Book Tour 2014: Getting Your Work Out There

Now is a great time to be a broke ass writer, and there never was a better kind of broke ass writer to be than a poet.   There are always lots of writers groups around.  I belong to an interesting group of poets who publish a magazine during the winter months.  There are nine of us and we publish only nine editions of nine volumes.  Each of us writes a poem a month, and we send it to an appointed editor for the month.  That editor copies the poems and makes up a cover and mails (that's right actually mails) a physical copy of the poems out to each poet.  If we feel like commenting on the poems we do.  Mostly we don't.   All of the poets except for two, I think, are professors at various universities.  I think they are very fine poets.  I was invited in by a poet who was teaching in Fairbanks, and when he didn't get tenure he hoofed it back to the midwest and invited me in to keep in touch with some of the people he had met up North.  I'm not mentioning all their names because I don't have their permission to talk about the group.  I guess it's kind of like Fight Club.  I'll probably be killed at the first meeting.  If there ever is a meeting...if there really is such a club.  

I only mention this because it's a great way to create your own zine, and it's a good way to discipline yourself.  One poem a month doesn't sound like a lot would be surprised particularly if you get good poets in your group it ups your game.  My book of poems for my book of poetry was 75 percent filled with poems I wrote for this group.  

Here is my poem for February,  not all that great...but I got it done. The title comes from the story Teddy  by J.D. Salinger.





Wind in the desert

and sand rises above the ridge lines

so that the moon, when it rises

shows itself first, as blood orange

on the horizon. 

A raucous bird, I do not know 

mocks me from a Palm tree 

and a pack of coyotes yip in the dark.  


I am far from my home country

and I hardly know who I am.

Yet, I believe this is the same moon 

that has chilled my bones 

up north so many times before

and this is the same night that will cover me 

like the shadow of the owl’s wing 

lifting from the island

in my home country

or someone else’s

country all together. 


John Straley, Borrego Springs, CA