly something special to my heart when someone I admire gifts me with their attention and felt response. Every time I read “hard-won joy” in Gillian’s offering I shake my head. How did she know that?

VOLT 26 w/cover art by Hawley Hussey, incl my poems

Gillian tuned into joy again when reading the poems I offered for her consideration for VOLT 26. Here’s some of her response to the poems:

Loved reading these. Can I please have “October Effect” and “Across the Path that is Not Mine” for Volt 26?

Really lovely poems— I loved how they played and inter-played with language and politics/aesthetics all interwoven with colors— so striking! And the motifs of not owning— the relief and knowledge of that— the joy of it, too––

—Gillian Conoley

Reading and taking to my heart Gillian’s words elicits in me the feeling of running into the street and jumping for joy! Whoo hoo! Gillian “gets” my poems. Gets. There may be no greater feeling of connection than this between two people, between poet and reader… I am deeply grateful to Gillian for standing with me and my poems. Her presence means everything to my life and to me as a maker of poems.

: :

Timber Journal logo

If memory serves, I was first introduced to TIMBER Journal via the community of women/women-identified poets with whom I congregate and talk about reading, writing, and publishing poetry. Hurrah that community and their generous sharing of knowledge and resources!

At the helm of TIMBER Journal are the MFA candidates at the University of Colorado-Boulder. What attracted me to TIMBER is the editorial focus on “work which pushes against boundaries: genre-bend, build or break form, confront the rules and voices of the canon.” Yes, please; thank you! Then, there is their invitation and challenge: “If you’re not flirting with failure or writing risky, it’s probably not for us.” Rah rah “flirting with failure or writing risky”! Upon reading these words, I gathered together and sent for consideration some poems that flirted and risked. That was March.

TIMBER Journal Issue 12.2 Summer 2022

I mention time because writing and all things related to itmaking, revising, sending out, awaiting reply, etc.occur in time. Sometimes time is long, the process protracted; sometimes there’s a sense of quick turnaround and immediacy. Just four months later in July, I received a response from Rachel Franklin Wood, Poetry Editor and the poetry readers at TIMBER:

We loved your work and would like to include “Goddess Explains How to Bird to an Orphaned Daughter” in our upcoming issue!

—Rachel Franklin Wood, Poetry Editor and the poetry readers at TIMBER

Such love! This precious connection with readers makes me feel giddy with the possibilities of… well, of a poemto bring us to one another. As I think about it, so much has to take place in order for this small miracle of connection to zing between poet and reader. And, it could so very easily go the other away way. O, the crucial moments when we risk love!

You’re cordially invited to read “Goddess Explains How to Bird to an Orphaned Daughter” in TIMBER Journal Issue 12.2 Summer 2022!

Though I am just getting to know TIMBER Journal, I am filled with the excitement and promise the getting-to-know-you phase holds. I bow to Rachel Franklin Wood, Poetry Editor, the poetry readers, and staff at TIMBER Journal for their kind and generous attention to my writing. I look forward to reading future issues, and with the good shine from the Poetry Gods, maybe to find a home for some other of my failure-flirting, risk-taking poems. A poet has hope for more crucial moments of love!

: :

The Pluses!

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!

+ Thank you bows to my community of women/women-identified writers for their generous, loving support, inspiration, and encouragement.

+ Thank you bows and love to Gillian Conoley, special-to-me person, poet, and, pal, for her continued support of my poems!

+ I bow to the existence of VOLT Literary Magazine and am grateful for its innovative design and content!

+ Thank you bows to Rachel Franklin Wood, Poetry Editor, and the poetry readers at TIMBER Journal for taking a chance on and publishing my poem.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to my publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, and Mountain West Poetry Series editors Donald Revell and Kazim Ali, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses (2020) with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Beth Svinarich et al at University Press of Colorado for their beautiful support to me and The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to monsoon storm chaser and marvelous professional photographer, Liz Kemp whose monsoon photograph storms the cover of The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows to Nomados Literary Publishers, Meredith and Peter Quartermain for making my chapbook Instinctive Acts with me.

+ Thank you bows to Vallum Chapbook Series and editors Leigh Kotsilidis and Eleni Zisimatos for making my chapbook Mind of Spring with me.

+ Thank you bows to Finishing Line Press and editors Leah Maines and Christen Kinkaid for making my chapbook Landscape of The Wait with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Vincent K. Wong for his friendship, creative collaboration, and for taking my author photos.

+ This bears repeating: Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention! If you have any questions or comments, write me! I would love to hear from you!

! BOOKS !

Happy New Year and Happy February to you, dear readers!

