A Different Now

Is close enough to exhale on you....

Mark Gibbons reading, with me, Gillian, and Melissa awkwardly waiting our turns, April 2019 at Wave & Circuit, Missoula, photo by the magnificent Glenda Bradshaw

Apologies for another round-up post. I know most of the folks who subscribe probably expect something different from this newsletter but sometimes there’s stuff going on that I feel compelled to talk about. This is one of those times. Hopefully you’ll bear with me….

First Off....

I want to thank everyone for the overwhelming response to the pre-order for my new book of poetry, Descended From a Travel-worn Satchel. It's been far more than I ever dreamed it would be. A few of you have picked up One-Sentence Journal along the way too. Thank you so much, it means everything to me and I hope you find it worth your hard-earned dollars. Meanwhile, if you haven't ordered it yet, but are even MORE intrigued now ... HAVE AT IT!

The Governor Gets One Right

Montana has a new Poet Laureate for 2021/2022 and it's none other than my good friend Mark Gibbons. I couldn’t be happier for him because it is so, so long overdue. Mark, besides being a wonderful poet, is everything you want from a PL; he is active in the community, works with children, and uplifts other poets in town ... as he did when, as editor, he invited me and my friends Mara and Gillian and Kurt to publish books as part of the Montana Poets Series 4 line from FootHills Publishing. I've referred to Mark as my "personal poet laureate" more than once; now he's the entire state's.

He's got a new book out too called In the Weeds. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Funny story about this book. When Mark was putting together his previous book, Mostly Cloudy, he asked me for a blurb. What I came up with ended up being the Introduction to that book … but I’d read the wrong book. Mark is prolific, and he had shared a couple different manuscripts-in-progress with me. I read the wrong one. Which wouldn’t have mattered except I referenced a poem that wasn’t in the book. So he pulled it from one manuscript to the other and no one was the wiser! That’s just how stuff has to go sometimes, friends. We adapt, we overcome … we bait, we switch.

You’ll also notice I wasn’t invited to blurb the new one. There’s probably a reason for that.

Regardless, congrats, Mark. The honor is well-earned, and long deserved.

Gibbons wearing a car wash mitten on his lower face at Charlie B’s a few years ago in more joyful times; pre-pandemic, pre-lots of shit; photo by yours truly

Now Back to All About Me

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a guy named JR Woodward, who became familiar with my work through mutual friends. Woodward is a sociology professor at the Florida State College at Jacksonville. He used to teach at Montana State University in Bozeman, and has been through Missoula, so that's how we became tangled in those webs of connection that seem to sweep up everyone who spends any real time in this tiny neighborhood that comprises the enormous state of Montana. Anyway, Woodward does a podcast called Our Social Landscape. When he told me he'd previously interviewed Willy Vlautin and Patterson Hood, both of whom I'm big admirers of, I said of course I'd love to chat with him. That conversation can now be listened to RIGHT HERE, for those of you who haven't yet gotten weary of hearing me jibber jabber. It was great; JR is a good dude and I'm hoping our ongoing contact continues far into the future.

In Closing

I don’t remember where this hit my radar. It’s an excerpt from a column called “Melting Clocks” that writer/artist Eloghosa Osunde does for the Paris Review. I love it.

You can read the entire column HERE. It’s worth your time.

Everything is so hard right now, isn’t it? With no real signs of it getting better anytime soon either. So be kind out there, friends. Especially to yourselves.