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.

2018 Will Be the Hardest Year for Small Content Creators on YouTube

smallchannelsbigvoices

Summary of the Current Situation on YouTube

If you are small content creator on YouTube right now, you likely received an e-mail on January 16th telling you that you will be losing your YouTube partnership on February 20th because your channel “is no longer eligible for monetization because it doesn’t meet the new threshold of 4,000 hours of watchtime in the past 12 months and [have at least] 1,000 subscribers.” Many people believe that this new policy simply impacts monetization. It affects much more than simply monetization for YouTube creators. Small channels (like my own) who have been partnered for years will be losing: algorithmic search priority, access to video professionalization opportunities, access to YouTube networks that provide numerous opportunities, access to social circles with other top-notch content creators, and the list could go on. Additionally, people who choose to speak out against this change in policy are subject to mass-subscriber deletions and view count reductions. While this may be a result of YouTube’s automated systems, the timing is interestingly “coincidental.”

The “Small Channels Big Voices” Movement

My own YouTube channel has been in-and-out of hitting its 2,000 subscriber milestone for the past 3 days because the platform repeatedly mass-deletes subscribers. I have made two videos, one outlining the fact that I’m losing my partnership, the other, speaking out against YouTube’s restriction of smaller creators. After multiple attempts reaching out to large YouTubers (and YouTube itself) with no response, it is clear that small channels like my own only have their few followers to depend on for support.

Many have asked: what else can we possible do but tuck our tails between our legs, leave YouTube, or simply give up on making videos? The answer: we must continue to speak out. Since small content creators only have each other and their audiences to fall back on for support, the only thing we can do is assemble in an attempt to make our concerns heard by YouTube and the upper echelons of large content creators.

The easiest way to assemble as small content creators is through other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Assembling can take the form of sharing our content on pages, giving shout outs, collaborating in videos, or circulating this message to YouTube. In our correspondence, we a striving to get YouTube’s attention through using the hashtag: #SmallChannelsBigVoices when communicating or sharing content. This is our way of telling YouTube that we’re here and that we matter.

Other Ways YouTubers and Viewers Can Help

1. Continue to Watch, Share, Comment, Like, and Subscribe: 

    1. As you may expect, the easiest way to support small content creators is by actively engaging with their content: watching their videos all the way through, sharing them on social media platforms, commenting on them, liking them, and even subscribing to their channels. As small creators, we seriously have to fight for every subscriber we get because they mean that much to us.

2. Support the #SmallChannelsBigVoices Movement: 

      1. Supporting this movement will also help considerably; there’s power in numbers and the more people we have sharing this hashtag on Facebook and Twitter, the more coverage we’ll get. Large YouTubers participating would be valuable for our movement as they have large followings that listen to their words. Ultimately, our hope is that if YouTube hears our concerns they may compromise and change this policy so it is more inclusive. Check out the

    Small Channels Big Voices 

      1. Facebook Page, created by YouTuber

    Tiffany Gray Music

3. Post Consistently: 

    In order to gain further attention, we may have to share things consistently. Additionally, for small YouTubers, I encourage you to upload quality content daily, if possible. That will increase the likelihood of your views and watch hours increasing.

4. Watch YouTube Videos About This Policy Change: 

    Many YouTubers, other than myself, have been making videos about their own fears of losing partnerships. The following playlist contains some of those videos:

Wrap Up

To be a small content creator on YouTube means a lot of invalidation, erasure, and difficulty right now. Since YouTube and large YouTubers have remained silent, all we have are our audiences and each other to rely on. Let’s keep fighting for our outlet and continue making a difference.

Donny Winter


 

For inquiries and collaboration requests: message me on YouTube or e-mail me: donnywinter@gmail.com