Let us tall about books. The reading, reviewing, and making of books…

I want to share with you what this poet accomplished during January: I read 26 books and chapbooks. Mostly poetry, of course! I loved books by Kazim Ali (Sky Ward), Ralph Angel (Twice Removed), Margaree Little (Rest), and C. D. Wright (Deepstep Come Shining & Rising, Falling Hovering), among other wonders. And, reading aloud a story or two most days, I arrived to page 596 in The Stories of John Cheever. What a writer!

I offered my reader’s response for five of the books I read and posted them on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon. I appreciate the challenge to bring to words my take on a book I have read. Take a peek!

I sent out on the breaths of candle wishes (20+) batches of my poems and my second manuscript of poetry for consideration, and I applied for a residency. This sending of my writing out, is for me, a gesture of engagement with what it means to be a writer and is also an engagement with hope for conversation.

Such a hope-conversation emerges in TinFish 22: INARTICULATE FUTURES in which “I am walking without looking,” a poem from my second manuscript, is included. The looking up, looking down, looking elsewhere issue cover image (above), by Olivia Kailani Marohnic, inspires the temporal thinking within the issue. I am grateful for the conversation with what it means to be an experimental writer who lives in proximity to the Pacific Ocean. I am quite taken by the writing of the other seven other contributors…

You are most cordially invited to read the articulations of the impossible future within the issue of TinFish. Accompanying the poems by each contributor is a short audio clip that contextualizes the future-thinking from within the poems. They are fascinating! Come, bring your ears, your eyes to our poems!

Hurrah! This bright, shiny, new Year of the (water) Tiger is off to a smashing start.

: :

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!

+ Thank you bows to each of the writers whose books, chapbooks, and stories I read in January; your efforts inspire me to bring my words into the light.

+ Thank you bows to TinFish editorial team Jaimie Guzman Nagle, Zoë Loos, and Donovan Kūhiō Colleps, whose care and attention brought forth my poem and its companions in TinFish 22: Inarticulate Futures.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to my publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, and Mountain West Poetry Series editors Donald Revell and Kazim Ali, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses (2020) with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Beth Svinarich et al at University Press of Colorado for their beautiful support to me and The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to monsoon storm chaser and marvelous professional photographer, Liz Kemp whose monsoon photograph storms the cover of The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows to Nomados Literary Publishers, Meredith and Peter Quartermain for making the chapbook Instinctive Acts with me.

+ Thank you bows to Vallum Chapbook Series and editors Leigh Kotsilidis and Eleni Zisimatos for making the chapbook Mind of Spring with me.

+ Thank you bows to Finishing Line Press and editors Leah Maines and Christin Kinkaid for making the chapbook Landscape of The Wait with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Vincent K. Wong for his friendship, creative collaboration, and for taking my author photos.

+ This bears repeating: Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention! If you have any questions or comments, write me! I would love to hear from you!

++ The Minuses ++

Continuing, dear reader, with the pluses congregating around The Minuses.

Two such pluses are a conversation and a reading that took place in July, but are reverberating their good, abundant energy of spontaneous community to me even now.

The banner for Let’s Talk Books w/some partial faces.

First, I bring to your attention the plus of the July 15, 2020 Let’s Talk Books conversation I joined with authors Christine Chiu, Melanie Conroy-Goldman, Naomi Danis, and Thaddeus Rutkowski.

Divine host Christine Chui brought four complete strangers, writing in different genres together to talk about the theme of Friendship & Connection in our writing. Each of us talked about our new-to-the-world books. For Melanie, that was her novel The Likely World (Red Hen Press, 2020); for Naomi that was her picture book My Best Friend, Sometimes (Pow! Kids Books, 2020); for Thaddeus that was his poetry collection Tricks of Light (Great Weather for Media, 2020); for me, of course, that was my poetry collection The Minuses (Center for Literary Publishing, 2020).

In anticipation of the conversation, I felt some shyness and hesitation. I had the feeling that our meeting would be a bit awkward like how it feels to be at a cocktail party at which I know no one. You know, it can be a thing to sit down with a stranger and strike up a conversation about something that matters as much as a book does to its author.

My hesitation was near to instantly allayed. Christine was a warm host; the other authors were open to conversation. I must say it was remarkably easy to talk with these delightful writers about their work and to share mine. We discovered many a confluence between our works.

Watch & listen to the

Let’s Talk Books

conversation here!

: : : :

Walt Whitman Birthplace reading event poster.

Second, I bring forward for your listening and viewing pleasure, the plus of the July 23, 2020 Walt Whitman Birthplace Association poetry reading I offered with poets Susana Case and Dayna Patterson. Susana read from her collection Dead Shark on the N Train (Broadstone Books, 2020); Dayna read from If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020); I read from The Minuses (Center for Literary Publishing, 2020).

