The past several months have been a whirlwind. Where to begin?
Several dear friends have passed away recently: Kay Easterling (November 10th), Helen Shepard (December 26th), Haymond Holcomb (January 25th), William Merricle (February 5th), and Jake Pavlica (February 12th). Also during this same time my partner lost her aunt and my cousin lost her partner. My deepest sympathies go out to all who loved them. And then February 8th was the fifth anniversary of Geri's passing. This all on the heels of so many other losses in recent years. I would like to say more about some of these, but such words are difficult for me at the moment.
While I'm here, though, I will update you on what else has been going on in my life (some of which you may already know if you follow my social media posts).
After a couple of years of having a ton of poetry events canceled (or not scheduled at all) due to the pandemic, I have a lot more things on my 2022 calendar. I emceed an in-person Ekphrastacy program on February 17th at Heights Arts and I have about twenty more poetry events confirmed (so far) for the rest of this year, beginning with a March 12th reading at Visible Voice Books with visiting poets Austin Davis (from Arizona), Brooke Nicole Plummer (Michigan) and Tim Heerdink (Indiana). (Click here to see the full event list, which is still being updated.)
My eighteen-year old granddaughter moved in with us on February 1st.
Also in February, I finished writing my first chapbook since 2017, You Can't Trust It to Remain, which will be published by Between Shadows Press on April 1st.
I'm serving on Heights Arts' Heights Writes Community Team and Lit Youngstown's Fall Literary Festival planning committee. And I still help maintain the northeast Ohio literary calendar at clevelandpoetry.com (I have another list of events I plan to add to it today).
Two of my poems appear in the new anthology I Thought I Heard a Cardinal Sing: Ohio's Appalachian Voices (edited by Ohio Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour).
Crisis Chronicles Press has gotten super busy again, working on publishing at least ten books in 2022 (after only publishing two in 2020 and one in 2021). It was a big deal to me to get William Merricle's Contempt of Gravity published in January before he passed away. When I got sick for three weeks in December and had difficulty working, I feared that it might not get done in time.
It also feels huge to have finally published Lisa Cihlar's Before the Next Ice Age. She first submitted it to me (with a different title) in December 2014. Talk about a long journey to publication. But once I finally received her perfect cover art in November, the process sped up and that became our second book of the year.
I'm currently working on our next three titles: Arroyo Chamisa by Alex Gildzen (due out in March), 47 Poems by Victor Clevenger (April 7th) and Ouroboros by Chansonette Buck with art by Jillian Mardin (April 22nd).
After that, Crisis Chronicles and I will team up with Tohm Bakelas and Between Shadows to put out a huge collection of poems by Kent Taylor.
Then later in the year (and likely into 2023), Crisis Chronicles plans to publish works by Brandon Johnson, Christopher Franke, Chris Howey, John Dorsey and Judith Mansour.
And well, I could keep going. There's always more. But I think I'd better stop writing this and get back to work.
I'm grateful for you.