Category Archives: Uncategorized

“The Bagpipe Refrain” to be included in Literary Orphans Anthology

Hi friends,

I am really excited to get the news today that my piece, “The Bagpipe Refrain,” will be included in the very first Literary Orphans Anthology. This must have been a very onerous and difficult process to select exactly what might be included:

Best of Literary Orphans, Year One Anthology [SELECTIONS]

“The Bagpipe Refrain” originally appeared in the Marilyn issue: The Bagpipe Refrain by Robert Vaughan.

I also had a poem, “Aretha,” in the Wordsworth issue: Aretha by Robert Vaughan. And in the same issue, John Riley reviewed Microtones, my first chapbook: A Review of Robert Vaughan’s Microtones by John Riley.

Editor-in-chief of Literary Orphans, Mike Joyce, has been a friend and a writer with whom I have exchanged many great writerly ideas over the past year (or two) since Literary Orphans took shape and blossomed into the distinctive literary magazine of such high quality it currently is. I look forward to this first anthology and to many more of our wonderful, friendly exchanges. Congratulations, Mike, Scott Waldyn, Doriana Lareau and all of the other staff! So thrilled, and proud of you all.

Both of these pieces, “The Bagpipe Refrain” and “Aretha” are included in my upcoming book, Addicts & Basements from Civil Coping Mechanisms, coming February 1, 2014: Addicts & Basements by Robert Vaughan | Civil Coping Mechanisms.

Pieces from Addicts & Basements at Atticus Review

Hi friends!

My editor and publisher, and the talented writer, Michael Seidlinger of Civil Coping Mechanisms, is the featured guest editor at Atticus Review. He decided to feature some of the upcoming work from the press, and its authors, including his own The Fun We Had, Messes of Men and Laughter of Strangers; also Left Hand by Paul Curran; Winterswim by Ryan Bradley; Black Cloud by Juliet Escoria; Walls- an excerpt by Andrew Duncan Worthington; excerpts from Addicts & Basements by yours truly; excerpts from Green Light by Kyle Muntz; and an excerpt from We Will Listen For You by Nick Ripatrazone: Short Fiction | Atticus Review

The pieces Michael selected of mine are here: Addicts: An Excerpt

All are forthcoming in Addicts & Basements, on February 1, listed here, each with a footnote:

Gauze, A Medical Dressing, A Scrim (won 2nd place in the Flash Fiction Chronicles Contest, 2013)

Flip of a Coin (the original was drafted within days of learning I was traveling to India in 2006)

Most Popular Baby Names of 2013 (prompted by the great list pieces published at McSweeny’s)

The Femur (workshopped at Esalen Institute, Writing & Knowing workshop, summer 2013)

Six Glimpses of the Uncouth (an ekphrastic piece, prompted by six paintings by Andre Schmucki)

I hope you enjoy these! And thanks, Michael, and Atticus Review, for this great opportunity!


Book List 2013 and the cold

Hi friends,

It’s sub-zero weather this morning! Negative 11 degrees, to be exact. Which means, I’m a shut-in. Schools are closed, food is in the fridge. It’s a great day to curl up with a good book. Which brings me to my list from last year. I wasn’t going to publish my reading list from 2013. Why not? Who knows. But then, I devoured a great book the past three days, Calendar of Regrets by Lance Olsen (thanks, Jane L. Carman for recommending it), and I thought, why not share what I read last year? Also, how do you hear about the books you read? How do they come to you?

Here are my 2013 reads, in chronological order:

The Human Line– Ellen Bass (poetry)

Something Has to Happen Next– Andrew Michael Roberts (poetry)

Space, In Chains– Laura Kasichke (poetry)

A Thousand Morons– Quinn Monzo

Somewhere Piano– Sarah Busse (poetry)

The Bill From My Father– Bernard Cooper (memoir)

Debacle Debacle– Matt Hart (poetry)

Racing Hummingbirds– Jeanann Verlee (poetry)

Pomegranate and Other Stories– Gay Degani

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?– Jeanette Winterson (memoir)

Moods By Rachel Glaser

Shampoo Horns– Aaron Teal

House of Incest– Anais Nin

Laure: The Collected Writings– trans. by Jeanine Herman

Winter Stars– Larry Levis (poetry)

When the Only Light is Fire– Saeed Jones (poetry)

Smoking Mirrors– edited by Meg Tuite, Connotation Press

Fast Forward: A Collection of Flash Fiction 2012– edited by Leah Rogin-Roper

leadbelly– Tyehimba Jess (poetry)

A Secondary Landscape– Aaron Gilbreath

the great enigma– Tomas Transtromer (poetry)

Letters From Robots– Diana Salier (poetry)

Blue Rust– Joe Millar (poetry)

