Posts Tagged ‘Finishing Line Press’


My grades for the semester are done, and it looks like I will be teaching a creative writing class this summer.  So, yes, like everyone, my endings aren’t really endings, but starting points for new beginnings — in my case, new classes, new students, and hopefully, some new work. 

In the last week or so, I have managed to draft some new poems.  I’ve also received a rejection or two.  But today, I got the news that Adanna has accepted one of my poems.  I loved Adanna’s debut issue that was published last year, so I’m super excited to be included in this summer’s issue.

In other news, two great poets have chapbooks coming out from Finishing Line Press.  As most of my readers know, my first chapbook, Stealing Dust, was published by Finishing Line Press and I’ve been grateful for the Press’s support of my work.  Thus, I try to support them whenever I can.  Consider preordering Sheila Squillante’s Women Who Pawn Their Jewelry and Laura E. Davis’s Braiding the Storm.  (The links go directly to their blogs where you can learn more about their work!)

Now, I’m off to prepare for my summer course!  With the warm weather and bright sun, it does indeed, feel like summer.

Why I Love Anchor Glass

I love Finishing Line Press and not just because this chapbook publishing company published Stealing Dust.  I discover many new poets through Finishing Line — poets who I don’t think I would find in other venues.  My most recent find is Anchor Glass by Karen Dietrich.

The setting for this slim volume of poetry is a small factory town in Pennsylvania — much like the setting of many of my works.  The narrator in “Certainty” explains this place clearly while depicting an eighth grade classroom:  “We were learning to be good citizens/remembering to fan the Youghiogheny/flowing past coke ovens nailed into grass/river rushing cold over our heads/while we slept in houses/our parents paid for with their bodies/their lungs exhaling ash so fine/it barely darkened our dreams.”

The factory is a dominant force in this collection’s narrative poems.  In one poem, “Factory” the narrator describes the building as a “subterranean staircase” that lingered far after the workers returned home:  “Nighttime your furnace breath puffed like a train/across the river, across other bodies coughing for air/your sulfur lungs burning the bedroom black.”  In another poem, “Night Shift”  a daughter fears for her father’s life as she watches him pack his lunch: “wax paper sandwiches, small cellophaned cakes, hard white icing/glass bottles of cola with red paper labels.”

The factory is also part of the domestic life found in some of these poems.  In “Inhaling” the narrator describes laundry chores: “Over clothesline, mother slings/wet work pants like dead bodies/buttons for eyes, rusted zippers for teeth.” 

Dietrich grew up in Connellsville, Pennsylvania.  With a brief bit of research, I discovered that Anchor Glass closed its factory in Connellsville in 2004.  So in many ways, her book is a respectful homage to little factory towns — a landscape that seems to be disappearing.

When I read the poet’s bio, I discovered a big surprise.  Karen Dietrich attended the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg — the same campus where I first discovered my love of working-class poetry, and the same campus where I received my degree in English literature.  While I am quite sure there is a huge age difference between us (I graduated from Pitt quite a few years ago), I’m excited to read work from another poet from my campus.  And I’m excited about Dietrich’s work — this sample of writing makes me only want to see more.

Hot Summer Ahead for Finishing Line Press

My chapbook, Stealing Dust, was published by Finishing Line Press, so I always try to support Finishing Line writers…I have known for some time that Kristin Berkey-Abbott ‘s chapbook will be out this summer and that the press is currently taking preorders.  (Note to those who don’t know much about Finishing Line Press: the number of preorders determines printed copies.  So it’s important to the poet to get as many preorders as possible).

Imagine my surprise (in a good way) when I looked at Finishing Line Press’s summer lineup — some of my favorite poets have chapbooks coming out. Susan Grimm, one of the poetry editors for The Barn Owl Review, has a collection set to be released in late July.  I worked with Susan a few years ago at Chautauqua and have been watching the poetry world for news of upcoming work.  And finally, (Big excitement and drumroll, please), I discovered that Pittsburgh poet Lori Jakiela has a new collection coming out!  The title of her chapbook?  The Mill Hunk’s Daughter Meets the Queen of the Sky.  Now, come on all you working-class writers…you have to be at least a little bit curious about the poems in this collection!

My invitation to you?  Take a look at Finishing Line Press today and see what upcoming collections you could support!