Frank Paino, PIETÁ

PIETÁ, Frank Paino. Jacar Press, 6617 Deerview Trail, Durham, NC 27712, 2023, 46 pages, $14.00 paper,

Winner of the Jacar Press Chapbook Prize, 2023, chosen by Saddiq Dzukogi, author of Your Crib, My Qibla

This is the review that catches me up for the year (18 weeks, 18 poetry books read and written about). See the review here:


Giving Thanks for 2022

This afternoon (Dec. 31) I helped pick up fir and cedar limbs in our backyard and now my arm is twanging. It’s been 4 weeks! Isn’t it fine now?

But I promised myself I would do an end-of-the year round up of my submissions, and I’m not going to let my arm stop me.

If you’re looking for on-line and print venues for your poems and other writings, maybe this post will be of interest to you, too.

In 2022 I made 101 submissions of poetry, and 28 of prose pieces.

Sixteen venues said yes to 22 poems, one story, one CNF (creative nonfiction piece), and two book reviews. If you’re new to sending out your work, this is actually a very good return.

One poem won a contest: Edmonds Arts Council, Poets Perspective; one poem was Pushcart-nominated; and one received a Best of the Net nomination.

In an earlier post this year I shared that I had a goal of 100 rejections in 2022. I didn’t make it. I heard a firm “no” only 71 times and among those I had a number of encouraging notes and invitations to resubmit. (It’s all good, in other words.) A large number of poems and about 4 essays are still out, some from as long ago as February, 2022, so I could (conceivably) get to my 100 rejections.

Of course it’s way more fun to look at the acceptances. I’ve shared a few of these over the year, but recently the mail brought my contributor copy of Catamaran, a journal which, if you don’t know it, you should. As their banner says: “West Coast themes, Writers and Artists from Everywhere.” My poem, “A Mask of Forgetting,” is paired with art by Elizabeth Fox, and the whole thing is beautifully put together, well worth the trip.

This month I also received a contributor copy of Peregrine, from Amherst Poets & Writers. They picked up two of my poems: “Reading Andrew Motion’s Biography of John Keats,” and “Every Cell of Me.” I appreciate all the on-line journals now encouraging writers, but it’s still a treat to get a copy of a real, flesh-and-bone journal.

Speaking of poems-paired-with-amazing-art: check out my poem, “Lessons in Beekeeping,” at Open: A Journal of Arts & Letters. The art, “Old Bee Farm,” by Clara Southern, is perfect.

And, though I’ve mentioned it before, I want to tell you again about Escape Into Life, which I consider one of my luckiest finds ever. Kathleen Kirk and the review editor, Seana Graham, have been incredibly generous to me. (Not to mention the prize nominations. Well, okay, to mention them.) Over the years they’ve published quite a few of my poems, and book reviews, always pairing the poems with gorgeous art, as in their recent Dog Days 2022 feature, with art by Elke Vogelsang.

I’ve been sending out poetry for decades, and I have very little ego invested in the process. Prose send-outs, however, and prose acceptances, are fairly new for me. For a long time, I would once in a while (every other year or so) send a story out, and then I’d be discouraged and forget about it. Taking a Creative Nonfiction class where we are REQUIRED to submit work to journals has broken me of that bad habit. Earlier this year I was hugely proud to have an essay about my mother, “My Mother’s Birthday in Ireland,” published at Chautauqua; and to see my fourth published short story picked up by Kithe (another gorgeous print journal).


Kithe (kai-the) is an old Scottish word that means to make or become known. At Kithe, we believe that all creative endeavors are an effort to be made known. We show through our language and our art what and who we are, and in doing so, we are made known to one another.  –from their website

Very recent acceptances — and definitely journals or websites for you to check out — are Descant, The Bookends Review, Empty Bowl Press, and Braided Way: Faces & Voices of Spiritual Practice. 

All done bragging. I hope this is helpful to you in some way. Now, to put my arm back in the sling and find the ice pack. And maybe sneak out for one more walk today.

In 2023, I hope you write.


Rejection City

So this is a blogpost about rejection. I was talking to a friend — a brilliant poet — and she told me that she had a big set-back earlier in the year. She had submitted several poems to a magazine she felt she had a personal relationship with, and the editor wrote back and said, “Not this time.” She told me that she didn’t know if she would ever write again. I know she was just feeling the August blahs and practicing some hyperbole — or I hope she was.

My goal this year is to get 100 rejections. You heard that right. So far I’ve managed 98 submissions of poetry, essays, or my poetry ms. And I’ve had (I’m guessing) about 30 acceptances. That means I still have at least 32 more submissions to make — and (horrors!) if any of those are accepted, then a few more for good measure.

Someone else gave me advice — and sent an adorable video of a three-year-old to illustrate it — of what might be called “radical acceptance.” The idea is to spend some time each day saying, “I LOVE my house,” “I LOVE my car,” “I LOVE this plant…this kid…this dog…this ratty old couch….” You get the picture. Just to flip that usual mode of noticing what isn’t okay, isn’t good enough, etc.

I love these rejections and how they’re helping me get closer to my goal of 100 rejections this year.

Well, it all sounds rather silly, now that I’m typing it up. I get bogged down by big stuff — and why shouldn’t I? Just like everyone, I often get caught by the little stuff and do some serious whining. On the other hand, sometimes I already practice this. A grown daughter hijacks a day when I really wanted to get other things done, and I decide to embrace it. My husband gets in a fender-bender, and I’m shot through the heart with gratitude that it was just a fender-bender and not anything worse. I get a headache and a voice from somewhere says, “I wonder what that’s asking you to pay attention to?”

I’m of course hugely grateful for the acceptance of two poems from Descant (a good place for you to send, too), and for the copy of Better Than Starbucks (with my poem!) that arrived in today’s mail.

And I’m very very grateful for the poems posted at Escape Into Life for August dog days (and I’ll of course be over-the-moon with gratitude if you check out that feature).



Review of Ada Limón’s ‘The Hurting Kind’

I join good company in reviewing poet Ada Limón’s The Hurting Kind — reviews have appeared on NPR, in The Guardian, and The New York Times. I’m honored that EIL (Escape Into Life) offered me an opportunity to add my voice.

To read the review (and visit the wonderful EIL site), click on this link:

You can read my 2021 blogpost about Limon’s Bright Dead Things, here.

While I’m here, I also wanted to remind people that I’ll be reading, along with several other Madrona #3 contributors, at FinnRiver Farm & Cidery, 6:30 p.m., July 14. One day soon, I promise, I’ll have a real blogpost for you.