Tupelo & Beyond

Kara Dunston designed the new logo, website banner and, this, new business card.
Kara Dunston designed the new logo, website banner and this new business card.

Last week I had the pleasure of launching the new issue of Tupelo Quarterly. I’m biased, but it’s an incredible collection of work. Some of the highlights for me include poems by Jane Wong, Keith Leonard and John Surowiecki, fiction by Joanna Ruocco, and visual art by Lori Nix, Mollie Hosmer-Dillard and Felicia van Bork.

The issue also gave me an opportunity to honor the work of Allen Grossman in the wake of his passing over the summer. His essays and poems mean a great deal to me, and I just hope the piece I wrote does him justice. Andrea Applebee also wrote about Allen Grossman (in a really wonderful fashion), so we were able to feature them together. Here is an except from mine:

The more I read of Grossman’s work, the more I experience poetry as he explains, as “riveting because of the implicit promise of secular techniques of negotiating the violence within discourse, which means renegotiation of the relation between the individual and the collective.” This is not a mere fanboy’s admiration; this is an unveiling of the world by a bearer of truth. And although Grossman’s proclamations—about “the violence within discourse,” about “bitter logic” and poetry’s sanctified state as artifact—may seem arch to some, I believe they are exactly what we need to keep our culture’s Devaluation Machine™ at bay.

Elsewhere, these past months have seen poems of mine pop up in recent issues of Gulf Coast, Drunken Boat, Word For/Word and Verse Daily—my deepest thanks to those editors who’ve given my poems a home. Also, there’s a new issue and re-launch of The California Journal of Poetics afoot, and I’m very eager to read it. We should all be on the lookout for that.