Book reviews, nominations, and a picture of a cat

Hi friends! Hope you all are enjoying the Fall season (or whatever season it is where you are). Some exciting updates since I last posted.

  • One of my favorite websites, lesbian site, recently reviewed my book. Jill Guccini writes: “The cover of this book shows an uncertain girl, about to take a step, looking over her shoulder. The poems inside of it, though, are all of a bravely honest, weary but tender, overwhelmingly solid woman.” Omg! Check out the full review here.
  • My book has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, and has also been nominated by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association for consideration on this year’s Over the Rainbow list.
  • This winter, I’ll be traveling out west for some shows with one of my favorite people and poets, Chris August. Check out my Upcoming Shows page for info.
  • If you’re interested in buying the book, here are three ways to do it. You can buy directly through me (preferred, and I’d be happy to sign it if you want), through my publisher, or through Amazon.
  • Finally, here’s an awesome picture of a cat. Enjoy!anigif_enhanced-buzz-26358-1381845043-13

I wrote a book!


I’m extremely excited to announce that my full-length poetry book, Running for Trap Doors, is now available for pre-orders. Sale price is $11.97 plus shipping.

If you live in or around NYC, please mark your calendar for September 21st, 7-9pm. I’ll be having a book release party at the amazing Nuyorican Poets Cafe, featuring poems from the book and guest performances by Jeanann Verlee, Eboni Hogan, Mahoghany Brown, Megan Falley, Caroline Rothstein, Kamone Felix, Liz Bowen, and Omar Holmon.

Happy National Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month, and writers all over the country are taking on the challenge of writing 30 poems in 30 days. I’ll be participating and posting some poems here. If you’d like to take part but have writer’s block, check out my friend Nicole Homer’s great writing prompts here.

In other exciting updates, I now have a press kit you can download here. Please pass along to anyone who may be interested in having me come perform!

Last month, I was so honored and excited to perform on International Women’s Day at San Diego State University. Here’s an article about my show there.

I also have two poems published in the recent issue of The Legendary. 

Happy National Poetry Month!!

The Next Big Thing: Self-Interview

My friend Marty McConnell recently tagged me for The Next Big Thing, a self-interview series for authors who just released a book or who are about to. This works like a game of tag– a writer does the self-interview and tags three more writers to participate, they each tag three people, and so on. The questions are the same for everyone. And now, here we go:

What is the working title of the book? 

The title will be Running for Trap Doors. Other possible titles included Trap Door and Emoticon-English Dictionary.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This is my first full-length book, so a lot of these poems have been edited and re-edited until I felt like they were ready for the outside world. The idea for the title came from one of my poems, Trap Door, which is about learning to navigate around my own self-sabotage. 

What genre does your book fall under?


What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I’d like to be played by Lucy Lawless, as Xena. Grandma: Ellen Burstyn. Mom: Meryl Streep. Dad: Nick Offerman from Parks and Recreation. Bad idea love interests: Michelle Rodriguez, Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence. Good idea love interest: Olivia Wilde. Miriam: Ellen Page. 

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

An unflinching exploration of learning how to get out of one’s own way and see the world in a new light.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Well, I submitted some of these poems to Write Bloody Press in Summer 2011, most of which I had written that year. I made it to the final round but didn’t get a book deal. I then spent the next year reading poems obsessively, writing new ones, and editing the ones I thought had promise. When Summer 2012 rolled around, I had a manuscript I was proud of—one I felt was representative of me and of the journeys I’ve had.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

In the past few years, I’ve confronted some of the ugly truths standing in the way of my happiness—namely relationship patterns, mental health issues, and a lot of escapism. For years, I tried to distract myself from myself by focusing on any shiny object or person I could find. Once I was forced to stop doing that, I found that the process of actually allowing myself to be happy meant a whole lot of digging. This book holds a lot of what I unearthed. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

This book features lesbian bars, scorpions, Chinese food, waitresses, Moses, and this emotion :/.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m very honored and excited for my book to be published by Sibling Rivalry Press in August 2013.

I’m tagging these awesome writers to talk about their to-be-released or just-released books:
Chris August
Aaron Samuels
Aziza Barnes


Poems published in PANK!

Happy (belated) new year!

For years now I’ve been submitting to PANK magazine, and finally, the weekend of my birthday, three of my poems appear in the February 2013 issue! Check them out here.

This Spring, I’ll be traveling to the Bershires, New Paltz and San Diego for workshops and features, and performing next month along with literary hero Ravi Shankar. Upcoming show info is listed here.

Stay tuned for a post about my to-be-released book Running for Trap Doors.

Be good to yourselves. You deserve it. Eat some ice cream, buy a llama. 

Updates: Free workshops, a book and a mini-tour

Hello internet world!  It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an update.  I hope you’re having a great day.

  • In August 2013, my full-length poetry manuscript will be published by Sibling Rivalry Press.  I’m so honored to be a part of this publishing family along with some of my favorite writers.
  • My friend and fellow poet Elliot D. Smith and I have launched free poetry & performance workshops for LGBTQ youth.  Workshops are the first Wednesday of every month at the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, located at 310 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, near over 10 subway lines.  This series is my heart– I’ve wanted to start something like this for so long, and do what I can to encourage LGBTQ kids to share their voices with the world.  Please spread the word!  Click here for more info.
  • I recently embarked on a mini-tour to San Francisco/Oakland, Portland and Seattle.  I ate a lot of amazing food, met great people, and got the opportunity to feature at some of my favorite slam venues.  I’ll be planning another, much longer national tour in late summer/Fall 2013.
  • I also have a brand new chapbook.  It’s name is Trap Door.  Trap Door would love to meet you.

