Thursday, December 31, 2015
2015: A mixed bag of a year
The year began and ended with two horrific terrorist attacks in Paris – in January at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and in November at the Bataclan concert hall and cafes in the 10th and 11th arrondissements and Stade de France. Life imitating art would be a hallmark of 2015 as I continued to work on Leaving Paris, where terrorism and unrest in France is a main theme.
In America, the wanton killings of black people by police continued unabated. Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray received no justice. Conceptual poets like Kenneth Goldsmith and Vanessa Place opened their mouths in bizarre appropriations of black lives and had their asses handed to them via social media.
I had my own social media dust-up in April when I was accused of being a "stupid broet" who wanted to dig up Anne Sexton's corpse and fuck her after my poem "Saving Anne Sexton" was published online by Georgia Center for the Book to kick-off its Poem-A-Day project. That was a treat. But April was also the month that I was honored to have my giant head waving in the breeze over Santa Monica Boulevard as part of the West Hollywood Lamppost Poet project to mark National Poetry Month. I went to LA for a special reading and got to hang out and read with poetry pals like Steven Reigns, Cecilia Woloch, Teka-Lark Flemming, Michael Klein, Kate Evans, Ben Trigg and Steve Ramirez. I also got to work with musician and fellow poet Vanessa Daou on a music video for her song "Leaving Paris," which is based on my trilogy of books. I can't wait for you to hear and see it in the new year!
Over the summer, I got to read at the University of Georgia-sponsored Seat in the Shade series in Athens and at Red Rocks College in Denver. I also did a number of poetry workshops this year, including two at the Peachtree City Library near Atlanta and at Georgia Perimeter College.
In the autumn, my mother was in a serious car accident and scuppered my plans for a two-week writing retreat in the UK and France. I'm hoping to get over there early in the year before the madness of touring and promoting Leaving Paris begins in earnest.
I was delighted to have poetry appear in the Four Chambers anthology for the Phoenix Museum of Art, Atticus Review, Luna Luna and the Rabbit Ears: TV Poems anthology. Poetry Atlanta Press reissued my debut collection, Better To Travel, in November with a pretty new cover and some tweaks to the poems inside.
Next year will be solely focused on promoting Leaving Paris. I don't know how many people will read it or how it will be received by critics or fans of the other other two books in the trilogy, but I'm happy with the way Irène and Martin take their final bow. And since I've always got another pot boiling, I'll slowly begin turning my attention to the next poetry collection, which will hopefully be out in the next couple of years.
Thanks again for all your support and I hope that whatever projects you're working on will see fruition in 2016.