Machine Dreams– Jayne Anne Phillips

Life on Mars– Tracy K. Smith (poetry)

But Our Princess is in Another Castle– BJ Best

A Little Soul: 140 Twitterstories– Darren Cormier

What the Right Hand Knows– Tom Healy (poetry)

Native Guard– Natasha Trethewey (poetry)

He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices– Stephen S. Mills (poetry)

You Are Jaguar– David Tomaloff and Ryan Bradley (poetry)

Every Love Story is a Ghost Story– D.T. Max (memoir)

The Buoyancy of It All– Robert Walker (poetry)

Heroines– Kate Zembrano (memoir/essay)

Triste– Lisa Marie Basile (poetry)

Adirondack Camps– Craig Gilmore

The Art of Porosity– Andrew Franck

Aaron & Keoni– Loren Moreno (flash fiction)

Henry Darger Art and Selected Writings– edited by Michael Bonesteel (memoir)

Man Vs. Sky– Corey Zeller (poetry)

The Dream Police– Dennis Cooper (poetry)

A Taste of Cherry– Kara Condito (poetry)

Badlands– Thomas Biel

Verses– Ani DeFranco (poetry)

Slut Lullabies– Gina Frangello

Train Dreams– Denis Johnson

Glaciers– Alexis M. Smith

A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos edited by David Trinidad (poetry)

Men Undressed– anthology edited by Cris Mazza

the & now awards: the best innovative writing– ed. by Davis Schneiderman

The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara- edited by Donald Allen (poetry)

Black Aperture– Matt Rasumssen (poetry)

Rough Music– Deborah Digges (poetry)

One Hidden Stuff– Barbara Ras (poetry)

Zin!– Kyle Hemmings (poetry chapbook)

Waging Heavy Peace– Neil Young (memoir)

A Marker to Measure Drift– Alexander Maksik

A Walk in the Woods– Bill Bryson (memoir)

Pleasure Trout– Gloria Mindock (poetry)

Antidotes For An Alibi– Amy King (poetry)

Milk Run– Kate Braverman (poetry)

My 1980s and Other Essays– Wayne Koestenbaum (essays)

The Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge– Peter Orton (short stories)

We Agreed to Meet Just Here– Scott Blackwood

Time-Bound– Kurt Brown (poetry)

Bound by Blue– Meg Tuite (short stories)

First Time– anthology, edited by Bud Smith

By Myself– D.A. Powell & David Trinidad (faux memoir)

The Buoyancy of it All– Robert Walker (poetry)

Eternal Patrol– Russell Dillon (poetry)

The Peerless Four– Victoria Patterson (novel)

In the Carnival of Breathing– Lisa Fay Coultey (poetry)

Her Skin Is a Costume– Meg Tuite (chapbook)

Cinema Verite– Sam Rasnake (poetry)

Alone With Other People– Gabby Bess

Inheritance– Steven Reigns (poetry)

Dead Letters- Joani Reese (poetry)

American Busboy– Matthew Guenette (poetry)

The Whack-Job Girls and Other Stories– Bonnie Zobell (flash fiction)

Morrissey- Autobiography- Stephen Andrew Morrissey

The Book of Women– Dorianne Laux (poetry)

The Anchorage– Mark Wonderlich (poetry)

The Laughter of Strangers– Michael Seidlinger

Box Cutter– Samuel Snoek-Brown (flash fiction)

Had I A Hundred Mouths– William Goyen (short stories)

Were there any outstanding books you read in 2013? Any prior to last year? Do you share your favorite books with friends? Are you a member of Goodreads, where anyone can share the books you’ve read, rate them, or write a review? Here is my Goodreads | Robert Vaughan page. 

Also, thanks to Molly Gaudry and the great peeps at The Lit Pub, for the listing of Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits: The Lit Pub • Home. My publisher, Deadly Chaps Press, and Joseph Quintela, sent out his 2013 year-in-review newsletter, and included this excerpt: 

“Deadly Chaps Press made one release in our continuing chapbook series but it was a doozy: the remarkable Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks, + Dipshits by Robert Vaughan. He’s already getting rave reviews and has been listed at LitPub. Get your copy now, or as always, you can give it a read online for free! We look forward to upcoming releases by Niela Mezynski and Mark James Andrews in 2014.”  Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits






Recap: My recent trip to New York City


Hi friends!

I was recently in my “home,” New York City, where I had the great fortune of participating in two readings, and seeing, meeting many old and new friends.

On Thursday evening, I read at Rabbit Hole in DUMBO, Brooklyn. The event was hosted by Kate Hill Cantrill and the theme was “Keep it, Curt!” This event was super cool, with two readers (myself and Elizabeth Crane Brandt), a short film by Siobhan Landry, an art installation by Travis Ioturo and music by the multi-talented Kurt Blake (Kaybee). Can you say HOLY COW? It was great to see my pal, Tina Barry, there. I was so inspired, and what a way to kick off my visit!