Though in 2019 I had published a poem of Susana’s in The Maynard, we didn’t know each other. Again for this event, we were three women poet strangers, sharing the intimacy of our work with one another.

This reading came to be rather magically. Here’s how. I was reading a Facebook feed belonging to a women’s writers group when I happened upon a post bemoaning publishing a book in the time of Covid-19. There are many of us for whom this is a tough reality! Such a time doubles the already hard work of bringing a book to the attention of variously distracted and gravely preoccupied readers.

By the time I arrived at the Facebook post, Susana had commented that she was in the same boat; then Dayna had added her voice. I was third to join the chorus on their boat, asking: “What should we make together?” Susana answered: “A reading,” and away we three went.

Powerhouse Susana took the lead of locating a host and venue. In fact, it was also Susana who connected me with Christine Chiu’s “Let’s Talk Books.” I came up with the event title–a sort of neologism of our three book titles–wrote the event copy, and made a poster of our three books. We all worked tirelessly to promote the event.

I may have had the easiest time in promoting the event and bringing people to virtual seats at it–because the event fell on my birthday. Many blessed souls showed up for me, which made it feel like a party! It was a truly wonderful way to spend my birthday.

Watch & listen to the

Shark Minus Mother

reading here!

These two events enact for me the generosity of strangers, the special magic of collaboration, and the creative powers of community. You see, dear reader, that’s why the energy and spirit of these events are still alive for me. Friendship and connection abound!

: : : :

+ Thank you bows to Christine Chui for hosting me at Let’s Talk Books, and to authors Naomi Danis, Melanie Conroy-Goldman, and Thaddeus Rutkowski for sharing themselves, their books, and conversation with me.

+ Thank you bows to the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association for hosting the July 23 reading; to the lovely Caitlyn Shea, who emceed the event; to sister Goddess poets Susana Case and Dayna Patterson for making a reading with me.

+ Thank you bows to the many souls with their beautiful ears and minds who joined me et al for the July 15 (some 100!) conversation and for the July 23 (some 70!) reading.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, and Mountain West Poetry Series editors Donald Revell and Kazim Ali, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses with me.

+ Thank you bows to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention! If you have any questions or comments, write me!

++ THE MINUSES ++

Dear Reader, an interview is a chance to practice the high art of conversation. A conversation is a plus!

I bring to your attention the June 9, 2020 plus of an interview that the most lovely human and excellent poetry reader, Dayna Patterson conducted with me and The Minuses. Dayna and I met in our conversation on the Poetry Hour (4-5pm PDT) that she hosts for Western C.A.R.E.S. (Community, Activities, Resources, Education, Support) at Western Washington University.

Watch and listen to conversation here (use password: 8Q.A!M.?)

photos and compilation by Vincent K. Wong; background image by Jami Macarty

The Poetry Hour interview took place over Zoom, of course. The photos and compilation above are by Vincent K. Wong, my good pal and a terrific experimental photographer. Vincent attended the event, with 40 other souls, and took these photos of Dayna and me.

I didn’t realize the background image of Sonoran Desert and its saguaro cacti came through and interpentrated the live image of me, shifting foreground and background, the live and the still until Vincent sent me the series of photos he took during the event. I love the photos and the special effects are a perfect visual component to a quality of feeling I’m trying to get at in the poems of The Minuses.

photo by Vincent K. Wong; background image by Jami Macarty

Here are the questions Dayna Patterson asked me during the interview:

  1. We’re here to discuss your recent collection, The Minuses. When I think of the phrase, “the minuses,” I usually hear it in conjunction with “the pluses and the minuses.” With that title holding only the last part of the phrase, I expected that the book would press into themes of loss, negation, and deprivation. It certainly did that, and in ways that surprised me. For example, the book seems to be built from the scrap of a wrecked relationship. Is that an accurate description? Would you read the first piece for us and talk about why you selected this title for your book? 
  2. There’s a lot of verticality in this collection, a motif that in some places conjures, for me, a feeling of vertigo, and in other places a kind of longing to be detached, above the fray, so to speak. How were you working with notions of verticality vs. horizontality in this collection? (Read “Flight Hours,” “Mountain Hypotenuse,” and/or “Nor’easter”)
  3. How and when did you become so intimately acquainted with the landscape of the Sonoran Desert and its environs? What was your research process for the poems in this collection? (Read “Monsoon Desert,” “At Gravity’s Feet,” & “Music 5:30.”) I’m particularly interested in the phrase “I sent myself into the desert to become a third person” in “At Gravity’s Feet.”
  4. Can you talk about the way these poems lean into the colon and the double colon? For you, does the colon represent a kind of mathematical equation rendered into syntax? (Read “By Virtue of And”)
  5. A poem that really resonated for me from this collection is “Door Ratio.” Would you mind reading that one for us?
  6. Your notes section is expansive, specific, and generous. Why include the Latin name for each species you mention in the notes? How do you decide what to put in the notes to a collection?
  7. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the making of this book?
  8. What are you working on now or next?
  9. Who are some of the writers or artists that inspire you? In particular, are there contemporary poets you’d like to recommend to our audience today?

