2022 has come in roaring for me on the creative writing front. I will be attending and featured in a number of poetry readings throughout January and February. If you’d like to attend any of these events, below is a list. All of these are scheduled in EST.
Tune in on my DonnySpeaks YouTube channel for a full-length, virtual poetry reading featuring selections from my latest poem collection, Feats of Alchemy. The event starts at 8:00 p.m. and will last until 9:00 – 9:15 p.m. I’ll be reading poems, sharing tidbits about the creation process of the book, themes, and will have a Q&A toward the end. Follow the video link below to set a reminder if you’d like to attend:
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!
In his sophomore collection of poems, Donny Winter takes readers on a perilous adventure through a futuristic and dystopian world. His experimental free verse poems use science fiction, natural, and pop cultural images to metaphorically illustrate his experiences as a gay man navigating the different obstacles society presents after coming out. These poems create a cyberpunk inspired, symbolic world centered around the cyborg, Solus Arcane, who seeks to understand their existence free of oppressive forces and strives to unlearn the programming given to them by their oppressive creator. Together, our bodies are welded and soldered by the forces of those seeking to silence, erase, or oppress. Feats of Alchemy acts as a circuit board connecting us with pathways toward a self-sovereignty beyond artifice.
Feats of Alchemy – Out Oct. 22 – Alien Buddha Press
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’m excited to reveal the cover art of my upcoming, second collection of poems, Feats of Alchemy. This collection will be released by Alien Buddha Press on Friday, October 22, 2021. Special thank you to my artist and dear friend, Seth Stang, for creating this wonderful piece. Stay tuned for more news!
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.