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!
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.
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.
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’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?
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––
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.
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.
I mention time because writing and all things related to it—making, 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 poem—to 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!
+ 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!