And, here I am endeavoring to arrive at answers, to be responsive.

photo by Vincent K. Wong; background image by Jami Macarty

Dayna’s and my conversation was followed by a Q&A with our audience of listeners and joining souls.

Watch and listen to conversation here (use password: 8Q.A!M.?)

: : : :

+ Thank you bows to Goddess Dayna Patterson for reading The Minuses, for her thoughtful questions, and for featuring and hosting me on the Poetry Hour for Western C.A.R.E.S. at Western Washington University.

+ Thank you bows to Western C.A.R.E.S. at Western Washington University and Goddess Athena Roth for offering her very fine administrative support during the event.

+ Thank you bows to the 40 souls with their beautiful ears and minds who joined me et al for the June 9 interview and conversation.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, editor Donald Revell, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses with me.

+ Thank you bows to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!

++ The Minuses ++

Dear Reader, I want you to meet some of the wonderful people who, along with you, are the pluses, congregating around The Minuses.

March 5-7: The Minuses debuted at the Association of Writers & Writing Program (AWP) conference, which took place in San Antonio, Texas.

The Center for Liteary Publishing booth and table at AWP; see The Minuses at table center!

There, publisher Stephanie G’Schwind hosted me for a book signing at the Center for Literary Publishing booth. In the photo above: the Center for Literary Publishing booth all set up and ready for the conference. That’s The Minuses centered on the table! Below, that’s the lovely intern (name lost in the shuffle, on left) with publisher, Stephanie G’Schwind (right).

Lovely helpful intern (left) with my publisher, Stephanie G’Schwind

At the beginning of March were early days and much about Covid-19 was still unfolding. There had been much debate about whether or not to cancel the AWP conference. When the conference went ahead, thousands of registrants cancelled their attendance. Imagine a poet’s heart. A poet has waited for years to find a publisher for her book, and that’s finally happened, only the world is cancelling. Of course, my poet’s heart is only part of the equation. Many others had a change of heart, deciding that conference attendance was too risky. As I assessed the risk for myself, my gut guided me that it was safe to go. So I did! Others join me there…

I’m glad I went to the conference. Lovely people were seen and communed with (picture above): Danielle Hanson, James Arthur, John Barger, Trish Hopkinson in a Plath (!) T-shirt, Beth Ann Fennelly, Stephanie G’Schwind, Rusty Morrison, Andrea, Jim Johnstone (w/John Barger), Kenneth Pobo, Adrienne Drobnies, and Sean Singer. Special others (not pictured): Emily Perez, Sara Meeks, Desirée Alvarez, Aaron Graham… et al. Typing their names, remembering them fills my heart again with the pleasure of their company. Plus, my publisher sold all the books she brought, which I happily signed. Smiles all around.

: : : :

March 22: The celebratory reading of The Minuses in Tucson, Arizona was planned. Joining me: long-time poet friend, Eleanor Kedney, whose poetry collection Between the Earth and Sky was released in early March. With a lovely venue booked, invitations to 125 people sent, and cupcakes ordered, Eleanor and I were excited. So was Covid-19; cases were on the rise. So to be sensitive to our guests’ concerns and still hold our event, we decided to move the reading online to Blackboard, a platform available through Simon Fraser University. This was before Zoom!

The covers: Between Earth and the Sky & The Minuses

My generous partner, John Welch, set up the event and hosted me, Eleanor, and 50 supportive souls who showed up for us and our poems. The event came off with ease and joy. Plus, our gathering together let me know that my community was still there, congregating around me and my poems.

: : : :

+ Thank you bows to Stephanie G’Schwind and each of the interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) booth at AWP for making The Minuses available and for your support to me during the conference.

+ Thank you bows to everyone who visited me at the CLP booth, who bestowed the best of all book-buying support, and who shared conversation and meals with me at the conference!

+ Thank you bows to John Welch for setting up and hosting the March 22 reading!

+ Thank you bows to Eleanor Kedney for reading with me!

+ Thank you bows to the 50 souls who attended the March 22 reading!

+ Thank you bows to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!