I am excited to announce that the Friends of Roethke foundation has invited me to perform selections from my poem collection, Carbon Footprint, during a weekend-long celebration of the Theodore Roethke House/Museum’s re-opening in Saginaw, MI. It’s an honor to be featured as the first night’s reader considering Roethke has been a significant inspiration in my own work. Additionally, this marks my first live (in person) poetry reading ever. This event is outside and on Thursday, August 12 at 8:00 p.m.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a year since my first collection, Carbon Footprint, was released by Alien Buddha Press. During this busy summer, I’ve reflectively flipped through old dusty journals I’ve kept since being a teenager. Often, my angsty past-self wrote swaths of entries pining over the thought of finally having a collection accepted and published. Unfortunately, my own self-doubts combined with frequent rejections discouraged me from putting my work out into the world for the first 15 years of my life.
Now, 15 years later, that distant dream has become a reality. In fact, this is a reality that I’m still processing. Part of the difficulty processing any success as a writer involves overcoming this subliminal conditioning many of us have ingrained within. We writers often spend much of our lives navigating spaces and conversations where we’re shamed for loving our craft and scoffed at for our hope of success. We trudge through a thick field of muck steaming with statements like: “there’s no money in writing” or “make time for more important things.” Unfortunately, I’ve allowed these statements and a smattering of rejections to extinguish my desire to write and put my work out into the world for a long time.
Recently, my therapist encouraged me to celebrate my successes because the words and bits of discouragement over the years have always made me want to reduce myself gracefully, because that’s what was always expected. The Donny of the past always believed that there was an inherent selfishness in acknowledging personal successes. If I could go back in time and tell that sad, hopeless writer that he’d have a top selling LGBTQ+ poem collection, have over 40 individual poems published, and have a poem nominated for the Pushcart Prize, I would. As miserable as 2020-2021 has been for the entire world (myself included), I’m at least grateful the standstill has given me the opportunity to break down that conditioning, re-forge myself as a writer, and use this process in my own conversations as an educator working with aspiring writers.
No more shame. No more silence. No more hesitation. This past year has been a successful one for me on the writing front and may it be the first of many. In the future, it won’t take a global pandemic to teach me how to celebrate my work. After all: celebrating our work celebrates our identities and histories.
Stay tuned for my second collection, Feats of Alchemy, scheduled for release in October. Thank you all for the endless love and support.
Special thank you to Pages Promotions LLC for facilitating a poetry reading June 8, 2021 featuring performed selections from my book, Carbon Footprint. Considering it is Pride Month, it was an incredible opportunity reading some of my poems themed around the LGBTQ+ experience. If you are interested in watching the reading, access it through the video link below. Thank you for all the support!
Watch the reading here.
Huge thank you to Dumpster Fire Press for publishing my poems “The White Flag is Willingly Taciturn”, “Chemical Transfiguration”, and “Cyborg Butterflies.” All three of these poems will also be in my upcoming second collection, “Feats of Alchemy.”
The White Flag is Willingly Taciturn
The over-weaponized army marches
as gun-shells spill from open mouths
still wide from the war four years ago,
while the “torchbearers” rev
by a new fuel, untapped, standing by.
We, with the phantom-shrapnel pain
in our chests, watch from our balconies
as they burn the parchment-paper dream
only to cradle our conscience safely
because this is a war we never signed up for,
and thus, “not our battle” so, the white flag
we raise waves in smoke-brindle winds,
a hush, taciturn, when our voices
wielded properly, could be javelins.
The extended-release capsule sinks inside
and dives through these intestines like Smaug
relishing his treasure-horde.
As the clock strikes two,
this placid lava-body melts into laminate floor,
threatens to heave with each serotonin-sear.
This planet-body’s core spins, then tumbles
until its innards begin to quake,
until synapses spark thunderstorms above.
Every night this…
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Tune in on April 30, 2021 from 7:00 – 7:45 p.m. on my poetry YouTube channel. I’ll be reading selections from my book of poems, Carbon Footprint, to celebrate Arbor Day. All my personal royalties made throughout the month of April from people purchasing the book will be donated to the Arbor Day Foundation, which is an international tree conservation non-profit. Happy National Poetry Month and let’s help keep this planet green with poetry.
The reading will be held at this live stream link:
One of the main things which elates me about this is that Lothlorien Poetry Journal is a Tolkien-inspired literary journal. As many know, I’m a huge Tolkien fan, so I was eager to submit some of my Tolkien-inspired poems. In fact, my poem “Mordor Heights”, which not only is in my book Carbon Footprint, but has been a popular request at live readings, is one of those accepted by this journal.
Regarding my poems “Mabon Mists”, “Post-Industrial Entmoot”, “Tightrope”, and “Aubade at Moonset”, these will be featured in my upcoming second collection Feats of Alchemy.
As I work on my next poem collection, Feats of Alchemy, I’ve had some exciting opportunities to do some guest editing work. This past month, I facilitated and edited The Alien Buddha Skips the Party by Alien Buddha Press. The anthology is comprised of poetry, fiction, and art themed around introversion. Here is the official summary:
“The Alien Buddha Skips the Party celebrates the work of poets, fiction writers, and artists who have felt the solace, pressure, and quiet of introversion. Sometimes the silent people at the party have the most to say. Sometimes the person lingering at the buffet table, with no idea how to engage, observes dynamics others seldom recognize. Sometimes the least confident person afraid of speaking in the crowded room is a kaleidoscope of influence waiting for their moment to be heard. This anthology celebrates the power of introversion because a party needn’t always have to be loud. Sometimes sitting at home on the couch is the only party necessary.”
I am happy to announce that my second full-length collection of poems, Feats of Alchemy, will be released by Alien Buddha Press in the Fall. We don’t have a specific date penned down yet, but it’s happening! In the meantime, check out my first collection, Carbon Footprint!
If you’re interested in learning more about my upcoming collection, check out this interview segment from my “Unpacking ‘Carbon Footprint'” series:
Donny Winter sat down last week with fellow writer (and friend), H.M. Kanicki, to discuss multiple aspects of his book of poems, Carbon Footprint. Incrementally, these episodes will be uploaded to Winter’s “DonnySpeaks” poetry YouTube channel of the course of this week. So far, two episodes feature discussions about themes of geology in the book and Winter’s love of the characters Godzilla and Mothra.
Whenever producing work, it’s always significant when the opportunity arises to collaborate with friends who are also incredibly talented. After discovering that my book, Carbon Footprint, would be published by Alien Buddha Press, I approached Tiffany Schmieder-Kups to see if she’d be interested in creating the art piece for the cover. For years, we both wanted to work together on something, so this supplied to the perfect opportunity.
Together, Tiffany and I wrapped up our successful 2020 by discussing the art process behind Carbon Footprint in an interview-style video. Check it out below!