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Poems to be read for Nexus Poets – September 1, 2020

At 7 pm EDT on September 1, 2020, I will be the featured poet reading with the Nexus Poets (largely in New Bern, NC). An open mic follows so follow me over on Zoom and bring a contribution of your own.

I will be reading these poems which have been released online in the past few months:

Ode to a Certain Feeling of Optimism from Red Fez
At Seventy from Red Fez
Beach at Corolla, NC from South Writ Large
My Roommate Jeoffry from Light Poetry Magazine
Cicadas from Grand Little Things
Slugs from Vox Poetica
Pigs Eyes from Unbroken
The Trouble with Macaques from Triggerfish Critical Review
Skinnydip in the Millpond from Speckled Trout Review
In Praise of Small Disturbances from 2River 25th Anniversary
Moving from House to House from Broadkill Review (nominated for Best of the Net)

Poetry Publications – May 2020 – 2022 (see Page for most recent)

Accepted for future publication:

Hudson Review.
Geode. 2022.

Triggerfish Critical Review.
smoke fire. July, 2022.

North Carolina Literary Review
At the Watermen’s Dock. Summer, 2022. Honorable Mention. James Applewhite Prize.

Indelible (Feminine Issue).
Betty’s Current Status. February 2022. (First seen in Broadkill Review)
A Place Less Foreign. February 2022.
The Queen’s First Door. February 2022.

8 Poems.
Verse in Which I Should Probably Be More Charitable Towards the Gift of a Book of Mediocre Verse. TBA. 2022.

2020 Ekphrastic Poetry Book from Craven Arts Council and Gallery.
After A Sudden Blow. Print only sometime in 2022.

Available for Reading Now:

Grand Little Things.
All new writing is about grief. February 1, 2022.

O.Henry Magazine.
Pinestraw Magazine.
Against Desirelessness. In O.Henry. January 2022.
Against Desirelessness. In PineStraw. January 2022.
(First publication in Snapdragon: a Journal of Arts and Healing, November 2019).

Silver Birch Press. How To Heal the Earth series
At the Big Sweep. January 16, 2022.

Wine Cellar Press.
Operating System. January 15, 2022.

Red Fez.
Guarding Watermelons. January 13, 2022.
At the Butchers’ Souk. January 13, 2022.

Death Came For The Cardinal. Winter 2021.

As It Ought To Be Magazine
Magnificent Frigatebirds. November 19, 2021.

The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.
25th Anniversary Issue.
Of A Marriage. November, 2021.

Wine Cellar Press.
Triolet of Zoom Impatience October 15, 2021.

Crossing the Rift: North Carolina Poets on 9/11 & Its Aftermath
Joseph Bathanti & David Potorti, editors.
Press 53, publisher.
It Strikes a Contemporary. September 2021.

January Review
My Life as a Scorpion. August, 2021.
My Precious Death. August, 2021.

101 Words.
Tender Tentacle. August 7, 2021.

Wine Cellar Press.
Hot Now! An Ode to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. July, 2021.

O.Henry Magazine.
Pinestraw Magazine.
Walter Magazine.
On An Okra Flower. July, 2021.
—in O.Henry
—in PineStraw
—in Walter.
(First found in Red Fez).

Bare Back Magazine.
Encircling. July 2021. (NSFW)

The Lake
Spiders in the Bathtub. July 2021.

Prime Number Magazine, Issue 197.
Ireland as Seen From a Porch Swing in Hickory, NC. July 1, 2021

Cider Press Review.
Cardinal. Summer 2021.

Indelible (Food and Nurture Issue).
Bread. June 25, 2021.
To a Tuber. June 25, 2021.
Artichokes. June 25, 2021.

Adirondack Review
Traces of a Portrait of Che Guevara on a Wall in Oaxaca. Summer 2021.

Live Nude Poems.
Mellow Gorillas. May 24, 2021.

Grand Little Things
Homage to George Herbert, Invitation of a Damselfly in March, Same Jay Seen Twice. May 20, 2021.

Red Fez.
Red Clay Way. May, 2021.
How Firm a Foundation. May, 2021.

Speckled Trout Review.
Swifts. May, 2021.

