Posted in Love Poetry, Misc. Poetry, Spiritual Poetry

Stargazers (poem)

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📖INTERVIEW: “The Spaces Between Breaths” by Melissa Moy📖

Join the journey of self-exploration through a time of struggle and renewal. Moy captivates you with her raw and exposing poems. You will be forced to question what you thought you understood about yourself and the world. These poems challenge the reader to grow beyond what is now known as reality. A poetic escape into the mind and heart that journeys through tragedy and revelation.

Good morning, Melissa! I’m thrilled to be talking to you today. “The Spaces Between Breaths” is quite the captivating title. But that’s only one piece of this poetic puzzle. What was your inspiration for this book in its entirety?

I underwent some struggles with the loss of some important relationships in my life. Betrayal seemed to be a running theme. My son also got diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, Eosinophilic Esophagitis. A trauma my son had hidden for a couple of years came to light, breaking my heart and shattering our world. It was the journey through these things, the recovery, and most importantly, the reflection.

Dark times have a way of shaping us as both writers and as people. When did the initial spark of creativity enter your life?

I’ve written poetry since I can remember holding a pencil. Sometimes I think I lived it in the ways I lived and the relationships I shared.

That’s such a beautiful way of putting it! What are a few of the central messages you’re striving to portray in this poetry collection?

Self-exploration, staying true to yourself, finding our own peace in life, growing constantly as a person.

I lived [poetry] in […] the relationships I shared.

These are all very profound themes. What poets have influenced along your writing journey?

e.e. Cummings and Emily Dickinson.

Excellent choices! What’s your approach to writing?

Sometimes phrases or words just come to me at random points. They collect on my phone in the notes app, voice memos, etc. Sometimes I’ll even catch myself reciting poetry while cooking dinner or taking a shower. The words just come and whether they’re captured or not depends on fate. Sometimes my feelings are just so strong, they must materialize into words and I have no choice but to obey. A few even came from writing experiences I would provide my students and the jealous writer in me would have to join in on the writing fun.

I love it! Are there any final thoughts you’d like to leave the community with?

People often look at me and ask how I do it, how I manage everything. I often tell them, I just do, I just have to. Writing, though, it has been the boat for my journey and allowed me to embrace the pain and enable the growth.

Two years ago a new teacher started teaching next door to me and she quickly became my best friend, Abeer Afana. I don’t think I could have evolved into the confident person or writer that I am today if it hadn’t been for her constant support and encouragement.

Over the last couple of years I have neglected myself in so many ways. I needed to take a leap and try to chase my dreams. As a teacher, it is my job to lead my students by example. That is why I finally deiced to put my writing out there, in this chapbook. By the end of March I should also have a children’s book published. It is currently being illustrated.

Thank you for the empowering concluding words. You’re such an inspiration, Melissa! 💙


Writing has always been a passion for Melissa Moy, something that she will never be able to give up or turn her back on…it is…who she is. From the very start of her educational experiences, Moy gravitated toward written expression. When asked when or how she first learned to write she simply replied, “There was never a ‘how’, only a ‘had to.’ I just had to write, and so I did.” Moy’s writing dips into a plethora of forms and topics, but poetry has always been most near and dear to her heart. “Writing is the wind that blows the sails of emotion and thought, so that we may better travel the seas of our lives.

📖Melissa’s Facebook Page.


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📖INTERVIEW: “With a Broken Wing” by Ronaye Hudyma📖

Whether contemporary, classic, or peppered with Elizabethan eloquence, this profound ensemble of 130 poems is not stationary. They move as if conducted with a maestro’s baton –fluid between the euphoria of life and love, the drama, the anguish of death and loss, with every nuance of human emotion spilling upon the pages.

They are poignant words written with the transparency of youth, gathering maturity and experience, evolving to wisdom, into the spiritual realm.

This is not just poetry. There are a million stories in each poem. Once for each of us. From the teenager discovering their individuality, the young adult challenged by relationships and the world around them, to the Elder denizens of Earth, who cherish their memories as veterans of life, this is a book to be read and reread, a keepsake to console, embrace and affirm your recognition of the truth within yourself that is already there.

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The only life I had ever known before this was on a stage, with the spotlight in my eyes, the music in my ears, amid the roar of the crowd. This is what I lived for. This was all that mattered.

