“An Unexpected Guest” is out today! (& a poetry sale announcement)

Today is the publication day of my poem “An Unexpected Guest” in Liminality Magazine! I’m awfully excited to be appearing among such wonderful poems, but hope you take a little detour to read Amy Fant’s Tasseography of English Breakfast Tea at 30,000 Feet and Jennifer Linnea’s The Night Before an Interstellar Journey especially, two poems that gripped me when I first read them and I keep thinking about. But the whole issue is incredible, and you should savor it.

This poem is a sequel-of-sorts to an earlier poem published there, titled “The Haunting”. The Haunting is the story of a ghostly possession; this poem is from the point of view of the ghost, himself haunted by remnants of WWI, where he became disabled. The narrator of today’s poem, Geoffrey, is a longstanding character of mine who is the subject of a novel I am writing with my wife, one of the main characters of our alternate history America where faeries invade during the 1919 influenza epidemic (though, he is not troubled by embodiment issues there). He is, in this poem as elsewhere, disabled, queer, a trauma survivor, and a native of my adolescent home, Virginia. My own experiences with PTSD shape this poem a little bit — it’s one of several of my published works on the theme.

This poem also appears on the anniversary of my first publication. Liminality was the very special venue where I first appeared in print, in their very first issue. One of the things about this magazine that gives it its unique voice and vision is the willingness of the editors to take risks on new authors. It has become one of my go to venue to discover poets published for the first time — new poets and old favorites always color the pages. Many writers will tell you the first publication is the one that makes all the rest possible. For a magazine to take chances on so many new poets is exciting and important.

In the year since that first sale I have received eight acceptances and five publications. This number is astonishing to me. Hard work goes on; there are always poems on the market (many more than get published!) and I get more nos than yeses on the whole (I expect that will always be true). But to be 12 months in and have a publishing history I am extremely proud of is amazing to me — the community of fellow poets and readers I have discovered has made this, and so much more, possible.

I have also sold my poem “I Am Alive” to Strange Horizons. This is a really exciting moment for me and I can barely wrap my head around it. This poem, which comes out of my an experience I had several years ago during a car accident, is one of the most personal things I have ever written and I am very excited I will be able to share it with you. Like today’s poem, it grapples with surviving — and not surviving — the things which almost kill us (and indeed, surviving those which do kill us).

The other thing that excites me is the venue itself. Strange Horizons is one of those places I have always dreamed of selling to. It is one of my favorite poetry venues and now I am going to appear in their archives alongside some of my absolute favorite poems. Every time I think about it I get excited again.

Strange Horizons is running their fundraiser right now so check that out too and donate if you can or signal boost. Jane Yolen, who opens the Liminality issue with some Russian folklore, also just got published in Strange Horizon’s Fund Drive Bonus Issue, so if you want more, read her poem The Truth About Briars and go donate so Strange Horizons can continue to publish wonderful, cutting edge work the world needs. I’m especially looking forward to the poems coming at the $11,000 mark, myself.

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