Asses of Parnassus
Sndbrg April 20, 2021 and Frst April 28, 2021. (two short poems made shorter as haiku).

Silver Birch Press. Still Waiting Series.
Still Waters. April 20, 2021.

Anti Heroin Chic.
This Old Dog. April 2, 2021.

The Executioner s Love Potion. March 28, 2021.

Ekphrastic Review.
After A Sudden Blow. March 11, 2021.

Silver Birch Press. How To Series.
How I Avoid Assassination and You Can Too. March 10, 2021.

101 Words.
I Do This and That. March 9, 2021.

The South Shore Review.
When The Shadow Took the Day Off. March 7, 2021.

O.Henry Magazine.
Pinestraw Magazine.
Pairing Mantids. March, 2021. (First appeared in Panoply)

The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.
The Disappointment of the Comet Kohoutek. March, 2021.

Literary Yard.
”Emancipation of the Mermaid Tattoo,” “Larger Concerns,” “An Aran Sweater,” “Radio, Bosnia,” and “Against Bird Poems.” February 27, 2021.

Grand Little Things
Two Triolets. “The Saint of the Trees” and “Erasure.” February 5, 2021.

Verse Virtual.
Wine, Age. February, 2021.

Red Fez.
The Impossibility of America. January 14, 2021.
Poem in Which I Forget Myself. January 14, 2021.

Panoply, A Literary Zine.
Pairing Mantids. January 2, 2021.

American Journal of Poetry.
I Too Dislike Them. January, 2021.

Broadkill Review.
Betty s Current Status. January 1, 2021.

As It Ought To Be Magazine
Something Wonderful. December 23, 2020.

The Rusty Truck
Visions of Andrew December 11, 2020.

Thoughts on the Power of Goodness, co-edited by Timothy F. Crowley and Jaki Shelton Green.
Rising with the Moon on Advent Eve. December, 2020.
Print only. Order here

Deuce Coupe Poetry
The Good Butcher and Lunar Exploration December 9, 2020.

Redheaded Stepchild.
Firing Pottery on the Night Before Winter Solstice. Fall 2020.

little death lit.
All the Way Up. Issue 5. Fall 2020.

The Phare.
Can Crows Kiss? November/December 2020.

Grand Little Things
Eastbourne in May. October 28, 2020.

Madness Muse Press
Who Would Not Celebrate the Changes. October 11, 2020.
In one hand, mine. October 11, 2020.

Prime 53 Poem Challenge
One Red Maple. October 1, 2020.

River Heron Review.
Return to Kurdistan. Special Issue. Poems, For Now. September 15, 2020.

Ekphrastic Review.
Unnamed Early 20th Century Burial in St Matthews Episcopal Church Cemetery, Hillsborough, NC (2020). September 8, 2020.

2River View.
25th Anniversary Issue.
In Praise of Small Disturbances. September 1, 2020.
In an Unripe Season September 1, 2020.

Frank Gallery
Essay on Ekphrastic Poetry. August 17, 2020.

Red Fez.
To a Certain Feeling of Optimism. August, 2020.
To Very Small Devices. August, 2020.

Ekphrastic Review.
Lewis Morley’s photograph of Christine Keeler sitting the wrong way round on a copy of an Arne Jacobsen chair (UK) 1963. July 22, 2020.

Grand Little Things
Cicadas. July 21, 2020
Prayer to a Deer in Summer. July 21, 2020

Unbroken Journal.
The Church of Misdirected Saints. July 2020.
Pig’s Eye. July 2020.

Redheaded Stepchild Magazine.
Pulled Up My Socks. Spring 2020.

Vox Poetica Magazine.
Slugs. Spring 2020.

South Writ Large.
Bee Fall. Spring 2020.
Beach at Corolla, NC. Spring 2020.

Third Wednesday Magazine.
The Happiness of Fear. Summer 2020.
An Honest Talk To The Shadow. summer 2020.

Triggerfish Critical Review.
Visiting Lhakdor. July 2020.
The Trouble With Macaques. July 2020.
The Hidden Buddhists of Baikal. July 2020.

Turtle Island Quarterly
Early Fall Full Moon. January 2020.