Music had always been such an intrinsic part of me, that the moment I was born, when the doctor grabbed me by the feet, turned me upside down and slapped my wee baby bottom, I swear I burst into song, not tears.

My purpose in life was clearly defined, and my parents willingly supplied the piano, singing, ballet, tap dancing and drama classes—where I learned how to be a tree—and showed off their little girl’s talents at every event and contest.

There was no question in my mind. I was destined to be a classical soprano and concert pianist, singing Verdi, Puccini and Mozart, playing Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, a calling that intensified as I outgrew childhood and entered adolescence.

With those teen-age hormones and emotions kicking in, I found it terribly romantic to lead a life of dedication and sacrifice for my art. I couldn’t have been more committed and devoted. To abandon it would be unthinkable.

I was fearless and confident, or young and naive, but that’s what it took as I set out on my own at age eighteen with a one way ticket to the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada, three thousand miles from home where I didn’t know a soul. On my own and where I didn’t know a soul would be a constant theme that ran throughout my life.

It was a real tearjerker with my family and friends crowded around the railway platform, kissing me goodbye; and mom handing me sandwiches she had packed as I boarded the moving train, looking back until their tiny faces disappeared into the horizon.

It wasn’t as if I had told anyone I was coming or had any forethought of where I was going to stay. First I’d get there, then worry about the rest later. I’ll wing it! Those words became a mantra and motto that served me well on the road that lay ahead. The show biz term is chutzpah, and I had it.

All divas have to eat, so between studying the art of Bel Canto and learning arias from “La Boheme”, I auditioned for everything, in any genre, whether I was qualified or not.

“Can you sight sing?”
“Of course.”
“Can you square dance?”
“Speak French?”
“Ride a horse?”
“Uh huh.”

I wasn’t really lying. I didn’t say when I could do those things. Maybe not then, but I would in time for the first rehearsal. First, I got the part, the role, the show, or job, then I would throw up in the wings with my heart in my mouth when it came time to deliver.

I remember calling a friend of mine, panic-stricken, saying “You’ve got to help me! You know that guest spot I have on that show? They’re taping it in Montreal. They just sent me the script and the whole thing is in French. I don’t speak a word of it.” Even after she translated it for me, there was no way I could carry it off. “Maybe I could just say Bon Jour, Oui, and smile a lot…” which is what I did.

They didn’t call us “gypsies” for nothing. I went where the work was, leaving friends and lovers behind, a nomad in search of the next gig, the next adventure, and the next teacher who could transform me into Maria Callas. No matter where it was, what it was, or what it paid—be I the chanteuse at Le Toilet in Nebraska, or a headliner at The Fiesta Palace in Mexico City—the world was my playground and I was fulfilling my own prophecy.

Chance, it seemed, was on my side and followed me wherever I would go, often arising from a most unlikely circumstance.


I was standing in an elevator in Manhattan and struck up a conversation with the man standing beside me who just happened to be an agent. “I need a singer in Alabama for two weeks,” he said. “Do you want to go?” Coincidentally, I just happened to be between shows, TRANSLATION: Out of work . Over the years, we developed a solid working relationship and he ultimately sent me to places like the Orient and Sri Lanka.

I was fearless and confident, or young and naive, but that’s what it took as I set out on my own at age eighteen with a one way ticket to the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada, three thousand miles from home where I didn’t know a soul. On my own and where I didn’t know a soul would be a constant theme that ran throughout my life.


The glitter and glitz never endure, so I decided that composing music would be my legacy which segued into writing songs. It was a natural progression and a smooth transition with doors opening for me like the parting of the Red Sea. While I was performing at The Palomino in Los Angeles, a production company for a country star was in the audience and requested demos for three of my songs. Not only were they encouraging but suggested I come to Nashville, which they called a “writer’s town” where the only prerequisite was to have the heart of a poet and the skin of a rhinoceros. Before they could hang up the phone, I was packed, ready to go, and on my way.

With a promise and a prayer, and very little money, I left Los Angeles in a classic old 1966 Dodge Dart that ran on a postulate, pulling a six by four trailer that held all my worldly possessions. Destination: Music City, U.S.A. where I had never been and knew no one.

