My chapbook of poems, Casting Seeds, is officially out! You can snag a copy of it here. I’m excited to share this little book with the world because it celebrates the way my grandma empowered me when I was a little LGBTQ+ kid, not knowing his way in the world (at least, not yet). Thank you all for supporting me along this journey, and I hope you enjoy these poems! Below are some promotional images and some live performances featuring work from this collection.
My upcoming chapbook of poems, Casting Seeds, will be released on November 15, 2022. I’m excited to share this small collection with the world because it’s some of my most personal work yet. Here is the back cover synopsis:
In his first chapbook collection of poems, Donny Winter takes readers back to his childhood growing up in rural Northern Michigan. Written entirely in the Japanese tanka form, these poems invite readers to join him at the kitchen table with his Grandma Winter to enjoy a cup of tea and watch the natural world. Casting Seeds acts as a love letter to his grandmother, her house, and his family’s property – all of which still bearing the warmth of childhood memory. Through these poems, Winter seeks to cast for others the same seeds his grandmother planted in him – a knowledge that we linger in the spaces we inhabit, leave imprints of ourselves for others to harvest, and possess the power to rebuild ourselves into beings free from our childhood bullies.
I’ll be sharing more news as the week advances. In the meantime, check out the cover art, video introduction, and performance of my new poem, “The Apples are Ripening.”
What is Oct[poem]ber: Back in 2019, I grew envious of artists and fiction writers because they got to enjoy monthly challenges like Inktober and NANOWRIMO. So, I decided to create a monthly writing challenge for poets and thus, Oct[poem]ber was born. Throughout the month of October each year, I challenge myself to write one poem per day not only for the fun of it, but to also expand on my content and improve my craft.
How to Participate: Open up a word document or notebook and just start writing! To make it easier for participants, I’ve designed 2 tracks for completing Oct[poem]ber. The first track provides you a daily prompt to follow. The second track is self-guided and expects you to write a poem per day without the assist of prompts. Some writers benefit from having guidelines, whereas others benefit from not having any! So, there’s a track for both schools of thought!
Track #1: Daily Prompts
October 1, 2022 – Nature
Sit outside someplace quiet and using your five senses, write a poem about what you see.
October 2, 2022 – Hustle and Bustle
Visit a public space and using your five senses, write a poem about what you observe.
October 3, 2022 – Color
Write a poem about your favorite color.
October 4, 2022 – Bauble
Research a gemstone or jewel (or observe one you own) and write a poem about its qualities.
October 5, 2022 – Artistic Ekphrasis
Find a piece of art and write a poem about it. Allow your poem to engage in conversation with the art piece, expand on what the art piece is already saying, or change the meaning you think the art piece conveys. (Example: “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by Keats)
October 6, 2022 – Musical Ekphrasis
Listen to your favorite song and write a poem about how it impacts you.
October 7, 2022 – Poetic Letters
Write a poem to a person who’s no longer in your life.
October 8, 2022 – Socio-Political Reflection
Pick an issue or event happening in the world currently and write a poem about how it makes you feel.
October 9, 2022 – Future-Self
Write a poem to your future self about one thing you’d like to learn by the time you reach that point in your life.
October 10, 2022 – Sonnet
Write a sonnet (follow link for sonnet structure directions). (Example: Shakespearean Sonnet)
October 11, 2022 – Nature vs. Industry
Write a poem juxtaposing nature vs. industry imagery.
October 12, 2022 – Past-Self
Write a poem to your past-self with about how far you’ve come or what you’ve learned from your experiences.
October 13, 2022 – Pantoum
Write a pantoum poem (follow link for pantoum structure directions). (Example: Insert)
October 14, 2022 – Alternate Reality
Imagine yourself thriving in an alternate reality and write a poem about what your life would be like in that universe.
October 15, 2022 – Cosmic
Write a poem about something in space or using space-related imagery.
October 16, 2022 – Tumult
Write a poem about a natural disaster (that’s happened) or a poem using natural disaster imagery.
October 17, 2022 – Fictional Fugue
Create a fictional character whose identity has been lost and write a poem about their journey toward self-discovery.