Broadkill Review
Seventy Three. March/April 2020.
Moving From House to House. March/April 2020

Poetry in May (so far)

This week saw three of my poems published:

  • Slugs in Vox Poetica

    They are so unlovely and unloved

  • Beach at Corolla, NC and Bee Fall in South Writ Large

    Inside the beached whale was a library

    Can goodbyes last past parting
    or are they, like bees visits
    to clover, intense moments
    of working passion, nectar
    searching, the sweet flight begun
    soon after? Home to the hive.

Also I will be going to the Sewanee Writers Conference. Not this year but in 2021 as this year the conference has been COVIDed into Master Classes.
I have not been to such a conference since being at Warren Wilson in the very early 1990 and before that at Breadloaf in the very early 1980s.

Looking forward.

The Great Pestilence of 1855 in Virginia

In June 1855, a ship, the Benjamin Franklin, coming from the West Indes was placed under quarantine in Hampton Roads, Virginia. The captain broke quarantine. 3000 people–1/3 of the population of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va.–died of yellow fever.

The first doctor treating patients to die was Dr Richard Silvester (he thought he might have immunity from previous exposure) in August. In September, his wife Lydia, his son Richard also a Doctor, and a younger son, William, were struck by the fever and died. Before winter, a daughter, Margaret, also died of the fever.

The elder Dr Silvester was my great-great-great-grandfather. The story of how the family was nearly wiped out by the captain breaking quarantine has been in my family since.

Yellow Fever was localized, carried by mosquitoes (that was not understood at the time. Vapors and the like were blamed), but ravaging. Today’s pandemic is at global scale, but the swiftness of the spread, the quarantine, and costs of particular lives echoes the so-called Great Pestilence in Virginia.

(note to myself: add links to this later)

Open tabs, new words

Yesterday, my friend Eric (the Silent K) asked folks on Facebook:

Hey, word-smiths. Is there a word that describes the sensation of doing something normal in abnormal times?

In response, I coined not one but two related words – Abnotopia the sensation of doing something normal in abnormal times and Abnophoria Feeling elation in an abnormally weird or scary time. They’re now in Urban Dictionary. Vote ’em up!

Incidentally some open tabs in my browser:

  1. The Myth of Voice by Sean Igoe in The Lark
  2. “All You Have To Do Is Say The Words” Some notes regarding Robert Hass’s “Summer Snow” by Jonathan Farmer in Believer Magazine’s Logger
  3. Windows, Emily Leithouser’s translation of Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fenêtres in LIterady Matters
  4. Narasimbha – the 4th avatar of Vishnu. The half-man/half-lion avatar is a one time use god. He incarnated, he killed a very bad deamon, and that’s it.

Prosing in Poetry

After being heavily tied to verse, I’ve taken a vacation into prose poems. This despite Robert Pinsky’s warning in his appreciation of Robert Hass’ A Story About the Body:

“A standard form for young poets these days, as the sonnet might have been for another generation, is the prose poem. It seems that most first books must contain one or two prose poems, if only to demonstrate the poet’s ability to manage the form, or awareness of fashion.”

In part this is also driven by my reading through “A Cast Iron Airplane That Can Actually Fly,” an anthology with commentary that includes Robert Hill Long and Charles Fort, which includes a wide variety of prose poems.

I did one prose poem a while back for Triggerfish Critical Review, but now have 3 or 4 more.

Anyone else working in this genre? Have favorite ones? Say Hass’ Paschal Lamb or Carolyn Forche’s The Colonel?

Update: Since posting this I’ve had three new prose poems accepted by Triggerfish Critical Review for their 24th issue due out online in July 2020.

Poems literally on the Moon

A manuscript of my poems was sent to the moon’s surface April 11, 2019 as part of Arch Mission Foundation’s Lunar Library delivered by SpaceIL’s Beresheet lander.

Just my manuscript?

First, let me be a bit more modest. We, Arch Mission, created a library designed to be landed on the moon via SpaceIL. The library contains over 30 million pages of text and images etched into 40 micron thick nickel foils. My manuscript is only about 60 pages of all of that.