Songwriters are a special breed of individuals, a whole different species that come to Nashville in droves from everywhere in the country. They are a dedicated bunch, often broke and lonely, willing to sacrifice everything for a chance to make it in the music business. I was one of them.

I was “out-there” and confident, yet innocent, trusting and exploitable, oblivious to the pitfalls and land mines that littered the playing field or the sharks circling at the smell of blood. The first thing I did was join ASCAP, the licensing agency for songwriters, artists and publishers, where I was welcomed by a tongue down my throat, then chased around a desk clutching a cassette of my songs.

Like everyone before me, I made the rounds of the publishers who hid behind barricaded doors in administrative structures designed to keep writers out, with security guards ordered to shoot us on sight. At this time, all the female artists were still singing tearful songs of self-reproach while their men caroused at the corner beer joint; but I submitted lyrics like “Doing all I can in the arms of another man. It takes one to forget one.” A woman couldn’t say that back then. The rejection was candy-coated and kept me hooked, however, as they’d always add, “…but bring me more.”

Some actually took a couple and gave me the required dollar after I had spent my rent and food money on demos. I was thrilled until I found out that it didn’t mean they would always promote them to the record labels—especially if they had eighty other writers signed.

Nobody tells you these things when you’re going into the game. Occasionally I would get a song recorded, but my hopes were dashed when it would be bumped from the album at the last minute. Finally, when I did luck out, my name appeared in Cash Box and Billboard, which I promptly sent home to mother, but I never saw ten cents.

At long last, I landed an exclusive publishing contract. This is it, I thought. Now I was a professional. All I had to do is write hits and live happily ever after. Not necessarily. It kept me alive for eight years until they went out of business.

There’s a saying in Nashville—if holds were gold—near hits and misses, and I had them, with holds on my songs from Kenny Rogers, Lori Morgan, Michael Bolton, “cuts” with up and coming artists that faded into obscurity, an offer of a record deal from a small label, which my then publisher turned down. This kept me going for years until my luck ran out and I was left with no other options but to leave the same way I came in.


It wasn’t a decision. I’ve always been writing as a form of introspective expression or the wonder of being alive. I started a diary soon after I left high school and some of these poems are from there–the unbridled, unfettered, uncensored raw emotion of one very young, with not much ego yet to protect. But in actuality, what I thought was unique to me, is simply human emotion that all of us experience to greater or lesser degree.


Because that is when you most want to purge yourself of the feeling, whether in song or in verse. When you are happy, you’re lying on a sunny beach. When you are not, you’re drowning in the ocean.


No. There are many poetry books, but these poems have a variety of style, verse and subject. They are not stationary. They move–fluid between the perspective of innocence and youth, gathering maturity with experience, and evolving to wisdom.

I do not set out to write a poem. They come. Then I write them. I don’t consciously follow any rules of structure. I go by feel. I conduct them as I would an orchestra. How the words feel when I write them, how the poem feels when I read it. My instinct tells me when it is finished.


Moment by moment we make our choices. Somewhere along the way——I picked door number one instead of door number two.





My lifelong career has been in the entertainment business, beginning at The Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto where I studied classical piano and voice; continuing as a solo performer in the medium of stage, television, and nightclubs touring across North & South America, the Orient and beyond. This was followed by a contracted staff song writer position for publishing companies in Nashville, TN. I have had poems published as Editor’s choice’ in Poetry Magazine in Chicago. I currently reside on an island in the Pacific Ocean in Canada.

📖Ronaye’s Facebook Page

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Posted in Love Poetry, Spiritual Poetry

Spiral Galaxy Arms 🌌 (poem)

Your spiral galaxy arms hold me
like crust encapsulates Earth’s core,
and suddenly, I remember
the trillions of stars that I am.

Posted in Promoting Books, Promoting Poets & Artists

📖INTERVIEW: “Destruction: Text I” by Oliver Sheppard📖

featherpen.jpgIn the tradition of William Blake, Milton, and the Romantics, poet and author Oliver Sheppard presents a vision in verse of cosmic apocalypse and the total “breakdown of galaxies, stars …sensibility, perception, and logic.” With nightmarish flourishes, the reader is offered visions of the Archangel Israfel “cauterizing the sky like an open wound” against a backdrop of universal collapse and destruction. Included in this collection are also various experiments with language and form, as well as selections from other works, including Persephone Enthroned, a retelling of the ancient Greek myth about the Queen of the Underworld. In Destruction: Text I, Oliver Sheppard announces a dark vision of a nightmare reality coming apart at the seams.

