As I turn the page on the release week of Real Big American Zen, I’m reflecting on a time of high, swinging emotion that I’m glad to put behind me. I’m incredibly proud of the new collection, the poetry, being able to include a few visual pieces that complimented the written works, the presentation as a whole exceeded my expectations.
Unfortunately, the release has not been without a few hiccups. There have been issues with the availability of the paperback edition through Amazon that’s responsible for a growing number of headaches. My publisher and I continue to monitor the situation and are hopeful for a resolution. I just checked a moment ago, and the paperback version is again available, so don’t wait!
I feel a bit directionless at the moment, which isn’t unusual. There’s a kind of grief that has accompanied the completion and release of each project. The definitive ending of a chapter. A jarring realization of time passing.
I read a piece recently that said writing a poem and hoping to change the world is like dropping rose petals into a well and waiting for a splash. I have no such expectations for my work. I’m driven only by the need to create, to connect. Hoping these words of mine resonate and find a home beyond the one beating in my chest.
Today marks the release of my second collection of poetry, Real Big American Zen, and I wanted to share some thoughts and this sweet picture of my beautiful girls captured by their Momma, Kenzie White.
Sending this collection into the world feels almost cathartic. When I reflect on the impossibly long year that inspired the pieces, my mind immediately snaps back to the uncertainty, the empty store shelves, how my children kept me anchored and focused.
I never set out to write a collection of poems about the headlines of 2020. Still, I was interested in capturing a snapshot of being a parent, a partner, a citizen hoping that the chance of a peaceful life had not vanished.
I hope these pages, these poems, serve you in whatever capacity you need. They’re yours now. Pain, humor, reflection, uncertainty, it’s all there – patting the empty seat and looking at you.
As I lie in this dark room, listening to the soft breathing of my children as they drift to sleep, staring at an endless swirl of red and white stars on the ceiling above, I feel in my bones that it would be a shame to allow this day to pass without a few words for Mr. Bob Dylan on this his 80th birthday.
To myself and so many others, Dylan represents a level of artistry and mystery that feels beyond the reach of mere mortals. A shapeshifting prophet. A boxcar hopping troubadour and supercharged rock ‘n roll icon. Perhaps most importantly, for myself at least, a poet.
Dylan made the language I’d spoken my entire life feel brand new and dangerous. He permitted young writers to create wild impressionistic tapestries with their lines and, by doing so, set free the minds and souls of so many.
Somewhere in the world, someone is doing a much better job than I of paying tribute to the man that so many of us owe so much, so I won’t ramble. Happy Birthday, Bob.
Greetings from a dark room. There’s a title if I’ve ever heard one. I hope this finds you healthy, happy, and ready for the challenges of the week ahead. I know that I feel completely unprepared for the chaos of another Monday morning, but it’s coming either way. My mind is saturated with orphan lines waiting for the spark that brings forth another poem, a home. I keep them close as I know their time will come.
It’s hard to believe that we’re so close to the release of my new book, Real Big American Zen. I’m so grateful for the kind messages and comments I’ve received from folks telling me they’re excited about its release – I’m hopeful the work will resonate and that you’ll find it worthy of your time.
I flipped through the book last night for the first time in a while, trying my best to see it with fresh eyes, and I’m proud to say that I feel strongly for this collection. These poems are as personal as anything I’ve committed to paper, and I believe they capture the spirit of the moment from which they were born. I know that most of us would prefer the shitshow of 2020 to fade from memory as quickly as possible, but there were beautiful moments, beautiful lines waiting to be noticed, and I’m hopeful that some were captured in these pages.
Anyway, I’m off to research new and exciting ways to spread the word. Wish me luck, and let’s talk again soon.
This evening I opened a box and pulled from it the first copies of my new poetry collection, Real Big American Zen.
It hit differently this time around. When I wrote The Year that Stole the Light Away, all I could think of was my grief. When I held the first copy, I felt pride in what I considered a worthy tribute to my Father. This time, I stare at the cover, into the darkness of my own eyes, and feel sure that I will inhabit this skin, this life, fully.
This week I was so wonderfully surprised to find Real Big American Zen on Amazon’s Hot New Releases chart in multiple categories, a result of the support from so many of you purchasing the book and being kind enough to help spread the word. You have my gratitude.
Thanks to all of your help in spreading the word about the new release, Real Big American Zen is now #15 in the Family Poetry and #5 for Inspirational Poetry on the Amazon Hot New Releases Chart! Thank you all!
It’s the beginning of a new week, and as we’re drawing closer to the release of my new poetry collection, Real Big American Zen, I wanted to share some thoughts on the new book and how it came together.
The first poems began to reveal themselves in early April of 2020; I was gearing up for the release of The Year that Stole the Light Away and experienced a roller coaster of emotions revisiting the loss of my Father. Covid had only been considered a global pandemic for a few weeks, and while promoting my then-new collection, I was wondering where I’d go next? I intended to continue writing, creating, but now that my still present grief wasn’t fueling my every thought, I felt a bit directionless.
I knew early in the process that I wasn’t interested in writing pandemic poetry. We were all experiencing this together; we knew the stats, we saw the press conferences, we all had friends who were suddenly experts on infectious diseases. I’ve always found writing to headlines to be a dull and lazy way forward.
As the days passed and the world fell into lockdown, I became increasingly concerned about the effects these things would have on my family and mental health. I knew I would do everything in my power to keep them safe, but was it possible to protect them fully? How would I keep myself above water with depression always lurking just out of sight? What would become of the life we’d worked so hard to build?
These thoughts became the fuel for the poetry that would come in bursts over the next several months.
There are no political lines drawn in the book’s pages; there were/are enough of those everywhere I look.
I worked at these pieces to make sure there was room for you, that you could take and use them as needed, that they would continue to feel vital long after the pandemic had faded from memory.
I’m now trying my best to spread the word about the book and find it more and more challenging. Word-of-mouth means the world to a writer, so feel free to share these posts with your followers.
Each day I bring up a blank page, take the raw thoughts of my mind and give you a piece of myself. Below, a free verse poem born from trying not to take the creative process so seriously.
Poetry From Scratch:
Arrive with nothing No refined ideas, no expectations, no pen, absolutely no fucking paper, no clothes, no memories, no joy, no sadness, absolutely no fucking love, no sex, no hatred, no adverbs, no long fingernails, absolutely no fucking screaming children, no silent children, no algorithms, no fake friends, no real friends, absolutely no fucking family, no powder, no needles, no booze, no sleep, absolutely no fucking pills, no prayer, no meditation, no little statues of Buddha, no crucifix, absolutely no fucking crystals, no music, no paint, no clay, no film, absolutely no fucking textiles no magazines, no blogs, no tabloids, no books, and absolutely NO fucking poetry