The view from the office now is of trees in full-leaf and the steady hungry scavenging of grackles on the lawn. This means that we survived the great darkness of winter and the muck of spring. But as you know, summer isn’t exactly the great rest period for small press publishers and poets. That’s the thing with working in the craft, generally it’s all just a game of catch up. So let’s catch up.
Urban Farmhouse Press is in full swing and will be bringing three books to print in the next few months. These things always take longer than we want them to. But getting the voices of our great writers out there in the best possible condition is something that no publisher worth their salt strives for. Be sure to check out the fine work of Marvin Shackelford, Scott Weaver, Kenneth Pobo, and Kelley Dulaney this summer. Lots of great links to their work are available on line for free and in the various journals and lit magazines that they have been published in. We are also busy assembling a on-line writing workshop for the fall and winter. I’ve generally found that the freedom afforded writers in an on-line community helps when it comes to the creation of new work. I felt that since I’ve left academia there is a critical need to help foster the writing of those not enrolled in post-secondary institutions with the drive and skills to create fine literature. Let’s face it, university is not the end all and be all of writer’s training in the craft. We want to be part of the solution to those whose voices are being left out or left behind.
As for my own personal work there will soon be some manuscripts and query letters heading out. Many of you that know or follow me might be aware that I was award several grants for poetry creation by the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. While I am finishing work on my first poetry collection, Circle City Satoris, there will also be two other collections soon heading for the final revision stages. Between Shining Waters explores the region of southwestern Ontario through the lyric consciousness of a Lenne Lenape narrator. The work in the collection marks a homecoming for me as I have returned home to the community and culture that I left initially left behind for a decade in America. Devil in the Woods is the other of the two funded projects. It explores contemporary Aboriginal culture through letter and prayers poems addressing key cultural and historical figures in Canada. The hope to create a more central space for First Nations voices in the dominant discourse of contemporary Canadian society. Without doubt, the most complete of the manuscripts is Circle City Satoris. A homage to the Hoosier state that played home base for us for a good chunk of time, the piece explores how connections to a place, city, and landscape works in a place defined as being a thoroughfare or crossroads. Look for this work coming to lit mags and journals in the upcoming months.