Hello, Oliver! I’m definitely excited to dive deep into the world of Destruction: Text I. But first thing’s first. How and when did your passion for poetry (especially poetry with darker elements) come to be?

Poetry, probably age 11 or so. (Prose, much earlier, probably age 6 or 7.) My mom read to me a lot when I was very young, and a lot of children’s books were written in rhyme (Dr Seuss, etc) so I had been exposed to poetry on some level probably since birth. But my aunt had a very nice hardbound edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination from the Franklin Library of Mystery Masterpieces, with the darkly gorgeous Harry Clarke illustrations, and I found that at about age 11. There was no poetry in that volume but it led me to actively seek out the mysterious author’s poetical works, which I hoped would be just as morbid and good. I tried my own young hand at badly imitative verse shortly thereafter, doggerel about crypts and ghouls. (Thankfully such early attempts were long ago destroyed!) Then I discovered Andre Breton somehow by age 13, and got special permission to do a book report on him at school. The teacher didn’t know who he was, but she let me do it. I must have read about Poe’s connection to surrealism, and that led me to surrealism’s ideological leader, Breton, I guess. Anyway, reading Breton’s verse challenged my idea of what a poem was “supposed” to be, or what it could be. Most of my poetry is not Surrealist at all, ironically, but finding Poe and Surrealism liberated my imagination at that age, it started me on a chain of other literary discoveries, and I’d even say it helped lead me to a different outlook on the world in general.

edgarallanpoe.jpgDid you just say Edgar Allan Poe? 😀 Anyway, what would you say your creative spark was for this shadowy fire in the form of this poetry collection?

Destruction: Text I is a book I wish had published a decade ago. I guess the book is what used to be called analects or a florilegium — a collection of literary extracts. Except in this case the extracts are from my own as-yet unpublished manuscripts that I’ve had laying around for awhile. I have no shortage of ideas; my problem, as a writer, comes in seeing an idea through to its completion from its initial execution and on through revisions, editing, sustaining interest, and the like. Life stressors have had a way of inserting themselves in such a way that they’ve often interrupted what I’m up to. Money worries, relationship problems, family deaths, terrible depression, financial stress, crippling self-doubt, maybe my own lack of self-discpline — these are all things that just derail me completely. So, Destruction: Text I is actually an anthology of my own verse, stuff I’ve been hammering away at for some time, but in the book various projects have been organized into different sections. The first section of the book is from “The Apocalypse of Man,” a long poem I’ve worked on here and there over the years. There’s another section called “Persephone in Dis” that is from a similarly planned work about the Persephone/Kore myth, something that’s fascinated me since my late teens. “Functional Forms” is a section in the book that’s more postmodern in tone, featuring experimental poetry. The section called “Destruction” is filled with more personal verse.

I’m definitely deeply fascinated.  Although the inspiration did stem from some hardship, I feel like life’s yin has a way of briging an unwavering sense of strength into our lives. What is the most common motif in your book and why did you select it?

The thematic glue that holds it all together is the idea of destruction. (Destruction is a thematic touchstone that recurs in what I write even outside of poetry.) It’s all mostly about collapse, the process of collapse, and what’s left over after the destructive process ends, whether it’s literal cosmic immolation, as in “The Apocalypse of Man,” or turmoil, separation, etc. in interpersonal relationships, as in the poem “December Elegy.” Uncertainty and instability — and collapse brought about due to instability (either in the physical universe, or in human relations) — are constant themes that reassert themselves throughout the book.

Through destruction, there is room to construct new things. I really do love this motif. What poets, artists, and/or creative minds influence your writing the most?

