Self-portrait at 50 and other updates

Self-portrait at 50


I'm 50 today. No, I can't believe it either.

I actually haven't had too much time to think about it because the last couple of months have been a blur of activities, vacation, a flesh-eating bacteria scare and, to be quite honest, a bit of end-of-summer malaise.

I've always prided myself on keeping this blog updated over the last 16 years, but I fell off the beam in August. I led a wonderful Saturday poetry workshop at the Fayette County Public Library and was thrilled with the work the attendees created and shared during our time together. It spurred me to write, too, so the creation of new poetry continues. Now I just have to get motivated to start submitting again – something I haven't done all year as I've been promoting Midnight in a Perfect World.

I was also a featured author at this year's Decatur Book Festival, sharing the stage with fellow Atlanta poets Karen Head and Dan Veach, who also have new collections out. There was also plenty of time spent at the Local Poetry Stage, which was at Ammazza Pizza now that Java Monkey Coffee House is officially never reopening after last year's fire. It leaves a giant hole in the arts community in Decatur, not only for artists and musicians, but the sad end of Java Monkey Speaks open mic. It was a tradition every Sunday night for nearly 20 years. Thankfully, Theresa Davis is keeping the spirit alive at Ammazza on Sunday nights.

I also took a week off and went to Destin. We got a fantastic Airbnb right across from a private beach and spent five days swimming, eating great food, riding a speedboat, dolphin watching and flying in a helicopter. I also picked up a nasty infection in my left leg that required three antibiotics and a trip to the emergency room because they were worried it might be flesh-eating bacteria. Yikes! Thanks to global warming, the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico is teeming with bacteria. But, hey, the current "administration" thinks climate change is a hoax, so expect Mother Nature to keep taking back her own as we try to destroy her.

There are quite a few big gigs coming up this fall including the Broadleaf Writers Conference Sept. 21-22. I'm on three fiction panels (yep, I'm still wearing fiction hat) at the event along with some fantastic authors like Angie Thomas, Becky Albertalli and Soniah Kamal. Registration is still open for the weekend.

I'm headed back to NYC on Oct. 10 for a reading at Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop with fellow Sibling Rivalry Press poets Kai Coggins, Robert Siek and Stephen Mills. On 12, I'll be at the Rainbow Book Fair in Manhattan, also as part of a Sibling Rivalry showcase.

I'll keep on that fiction hat for a workshop I'm lead at the ArtsXChange on Oct. 23 co-sponsored by Poets & Writers. The annual Voices Carry reading is Oct. 28 and I'll be hosting (and reading) Cecilia Woloch, Karen Head, Megan Volpert and Alice Friman at the Decatur Library in conjunction with Georgia Center for the Book.

There are a couple of big surprise announcements I can't quite discuss yet. One is a dream reading/location coming up in November and the other is co-editing a poetry anthology that has been six years in the making and has finally landed a home.

More soon!

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