One thing for which I'll always be grateful is the collection of connections and relationships I've formed since sneaking in the back door of the writing community. This place, which can be so daunting and expansive and loaded with enough masters to make even the most formidable artists shake in their skins, is home to some of the most wonderful individuals who are accessible, inclusive, and generous with their time. Such generosity can be seen in these two latest reviews for I'm Never Fine in Barrelhouse and bookreporter.
See below for some highlights and links to the full coverage.
“One of the joys of Lezza’s writing is its own shapeshifting; sometimes he calls the reader to follow him as he tries to sketch a Polaroid of a memory, while other times he reaches for a poetic brush to color in impressionistic, lyric moments.” - Manuel Betancourt, Barrelhouse
"In its wide emotional amplitude and stark dissection of physical realities, I’M NEVER FINE counters with pathos, vulnerability and a tender germ of healing that starts its growth when we’re least aware of it happening." - Pauline Finch, bookreporter
This past Sunday, 4/9, it was my honor to be a featured guest on KTEP 88.5 FM's Words on a Wire, hosted by acclaimed author (and my former professor) Tim Z. Hernandez.
Words on a Wire has become one of the most established and influential radio shows on writing and creativity. Over the years, they have had guests from first-time writers with new books to the world’s most established thinkers, such as former and current US Poet Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and great thinkers who have dedicate their lives to making the world a better place.
It was humbling to have an opportunity to discuss my book, the writing process, the period following release, and even found an opportunitiy to mutually gush about Raquel Gutiérrez.
If you weren't able to listen live, the episode is now available as a podcast! And, you can listen at the links below:
It was my honor, this week, to be featured by the Miss Manhattan non-fiction reading series on their ninth anniversary.
Miss M has been written about in the likes of The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Time Out New York, and more.
And, it was my pleasure to share my work the stage with Elyssa Maxx Goodman, Jodi M. Savage, Denny, and Ben Seagren - all artists overwhelmingly my better.
I was extremely humbled and thankful to the good people at Longreads for featuring an excerpt from my new book among the superlative work they publish.
Founded in 2009, the organization has dedicated itself to helping people find and share the best longform nonfiction storytelling on the web. Over the years, they've been nominated for National Magazine Awards and they've been cited for digital excellence by the Peabody Awards, among others. Suffice it to say, I was rather floored by the selection.
Give it a read HERE!
It was my absolute pleasure to be welcomed by Debutiful last week and to share an excerpt from and discuss my newly released memoir, "I'm Never Fine."
Debutiful is a website and podcast where readers can discover debut authors. It has been named a Best Book Podcast by Book Riot, Town and Country, and Los Angeles Review of Books.
Click HERE to listen!
Happy (very belated) Valentine’s Day, friends!
In celebration of a holiday I find to be inordinately cringe, the latest issue of Dollar Store Magazine has published “A Recipe for Disaster,” my well-meaning roast of the self-destructive tendencies we cannot seem to quit in our quest for love.
It can be found on page 52 of Issue 6, entitled "Love, but Make it Cringe."
Check it out HERE and have a gas!
Friends, I don’t know what to say.
When I started writing this I had no idea where it would lead.
I had no idea magazines would pick up and publish pieces along the way. I had no idea those publications would fuel the push toward the manuscript. I had no idea a publisher would take interest in this story from a writer few had heard of, that they’d manage to be touched by it and offer to put in the necessary time and resources to develop it into a book. I had no idea, in my work to get it out there, I’d wind up connecting with writers I’d never even dreamed I’d meet and - on top of that - that they’d be generous with their time and thought and actually want to affix their name to the work in some way. I had no idea how hard the work would be, how necessary it would be, and how much I would learn and grow from all of it.
But, here we are. It is publication day for I’m Never Fine: Scenes and Spasms on Loss, and, considering all it took to get there, I also acknowledge that the journey for this book really begins today.
My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has taken part in this trek and to those still posted out ahead.
Here we go.
Good Morning, readers.
It's so very appropriate that this piece - a piece that shares the name of the man who looms so large in my forthcoming memoir - should find its home in the very same month that that book is slated to be released.
But, some occurrences defy logic and explanation.
To that end, my poem "Joseph" is out now in both digital and print publication with Dear Reader and Alien Buddha Zine, respectively.
Please check them out. And, don't forget to pay attention to the little things.
"You look ridiculous if you dance. You look ridiculous if you don’t dance.
So you might as well dance." - Gertrude Stein
Some days, ya gotta dance. The Chicks said that once. Well, they sang it. (Sung it? I never know).
And, friends, in this case, I am so glad I danced my way into a frenzy of foolish confidence a few months ago wherein I submitted my book for consideration at LAMBDA LITERARY. Because, just yesterday, I learned that the good folx at LL - America's leading LGBTQ literary organization - named my book, I'm Never Fine: Scenes and Spasms on Loss, among their list of the Most Anticipated February 2023 Releases.
Shocked would be an understatement. Humbled, as well. Excited, too. I am, quite literally, all the adjectives.
My sincerest thanks to everyone at LAMBDA LITERARY for their kindness and for this distinction.
I'll just be over here, lying on the floor.
Friends and readers!
I wrote a poem about apples…but also maybe about poison, God, Michaelangelo, Milton, and the Jonestown massacre.
But, mostly, apples.
This particular piece is featured in my forthcoming memoir and it’s out now in Issue #4 of possibly THE most appropriate magazine, considering the subject matter: Messy Misfits Club.
Check it out HERE!
All posts are authored by Joe unless otherwise noted.