The poets associated with the Romanticist tradition, from Blake to Shelley, Byron and Poe — represent a kind of high watermark of poetry in the English language to me, and I feel they weigh most heavily on my own ideas about writing verse. The period from about 1780 until late into the 1920s, starting with Blake and ending with figures like Clark Ashton Smith and George Sterling, about a 150 year period — that was just an incredible time for poetry in English, to me. Those poets stuck zealously to form — they cared about meter, traditional rhyme schemes, stresses on syllables, and everything that comes with the stuffy old bits of poetic scansion that few poets pay any mind to these days. But they imbued their works with incredible imagery and emotional impact nonetheless, and in fact the strict adherence to form I think really helped them along in that regard, and it’s why I often try to stick to some sort of format as well. It’s a lost art. I think the sonnet may be the perfect poetic format; when I finish a sonnet I feel incredibly satisfied in a way I do not when writing other forms of verse. There are three sonnets in the book.

Myself, it was the aforementioned discovery of Poe at around age 11 that really did it for me as far as influences go. And the English translations of the Contintental Romanticists (like Goethe) and, later, the Symbolists and Decadents that I began discovering in my late teens — that all had a massive influence on me. Baudelaire, who is about on the same level for me as Poe, was a revelation. So were the other Symbolists and Decadents of the 19th century and fin-de-siecle period: Paul Verlaine, Stephane Mallarme, Maurice Rollinat, Georges Rodenbach. A lot of 19th century and early 20th century decadent poetry from Russia, Germany, Belgium, and France has influenced me. The Dedalus Books anthologies, where they go country by country through Europe and anthologize a lot of the best Decadent and Symbolist fiction from there — those collections are great, and have been a great source of inspiration. I’d love to be able to read a lot of these poets in their original language, but time may be working against me on that one. Just writing this, I want to add even more names! I love the English language, and I feel like great poetry explores the outer limits and possibilities latent in language that can’t be expressed in prose. Poetry can open up new doorways to perception and insight, like a psychedelic drug. But without the drug.

As I’ve gotten older, I enjoy more the poetry (and art) of William Blake, as well as the apocalyptic and “big picture” poets in general: John Milton; Dante; Hesiod, the old Greek world-builder and visionary; the _Astronomicon_ of Marcus Manilius (supposedly it was from Manilius’ _Astronomicon_ where HP Lovecraft got the idea of the Necronomicon). I use a quote from the Astronomicon as a preface in my book:

Men die by numbers, and by heaps they fall,
And mighty cities make one Funeral.
On groaning Piles whole huddled Nations burn,
And Towns lie blended in one common urn.

The poets that took a sweeping, cosmic, and doomy look at the world, poets that saw the world hovering in the shadow of final destruction or who saw it teetering precariously on the edge of nothingness/meaninglessness. End-of-the-world visionaries, doomsayer heralds. There’s a great nonfiction book by Morton Paley called _Apocalypse and Millenium in English Romantic Poetry_ that covers a lof of these bases and which, in its own way, has exerted an influence on me. Even the Book of Revelation has had an influence, though I’m an atheist. Other apocalypses, medieval grimoires, and apocryphal religious texts have held a fascination for me.

Lastly, well-written prose influences my poetry. Books like John Hawkes’s _The Cannibal_, Cormac McCarthy’s _Blood Meridian_, Carl Jung’s _The Red Book_, even Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish have wormed their way into my subconscious. Georges Bataille. Alejandra Pizarnik from Argentina, who is incredible. Kathy Acker. Kathe Koja. The poet Aime Cesaire. Some of the better writers from the horror tradition, like Thomas Ligotti or Clark Ashton Smith. I like “purple,” gothic, and ornamental prose that’s done well. The so-called “Graveyard Poets” of the 1700s that prefigured Romanticism have influenced me (Thomas Parnell’s “Night-Piece on Death,” for one). The imagery and atmosphere of silent film influences me. I’d even say Clive Barker has influenced me. Some music, like Rudimentary Peni or Current 93 or Killing Joke. I have some friends in bands, like World Burns to Death, that influence me. Cats influence me.

So many wonderful influences! How can one not be completely and utterly inspired? Onwards to the next question… What are some of the current developments in poetry you’ve noticed and how do you feel Destruction: Text I fits into these?

