Category Archives: Shameless Self-Promotion

Just up on PopMatters: “Midnight Oil’s Time Has Come Again.”

Check out “Midnight Oil’s Time Has Come Again,” just up on PopMatters.

I’ve been meaning to write about Midnight Oil for a long time.

Then I bought my tickets to see Midnight Oil a couple months ago on their first world tour in 15 years, and it got me thinking about my long history of loving the band’s music, and how particular their music and appeal was back then. Now, of course, with Trump in office, the band’s political bent is an absolute tonic, and I’ve had a long time to appreciate the depth of their catalog.

Anyway, read the article! I put it a lot better in this piece than I do here.

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Three disaster movie poems on Barrelhouse.

Three–count ’em three–poems are up on the website of the illustrious literary juggernaut that is Barrelhouse today. It’s part of their National Poetry Month celebration, in which they are running poems each day that are movies- or TV-inspired.

The poems, “Rescuing Bobby Brady from a Disaster Movie,” “Jack Lemmon Rewinds His Misanthropic Dialogue from a Disaster Movie,” and “Gleaning Dean Martin’s Chivalric Role in a Disaster Movie,” are inspired by, respectively, The Towering Inferno (1974), Airport ’77 (1977), and Airport (1975).

Thanks to all the Barrelhouse crew, especially Sheila Squillante, who’s one of my favorite people to see each year at AWP (as well as, you know, non-AWP times as well).

The poems were written, truth be told, more than 20 years ago when I was in grad school. I brought them into my workshops from time to time, and Sharon Olds and Galway Kinnell had no clue how to even respond to them.

“I have no idea who Dean Martin is,” Sharon Olds said at one point.

Back then, I was all like, “really?” But I think she was just saying that, as if to say, “how would people who have no idea who Dean Martin is respond to this poem?”

Which makes sense.

These three poems are part of a sequence of at least four poems. I worked really hard on these, from what I can recall. I began each poem with the last line of the one preceding it, and used the old William Carlos Williams triadic stanza thing and, what I regarded as my own innovation, staggering the stanzas in cascade fashion so the poems looked like they were falling from the sky. Those were heady times at the writing desk, I said, self-deprecatingly.

(I notice Sheila did what I have to do sometimes publishing poems that work away from the left-side margin: she took a screenshot and published it as a graphic. WordPress and other CMSs can be a cruel mistress sometimes.) (UPDATE: The screenshot formatting was too much of a pain, and it wouldn’t be read by, like, mobile devices and tablets, so after conferring with Sheila, who is a saint, we went with a flush-left margin.)

The poem that comes after this, “Leslie Nielsen Signs Autographs, Comments on His Disaster Movie,” was published in Painted Bride Quarterly a couple years back. (They put the epigraph, The Poseidon Adventure, into the title, which I guess was their editorial prerogative, or perhaps a mistake? I just noticed that.) It’s the last poem in the sequence, and it’s a story I stole from my old friend and now award-winning film director Kevin B. DiNovis.  I think that whole event took place that the B. Dutton store in the Cherry Hill Mall.

When 9/11 happened, you would be accurate in guessing that I took these poems out of submission circulation because duh. In recent years, I’ve turned into my own personal archivist because who else is going to do it, and took another look at some old poems to revise and revisit them. The disaster movie poems didn’t much more work and they still kinda-sorta hold up. It’s nice to see them out into the world.








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Hey Albany, NY: I’m reading for St. Rocco’s Reading for the Falsely Accused on Feb. 18.

People of thestroccos Capital Tech Tri-City Valley Region District! On Sunday, February 18, I’ll be reading work as part of the St. Rocco’s Reading for the Falsely Accused series.

Hosted and curated by Aimee Harrison, Kenyatta Garcia, and Douglas Rothschild, St. Rocco’s is a super-cool salon-poetry reading series. This installment features Buck Downs, Tara Needham, & Daniel Nester.  Reading begins at 8pm. The location is 58 Philip St, Albany, NY 12202-1715. Enter at the corner of Philip and Elm. Pre-reading hang is at The Excelsior Pub at 6pm.

Facebook event page

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I’ll be going to AWP in Washington, DC. Perhaps I will see you there?


AWP, that annual meeting of the writers, teachers, publishers, and MFA programs, takes place in our nation’s capital, Washington, DC. Like many others, I feel conflicted even entering the area code of the Orange-Headed Fascist, but perhaps there is strength in numbers. There better be.

I’ll be doing the Spinal Tap-style book-signing thing at the 99: The Press table (414-T) on Friday, 1-2pm. Buy a copy of SHADER, get some extra goodies from me.

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Hey, People of Hudson! On Friday, August 26 come to A Hot August Night Reading!


Stoked to be reading with my old friend Jen Hyde, who is now a rock star, and Vt Hung, and at my favorite bookstore in the world, The Spotty Dog. Details and full-length bios below.

August 26, 7pm
The Spotty Dog Books & Ale
A Hot August Night Reading
with VT Hung, Jen Hyde, and Daniel Nester plus special guests

Join us as 2016 Asian American Writers’ Workshop Margins Fellows VT Hung and Jen Hyde wrap up their residencies at The Millay Colony in Austerlitz, NY and read new work, joined by friend Daniel Nester and others. A short set from DJ Wizzy D (Delmar, NY) to follow.


VT Hung is a Vietnamese American fiction writer who was born in Dorchester, MA and currently lives in Washington Heights. His parents are boat people who, with his godparents, opened the first Vietnamese grocery store in Boston.  He received his education from Boston and Randolph Public Schools, Boston College High School, Boston College, the Lynch School of Education, WGBH-TV Channel 2, and the Boston Public Library. In the fall, he will begin his
M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Syracuse University.  Vt is writing a collection of short stories about Vietnamese refugee and immigrants living in Boston. His work seeks to retrace memories, construct alternative narratives, recognize porous cultural borders, explore overlapping histories, and make connections across racial boundaries. He is interested in race, gender, class, and popular culture. Link to recent work here.

Jen Hyde is the author of Hua Shi Hua (华画诗) Drawings and Poems from China, forthcoming in January 2017 from Ahsahta Press. Her poems and generative translations have appeared in The Margins, The Volta and Drunken Boat, and she is a collaborative chapbook publisher with No, Dear / Small Anchor. The recipient of fellowships from Ithaca College and NYU Shanghai, Jen is currently a Margins Fellow at the Asian American Writer’s Workshop and a Heart Valve Ambassador for the American Heart Association. She lives in Brooklyn. Link to recent work here.

Daniel Nester is the author most recently of the memoir-in-essays Shader: 99 Notes on Car Washes, Making Out in Church, Grief, and Other Unlearnable Subjects (99: The Press 2015). His previous books include How to Be Inappropriate (Soft Skull, 2010), God Save My Queen I and II (Soft Skull, 2003 and 2004), and The Incredible Sestina Anthology (Write Bloody, 2014), which he edited. He is an associate professor of English at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Link to recent work here.

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