All of Project Gutenberg, all of the English language Wikipedia, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (in all of the recognized languages), the PanLex datasets (from the Long Now Foundation, a linguistic key to 5000 languages, with 1.5 billion translations between them), and some “private collections” (the entire works of Peter Drucker, the poetry of Kathleen Spivak, and more) make up a few of the other pages in the library. Some contents are yet to be revealed for various reasons but see The Lunar Library Overview for details on content and on the physical construction of the disks and etching process.

How am I involved with Arch Mission?

I’m on the Advisory Board for the Arch Mission Foundation helping the founder Nova Spivak identify free and open content to represent our human endeavors in the library. I also give advice as to categories of material to include. I was delighted that Nova asked me for a manuscript that might become lunar.

Where is the Lunar Library?

That’s a good question. The Beresheet lander landed really hard. That is to say it crashed on the lunar surface somewhere near or in the Sea of Serenity. The Library could have been ejected or sailed off at impact or… well, we’re not sure. Nova and other team member have created a document that speculates on the fate of the library.

So it’s on the moon. Even likely in one piece. But it’s small and waiting to be discovered.

And there are tardigrades!

At least we think so. Nova (I wasn’t part of this bit) had the library coated with protected resin in which there are, as far as I know, water bears aka tardigrades, embedded. Tardigardes are the roughest creatures on earth and can survive in a state of limbo for a long time under adverse conditions. While their inclusion concerned some people, the very idea that some form of earth life might be part of the library effort is novel.

2017 – 2020 Poetry Publications

Turtle Island Quarterly
Early Fall Full Moon. Issue 18. March 2020.

Broadkill Review
Seventythree. March/April 2020.
Moving From House to House. March/April 2020

Red Fez
At Seventy. Issue 131. January 2020.

Blake-Jones Review
Messengers. December 2019.

Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing
Scavangers. December 2019. Redemption and Grace Issue 5.4.
(digital subscription required)

Speckled Trout Review
Skinnydip in the Mill Pond. Fall 2019.

Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing
Against Desirelessness. November 2019. Broken/Whole Issue 5.3.
(digital subscription required)

The Red Vinegar Sauce. December 2019.
(print only)

Hermit Feathers Review.
Lost Harbor. 2019.
Blue Ridge. 2019.
(print only)

Light: A Journal of Light Verse Since 1992.
My Roommate Joeffry. Winter/Spring 2019.

Red Fez
On an Okra Flower. Issue 117. October 2018. Best of the Net Prize nomination

Trigger Fish Critical Review.
State Mayakovsky Museum. Issue 19. 2018.

PinesongNorth Carolina Poetry Society.
2018 Award Winners:
Start the Game. Joanna Catherine Scott Award – First Place. Pushcart Prize nomination.
Hymn to Cash. Katherine Kennedy McIntyre Light Verse Award – Second Place.
Where I Come From. Mary Ruffin Poole American Heritage Award – First Place.
(print only)

International Lawrence Durrell Society.
She Sails. White Mice Poetry Contest 2017.

North Carolina Literary Review
Basketball is a Kind of Poetry. 2017 (online only) Best of the Net Prize nomination. Honorable Mention in James Applewhite Poetry Contest.
Clear Channel. 2017. (print only). Pushcart Prize nomination. 2nd Place in James Applewhite Poetry Contest.

Enough of #noemail and on to verse

I pretty much quit blogging about not doing email and about the various alternatives in 2016. No, I didn’t decide to pick email back up. I was not only tired of email, but tired of arguing about it. The crushing failure of email to adopt to 21st Century mobile first communications is either 1) obvious or 2) you are too entrenched to ever be convinced by the facts and trends.

Consider the case, like my Inbox, closed. That is closed except for a few dire or important circumstances.

I started this blog in 2004 as Facebook was beginning, 2 years before Twitter started, and 6 years before Instagram was founded. In the beginning, blogs did a lot of what those services do now, but–as you know–link sharing, photo sharing, event sharing, and many other functions have moved to services that do a better job. Blogs are back to being a place personal essays and personal websites. Not a bad place to be, really.

I’ll do a bit more blogging here about poetry publications and the like instead starting now.

Mobile Social Gaming and Messaging – KakaoTalk #noemail

A lunch chat with Sam Oh who is visiting UNC from Korea had me thinking about the variety of ways that chat apps are used in different cultures. Sam briefly explained the history and use of KaKaoTalk in Korea. His story of a Yahoo!-like company’s rebirth as a messaging app that has dominated Korean phones intrigued me so I starting looking for more about KakaoTalk.