October 18, 2022 – Sisyphean Synergy
Write a poem about a characteristic, aspiration, or struggle you have that’s always been difficult for you to resolve or reach.
October 19, 2022 – Forest Floor
Write a poem about something you might find on the forest floor or something that lives on a forest floor.
October 20, 2022 – Sublime
Think about a feature in nature that fills you with curiosity and fear, then write a poem about your reactions if you were to be in the presence of such feature.
October 21, 2022 – Second Chances
Write a poem about a moment from your past you’d like to change.
October 22, 2022 – Cyberspace
Write a poem about what you think it’d be like to exist in cyberspace or a cyberpunk world.
October 23, 2022 – Haiku
Write a haiku about nature. (These are 3-line poems with 5-7-5 syllable line lengths).
October 24, 2022 – Format Experimentation
Write a poem that experiments with format. Change the line spacing / alignment, blot out words, place in bracketed or parenthetical statements.
October 25, 2022 – Tanka
Write a tanka about life and death. (These are 5-line poems with 5-7-5-7-7 syllable line lengths).
October 26, 2022 – Heroism
Write a poem about a time you felt like a hero in your life.
October 27, 2022 – Villainy
Write a poem about a time you felt like a villain in your life.
October 28, 2022 – Dystopia
Write a poem about a dystopian world, a poem that includes dystopian imagery, or a poem about any dystopian qualities you see taking place in our world.
October 29, 2022 – Time Travel
Pretend you’re traveling in time. Write a poem where you observe the happenings in another time (past or future, though not in your span of living).
October 30, 2022 – Erasure Poetry
Research, then copy and paste an article into a word document, then use the strikethrough (or dark high-lighting feature) to blot out the words until the remaining words create a poem.
October 31, 2022 – Horror
Using grotesque imagery, write a poem about something that induces fear.
Track #2: Independent / Self-Guided
Recommendations & Helpful Hints
- Select whichever writing medium you are most comfortable with: electronic or handwritten.
- Do your best to set aside designated time every day to write – create a routine!
- If you fall behind, you can always catch up!
- Sharing your poems across social media is not required but encouraged. The world deserves to see your work!
When writing about personal topics, always consider your own well-being above all else. Regardless what prompt you follow or self-guided poem you write, only write about what you’re comfortable writing about. If you need to skip a daily prompt, feel free to do a self-guided/independent poem on that respective day.
If you share your poems across social media, please use the hashtag: #octpoember.
My second, full-length collection, Feats of Alchemy, is out now! You can purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09JDWP9PM/
The day before a book release is often an exciting time for writers. Considering my second collection of poems, Feats of Alchemy, is coming out tomorrow, this is only the second time I’ve experienced this strange mixture of euphoria and anxiety. To add to this, the pressure of releasing a second book after a successful first book ups the expectation level, which inadvertently fuels even more anxiety. Of course, despite this mounting euphoria and anxiety, another feeling is creeping from the shadows: solace.
Looking back and looking forward simultaneously (because that’s what we anxious people do), there is a peculiar comfort setting in with the knowledge that my work has finally been released into the world and that it’s being well received. Considering both of my collections deal with LGBTQ+ challenges, life experiences, successes, and trauma, having shards of my history being explored and celebrated has created the most wholesome catharsis I’ve ever felt. Thankfully, this catharsis has allowed me to set aside much of this “success-pressure anxiety” and find the joy in this process.
This new collection, Feats of Alchemy, is a book I feel even more confident about when it comes to quality. As a poet over the years, I’ve grown considerably and this collection is the culmination of that growth. Plus, with the success of Carbon Footprint, I now feel more confident in my ability to experiment in my poetry, which readers will discover.
Anyway, as I continue to ride this hype-train leading into tomorrow’s release, if you’re interested in learning more about my collection, Feats of Alchemy, feel free to visit the videos below. Thank you all for the support, and thank you to Alien Buddha Press for giving my poetry a home. Keep writing!
I want to issue a deep thank you to Emily Reid of Emmarie Photos for facilitating my first author photoshoot in preparation for the release of my upcoming sophomore collection of poems, Feats of Alchemy. Stay tuned as the book drops on Friday, October 22!
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.