Monthly Archives: November 2012

More Pushcart Nominations for ‘Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer’!

Exciting news! As my book, Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer, was the only book published by River Otter Press in 2012 (it is, in fact, the press’s first book publication to date), the press has chosen to nominate six poems from the book for a Pushcart Prize.

“Main Street,” “Pieta,” “A Family Saga,” “Permaculture,” “I Knew Him Long Before He Began to Forget Himself,” and “Baba Ganoush” have all been chosen to represent River Otter Press at their first Pushcart rodeo. I am not only thrilled, but completely honored. River Otter took a huge gamble with me by choosing my book to be the first one they published, and now they’re taking an even bigger risk by nominating my work for the prize.

Each of these poems is very important to me, and they are most definitely the strongest poems in my book. I completely trust my editor’s choice and can only hope that, if one of these poems does in fact go on to receive a Pushcart Prize, it will bring wider recognition to what is undoubtedly a fantastic press. River Otter already has other books scheduled to come out early next year, and I wish them all the best of luck!

Wish me luck guys! Any support is greatly appreciated!


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Filed under Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer, Grey Sparrow / River Otter Press, My Writing

My poem, ‘Pieta’ has been nominated for a Pushcart!

Woooh! I’m excited (in case you couldn’t tell). One of the poems in my book, Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer — Pietà — has been nominated for a Pushcart!

Originally published in the Summer 2012 print issue of Emerge Literary Journal, this poem was one that I worked on with Darcie Dennigan while I was a student at UConn. I’m honored and humbled to have had this poem nominated for the award.

The Pushcart Prize, for those that don’t know, honors the best poetry, fiction, and nonfiction published by small presses each year. An anthology of the winning works is published annually.

Fingers crossed! Wish me luck!

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On the significance of the personalized rejection letter

Image by Sean MacEntee, Flickr

I received a rejection letter today for a submission I sent out I few months ago, and I’m not going to sugarcoat it: it stings. Every writer will agree that no matter how many times you send something out, no matter how many publishing creds you’ve got under your belt, no matter how many books you may have to your name, a rejection letter will always hurt. But it’s a part of the gig; you need to send stuff out there if you want to be published, and you will, no matter what, get rejection letters.

But there are different kinds of rejections.

The worst, by far, is the standard rejection slip: a message typed up and saved in a word doc that is the go-to rejection for most publications and publishing houses. Simply copy-and-paste into an email and send it on its way. Not personalized in any way, it does little to comfort the writer who receives it. I have received many — many — of these rejection slips.

The rejection I received today was different, though. To begin, the editor actually addressed me by name. I know it could have simply been done by an auto-fill program that takes info from a submission and plops it into the email, but I know it wasn’t. In my submission, I used “Timothy” — in the email, the editor used “Tim”. This is one of the little things that lets a writer know that a human being actually took the time to type a letter up instead of letting a program do it: a slight variation in name.

And then there’s the fact that the editor referred to my submission piece by piece, telling me which submission she was especially sad to have to pass: telling me its strengths, the spots it could still use a little work. I’m pretty sure they haven’t come up with rejection-software that sophisticated yet (though I’m sure publishers are devoted billions of dollars into that project as we speak).

The editor took the time to tell me that she “loved” one poem specifically, but that in considering the issue as a whole it simply would not have fit. And that is something I completely understand. The over-all layout of an issue (or book, or project, or whatever) is very important. No feelings of ill will towards her.

I simply have to thank her, and all editors, for sending out these kinds of rejections. It does so much more than the standard slip does: it offers guidance, it shows the submitter the human side of a business that is slowly becoming more and more automated as time goes on.

And as writers, that’s all we really want. We write so that we can connect to another person, even if it’s through a rejection letter. This one showed me that, even if I won’t be having my poem published in the upcoming issue, I’ve definitely connected with someone. It’s a really nice feeling.

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Filed under Publishing, Submissions, Writing

Are you thankful for your community bookstore?

RJ Julia’s, an independent bookstore based in Madison, CT, is putting together a book of thoughts, poems, and (super)short stories about why people are thankful for their local independent bookstores. The Official Announcement is below. I’m not sure if you need to be a Connecticut resident to participate, but I just wanted to send this out there for everyone to see! Support your Local-Indy everyone!


Thanksgiving is almost here! Are you thankful for community bookstores? Please share your ideas with us and help us make a book! We will be creating a book on our own Espresso Book Machine and selling to raise money for our friends Bank Square Books in Mystic, CT.

Children can submit their thoughts too!

Why I Love My Local Independent Bookstore
Length: Anything from a few words, to a short poe

m, or a
paragraph up to 65 words – even a black and white drawing will work!
All submissions will be included.*
Be sure to include your first name & town – this will be included in the book.Email your submissions to:
Subject line: Why I Love My Local Independent Bookstore
Please share in the body of the email: First name & town you live in – submit by 11/29!

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‘Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer’ now ranked as #1 in Hot New Poetry Releases!

I know it changes by the hour, but I’m super-psyched to see that the book has moved up to the #1 spot for Hot New Poetry Releases! Gahhhhh!

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‘Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer’ ranked #3 in Amazon’s list of Hot New Poetry Releases

So I just saw this today and I was pretty psyched — Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer is ranked as #3 in Amazon’s list of Hot New Poetry Releases! (This means that my book is only slightly cooler than two other new releases) The rankings change by the hour, so it might not be listed as #3 for much longer, but I’ll include the link here if anyone wants to take a look.
Thanks to everyone who has bought the book and supported its publication!

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Linda Vachon, cover artist for “Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer” featured on RedBubble

“les étrangers / les intrus / leur univers” by Linda Vachon, featured artist on

The beautiful image used as the cover art for my book, Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer, is by a Canadian artist named Linda Vachon. Expecting nothing in return, Linda kindly offered to let us use her image, “le temps/son mouvement” — and I can say without a doubt that it captures the undertones of the book. Poetic in its own right, I couldn’t have asked for a better cover. I continue to be flabbergasted by the sheer talent of the people involved in making my book a reality, especially Linda.

We found Linda’s work on an image-sharing website called RedBubble, which allows artists to upload their artwork as portfolios for others to see and purchase in different formats. It is an invaluable resource for publishers looking for amazing art — if you’re in this line of business, take a look!

I was looking through RedBubble today when I saw that Linda had been made a “Featured Artist” on the website. I can’t think of an artist who deserves it more than she does. Take a look at the article and get to know the artwork of this amazing person!

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