How I Got Into Outsider Poetry

I sold a copy of the children’s book a couple of weeks ago. We had a second printing done, and it’s not done cheaply so it was expensive press run, then we never got around to promoting it even doing a show or two where we could put it out, so now we just have a couple boxes of it for future purposes.

Mostly what I have been working on, after a year of doing other peoples’ books, Iced Cream by Jesus Correa, and The Zen of Beard Trimming by C.J. Campbell, is a personal crusade to promote Outsider Poetry and move up in the Google rankings for the search term, which has proven difficult because sometimes you run up against someone who has poached a search term unwittingly, much the same way we did with “Rhino Wrangler” when we wrote this book and there were a couple of product lines we crowded out of the top page for a while, but due to general laziness and not working together we lost the search term and I doubt we’re even on page one anymore.

Anyway, I’ll lay down a poem that is an example of Outsider Poetry, then a couple of links, then I have to go rub Jenny because she’s already sick because the kids returned to school.

Watching Braveheart With John

I made the mistake

Of watching Braveheart

With my friend John.

Midway through the

Torture sequence

(And keep in mind

This is a first viewing)

John catapults into

A tirade:

“That movie, Signs,

What the fuck was

Up with that, motherfucker?

Worst fucking movie

I ever saw.

Hope you’re suffering

You son of a bitch.

Oh yeah, shove that thing

All the way up his anti-

Semetic ass.

M Shammalammadingdong

My ass.

I want my seven godamn

Dollars back.

I hope it hurts

Like hell you


I didn’t get much

Out of the movie after that

And it didn’t seem to

Make any sense explaining

To John

That addressing your problems

To a two dimensional

Fictional character portraying

A mythical 11th century character

Wasn’t going to get his

Money back or make

M Shammalammadingdong

Movies any more watchable.

But I guess I know

How he felt.

Most likely the same way

You feel about

Me right now.

But you’re not getting

Your money back


I forgot about that poem. Anyway, I have consumed four Tab Colas this evening and a sleeve of fun size Milky Way bars and I have to tell you about the outsider poetry journal  vavlt and this new Outsider Poetry venture I am editing along with Olivia Suchs. It has been a lot of fun, and starting to receive submissions from writers who obviously haven’t bothered to even read our publication, or anyone else’s poetry in general, is a treat only editors of literary magazines get. I wish I could do these last 25 words on gift certificate heck I should even have typed out the words twenty-five I bet I never go back to Houston.

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The Long Awaited Second Printing of The Rhinoceros Wrangler Company

Actually, you weren’t waiting, but for over a month I’ve been moping around the apartment thinking I have MS, and tonight I feel well enough to put some energy into promoting this second printing of our children’s book The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company and watch The Omega man while watching people go into the fiver restaurants on the block I live on. It’s not too bad of a night. I hope you’ll go to Indie GoGo and pre-order a copy of the book. Look, a conga line of rhinoceroses.

poster Conga 11X17

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Poet Thomas Vaultonburg’s Ten Most Influential Books

This is from a Facebook writing prompt. The 10 books that have influenced me the most.

Not sure why anyone would tag me, or be interested in ten books that influenced me, but here is a list.

1) Candide. Voltaire. Travel the world, figure out it’s all the same bullshit everywhere, then tend your own garden.

2) The Oxford Book of American Verse. I used to go to the Byron Public Library and check this out every six months. 1076 pages. I have since bought the book, but rarely open it anymore.

3) Love Is a Dog From Hell. Charles Bukowski. His best book of poetry. A gut punch if you’re not ready for it, or a real comfort if you need it.

4) A History of Western Philosophy. Bertrand Russell. I used to consistently raid the bookshelf of my first girlfriend’s father. He was a professor, and I will now confess I stole many of his books, including this one. Most philosophy is virtually impossible to read from the primary sources, so this survey, written in plain language, is invaluable to humanity.

5) Dungeon Master’s Guide. Gary Gygax. I think this was published 1977, so it was about five years later when I saw it and a band of fine fellows from Byron Middle school banded together to play, and were promptly banned from doing so on school grounds. The beginning of a long, fantastic journey into fantasy that I have treasured and never intend to return from.

6) The Riverside Shakespeare. William Shakespeare. Had the good fortune to study this book with professor Michael Quinn at Rock Valley College. He had learned the plays by heart while studying at trinity College in Dublin. To find an educator of that magnitude in a place like this was miraculous.

7) The Bible. The playbook of all the failed ideas of Western civilization. Nonetheless, indispensible in understanding why nothing works.

8)The Great Gatsby. As Bukowski might advice: don’t try.

9) The Crying of Lot 49. Thomas Pynchon. The center cannot hold.

10) Roger Ebert’s Movie Home Companion. I love a refernce book. And good writing. Maybe the best combination of the two.

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Catfish Mermaid

I really love Jenny’s new project. She has been painting a series of mermaids, but not your traditional mermaids. These are mermaids one would find in freshwater lakes and rivers in the Midwest. Crappies, bass, trout, bluegill, alewives, sturgeon, perch, walleye, muskie, and of course, catfish. This is one she did this very night for a client. You can see all 18 mermaid here at Rockford Illustration

"Long-locked Channel Catfish" by Jenny Mathews

“Long-locked Channel Catfish” by Jenny Mathews

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How To Deal With Production Delays In Your Children’s Book

Jenny and I have  an important art show this weekend, and we wanted to have the paperback edition of The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company ready to sign, but we experienced production setbacks and it won’t be ready.

Not unusual.

Especially when you’re dealing with smaller print runs and smaller printers, your project just isn’t much of a priority. 

So, we wait. And the book will arrive in the middle of a week when we have nothing planned.

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Writing For Boys and Ghouls

It seems like the consensus is that if you want to write for children and young adults you have to write about farts and underwear and unicorns. Anything but reality. 

I’m fine with that.

I find reality to be heavily overrated.

Yesterday I was invited to join a team and write for a fantasy role-playing game. Specifically I was asked to help write the undead and demon creatures and scenarios. 


I’ve begun researching the history of the ghoul, a misunderstood undead creature. How does one even become a carrion feeder? 

Aside from this additional writing project I’m still working on the project for The Rock River Times. And wrangling several blogs. Getting ready for Spring Art scene. Trying to get food into my body and workout. Hoping The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company will be finished early next week so we’ll have it for Spring Art Scene. 

Busy times. I’m sure my attention will veer off from these tasks I know are the most important and I’ll want to write a book for kids about ghouls or flatulent zombies. 

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The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company Second Printing

I just sent the files for the softcover version of The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company to the printer and it is in preflight. I’d like to have it back so Jenny and I can sell it at Spring Art Scene when we display our Tiny Drawing Poems for the first time. However, as anyone who has dealt with printers before knows its a very unpredictable part of the process. I’m slightly anxious that because it’s a very thin book there won’t be much to it in paperback version, but we saved almost five dollars a copy doing it this way.

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