- Our Dead Behind Us by Audre Lorde
- “What Kind of Times Are These” by Adrienne Rich
- “Myth” by Muriel Rukeyser
- “Sewing Feathers” by Jennifer Givhan
- “Tangerine Trees & Little Bags of Sugar” by Su Cho
- “The Letter” by Mary Ruefle
- “Little Exercise” by Elizabeth Bishop
- “Postfeminism” by Brenda Shaughnessy
- “Echo” by Raymond Antrobus
Starting the year off, a longer poem of mine has been published in the newest issue of the South Florida Poetry Journal. There’s also an audio recording if you’d like to hear it aloud and follow along. The editors invited me to do a reading – my very first reading anywhere – at the Broward County Library. I don’t like public speaking and I was nervous, but I think it went well. I met poet Denise Duhamel and she signed my copy of her latest book. She was funny and full of infectious energy. She teaches poetry at my alma mater and was trying to convince me to pursue an MFA. I still think about it from time to time.
More good news: I was recently named a finalist for the 2016 Lascaux Prize in Poetry. My poem will be published in an upcoming anthology alongside the other finalists and winner. The poem was inspired by “A Chinese Banquet” by Kitty Tsui. Please do yourself a favor and read her work. Her poems are coming back into print soon, which I’m very excited about.
I’m working towards a full-length collection and have figured out its structure. It’s helping to push me forward, along with a fresh spreadsheet keeping track of all my rejections/acceptances. I’m hoping these neuroses turn into something I can eventually hold in my hands and hug to my chest.
- “The Third Stage” by Kendra Fortmeyer
- “Stepping Over My Shadow and Stepping Into Another” by Adam Clay
- “Dis Mem Ber” by Joyce Carol Oates, in Boulevard #94
- “We May Be Like Fish” by Anna Lea Jancewicz
- Issue #19 of the Adroit Journal
- Poetry, February 2017 issue
- The daily poetry found at the Rise Up Review, for these politically turbulent times
- Issue #6 of the Blueshift Journal
- Helen McClory’s TinyLetter, which features a weekly spotlight on overlooked books that deserve more love
- “Rock the Arts” pin
- “Gamer Pride” pin
- Florence + the Machine concert headline
- GaymerX pass w/ name and preferred pronoun
- Ticket stubs for Bonnie Raitt concert, Mary Chapin Carpenter w/ Rose Cousins concert
- Invitation to surprise party celebrating friend’s parents’ 30th anniversary
- Business card from my favorite used bookstore, Finding Forrester’s Books
- Express pass for Universal Studios
- Key card from Portofino Bay Hotel
- Halloween skull pen given to me by coworker, complete w/ glowing eyes and demonic noises
- Map from San Antonio Museum of Art
- Map from San Francisco Botanical Garden
- Pamphlet from San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers
This year was certainly a year. It was full of good and full of godawful, in equal measure. High peaks and deep valleys. However, I know most people want it to just end already due to all the political outrage and deaths of several cultural icons (and subsequently, many childhoods). I know there’s a lot of uncertainty in the air. Thunder rolling in, all the twitching and panic while we wait for more omens as evidence of the inevitable American apocalypse.
On a smaller level, in my little bubble, there has been a lot to celebrate. For one, this year has been full of wonderful music. Sounds and lyrics that allow you to walk on air. Music played around the house and blasted in my ears at work. I went to several concerts with my boyfriend, including seeing Florence + the Machine, Bonnie Raitt, and Rose Cousins. Almost every day I woke up with a song in my head.
This year I became a vegetarian. Well, technically, a pescatarian. It hasn’t been as challenging as people make it out to be. I don’t have cravings for anything. I still get to have chocolate and that’s all that really matters.
We tried growing a little garden in the backyard. It was a failure. Partially due to the severe summer heat, partially due to laziness. But our trees gave us plenty of fruit this year. Our lychee tree yielded hundreds and hundreds of lychees. We made a sweet sorbet. We picked lemons from our lemon tree and made lemonade.
There has been traveling and a lot of exploration. We visited California and Texas. We attended our first videogame convention, GaymerX. I fell in love with San Francisco and dream of having a second home there.
Oh, and I got engaged. It is still surreal and absolutely wonderful. What would teenage Joey think?
I got promoted as an editor at my real life job. I conducted interviews with journal editors at The Review Review. My poem, “Pugnacious Boy” – the only piece of writing I had published this year – was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I read some books this year, but mostly poetry and literary journals (those received to review and those received after submitting to contests). I need to read more. We all need to read more. Especially in 2017. Books improve our capacity for empathy. Empathy allows compassion for other human beings.
Empathy has been the word for some time now. But empathy should always be the word.
And now, here’s the obligatory favorite lists that helped to define my year.
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell
Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Our Lady of the Ruins by Traci Brimhall
Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros
3arabi Song by Zeina Hashem Beck
Pagan Love Songs by Gavin Geoffrey Dillard
I Felt Their Teeth in My Bones by Magen Cubed
In Their Arms by Thomas Moore
The Lonely City by Olivia Laing
CALYX: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women
Witch Craft Magazine
Luna Luna Magazine
Glass: A Journal of Poetry
Burning House Press
The Shallow Ends
Rise Up Review
The Lady in the Van
Holding the Man
People Places Things
Kubo and the Two Strings
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Daria (1,871st rewatch)
Jane the Virgin
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
The West Wing
Mortal Kombat X
Lego Marvel Avengers
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
Rune Factory 4 (again, and probably forever)
Black Desert Online
Song of the Deep
Read Only Memories
Silent Hill 2
To the Faithful Departed by The Cranberries
Shepherd Moon by Enya
Mexican Moon by Concrete Blonde
Goddess by Banks
This Is Acting by Sia
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by Florence + the Machine
Cry Baby by Melanie Martinez
Stay Gold by First Aid Kit
Every Open Eye by CHVRCHES
Hopelessness by ANONHI
All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend by Aurora
Kaleidoscope Heart by Sara Bareilles
The Whole Story by Kate Bush
Strange Little Birds by Garbage