The app began as a simple chat app and expanded into KakaoTalk, KakaoStory, KakaoMusic, KakaoGroup, KakaoHome, KakaoPlace, KakaoAlbum, KakaoPage, KakaoStyle, and KakaoAgit. Most of the names explain something about the focus of each service — all mobile oriented and working as a quick sharing service. Kakoa even breaks services off into their own apps — KakaoTaxi, KakaoBus, KakaoMetro etc.

KakaoTalk (according to Sam with details added from Wikipedia) derives its income from three main streams:
Gaming – 67.5% ($31.1M) in 2012. Mobile and social gaming with in game purchases including the Korean “national games,” Ani Pang and Dragon Flight. These games are not only the largest source of income but also serve to keep user engagement very very high — unlike other cleaner purer chat applications. If there is anything that other messaging app or any mobile app could learn from KakaoTalk, it’s how to increase engagement via gaming. Then to use that increased engagement to produce a very effective income stream.
Coupons (instead of banner ads) – 26.2% ($12.1M)
Emoji sales – 6.3% ($2.8M)

In the wake of Pokemon Go, this seem obvious. But if — say a month again — I told you that #noemail systems could be profitable by offering mobile social gaming, I would have gotten and perhaps deserved an eye roll response.

It turns out that this week we are all believers in mobile social gaming with augmented reality. And investors believe that there are profits to be had in that space.

At the moment, investors are seeing mobile social gaming as separate from messaging but KakaoTalk points toward integration as a solution for increasing engagement and income at the same time.

Looking at the top global apps on Android for the first quarter of 2015, Qualtra showed messaging apps dominate with the top four being owned by Facebook (Facebook itself, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram). [note: pre-installed Google apps are not included in the chart]. When it comes to number of sessions and for length of engagement, however, it’s KakaoTalk as number 1 by far.

Qualtra looks at top apps

Outside of Korea although installs of KakoaTalk are a much smaller percentage (in the US 1% of Androids for example), but the length of engagement is still the largest of any messaging app, reports SimilarWeb.

The problem facing KakaoTalk is how to get out of Korea and into other markets in a significant way. Is mobile social gaming integrated into a messaging app an anomaly or a pathway to success? Is KakaoTalk culturally and locally bound to Korea? Is the future to be found more in loosely connected apps for special purposes — a Clash of Clans + GroupMe for now and Pokemon Go + WhatsApp later –?

KakaoTalk logo

Under New Management with #noemail

David Burkus begins his new book, “Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business as Usual” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), with an 11 page chapter commanding companies to “Outlaw Email.” Choosing #noemail as an opening chapter says a lot about the need for communication reform with in companies. But the content is even more compelling.

Burkus isn’t just railing about the evils of email, the delays, the time sinks, the spam, the miscommunication, the stylistic misuse, the passive-aggressive tendencies that email cultivates, or how email creeps into every minute of your life shackling your company’s productivity. Burkus presents proof that you can outlaw email and improve your company’s performance.

Beginning with a reference to the no email policies of Atos SE and ending with the no email on weekends or after hours at Daimler, Burkus fills in the middle with recent research that shows the cost of email and the benefits of using other more effective forms of communications from UC-Irvine and US Army as well as a survey on emotional effects by Marcus Butts and his colleagues.

In short, very good review of the most recent practice and research told well.

Burkus, himself, tells the story more briefly in the most recent Harvard Business Review as “Some Companies Are Banning Email and Getting More Done” (June 8, 2016).

“Clearing out your email inbox can make you feel like you’re ultra-productive, but unless your job description is solely to delete emails, you’re likely just fooling yourself.”

Under New Management

Year Five of #noemail Part 5 – Collaboration, a Short Rant

via Orange County

The very first reason that I posited that email needed to die and that its death would be welcome sooner than later is that every day we have a greater reliance of open collaboration than ever before. This is. at the moment at least, now doctrine. In the past 24 hours, I’ve hear that from both candidate’s for the Governorship of the state of North Carolina. That’s about the only thing they agreed on.