That’s all for now.  Be good to each other and to yourselves.  Love, me.

Urbana 2012 Team

Hi friends!  I’m very excited to be the 2012 Urbana Grand Slam Champion, and to be a member of the 2012 Urbana National Poetry Slam team along with Jared Singer, Jeanann Verlee and Ingamar Dion Ramirez.  We’ll be at the National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, NC this August.

In other news, you may have heard that Obama recently announced his support for marriage equality.  In honor of celebrating human rights for all humans, here’s a video of me performing Pride at City Hall in New York, while I watched LGBT couples finally get the legal recognition they deserve.

Help me win a Write Bloody Book Publishing Deal!

Hi friends,

I’ve been selected as one of 20 finalists by Write Bloody Publishing‘s book deal contest.  I just sent in a 40 page manuscript that is, in every way, my heart.  I recorded a video of one of the poems, and 20% of my score depends on the “likes” it gets on youtube.  This is where you come in.  I ask that you please take less than 3 minutes out of your day to click the “thumbs up” by my video on youtube, and to ask your friends to do the same.  It would mean the world to me to have this publishing deal, and in order for that to happen, I need some help.
Voting has begun.  Honestly, I hate having to ask people to do this stuff.  But this has been my dream since I was a 4 year old kid making up poems about rainbows, so here I am in your inbox.  Thank you so so much, on behalf of both 4 year-old and 30 year-old Joanna.  

Write Bloody Finalist!

I was very excited to find  out yesterday that I’m one of twenty finalists for a Write Bloody Publishing book deal!  I have until the end of the month to put together a 40-poem manuscript, videotape a poem, post it online and get lots of votes.  I hope you’ll vote for my poem and cross your fingers for me.  Once I have the video I’ll post it here.

WOWPS 2012…

was amazing and inspiring in so many ways.  Here’s a few:

  • Sonya Renee’s RUCHUS workshop was exactly what I needed at the exact right time.  It takes courage to be raw and honest, and even more so to bring that gift to the world.  And while I’m on the topic of Sonya Renee, I am blessed to have this amazing woman in my life and as one of my closest friends.  I will nuzzle in her busom forever.  
  • Rachel and Gypsy’s poems during the 2nd night of prelims.  Oh. my. god.  During Gypsy’s poem, I remembered that I first heard it about 7 years ago at the LEAF Festival in North Carolina. I thought about how long I’ve known her, and how much love I felt for her and so many other people in that room.  These two have dedicated themselves to making our community feel safe and nurtured. Sheroes.
  • Marty McConnell never ceases to amaze me.  Her 2 and 3min poems the second night of prelims blew my brain open.
  • Franny Choi is a genius.  I still can’t stop talking about her sac poem at Finals.  I want a Franny Choi action figure.
  • Chris August, Caroline Rothstein, Omar Holmon, Emily Rose, Liz Bowen, Beth Hoffman, Sam LaRoche— I felt your love and support so profoundly even though you weren’t there in person.  Thank you.
  • Tatyana Brown and Sara Brickman kept me from vomiting before my second night bout.  I’m in awe of their poetry and lucky to call them friends that I eat questionable gravy with. That sounds weird and I’m okay with that.
  • Listening to Cynthia French run poems in the alleyway outside Leela and then watching her absolutely destroy onstage was so awesome.  Her range and charisma makes her unstoppable.  BOOK HER NOW.
  • Leah Gould is one of my favorite people and poets. She needs to come visit NYC.
  • Eboni Hogan is a brilliant writer, performer and also will one day be the host of the only talk show I will ever watch. 
  • Jeanann Verlee is hummingbird and light.  To have someone I admire a lot give me such great feedback and advice means so much.
  • Megan Falley is bold and unflinching and rocked out despite having a FEVER for all of wowps.  Muffstar.
  • If you haven’t heard Angelique Palmer’s 4 minute poem, you need to.  This woman has strength radiating from every syllable.
  • Natalie Illum is a rockstar and one of my favorite writers.
  • God, I love Rachel Wiley’s undeniable master of wordcraft.  Magic 4 seahorse tour.
  • Amy Everhart’s poems make my chest hurt, in a good way.  So much fire and gummy bear.
  • Lauren Zuniga.  Her poems made me choke on my own heart.  I love smart, gorgeous poetry that also takes a stand on issues that matter.  I wanted to jump up and say “YES!” during her poems, but I thought that might be distracting.
  • I don’t really know why I’m just now meeting Melissa May, but I’m already in love with her writing.  You should buy her chapbook, like, now.
  • Mindy Nettifee is magic.  She anointed me backstage with something that smelled like hippies and summer and tranquility, and it made me feel like a unicorn warrior princess.
  • James Merenda is so full of love and support and gives amazing hugs.  You should hug him.
  • I was so thrilled and honored to share a finals stage with my friend Whitney and see her absolutely kill it on stage. 
  • Dominique Ashaheed is so deserving.  Her passion and talent is intoxicating.
  • Kay Krown, Porsha O, Olivia Gatwood, DeAnn Emmet, Krista Mosca, Miss Haze– so honored to share a stage with of these amazing ladies.
  • Kait Rokowski is my unicorn.  How is she only 21 and so talented and amazing??
  • I’m sure I’m forgetting people unintentionally.  I’m still sleep deprived and now sick with some respiratory evil, so any omissions are brought to you by Exhaustion, DayQuil and the letter J. 
  • I came to wowps feeling a bit unsure of my place in the community, or if I have one.  Coming here reminded me that I never lost my friendships and connections here, and that I never could.  That’s the most amazing thing I ever could have won.  Have I told you lately that I’m in love with all of you?  Will you go to the prom with me?