The Writing Party

Mezcalita Press, LLC, from Wimberley, Texas, is pleased to announce a June 1, 2020 publication date for Ken Waldman's new hybrid book, The Writing Party. The work is one-part writing manual, one-part memoir (of Ken Waldman's life as a writer and teacher), and one-part full-length poetry collection (of poems about writers and writing).

Mezcalita Press, LLC was founded by touring singer-songwriter, Nathan Brown, former Poet Laureate of the state of Oklahoma, and his wife, Ashley Brown. The press has a mission of publishing books by touring musicians.

Ken Waldman will have review copies on hand for AWP in San Antonio, March 4-7, 2020. Also, Ken Waldman, Nathan Brown, and other writer/musicians will be performing at Lowcountry in San Antonio on Wednesday, March 4, 8 pm-11 pm. (More information about that event is right here!)

More about this new book? Below is the cover. And below that, five poems from the collection.


Five Poems


To an Apprentice Writer

Everything's been written
(just look at the books).

So easy to quit
when every wilderness

has been mapped,
every love story launched,

every household built
(though that hasn't stopped others).

I only mean to say
go on with the work.

Not yet has everything
been written by you.


         for Phil Dacey

A fiver for Phil
has got to be
a playful page full
of exuberance, a music
you can see, smell,

taste. Music you can
touch. Hear it?
(I'm asking rhetorically--
of course you hear it,
the wee bits

of rhyme, a dark wit
that's quite bright,
an insistent rhythm
that could sit
content at Juilliard.)

A fiver for Phil
could be fingers
crossed in a mitten, a foot
of little curled toes,
change for a ten

with three old ones,
and a crisp two dollar bill,
hymns of love
and language, a late
afternoon beer with friends.



                   in memory of John Haines

That winter night I was in Seattle
when a Fairbanks friend sent a brief note
with a link, then added a John Haines quote.
In a blink--and Haines might have named his full
sum of days as no more than that--the call
to live morally each hour, to never doubt
the stars, to plant acres of potatoes and oats.
Nature, he might well have said, is final
arbiter, and we're here on earth to serve.
March 2, when my friend wrote, was the fifteenth
anniversary of my plane crash near Nome.
How our lives unfurl as crookedy curve.
You and I can now point to the zenith.
John Haines has found his ultimate home.


Bill Stafford, 100

Bill Stafford would never claim perfection,
the neat round number. Rather, he was about
edges, observation, lingering doubt,
the stuff of happenstance and reflection,
ease and mystery. He'd ask sly questions,
answer with a slight shrug or nod. No shouts.
Lines might include mountain, wind, button, trout,
family. He was without pretension.
If he were still alive at one hundred,
I'd guess him still alert, sturdy enough
to jot a few dozen early morning words.
To acknowledge the day, he might have said,
For the sky, a century's not so tough.
Then he'd take pen, write of cloud, weather, bird.

                                                   originally published in



Temporary homes
of image and sound
inexplicable as a tent

that contains bedroom,
closet, trapdoor, fumes,
stairs, basement, a human
exploring ancestral ruins.

                                                    originally published in Lilliput Review