The Instagram poets have lately exerted an odd influence on me, but often they come across as epigraph writers or like they are writing excerpts from poems rather than fully realized works. I’m talking about the poets, mainly in their twenties, who will type out very short bursts of verse on an old typewriter, sign it, and then take a photo of it on their phone and post it to Instagram and/or other social media, and a few have made tens of thousands of dollars doing this (Book deals and the like.) It’s an interesting new development in the history of poetry. It seems as visual as it is literary: photos of poems. They’re obsessed with nostalgia for analog typewriters and heavy-weight cotton or linen typing paper that isn’t actually used much any more, a kind of parallel to the vinyl renaissance and all-things-analog in music. It almost seems like a way of cheating to lend a poem some gravitas it might not otherwise have. But unlike old poetry, the poems in this case are often incredibly short. They’re like what seems, to me, an epigraph at the beginning of a book of prose. I feel like maybe the writers doing the Instagram poetry thing grew up on Tumblr and Pinterest and saw shared jpegs or memes of literary quotes, and they think the quote on the jpeg is the entirety of the brilliance of the quoted work, so why not just write a brief excerpt like that, since that is what is shared and enjoyed on the web anyway? Except that “excerpt” is the whole thing! So some of this has influenced in me, in a way, and I’m curious to see where that trend goes, even if sometimes it seems like it’s more about the cult of personality regarding the writer as a stand-out character on the internet rather than the quality or content of the literary work. Sort of like being into Mozart as a personality but not being able to tell anyone what “Eine Kleine Nachtmusick” is — or loving the Cramps but not owning a single album or being able to tell you anything about the content or background of their songs. Superficial and vain.

The Instagram poets fire off photogenic bits of verse, usually only a few lines… Well, maybe I am jealous because I wish I could distill my thoughts so succinctly. It’s poetry for the Twitter and ADHD generation, that’s for sure. But is that a bad thing? Maybe not! At least it’s given a new generation of poets a unique voice. Even the haiku I’ve written tends to be grouped together along a common theme through which I find successive haikus necessary. (There’s a brief section of haiku in Destruction: Text I). Other than that, the “Functional Forms” section of Destruction: Text I is the most “modern” (PoMo?) of the verse in the book, inspired in some part by the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E movement of poets, especially by the poems of Bruce Andrews and others in that circle.

I certainly don’t see it as a bad thing. The world of poetry is ever-evolving, and that’s really inspirational–even if one doesn’t agree with some of the expression. So, are there any other projects on the horizon for you?

I’m finishing up my second collection of verse, Thirteen Nocturnes, which will be out any day now. That will be out via Ikonograph Press. Then, no more poetry books from me for awhile, and on to other projects I’ve had on the backburner. Namely, a nonfiction work about silent film vamp Theda Bara that I’ve been working on for about a year. I’ve uncovered a lot of original research about her that I’ve not seen in any book-length biography, and there is in fact a lot about her floating around in the current literature that is incorrect! (Sometimes from writers that ought to know better!) I’d like that book to be released by a publisher other than Ikonograph, as I intend to pack it with graphics from Bara’s heyday and make it a fun read. And there’s a horror novel that’s been twisting away in the inky black murk of my head for some time now. I want to get the full edition of my long poem The Apocalypse of Man out in its own book before 2019, but we’ll see if that actually happens. It needs a lot of work, yet.

oliversheppardauthorphoto.jpgExcellent! Are there any concluding thoughts you’d like to leave everyone with?

If you want to write, find the time to do it, even if it means feeling selfish or like you are letting other things go neglected. If you don’t find a publisher, take a cue from the DIY and punk movements and become your own publisher. Stand up for what you believe in; don’t let others push you around or define you. You deserve to express yourself and have an impact on the world. The annals of literature do not care about those who had good excuses not to write. There are no sections in literary anthologies about people “who could have done that” but didn’t, or “could do it much better,” but also didn’t. You’ll get criticism, and if it’s well-intended, take it thoughtfully, but slog on like an iron-plated, cold-blooded, steely-willed Nietzschean battleship through rough waters regardless, and don’t stop. Unexpected opportunities will begin to present themselves.

Wow, what an insightful conversation this has been, and these concluded words are very empowering. Thank you for taking the time to have the interview with me. I really appreciate your celebration of the beautifully dark elements in this life.

Thanks so much for having me here. And congratulations on almost 8 years at Poehemian Press! That’s a hell of an accomplishment!

Thank you. I can’t believe it’s been nearly a decade! 🙂


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