A memoir of mental illness you shouldn’t miss

One of my dearest friends has just published a memoir of mental illness and I can’t recommend it enough. Unflinchingly honest, open, and incredibly generous, “Love & Theft” bravely shares Jocelyn Patten’s decades long struggle with schizoaffective disorder (yes, it’s possible to be plagued by both bipolar illness and schizophrenia, which seems like cosmic sh*t of the highest order).

It’s painful, full of insight, and also ultimately uplifting, because Jocelyn has survived and found meaning in a life beset by truly crazy-making amounts of struggle.

Read this book, share this book – head on over to Goodreads where multiple options to purchase the book are shared, and there are some great reviews.

The book cover for Love + Theft: A Memoir of Mental Illness by Jocelyn Patten

Or just go to Jocelyn’s website.

New poem in The Ekphrastic Review

Although I love to read Ekphrastic poems, which are poems written in response to visual art, it’s not a form I’ve experimented with very much.

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We Were the Wild Hunt by Myna Chang

I’ve realized recently how important it is to share short works — poems, creative non fiction, flash CNF — that I’ve read and been bowled over by. The audience for a lot of short literary work is narrow, and can always do with being boosted.

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A Poem on the Eh Poetry Podcast

I’m so chuffed to be included in a new Canadian poetry podcast, by poet Jason E. Coombs.

Jason’s vision is for a podcast that allows you to hear poems read in the same way you’d listen to a new or favourite song: on repeat.

The idea is simple; after a short intro, he reads the featured poem in each episode three times, no need to rewind or replay, just listen.

Episode #10 features my poem “Battery Acid”, originally published by the The League of Canadian Poets in Fresh Voices.

Eh Poetry Podcast – Canadian poems read 3 times – New Episodes six days a week!

Two Poems in Please See Me

I’ve followed literary journals with a medical / health focus right from the start and have always loved the work shared in Please See Me. I was thrilled to have not just one, but two poems selected for issue #10, with its focus on women’s health.

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Poem in Whale Road Review, Issue 26

One of the great pleasures of writing poetry is reading poetry, and the launch of an issue that includes a poem of mine is always exciting for all of the new work it introduces to the world and to me.

Birds Like Bombs

I wrote the poem included in this issue a year ago, when the part of the world where I live was much as it is now, emerging from a long winter. It’s a thrill to see it in print.

My poem even makes an appearance in Editor-in-Chief Katie Manning’s intro to the issue, which was a lovely surprise:

Welcome to the Spring 2022 issue of Whale Road Review! In these creative pieces, you’ll find the gardens and birds you might expect in a spring issue, but some of these gardens are haunted, and some of the birds are like bombs.

Cover art for Issue 26 of Whale Road Review in spring 2022. Click to read the issue.

I’m loving reading every piece in this issue.

Poem in Prism International

In the fall of 2021 I had a poem appear in the “Wonder” themed issue of Prism International, an excellent journal based in Vancouver, BC. Now that the next issue has appeared (also full of excellent work), I feel I can share screenshots from Issue 60.1, “Wonder”, in which my poem first appeared.

The experience of working with Prism’s Poetry Editor Emily Chou was fantastic and I hope I might get the chance to do so again in future.

You can download a short PDF with the cover and my poem “Birds in the Very Early Universe” below.

The cover of Prism International, Fall 2021, on the theme of "Wonder"
It’s still possible to purchase the Wonder issue from the Prism International archive.

New work appearing in 2022

I’m very excited about a number of poems forthcoming in journals in 2022, including ones in “Whale Road Review”, “Crosswinds Poetry Journal”, “Please See Me” (a journal with a medical/health focus), and “The Journal of Undiscovered Poets”, as well as an essay that will appear in 2023 in “Lake Effect” out of Penn State in the United States.

A real high point for me will be having a poem appear in “December Magazine”, a print journal that’s been around since 1958. The poem is actually two variations on a poem that I wrote in imagined conversation with the incredible US poet Marvin Bell, who served as an Advisory Editor to the magazine before his passing in 2020. The poem addresses the notion of poetic devices. I’m beyond thrilled that the editors of December Magazine loved the variations and will print them in an upcoming issue of this exceptional literary journal.

An excellent interview with Bell, along with three of his poems, was shared by December Magazine at the end of 2020, immediately following his death.

Video interview with Hammond House

The awards for the Hammond House Publishing literary contest were given on February 9th in the UK. It wasn’t a trip I could make, so I took part in a video interview, which I’m sharing here. The 2022 Literary Festival run by Hammond House was held at University Centre Grimsby.

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First prize in Poetry category of Hammond House Publishing contest

When I noticed the “Stardust” theme of this year’s Hammond House Publishing literary contest, I knew I’d have to submit a few poems. That theme is right up my alley in so many ways.

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