A second trailer for OTOBYC.

A well-meaning Apocalypse.

While the final details of One Thousand Owls Behind Your Chest click together in advance of the book’s December 15th release, a few other no-less-important events from these past couple weeks deserve a moment’s highlighting.

  • pushcart-xliThough not yet officially released (at least not according to their website), the 2017 edition of the Pushcart Prize anthology has begun to appear in libraries, bookstores, and—in the instance of one particular copy—my own mailbox. This year’s anthology includes some breathtaking work by Lydia Davis, Deb Olin Unferth, and Steve Almond, among others. It’s truly an honor to see my own story, “Blue of the World,” included among such amazing company. If you cannot find a copy of The Pushcart Prize Anthology XLI at your local bookseller, it is currently available online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
  • Matchbook, an online journal of flash fiction, this week published “Mandarini,” an experiment in pronouns involving love and fruit. The story is also accompanied by a brief essay, explaining the motivation behind, not just this story, but much of my creative narrative work.
  •  Exhibits: A 67 Press Anthology, has just come out in digital formats (the print edition of the anthology is slated for release this coming December).

    Exhibits houses an eclectic group of characters featuring drug addicts, Gods, and fallen rock stars inhabiting the same space. There’s bedbugs, S&M, and a shape shifting dinosaur. There’s excess and poverty, love and hate, and a well-meaning apocalypse for good measure.

    Exhibits also features my short story “Dummy,” an excerpt of which can be read here.

  • the-chart-anthologyAnd in one more bit of anthology news, The Chart, an independent journal for art and art criticism with a focus on Maine and New England in general, has recently published its first anthology. Produced by Wing Club Press, The Chart 2015-2016 Anthology includes two of my essays as well as a review of one of the more gonzo performances I helped curate surrounding the release of last year’s Cream River. The anthology is gorgeous, and all proceeds will be used to continue paying contributors to The Chart for their work.

And finally, maybe now is as good a time as any to release the first book trailer for One Thousand Owls Behind Your Chest. Try not to get too creeped-out.

One Thousand Owls Behind Your Chest, due out December 15th, 2016.

One Thousand Owls Behind Your Chest

otobyc-digital-cover-stand-inA trans youth seeking mythic answers from a corpse. An autistic boy combing a collective farm for his sister. A homeless man yearning for anyone to protect. From a normalized dystopian future to the ever-impossible now, Pushcart Prize-winning author Douglas W. Milliken’s One Thousand Owls Behind Your Chest searches the borderland where the terror of human confusion confronts the babbling chaos of the Nature Without, where alienation fingers the braille surface of connection, where violence digs its nails into compassion.

Due out December 15th, 2016 through Beyond Repair / Wooden Leg Print & Press.

A charade and a romance and a score

img_0039The New Haven Review, who previously published my story “James Taylor v. the King” (a 2015 Maine Literary Award finalist), included my story “Possum & Glue” in its freshly-minted 18th issue. The story, created as part of Space Gallery’s Goods + Services show, was written for MWPA member Elizabeth De Wolfe. The new issue of the NHR can be ordered here or downloaded as a free PDF here.

Perpetual discomfort & the stigma of disease


Original watercolor by Madeline Fishburn

Early in September, I had the pleasure of recording a reading and interview with the folks at The Other Stories for their monthly podcast. That episode—featuring my recitation of the story “The Happiest Place on Earth” (originally published in the Word Portland anthology BE WILDER) and our consequent discussion on the story’s genesis and surreal imagery, as well as my constant sense of discomfort in the world—can now be streamed for free from The Other Stories‘ archive. Thank you for listening, and be on the lookout for a resurgence in publishing activity, including new stories in a handful of journals and a brand new chapbook of stories out this coming December (more on that soon).

Stars that shed no light.

A brief recap of the past several weeks’ publications, at home and abroad.


Image by Aliyah Hussain, contributing artist to Issue 16 of the Manchester Review.

  • Dummy,” another chapter in the on-going narrative of Coleman’s drug-fueled and basketball-informed misadventures, after several years of rejections and near-misses, has at long last found a home in Issue 16 of the UK’s Manchester Review.
  • A Fluent Blue,” written in collaboration with Cat Bates as part of a multimedia art project, has been reprinted in the Island Journal.
  • Pretty,” a micro-addendum of sorts to “Blue of the World,” was an honorable mention in Lindenwood Review‘s annual prose poetry competition and appears in their newly-minted 6th issue.
  • Smoke from a Furnace,” a recently resurrected piece from the past decade, appears in the new “Saints”-themed issue of Canada’s Ricky’s Back Yard, all profits of which will benefit Cancer Research UK.

“Dummy” was written during a fellowship with the I-Park Foundation in December, 2012. “Pretty” was written during a fellowship with the Hewnoaks Artists Colony in July, 2013.

The bird and beetle are gone.

Overwhelming is the only word to describe these past few vernal weeks. A lot of this emotional ride is not worth going into. But maybe this pithy list can sum up what the May of 2016 had in store.

  • “Blue of the World”—which won Glimmer Train‘s “Family Matters” contest in 2014 and appeared in their 94th issue —both earned a Maine Literary Award in short fiction, and was selected for the 2017 Pushcart Prize anthology.
  • Hyacinth & Waxwing“—which last year won the Stoneslide Corrective‘s annual short story contest—appears in their newest online issue.
  • Yellow Cake“—a sequel of sorts to last year’s “Toledo“—appears in the newest issue of carte-blanche.

These three bullet points do not even come close to demonstrating the depth and stagger of my joy and gratitude. I love all of these stories. From haunted farmlands to the inscrutable middle of our continent. I’m very proud to have them out there in the world, continuing to have lives beyond my knowledge.