Always a Bridesmaid

Second place! Vallum Award for Poetry 2011

My entry for this contest got a lot of bang for its buck. I submitted three poems: the first, “Alkahest,” had to be withdrawn when it was accepted for publication by Petrichor Machine; the second, “Tryst,” also had to be withdrawn when it was taken by Sugar House Review; and the third, “Veninum Lupinum,” won second prize and got me some cash and another publication credit. I think that’s the highest density of good luck I’ve ever encountered.

This is the first writing award I’ve gotten since—wait for it—1993, in college. (Dinosaurs roamed the earth, and we used baby woolly mammoths as vacuum cleaners.) That time it was the Boit Manuscript Prize for Poetry, and that was also a second-place win. Interestingly, there was no first place winner. When I asked the judges what had happened to first prize, they said that they didn’t award one because they felt that none of the entries was good enough to warrant one.

Oh, snap. In other words, my entry was the best they received; it just wasn’t first-place material. Of course, by awarding me second place instead of first place, they also saved themselves $125 in prize money, which probably bought them a fair amount of liquor that night.

Historical note: I also placed second in the Boit Manuscript Prize for Drama the year before, for a one-act play I’d written about a guy who misdials a suicide hotline and gets his ex-girlfriend working a phone sex line instead. Good times, good times.

So apparently I’m a second-place kinda guy. But as a good friend pointed out, silver’s prettier than gold anyway.

Stomping on Baby Tomato

Liebamour issue 3 is out, which includes my poem “Change of Address,” newly-moved from the password-protected vault to the public archives. It took a bit of a formatting tumble in the move to the printed page, so the version on this site is the version I intended people to read.

Got a rejection from Cave Wall, but finished a draft of a new poem, so my backlog now stands at 13 poems and 24 submissions. I’ve barely been submitting anything lately, but hope to catch up soon. Soonish. Maybe.

Instead, I’ve been spending a whole lot of time laying out the first issue of Constellations, which has been a blast. It’s nearly done; I’m waiting on a bio or two, and I need to get the art in there and then send proofs to the contributors in case any errors crept in. After that, we’ll do a test copy and see what we get. I’m just the hired help for this project, but it’s really got me thinking that maybe in my voluminous spare time I could actually put out my own journal, which has been a lurking want for a while, now. Back at the dawn of time I put out four issues of a zine called Happy Meal that people generally liked, and I had a lot of fun with it. I miss that.

In the meantime, I’ll be crossing all the fingers I have and more until the Vallum Award for Poetry results are posted on Wednesday. Please send good luck and calming vibes my way.