RABBITHOLE | 33 Washington Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

The next day, Friday, I met Michael Dickes and Cherise Wolas, two friends I originally met through Fictionaut. Michael edits this amazing journal, which as you can tell from the name, combines multiple methods of conveying artistic expression:Awkword Paper Cut – Poetry Videos – Writing – Podcasts – Music

Michael and I taped some of my poems, including “What Some Boys Do,” which is included in his November Podcast: Awkword Paper Cut – Podcasts – Poetry, Music, Short Stories, Comedy. My track, #7 is at approximately 15:30 minutes, but listen to the entire show- it’s fantastic! Thanks, Michael, for this poem’s debut.

On Friday evening, I got together with none other than Jamez Chang, and we rapped about everything under the sun, including music, poetry, writing, travel, and more. His latest tune, 15 years, is here: ▶ 15 Years – Jamez Chang – YouTube.

Go, Jamez, go! More tracks forthcoming!!!

On Saturday, I met my pal David, and we ate some shizzle dizzle Indian at our favorite Mitali East. He was off to see Mildred Fierce starring the inimitable Varla Jean Merman. Unfortunately I was too spent to attend:

Mildred Fierce

On Sunday (did I mention the weather? Nuts it was sooo warm!) I had a chance to see my pal Joseph Quintela, mad cad about town and we met in the very busy Washington Square Park, and wandered over to Bar 6 on 6th Avenue where we shared some wine and beer. (No, that is not us in the photograph). I told Joseph I used to live around the corner on 14th Street, at the Courtney House:

</p><br /><br />

I went back to my hotel, changed, put my reading list together for the event that evening: The Sunday Salon! When I arrived outside of Jimmy’s I noticed the sign on the outside with our names!

photo 1.JPGphoto 2.JPGJimmy's No. 43

I was really excited. I saw Sara Lippmann, such a sweetheart, and met Nita Noveno and Emily who were also hosts. My pals David Carter and Michael Thompson showed up for support, and I was so grateful they did. Here are the bios of the writers’ who were reading. (Unfortunately, Meg Tuite was not able to make it):

NYC | October 20, 2013 | Prose Reading Series & Magazine

Photo: Thank you to these four wonderfully talented writers for a beautiful, bountiful evening of readings at Sunday Salon. Hats off to fantastic host Sara! Pics & vids to follow soon.


Here are videos of all of us reading from that evening: Video | Prose Reading Series & Magazine

It was an amazing event, life-altering and dream fulfilling. Afterwards, Michael, David and I went to Bennie’s Burritos on Avenue A. I felt like it was 1987, and after our meal, we could cross directly through Thompson Square Park, and hit Life Cafe for desserts.

Oh how I miss New York City, but as trite and true as it sounds: there really is no place like home!

Thanks Kate, Elizabeth, Tina, Michael, Cherise, Jamez, Joseph, David, Michael, Sara, Nita, Emily, Jenny, Celine, Nina (and whoever I forgot to thank) for a memorable trip! I will return!

P.S. Mellow Page Library in Brooklyn is now carrying Microtones! Go visit these guys at 56 Bogart Street, 1S in Brooklyn!!! Contact them at



HUMP Day reflect

Hi friends! Among the many great things about attending a writing workshop retreat is you are turned on to some new work. And so, yesterday I received Rough Music by Deborah Digges, a poet we discussed on Tuesday morning at Esalen. I can still hear Dorianne Laux’s mesmerizing reading of Deborah’s poem, “Broom,” which opens this astounding collection. And the haunting story of the poet’s life, and tragic death. And so, at the top spot in this week’s HUMP day posts, comes from a fellow poet and workshop participant, Jeanie, who sent me the link to another great article about Deborah Digges. Enjoy!

HUMP DAY reflect

Written about one of the poets, Digges, whose poem “Broom,” we studied at Esalen last week (thanks for the link, Jeanie!):

Sara Lippmann’s “TK” is up at Wigleaf:

Alex Dimitrov, NYC poet and host of Wilde’s Queer Poetry Series, has “American Nothing” at The Baffler:

At Ampersand Review, Timothy Gager’s “What the Boy Prays For”:

At Fictionaut, Michelle Elvy with “The Wall: A Love Story, Of Sorts”:

New work by Tantra Bensko and Matthew Dexter up at Counterexample Poetics, with artwork by Erie Chang:

Up at Poem-A-Day from Academy of American Poets, Jennifer Militello with her “Conspiracy to Commit Larceny: A Recipe”:–Conspiracy-to-Commit-Larceny–A-Recipe-by-Jennifer-Militello.html?soid=1110705357409&aid=rVclQaXo9XI

Stephen Dunn’s poetry at Connotation Press:

In this issue of Sunday Salon, take in some great work from master writers:

At Gawker, a Man with OCD Blows Internet Away with this spoken word poem:

When you think you have all the answers, ask more questions. They all begin with self-inquiry. Talk a walk in nature. Listen to the breeze. Or the bees. Or just be.


