I was born in Minneapolis, Minn., six months before
Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.
But my first childhood memories are of Guam island,
where my father took a teaching job after receiving his
Ph.D. It was a childhood of rocky beaches, skittering
lizards and huge black-and-yellow spiders with webs that covered walls.
My parents moved to a suburb outside Chicago, then to a small mining town
in the Appalachian Mountains, where for good and for ill I spend most of my
formative years. I didn't fit in there, had little love for the strip mines or the
native sons who bullied me, but I did spend many wonderful hours in a
well-stocked library on a hill across town. My father, yes, made me read The
Lord of the Rings, his favorite book, and hiking down the paths that started
there led me to H.P. Lovecraft and Ursula K. Le Guin, Harlan Ellison and T.S.
Eliot, Roger Zelazny and Stephen King. For years I had a subscription to
Asimov's Science Fiction, which functioned as my window into the "glamorous"
world of speculative fiction.
My family finally moved to Roanoke, Va., where I still live. In 1992, the year
that Pope John Paul II forgave Galileo, I graduated from college, married
Anita (nee Seth) and sold my first short story to a small press zine. Three
years later, after landing my master's degree, I made my first blip on the
publishing radar by editing and printing New Dominions, a chapbook of
stories and poems by Virginia writers such as Nelson S. Bond and R.H.W.
Dillard (the title was a play on "The Old Dominion.")
Anita and I now live in a house we call "Stone Oak Croft" among too-tall trees
beneath a pestilence of squirrels. We are tolerated by our cat (Bella)Donna,
the real owner of the house — though she tolerates our goofy gallumphing
dog Loki considerably less (though he's five times her size, he lives in
fear of her) and she really, really dislikes our new kittens, Persephone and Pandora, but they pay her littel mind.
In my day job I'm the arts columnist for my city's daily newspaper, but this website is all about what I do
in my spare time: for eleven years I've been editor, and for six years publisher, of
the biannual poetry journal Mythic Delirium. I've also edited or co-edited
several books, including The Alchemy of Stars (the anthology of all the
poems which have won the Science Fiction Poetry Association's Rhysling
tAward) the MYTHIC anthologies of fantasy poetry and fiction, and the critically-acclaimed Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Stangeness anthology series for Norilana Books. I've
published five books of poetry: Strange Wisdoms of the
Dead (Wildside Press, 2006), was a Philadelphia Inquirer Editor's Choice selection; my latest is The Journey to Kailash from Norilana Books. I've also had about 200 or so poems appear in venues like Asimov's Science Fiction, The Pedestal Magazine, Nebula
Awards Showcase, The Best Horror of the Year, Goblin Fruit, Strange Horizons, and other places. I'm a former
president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and a three-time winner
of the Rhysling Award. I also manage to spit out an occasional short story, and one of them, "The Button Bin," was a nominee for the Nebula Award.
Lately I've re-engaged a youthful fascination with the stage, and I can
sometimes be spotted late Friday nights performing in Studio
Roanoe's No Shame Theatre, often finding ways to convert my strange
poems into stranger stage skits. Several of these I've reprised at the
Rhysling Awards Poetry Slan Reading at ReaderCon in Boston, which I've
hosted for the past five years.