“Moonrise” by Kyle Laws

My friend, fellow Boiler House Poet, and Pushcart Prize nominee for 2019, Kyle Laws, has a new poem up on Amethyst Review. For some reason, I couldn’t get the reblog to work, but you can find the poem here:  https://amethystmagazine.org/2019/12/21/moonrise-a-poem-by-kyle-laws/
This is the photograph by Barbara Jabaily on which the poem is based.
photograph by Barbara Jabaily


Mass MoCA Poetry Residency: Wednesday

I started the day early with a shower and bonus blog post before heading out into the frosty morning with my wet hair, camera, and paraphernalia. I took some shots of steeples and St. Francis church on my way to breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts. As I ate and warmed my hands with a cup of mint cocoa, I called B to check in and fill him in on the happenings here in North Adams. After thawing my hands, I went out to take more photos, heading over to Sperry Ave. where my grandparents had lived and taking some photos of the Hoosic. Next, I crossed back over to St. Francis and what was Drury High School before becoming Silvio O. Conte Middle School and is now becoming Colgrove Elementary School. Then, I went to my studio at Mass MoCA and drafted two new poems, one on the Hoosic River and one on mocha sundaes. Before any one else arrived I also had time to call my mom who helped me recall some details about Apothecary Hall on Main St.

We assembled at the studios later in the morning to welcome Tupelo Press managing editor Jim Schley. First, we did a round of workshopping with a view to what we noticed about each poem. I had particular fun with the poem I offered today, which I added to recently after letting the poem rest for a year. A new version will be forthcoming after I return home – or tomorrow if I am up at an obscure hour.

We adjourned to Lickety Split, which is the cafe at Mass MoCA, for lunch and great conversation, and then prepared for a special project conceived by Ann, one of our intrepid nine resident poets. We each chose a poem to read in the Boiler House, which is a soundscape art installation of the old boiler house for the mill. We then recorded them as we stood or sat in various locations in the Boiler House, with the sounds of the installation and other ambient noise providing a new layer to the experience. At the risk of sounding like a native New Englander, it was wicked cool! We were happy to have Jim with us to join in the fun by reading one of his poems. Jim also took our photo together. The video will be available online once our video-savvy members get it ready. Watch for the photo and link as they become available!

It was a bit chilly in the Studios, so we decided to convene in a cozy living room at The Porches where one of our poets is staying. Jim gave an interesting talk on various routes to book publication and outlined the roles of the various people and entities involved. He also showed us some of the nuts and bolts of the editing process.

By this time, it was dark and we had to think about dinner. The eight women poets set out to Gramercy Bistro, also on the Mass MoCA campus. We had a great opportunity to talk and eat and talk and talk. We had some extra excitement when Kyle checked her phone and found out she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize! We continued visiting back at our residence in various constellations before finally heading to bed. I need to do that now, too. It’s so hard to believe that we will be wrapping up nearly all our activities tomorrow!

Publication Party!

Yesterday, Sappho’s Circle, a newly formed local women’s poetry workshop, had our first publication party. What this means is that members gathered with laptops – and snacks – to work on submitting our poems to publications.

Our leader Heather has access to lots of great resources to help us choose among the hundreds of venues available. She also has lots of experience, having been published in many different journals over the years. She has even been nominated for a Pushcart Prize!

I decided to send a submission to Eunoia Review which publishes two pieces (poems, fiction, creative non-fiction) online daily. Bonus: I am now following them on WordPress, so I will get a daily digest from them.

This submission was a bit different from the type I usually do. It was high-volume – ten poems in one submission; the most I had ever submitted at once was five. You could submit both unpublished and previously published work.  You were not allowed, though, to submit anything that was under consideration elsewhere. Usually, that would be a non-starter for me, who appreciates the flexibility of simultaneous submissions, but the timing was right as I had very little that was still out for consideration. Eunoia Review also makes up for the stricture with an incredibly rapid turnaround time, usually under 24 hours!

So I spent the bulk of the session yesterday assembling ten poems to submit, starting with the six I had prepared in anticipation of the publication party and adding four others, three of which were previously published. I hit send just a few minutes before we wrapped up the party at 4:00.

By evening, I had an answer!  I’m pleased to announce that Eunoia Review will be publishing my poem “The Last Night” sometime in early January, 2016. There will no doubt be an excited post here at Top of JC’s Mind with the link when it becomes available!

Now, I have lots of thank yous to send out. First, to Ian of Eunoia Review for reading my submission and accepting “The Last Night.” To my poet friends at Binghamton Poetry Project, Sappho’s Circle, and Bunn Hill Poets, all of whom were a huge help in revisions of this poem, which has gone through more drafts than any other poem I have ever written. And a huge THANK YOU to Heather for her support and for helping me to find a good home for “The Last Night.”

I urge everyone to check out Eunoia Review and follow them. There’s so much great stuff there to read, with more added daily. I’m so honored that I will be part of it!

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