Confessions of an Anxious Writer (Pre-Book Release)

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!

–Donny Winter

Donny Winter introduces his collection, Feats of Alchemy, and discusses some of its themes.
Donny Winter performs the poem “Serizawa” from Feats of Alchemy, which is a Godzilla inspired piece.
For National Coming Out Day, Donny Winter performs the poem “Cyberpunk [Un]dead” from his collection, Feats of Alchemy.
Donny Winter performs the poem “The [Un]salvaged Body, Biotic and Broken” from his collection, Feats of Alchemy

Feats of Alchemy – Summary

Feats of Alchemy – Cover art and back cover contents.

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

“Feats of Alchemy” – Cover Art Reveal

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!

Feats of Alchemy, poems, by Donny Winter

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

“The Alien Buddha Skips the Party” Anthology is Out!

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.”

The front & back cover of The Alien Buddha Skips the Party.

Feats of Alchemy – Out Fall 2021

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:

Unpacking “Carbon Footprint” – Donny Winter Announces “Feats of Alchemy.”