SPOTLIGHT: Feats of Alchemy by Donny Winter

Alien Buddha Press

amazon.com/dp/B09JDX8ZJL



Queer Confession #2

I always dreamed of simple things
because the reality of them
seemed too far away, spaced by distance,
years in wait, and a thirst to belong
like a rogue planet lost between
solar systems.

I always dreamed of simple things
and the reality of them seems near
since the universe projected me
forward to now, as he lays next to me
falling asleep still clutching his book,
glasses crooked on his face.

I always dreamed of simple things
and now they’re here, tangibly present,
even as I smile, remove his glasses, and
turn off the lamp, I know we burn
like binary stars in elliptical consistency,
so, as I go to bed next to you,

I draw the lines between our eyes
to connect the dots we make in
this constellation, now refined.






Queer Confession #3

What is happiness
when it fits too tight for me

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A Year of Poetry (Here’s to Many More)

Carbon Footprint by Donny Winter

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.

xoxo

Donny

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Donny Winter

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.”

Dumpster Fire Press

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.

Chemical Transfiguration

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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Unpacking “Carbon Footprint” Interview

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.

In this episode, Donny Winter discusses geology themes in his book “Carbon Footprint.”
In this segment, Donny Winter discusses how the characters Godzilla and Mothra influence his writing.

The Art of Carbon Footprint (with Tiffany Schmieder-Kups)

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.

Carbon Footprint cover art without the title text, by Tiffany Schmieder-Kups

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!

The Art of Carbon Footprint (video link)

Donny Winter is ABP’s Featured Artist for December 2020

I’ve been selected as Alien Buddha Press’ Artist of the Month for December 2020. Check out my interview! I discuss the writing process behind my book, Carbon Footprint, my other creative endeavors, and share some advice for aspiring creators.

Alien Buddha Press

ABP– Thank you for taking this interview, Donny. I want to start things off by talking about Carbon Footprint, which is Alien Buddha Press’ best-selling book ever. What can you tell us about the process that went into writing this collection? How do you feel about it now, 3 months after its release?

DW- Honestly, I’m still trying to process the book’s success. I’ve been working on Carbon Footprint for over five years, so knowing that it’s been well-received by many fills me with joy. Some seeds leading up to this collection began in 2009 during my undergraduate study at Central Michigan University. After creating a body of LGBTQ+ themed poems, I started organizing a collection back in 2011 and titled it “An American Crucifix” after my Matthew Shepard themed poem. Unfortunately, I ended up shelving it because I was really insecure as a writer. I never believed I…

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Carbon Footprint (a book of poems) – Out 9/18/20

carbon footprint promo 1

I’m excited to announce that my first full-length collection of poems, Carbon Footprint, will be released by Alien Buddha Press on Friday, September 18, 2020. This is a pretty significant milestone for me as a writer. Stay tuned also for further promotional tidbits, announcements, and additional publications. Two poems from the collection will be published in Kaiju Galaxy and Sonder Midwest in late August / early September.