What passes for collaboration and what facilitates group work is open for debate. Of course, a number of kludges immediately rose to the challenge. Everyone with a product or a consulting investment had an answer.
Email was at first pitched as an effective collaboration tool. What a great idea! You don’t need new technology to help you; you only need to be instructed in how to properly use email. The problem is that the learning or relearning in context is extremely difficult for humans. You can get some slight improvements. But it was immediately clear that smart calendars, simple meeting schedulers (like Doodle), collaborative writing spaces (like Google Docs), chat spaces (like Slack and HipChat) were much more effective and that the work done with those tools was almost immediately better and more satisfaction — as seen by their very quick adoption.

As I like to say it may take a short while but soon makers of tools rush in where those with older angles have already trod.

Attempts to retrofit email to make it more friendly to or at least tolerant of collaboration are numerous. I mentioned two attempts at making the in-box smarter by applying AI and machine learning in Part 1. Verse from IBM and InBox from Google. Other mail interfaces continue to kludge along as if they are a 20 century disco act at Bonnaroo. I’m looking at you Outlook.

Collaboration needs support in a variety of contexts – as I will describe later – as we see each new tool arrive, some failing and some immediately useful, we recognize how email fails us. Collaboration requires stronger context, better threading, better time shifting tools, a stronger knowledge base, and a degree of simplicity that email has never achieved

Year Five of #noemail Part 4 – Spam, Spam, Spam

Spam by Brownpau

Back when Spam was merely canned spiced shoulder of ham, we had junk mail. It came and still comes to our physical mail boxes just as surely and regularly as robo-calls come to our voice mail in-boxes. Passing some opt-out laws and restrictions helped stem the tide of junk mail somewhat. It as easy to toss in the recycle in any case. In the case of robo-calls, mandated do not call lists helped a lot. It seemed that junk robo-intrusions into our communications streams could be handled by some sort of legal relief — at least in the US.

In one recent instance legal recourse has proven to be helpful as the advertising spam industry has unified with fewer players. In 2015, FTC action against a California-based diet pill spammer resulted in not only a settlement that included a $43 million fine but also resulted in an overall reduction in spam in the phrama sector of almost 80%.

But overall, spam in email turned out to be different than junk mail and robo-calls. Global in design and reach, less costly to the sender, rarely stifled at the source, more easily disguised and overall more insidious, spam and anti-spam efforts have obsessed some of the best minds of our generation.

As a result of this hard brain work, we now have cleaner in-boxes but we also see plaintive sentences when we order from some sites asking us, warning us to please white list their email addresses (thereby opening ourselves up to their spam) or even more annoying “If you do not see our response, please inspect your spam folder.” One word of advice: Don’t unless you are desperate or want to be shocked by what has been rightly hidden from you.

I haven’t missed spam over the past five years, but I think spam has missed me. Recent reports at that spam is in decline. According to Symantec, spam is down as a percentage of total email sent for the first time in 12 years of measurement (as of June 2015). Spam has proven to be less effective for sales, but still very effective in delivering phishing schemes, malware and ransomware.

That is to say that spam, which was once mostly an annoying waste of time, is now more likely to be lethal — well, at least to have very bad consequences. We get less spam but instead of marketing green coffee or acai berries, we are deceived into entering our banking passwords or to send our contact lists to the fraudsters in the background for further exploitation.

Social media or even encrypted messaging systems are not completely free of spam. But the nature of whitelisting by default reduces automated spam greatly. I never get spammed on Slack. Facebook is fairly good at sorting out spam messages, but yes there are invitations that you just should not accept. My messaging systems are spam free as in LinkedIn — save the odd invite. Invite in and of themselves are annoyances; they do not — at the moment — include a payload of malware.

But there may be something to be said for spam even if somewhat tongue in cheek. Finn Brunton, in his lovely if somewhat twisted “Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet,” (MIT, 2013) writes “Indeed, from a certain perverse perspective–one with consequences for my argument–spam can be presented as the Internet’s infrastructure used maximally and most efficiently, for a certain value of ‘use.’” Soon after Brunton acknowledges that “[t]his description is obviously ludicrous, a panegyric of pure function, while still being true.”

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