Very Appreciative to Evening Street Press!

Announcing the winners of the 2020 Helen Kay Chapbook and Sinclair Poetry Prizes

Sinclair Poetry: Jerry T Johnson for Poets Should Not Write about Politics.
Helen Kay Chapbook: Cassondra Windwalker for The Bench
Helen Kay Chapbook Finalist: Charles H Johnson for The Time Traveler

You can pre-order their work here:

The attached ad will appear in the May/June issue of Poets & Writers, to appear in April.

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A Very Nice Rejection Letter Plus

A Very Nice Rejection Letter Plus an invitation to send more.

My full length poetry collection was rejected by a publisher but they gave me an opening to send a chapbook. (The invite was in bold type)

And guess what? Yes I do have a chapbook ready to send. Their note to me is below:

Dear Jerry Johnson,

Thank you for sending us “Poets Should Not Write About Politics”. We appreciate the chance to read it. Unfortunately, the piece is not for us.

However, if you have a different chapbook-length manuscript up to 39 pages, we would like to see it. Please resubmit as a new submission. This file will be shelved.


Finishing Line Press

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Notes From My Writing Experience. Post No. 4

Notes From My Writing Experience. Post #4

On December 25th, Christmas Day, I took a train from New York City to Charlotte North Carolina.

Since we are in the middle of a pandemic, I decided to purchase a ticket for a private room. I could go mask-less in a private room as long as I kept my door shut. I kept my door shut.

I like riding trains. A lot of my poetry writing and blogging takes place on some type of train. For my day-job I took Metro North commuter train from Brewster, New York to White Plains, New York on weekdays. I wrote during the morning ride. I usually slept during the afternoon ride. On weekends I would take a train from Brewster to Manhattan in New York City. I wrote a lot on the way down to the city. I usually slept on my return.

Often, I take a a train from New York to Washington, D.C. I also take many trains from New York to Charlotte. I write during these journeys as well. The trip to DC is 4 1/2 hours long. Writing makes the trip feel like 15 minutes. The trip from New York to Charlotte is 12 hours long. Writing makes that trip feel like an hour. Along with my writing there’s also reading that takes place. I’ll usually read for a half hour to an hour and then I’ll pick up my phone and start writing.

I used to write in a tablet with a pen. For a long time that was how I wrote all of my material. One weekend when I was in Washington D.C., a friend asked if I could give him a ride to Reagan National. I picked him up from his hotel and I noticed that he was very busy writing something on his smartphone. He was typing away with his thumbs. I thought to myself, “man, there ain’t no way I would write on a smartphone.” A few weeks later I read a wonderful piece written by about his favorite guitarist in an online magazine. I wondered if that was what he was working on during the ride to the airport.

About a month later, I was on a flight from Chicago to New York. Yes. I write while traveling by plane too. It is a little harder to write while seated in a plane. You don’t have a lot of wriggle room on a plane. Now if you are seated in First Class or Business Class that is a different story. All of my day-job travel is in coach.

I digressed. Let’s go back to the flight to New York from Chicago. I boarded. I put away my jacket in the overhead. I pulled my writing tablet from my carry-on, placed it in my lap and stowed the carry-on underneath the seat in front of me. After a long time on the taxiway the plane took off. We reached cruising altitude and I was ready to start writing. I opened my tablet and to my surprise and consternation I had no more blank pages.

My jaw dropped. I asked myself, “How did I miss this?” I was in the mood for writing. I thought about my smartphone. I pulled it
out of my pocket. My plane was just very Indiana at that point. I navigated to the Notes app and with my thumbs I started typing. I typed all the way to final approach to the runway at LaGuardia in New York.

I still write in tablets but most of my writing is done on my smartphone. I’m using a smartphone now to type this piece, I am on a train, I’m in private quarters and I have plenty wiggle room.

(c) 2020, Jerry T Johnson

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