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Happy April!

Thank you, new and current subscribers.
This is the fifth issue.

August 1993, Indiana

Here in the Ozarks, it has been a deliciously rainy March, with promises of the same for early April while the Bradford pears have led off the blooming pageantry amid the greenest of grasses.

For those of you who have read the previous newsletters, then you’ll know that I’ve been writing about my life (and writing life) in a loose, chronological way. This installment brings us to my time in graduate school at Indiana State University in Terre Haute.

In the spring of 1992, I lived in Albuquerque with two wonderful, smart, female friends in an old Victorian home near downtown (a much different downtown than it is today; it was rougher, wilder, hippier then). We had a big ole front porch, and there were lots of good times at that house with friends and neighbors.

I was doing the things one would expect of a young poet: reading poetry and religious texts (like the Bhagavad Gita), enjoying the biography of Mahatma Gandhi, bolstering my vegetarian ways, working odd jobs, drinking wine, listening to both grunge and punk music, writing some, and trying my best to thrive in a love relationship.

Deep down, I knew I wanted to become a better writer though I wasn’t sure if it was poetry or fiction that I was after. One afternoon, a mentor from my undergraduate days called me and inquired what I was up to. He encouraged me to apply for graduate studies at Indiana State, which I did. On the phone, my mentor said, “You could learn a lot by studying poetry with Matt Brennan at Indiana State.” He was right.

I spent two years in Terre Haute where I learned much. Always a rural boy at heart, I enjoyed the landscape there, which included this miracle of corn in August, that I’m apparently enthusiastic about in the photo above.

The poem below, “29 August,” is based on an experience I had once—in awe of the flowing corn around me when I stopped to admire it one day on a drive.

This poem is still rough by my strict critical standards now—but in the poem, I can see a writer becoming. That opening is pretty strong. The taffeta dress is an interesting metaphor although I leave the analogy and don’t return (a no no!). I like the terseness of the poem to imply the simplicity of the human being trying to understand nature (which the narrator cannot). And this is a nature that is here and then it isn’t (as Annie Dillard eloquently describes via the flash of a deer in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, if you need a nonfiction nature-appreciating fix).

It's April, so it’ll be a while yet that Hoosiers and Ozarkers see corn come to fruition. Yet it is the time of seeds and rebirth. Happy April to you!

Good News

I was thrilled to have my poem, “Fruit,” read by Timothy Arliss O’Brien on his podcast, The Poet Heroic.

My poem is at minute 3:10, but I wouldn’t miss out on the other good stuff though!
Spotify
Apple
Google

Books
In just 2 weeks . . .
April 19th
Tornado Drill

Yep, we are almost there.

On April 19th, Tornado Drill, will be released from Aldrich Press.

Read about Tornado Drill here.

Want to preorder the book now? Sure thing!

Events

BOOK SIGNING
May 19, 6-9 pm
Wages Brewery, 1382 Bill Virdon, West Plains, MO

Kickstarter Successful!

With the support of 49 amazing folks (some of whom are reading this newsletter, thank you!), my recent Kickstarter campaign was fully funded in order to pay for the publicity package (hire a publicist, send out review copies) for Tornado Drill. Yay! A couple of reviews are in the works, and I look forward to sharing those with you.

Recs

Here are some things Bowie and I have been reading, watching,
or listening to that we recommend.


PRINT: The Country Girls (trilogy) (1960, 1962, 1964) by Edna O’Brien.
I mentioned these last month, and I finished up the trilogy. They are so good. I’ll share what I’m reading now (and hopefully finished with!) in next month's newsletter.

ONLINE: “Our Fat Bodies Are Not Your Metaphors.”
Compelling piece by Marquisele Mercedes.

FILM: National Treasure (2004)
I am not a film snob, and sometimes my spirit needs a fun action-adventure flick, and this one fits the bill. Sure, it’s a little hokey at times, but it sure is fun.

Tools for Writers

Tools is on hiatus this month.

But if you know a must-have tool for writers whether physical or of the ether (like software or an app), please drop me a line and I’ll give you cred for sharing it and discussing it.

About me

I am a poet and writer who lives in the Missouri Ozarks. I studied literature at Ottawa University and Indiana State. I’m a Midwesterner through and through. I love nature, running, quinoa with greens, and cheating on my diet regularly with chocolate.

My work is supported in part by my literary patrons at Patreon.
It might sound cliché, but I’d be lost without them.
Their monetary and emotional support buoys my spirit, allows me more time to work and dream, and it helps me be accountable for my mantra:
“Do the Work. Ship the Work. Serve.”

With a monthly or annual monetary subscription, patrons get early access to material, special offers, personalized poems, and much more, depending on one’s level. If you’re not already a patron, we’d love
to have you join us.

Learn more about my Patreon

Thank you.

Thanks for reading.
Feel free to hit reply and send me a message.
I’d love to hear from you.

Warmly from the Ozarks,