++The Minuses ++

Welcome, Dear Reader! I’m very glad to have your fine company here, where I share information about my books and the books of others.

During these last few months, I’ve been offering posts, focusing on what I’m referring to as the constellation of “pluses” congregating around my during-the-pandemic-published poetry collection, The Minuses. These pluses are in the form of supportive reviews, interviews, and readings my poems and I have been lucky enough to receive. In the spirit of addition, I’m aiming for something grander here, too: To celebrate the wondrous generosity of strangers, the special magic of collaboration, and the creative powers of community.

Susana Case epitomizes the tag, “generosity of strangers.” As far as I’m concerned, she holds a special throne in that kingdom. This year, she has made possible for The Minuses and me several readings and the gift-connections that accompany them. I’ve sung her praises before, and I will do it again! My gratitude to her is ongoing. This post focuses on a December reading Susana helped to make possible for me and others. Here’s the short of it.

Six months ago, Susana wrote to me and Dayna Patterson to let us know: “Sandy Yannone is inviting you to both read in her open mic slots on Cultivating Voices…” When I reached out to Sandy, she offered me a chance to read on December 13 with Dayna. Dayna and I had already communed during an interview and an event she, Susana, and I were planning, so I thrilled at another chance to be with her and the terrific poems from her poetry collection, If Mother Braids a Waterfall. When Sandy asked me to recommend a third reader, I offered: Page Hill Starzinger. I had read, loved, and written about Page’s first and second poetry collections Vestigial and Vortex Street. Since being in touch with Page, I had been hoping for some way to spend more time with her and her poems.

Generosity and hope—that’s how Dayna, Page, and I came together on Sunday, December 13 to read in the Cultivating Voices Live Poetry New Books Showcase hosted by the very good poetry citizen and a very thoughtful person, poet Sandy Yannone, with warm and calm technical support from poet Donald Krieger. Through the pandemic, Sandy and Don have been running the Cultivating Voices reading series for poetry books that were published in 2020, a hard time for all things, including bringing a poetry book into the world.

The reading took place live on Facebook. Some people joined us via Zoom and many others via Facebook live, while still others took in the recorded reading in their own time. I’m grateful to my special people who showed up live. I want to maintain my pals’ privacy, but let me offer a bow to Eleni Zisimatos, the editor-in-chief of Vallum Magazine, where two poems from The Minuses were published; Vallum is also the publisher of my chapbook Mind of Spring, which won the 2017 Vallum Chapbook Award. It was an honor to have Eleni et al join us. Thanks also to all for the lively chat throughout the reading. Bows all around.

Listen to the December 13

Cultivating Voices Live Poetry New Books Showcase

with Dayna Patterson, me, and Page Starzinger


: : : :

+ Thank you bows to Susana H. Case for her generosity and for making spaces for me and my poems.

+ Thank you bows to Sandra Yannone and Donald Krieger for hosting me at Cultivating Voices Live Poetry New Books Showcase.

+Thank you bows to Dayna Patterson and Page Starzinger for sharing themselves, their poems, and the poetry stage with me.

+ 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 (continuous!) to Beth Svinarich et al at Unversity 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 (continuous!) to Vincent K. Wong for his friendship, creative collaboration, and for taking my author photos.

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

++ 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!