Poetry Audiobook

NEWS

Public Service Announcement: a few of my favorite poems from Lupercalia are now on audio!

This audiobook is available for FREE download on Bandcamp.

There is an option to pay what you want if you’d like to toss a dollar my way but only if you really, really want to. I want you to have my poems more than I want you to pay me for them.

The tracks themselves are decent but they are not digitally mastered or made with any kind of professional recording equipment. I always try to put out the best possible product but right now I can’t afford a microphone or rent a sound booth so don’t judge too hard.

I tried to keep the cat and traffic noises to a minimum.

After I finished recording my poems we had a French drain dug in our back yard and replaced one of the walls in our den so there was too much construction noise to record anything else but there will be audio versions of a few of my short stories coming soon.

LUPERCALIA TRACK LIST

1. Lupercalia

2. How to Build a Nest

3. Wife of Lot

4. Mermaid Songbook: A Boat Alone

5. Mermaid Songbook: The Witch’s Song

6. Mermaid Songbook: Dead Mermaid Singing

7. Mermaid Songbook: Redemption

8. Little Girls

9. Wormwood

10. After the Flood

11. Orpheus

12. Twisted Myth

13. Mirror Angels

14. Home

15. Things Tourists Love

Wander through the nameless city full of rebellion, desire, and viciousness. Jessica Halsey’s Lupercalia guides readers through the ruins of stories as they smash against reality. 

The city is born, slippery and feral, and then it grows, collects and rejects a multitude of denizens that break and reshape the boundaries of mythology. 

These speculative and fantastical poems represent the search for identity and purpose in a world that challenges the endurance of the human spirit. From the fall of Icarus to the loneliness of abandon, these poems represent how every mythological hero and trial are reflections of our daily lives.

HAPPY LISTENING!

Let’s play “who am I”

Everyday Life

Me: If I were a god or goddess who would I be?

Mr. J: (silence)

Me: Take your time.

Mr. J: Ok you know when Hercules fights all the centaurs because he opens a bottle of wine too early or whatever? The wine could only be opened at such and such time on such and such day? Something like that. Because the wine belonged to all the centaurs and it was special wine.

Me: …yeah…

Mr. J: You’re whoever gave Hercules’s friend that wine.

Me: I’m Bacchus? Why? Because I used to drink a lot? I barely drink anymore!

Mr. J: No. Because you’re neurotic as fuck and need things to happen in specific ways at specific times otherwise everything goes horribly wrong.

Note: I think Mr. J made up the part about the wine being reserved for a specific time and place and I’m not sure if Bacchus gave the wine to the centaurs or if they just got it from the local ABC store but it’s still funny.

Primer for the Future King

Fiction

Stolen fairy tale girls never get to take the easy way.

—SJ Tucker Girl Into Devil (I Belong to Me)

When you say princess you mean little girl lost in the darkness, rotting lace and wind whistling through bleach blonde bones. Only decay loves a dead girl walking. But when you see this princess tearing through the brambles like she’s on fire don’t even think about getting in her way. She’s got better things to do than talk to you, like reclaim her mother’s severed hands from the evil king next door. Or steal lightning from a storm to give to a witch who will make her the sword she needs to kill the other evil king next door. Or kill her father, who is the other, other evil king, for trying to marry her three hours after giving her mother to the flames because she looks just like her mother and, you know, bloodlines need preservation. If you see her meeting her sisters for a party (after a quick detour involving pomegranates and 6 months of winter) where they grind their 6-inch stilettos down to the floor and throw their hearts at whoever they want, you’d be stupid not to praise her beauty and bravery. She has already learned that princes don’t just pop up out of the woods promising kingdoms and kisses without getting a promise back and if you’re not selling what she wants be careful or you might find yourself in a world where you’re another evil king on her hit list and she’s gunning for her happily ever after.

New Editions with New Covers

NEWS

One of the cool things about self-publishing is that if you aren’t happy with your work, especially your poetry, you can change it without having to argue with an editor or another publisher.

Graveyard and Twisted Myths had been out for a few years now and one of my writing goals back in the summer of 2017 was to pick my favorite poems from both collections and write a bilingual edition with Spanish versions of those poems and call it Martyrs and Other Creatures of the Abyss. In addition to the poems from Graveyard and Twisted Myths, I would publish and translate 10-20 new poems. Well, as 2018 rolled around a lot of my prose/fiction projects were taking up a huge chunk of my writing time and those 10-20 poems just didn’t get written. And then I had the idea that I wanted to translate ALL of my poetic works into Spanish, not just pick my favorites and discard the rest.

With that came the decision that all of my work thus far needed a serious overhaul.

Some of the poems from Graveyard were written back in 2007 and I’ve definitely changed as a person and a writer since then. Also, Riverkill was my grad school thesis and has been through several extreme transformations since 2012. More than anything, I wanted to make for myself an opportunity where I could say HI to my work again and see if any of my experiences in the last decade could deepen or enhance the conversation between the writer and the poems and if new creations could be born from them.

