The Hermit Poet

January 29, 2008

A few quick notes before heading out

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:55 pm
  1. Just received word that The Lost Country of Sight was also a finalist in another competition (their official announcement of the winner hasn’t been made, so I’ll hold off on the specifics on this one).
  2. If you purchased a copy of the Boxcar 2006 anthology before AWP, please contact me.  I’ve updated the anthology on to fix 2 major errors — the corrected version should be available for order shortly.   I would happy to replace your old copies with corrected ones (email me for details).
  3. If you are at AWP, please feel free to stop by our table (#524).  I’ll be around most of the time.
  4. Arriving early to AWP?  I’m arriving at 8:30 am (red eye flight) and will have some time to kill before being able to check in to my hotel or set up my table at the book fair.  Email me if you’re interested in meeting for breakfast or lunch.

January 28, 2008

Boxcar Poetry Review on the Road to AWP

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AWP is around the corner — in less than 37 hours I’ll be flying out from LAX and arriving in New York around 8:30 am Wednesday. Still plenty to do before then. I’ve got two classes left today, plenty of reading, and lots of things to prepare for my table at the book fair. Being somewhat gungho about the trip though, I did pack most of my things on Saturday.

This will be my first time in New York and I’m very much looking forward to it. Despite the fact that I’ll likely spend most of my time in the book fair, I do hope to fit in some spare moments attending various sessions / panels / readings — and possibly even get out and see a little of the city as well. We’ll see how that goes.

I’m also looking forward to meeting the folks at Anhinga Press. We should be starting the book design process — so little by little this is starting to feel more real.

As things progress with the book, I hope to devote the occasional post to thinking about how one goes about marketing and promoting a first book of poetry. If you have any advice on promoting a book, I’d also welcome it.

Sorry for the relatively sporadic posts of late — I’m hoping to get back on track and post every day of AWP.

January 17, 2008

More Boxcar News! 2007 Oboh Prize Winners / Best Poem of 2007

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We are also pleased to announce that Amanda Yskamp’s poem “Not Home” was selected as the Oboh Prize / Best Poem of the Year by our external judge Rebecca Seiferle. Second place was awarded to James Owens’ “Is” and third place to Robin Halevy’s “This, Unspoken.” The winning poems were chosen from the pool of Peer Award winners and runners-up (2nd and 3rd place finishes) for 2007. The final judging was done blindly — all names were removed from the entries and were judged on their individual merit by the external judge.

1st “Not Home” – Amanda Yskamp
2nd “Is” – James Owens
3rd “This, Unspoken” – Robin Halevy

Regarding the winning poem “Not Home” by Amanda Yskamp, Rebecca wrote:

For all of its evocative phrases “carbon remnants of what she said” or the play upon ‘we were best of buds,” this poem is most compelling in its voice– wry, argumentative, shrewdly hip–and the way that voice accelerates in intensity toward closure and encounter. Beginning with “there’s a reason for this,” the voice conveys the overly determined “why” and ‘”probably why” of being reasonable, being unravelled by passion; the speaker daring, finally, to take on ‘crazy’: “I’ll show you/ crazy, I’ll show you it’s my life you’re in, not the other way around.” There’s not a moment in the poem where the poet slips out of voice, and it’s particularly crafty how the poem conflates the “you” of the she- replied-to with the ”you” of the reader.

Boxcar Poetry Review — Issue 12 is Up!

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We are pleased to announce that Issue 12 is now online and ready to be read!  Great poems, great reviews, and a great conversation between first book poets.

Like the boy in this issue’s cover photo by Jon Kersey, we find ourselves in this issue straddling two worlds, peering into the waters to see what lies ahead and beneath. We begin with a bullet train, end with a road trip, and encounter the beautiful, the bright, the dark, and the emphemeral along the way.

In this issue’s poems, we are also pleased to feature great reviews of Ivy Alvarez’s Mortal and Karen Harryman’s Auto Mechanic’s Daughter, as well as the first half of a conversation between two first book poets, Ivy Alvarez and Lee Herrick. Jon Kersey’s photography adds yet another dimension to this first issue of 2008.