National Poetry Month: April 28th

Hi friends!

Back in the day, and by day I mean decades ago, and by decades I mean eighties, I played a video game or two. Or hundreds. Where did all those endless quarters go? I wouldn’t say I was an addict, and by addict I mean alcohol, or drugs. But, I was a frequent visitor to an establishment called Barber’s, a bar in which I would frequently play video games. On rare occasions, even sneaking in there during a skipped class, or an early weekend morning, say it was my version of church. This was back in the day when even some laundromats had video games like Ms. Pacman or Frogger. Asteroids. Donkey Kong.

Well, if you played, then you know what this generation of kids is up to. They get it honestly, and so did B. J. Best, who translates all of those hours behind the controls in this amazing volume called But Our Princess Is In Another Castle, scintillating prose poems. Today, for National Poetry Month, I read “Double Dragon:”

Robert Vaughan reads “Double Dragon” by B.J. Best – YouTube

We Know What We Are

This is a must read! I highly recommend this book, and I just finished it yesterday, for the second time. When was the last time you lost yourself in another world, a game, a different kingdom?


National Poetry Month: April 26

Hi friends!

I knew there would possibly be a day or two this April, in which it would be difficult to read a poem-a-day to honor National Poetry Month. So, when this occurred, I had to find a poem that I have carried for years, one so special that I almost didn’t have the heart to share it.

Anais Nin.

What her writing and her prolific journals, novels and poetic prose have meant to me I yearn one day to figure out. In the meantime, I read the forward to her masterpiece, House of Incest (which, in the first printing was self-published. How she, in 1932, was WAY ahead of her time!) If you have not read this, do so now:

Robert Vaughan reads Anais Nin’s prologue from House of Incest – YouTube

Is there a book or a poem, or a passage from something that you carry through every move, through every transition? Do you love something in writing so much that you can’t find the words to describe how?

National Poetry Month: April 25

Hi friends!

Happy Birthday, dear old Dad! You’d have been 88 years young today. One of the many things I learned from my Dad was his love and reverence for nature, the great outdoors, parks, mountains, hiking, and seasons. Changing weather patterns. Birds and animals in their own habitats.

Today, I read a poem called “The Sun Never Says,” from Hafiz. This Persian poet’s birth name was Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz (c. 1320-1389) and this poem is included in his book The Gift:

Robert Vaughan reads “The Sun Never Says” by Hafiz – YouTube

Product Details

Did you ever do something for someone else where it was simply that? Where it was truly a gift? Where you didn’t feel you were “owed” something in return?

National Poetry Month: April 23

Hi friends!

Family visits, spring storms pass overnight. The daylight increases, and buds appear. As does poetry, everywhere it seems.

Last night, my co-host of the Middle Coast Poetry reading series, Paul Scot August and I met to envision our first event, on Monday, April 29th, at Riverwest Public House. Please come play with a great group of poets and writers, 7-9 p.m. Our line-up of talent is set:

Poets will include Ed Makowski, Brittany Cavallaro, David Tomaloff, Andrea Potos, Dawn Tefft, Matt Specht, Nikki Wallschlaeger, Kari Freitag, and Sharon Foley. Paul Scot August and I will also read, and co-host.

Riverwest Public House Cooperative | Building community one drink at a time.

Today for National Poetry Month, I read Tom Healy’s “Quiet Hands.” I saw this in BOMB magazine’s Spring 2013 issue #123:

Robert Vaughan reads “Quiet Hands” by Tom Healy – YouTube

Tom’s book, published by Four Way Books is called What the Right Hand Knows:

National Poetry Month: April 22

Hi friends… Happy Earth Day!

In 1991, I moved to New Hampshire and had a phase of my life I often refer to as my “Thoreau Days.” I lived close to the land, explored the White Mountains, planted a huge herb garden, and studied herbs voraciously- their medicinal properties, their usage in different cultures, their spiritual qualities. And I read voraciously, too, living in the woods, among the pristine lakes like Squam and Winnipesaukee.

One of the books that came into my life was A Journal of Solitude by May Sarton, which I devoured, and her splendid poetic prose lead me to her poetry.

Today I read “First Snow” by May Sarton:

Robert Vaughan reads May Sarton’s “First Snow” – YouTube

When was the last time you planted a garden? Have you ever moved spontaneously, without many plans? Do you know the spiritual properties of any herb?