I haven’t made a lot of changes to the content. A few words here and there, a few lines added, others taken away. The biggest changes you will find with these collections are the titles, the order of the poems, the covers, and where you can find the collections now.

1. Graveyard and Twisted Myths are now combined into one edition titled LUPERCALIA (one of my favorite poems from the collection). Riverkill is now titled THE ECHO OF SOMETHING HITTING (a line from the text).

2. The order of the poems from Graveyard and Twisted Myths has been rearranged to make a more organic flow that blooms with the tone and theme of the title poem, Lupercalia. I want you to visit the places in my poems, see their fallen gods and never forget the value of love.

3. The covers! I had a lot of fun with this. As I now have a job that gives me more expendable income, I can have people design book covers for me and pay them. I got the cover for Lupercalia from https://thebookcoverdesigner.com/ at a very reasonable price with prompt and satisfying customer service. The new cover for The Echo of Something Hitting keeps the same skeletal structure of the previous cover but the title (obviously) and color schemes are different.

Why I LOVE Traveling Songs

Everyday Life

Traveling Songs by S.J. Tucker is one of my favorite music compilations to come out of 2016, second only to David Bowie’s last album.

An album is a guided presentation of a story. Even if the listener has no knowledge of the destination, the map has a line and the road follows the bard’s voice. We, the ones living outside the storyteller’s head, can wander down the path and explore the story.

Traveling Songs lets you jump the border and dive into the uncharted, wild terrain of SJ’s imagination. Traveling Songs gives us the opportunity to throw the map away and listen to a pure, undiluted year’s worth of SJ’s musical creations.

What can I say about Traveling Songs? 1st: IT’S AWESOME

the concept
the conception
the cause: to fund an amazingly awesome
singer/songwriter’s art and her new touring vehicle
are all awesome.

2nd: why is it awesome?

Here’s some backstory for you:

I first met SJ at a concert in Memphis, maybe 2009, maybe 2008. The city and I had both changed drastically since my last visit there in 2006 and I spent the whole day terrified of the unfamiliar streets and indulging myself with bad company.

Sanctuary is the feeling you get when you step into a venue where SJ is set to play. When the place permeates your entire existence, even if it’s only for an hour or two, and that place is exactly where you need to be to make everything right with your life. The excellent musical quality and artistry of SJ’s performances combined with the gesture of storytelling, and the stories themselves, give listeners exactly what they need to re-discover their inner strength and overcome all obstacles. That night I clapped so hard I bent my silver rings out of shape and even though my life was not ideal, SJ inspired me to keep going and exist as my best self in the face of adversity.

from SJ’s album Solace and Sorrow, Sorrow’s Song:

Tell me a tale so beautiful that the stars will strain to hear
The song you fear to end is just beginning
so sing me a city of wishes and fire
sing me a traveling song
I will give you words of wonder
and a feather cloak to keep you warm!

When SJ made this post about her new project, a collection of songs that she wrote between February 2015 and 2016 for a Song-a-Week Challenge (this includes songs in a wide variety of musical genres and subjects) 2 of the songs from the Song-a-Week Challenge are available for listening on SJ’s Soundcloud. and asked for donations for either an 11 song collection, a 22 song collection, or the whole package of 52 songs, one for each week, you can bet I hitched my star to that wagon. The power of music and the power that storytellers like SJ possess turns the ordinary drudgery of our day to day lives into magic and wonder. Traveling Songs is a comprehensive and fantastic representation of SJ’s musical and creative talent. In her own words, the songs are “all works in progress. Some of them are iPhone recordings that I cleaned up in my mixing software just a little bit. But I’m proud to be able to share them with you.”

One of the amazing things about SJ is that not only does she make great art, she also travels around the world playing music for her friends and sustains herself with her art. SJ dares to live her dreams and she’s thriving because she has the strength and courage to, in all honesty, do what needs to be done and tell the stories.

I don’t know about you but I would love to quit my day job and write/perform poetry all day but I have over $100,000 in student loans. As much as I would love to live my dream of existing as a hermit on top of a mountain, or driving all over the country in an RV and just enough money to get by, I can’t. My past life choices won’t let me.

BUT here’s the thing: not only does SJ heal all the broken things with her songs and give a voice to the voiceless, SJ doesn’t just embody the fairy tale life many of us artists want/yearn to live, she gives people like me the courage/motivation/support to strive for my dream anyway, no matter what obstacles I put there in my past, no matter how many people (sometimes including myself) say that I can’t do whatever it is that I want to do. When I listen to Traveling Songs I remember the part of myself that won’t let anyone tell her no, the part of myself that won’t put up with boundaries or labels and isn’t afraid to exist as herself and live in the spirit of the creative.

SJ’s Traveling Songs are the promised words of wonder and the warmth that the road gives to all hopeful travelers.

Thank you Sooj!!!

Get your copy HERE today!