At the age of 86, Goya used those words as a caption for a self-portrait, and I have taken them for myself as well. Although poetry remains at the center of what I do--or attempt to do--I am learning as I go in several other genres, and publishing some of the results. I am especially fond of essays and commentary, and some of my efforts in those areas have appeared in both literary journals and mainstream media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times. I have also recently finished the first draft of a book-length creative nonfiction project with the working title The Audible Year: A Book of Sounds.
Poetry has in its own way led me to two other areas that might seem incompatible at first glance: children's books and crime fiction. At their best, both are carried along by the play of language. My first picture book, The Best Mariachi in the World, will be published in September, and I am also seeking publishers for other children's books of both prose and poetry. My short crime fiction has appeared in venues such as Demolition Magazine, Out of the Gutter, Pulp Pusher and Thug Lit--thanks to all of them--and I may yet give in to peer pressure and write a crime novel as well as a literary novel.
My other capricious muse is humor, sometimes intersecting with my interests in animals and environmental issues. Some of the results have appeared in the environmental webzine Grist, as well as the bimonthly magazine The Bark and other publications such as The Big Jewel, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and Yankee Pot Roast.
In all of these genres I often feel that I am just beginning, and I want to do a great deal more. I am grateful for the readers who follow my progress on this journey.
One Fell Soup by Roy Blount, Jr.
The Pugilist at Rest by Thom Jones
The Best Mariachi in the World
"The Desire to Think Clearly" in Poets on Prozac: Mental Illness, Treatment and the Creative Process, edited by Richard M. Berlin, MD.
None at this time.
John Gordon Burke, Publisher
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