Check out the end of this email for some important announcements regarding the 2007 Oboh Prize winners, the 2006 print anthology, and our table at the upcoming AWP book fair in NYC.

Read it here:

In this issue:


  • Cristiana Baik: “Dear Nozomi, I will arrive to the destination first”
  • Rachel Bunting: “Lot’s Daughters”
  • Clark Chatlain: “Flathead Lake”
  • Frankie Drayus: “Dispatch”
  • Brent Fisk: “When Adam Falls from Sleep”
  • Donna Huneke: “On Sundays she sets the sun”
  • John Johnson: “Light Sleeper”
  • Laura Powers: “Dying Like Eurydice in Idaho’s Backcountry”
  • Brian Simoneau: “Funeral With Cherry Blossoms Falling”
  • Charles Springer: “Roadies”


  • Ivy Alvarez’s Mortal ~ Craig Santos Perez
  • Karen Harryman’s Auto Mechanic’s Daughter ~ Kate Durbin


  • Ivy Alvarez & Lee Herrick in Conversation Part 1


  • Jon Kersey (2 images)

January 16, 2008

Some Good News While You’re Waiting for Boxcar

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:58 pm

(The next issue of Boxcar Poetry Review is almost done, so here’s some recent good news while you wait).

We are pleased to announce that three poems from Boxcar Poetry Review have been selected for Sundress Press’s Best of the Net 2007 Anthology:

  • “Forget” by Tamiko Beyer (Issue 7 – Mar 2007)
  • “Marrying the Violence” by Marty McConnell (Issue 4 – Sept 2006)
  • “How We’re Moved” by Heather Salus (Issue 6 – Jan 2007)

Congratulations to these poets on this accomplishment!  Poet Chad Davidson served as final judge.  Evidently only 20 poems were chosen out of all the poems published online between July 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007.  I’d consider 3/20 a pretty remarkable showing for our journal!

January 15, 2008

Boxcar Poetry Review is Looking for Poems

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If you’ve been meaning to send work in to Boxcar Poetry Review, the best time to do it is now.  I’m working on the January issue (which will go up later this week – a little delayed) and would like to add a couple more really strong poems to the mix.   What I don’t use this issue will be closely considered for the next issue.  Given the relatively light homework load for classes this week, I will have a very fast response time.   So give us a try.

Visit Boxcar Poetry Review at

Submit poems by email to

January 14, 2008

Boxcar Poetry Review: 2006 Anthology is Out!

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:51 pm

It’s late, but it’s out and available for sale through (and shortly through Amazon and other online vendors).  I’m also bringing copies with me to sell at AWP.

Boxcar Poetry Review 2006 Anthology

Boxcar Poetry Review 2006 Anthology. 100 pages.

Edited by Neil Aitken, this anthology features work from 54 poets including Mary Alexandra Agner, Arlene Ang, Christopher Buckley, Jared Carter, Michael Catherwood, George David Clark, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Anne Haines, Alexander Long, Rachel Mallino, Marty McConnell, Barbara Jane Reyes, Patrick Rosal, Erin Elizabeth Smith, and many more published in Boxcar Poetry Review during 2006.

January 9, 2008

The Lost Country of Sight Wins the Philip Levine Prize

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I am pleased to announce that my first book manuscript The Lost Country of Sight has just won the Philip Levine Prize!

Thank you CSU Fresno, Anhinga Press, and the readers and judges for the Philip Levine Prize! I’m going to be busy for a bit sending out withdrawal notices to all the other competitions — but that’s the kind of busy work I don’t mind.

This manuscript has grown and evolved so much over the past year — I am proud of what it has become and now, as it gets ready to enter the world on its own two feet, I am excited for where it will go. I’m grateful as well that I was able to share so much of this book with my father while he was alive and that the poems I wrote after his passing have also found their place within its pages. For all its journeying through loss, darkness, sorrow, love, and returning, it’s ultimately something I think he would be proud of as well.

Edit:  Thank you all for your many kind comments and messages!  Best wishes with your own writing and publishing efforts — hoping that this is a great year for you as well.