What the Jon Tribble Fellowship Means to Me

by Dustin Brookshire

As I reflected on why community is important to me, I was transported back to childhood and adolescence. Growing up Southern Baptist in a small, north Georgia town as a closeted member of the LGBTQIA+ community was not a welcoming experience.  I had to present a facade to survive and blend in.  After moving away from that small town post matriculation to the Atlanta metro area, I discovered what it was like to be accepted as my authentic self.  The experience was life changing; the drastic decrease of stress in my life was a blessing. Not only can finding your community change your life when you are “othered,” it can save your life. Building communities that accept each person for his/her/their authentic self will always be important to me and played a role in my creation of the Wild & Precious Life Series, Limp Wrist, and anthologies I edit. 

The Wild & Precious Life Series, which celebrated its four-year anniversary in April, started as a virtual weekly reading series during the pandemic. Many of us gathered 30 minutes prior to readings to be in the company of others during that scary and difficult time.  I’m proud of how the WPLS pre-reading chat period and the series itself connected poets, helped facilitate friendships, and reconnected people during the pandemic. 

To be part of the Limp Wrist poetry community, poets must identify either as a member of the LGBTQIA+ or non-binary communities or as an ally of those communities to be published in the online poetry journal.  There are no fees for LW’s general and contest submissions to ensure accessibility.  To honor a friend and poet I admire, Maureen Seaton, who passed in August 2023, we launched The Maureen Seaton Poetry Prize in 2023.  The prize is co-sponsored and co-produced with South Florida Poetry Journal. (SoFloPoJo, thank you! The prize wouldn’t exist without you!!). Additionally, LW also sponsors the Glitter Bomb Award.  I’m proud of the nine issues and all the book reviews I’ve published this far in the journey.  For transparency’s sake, I’m currently behind with publishing in 2024, but I look forward to catching up with publishing issues by fall 2024. 

Poetry by the Sea & Allison Joseph, it is an honor to receive the Poetry by the Sea Conference’s Jon Tribble Editors Fellowship.  Thank you from the bottom of my very gay, Dolly-loving heart! While I unfortunately never had the chance to meet Jon, I, like so many poets I know, know Jon’s name well. By way of social media, I’ve been able to bear witness to his legacy that is a love of poetry, poets, and community building.  The poetry world is better because Jon was a part of it.  

With deep gratitude,

& in Dolly I Trust,




I hope you’ll check out the community that is the Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology (Madville Publishing, 2023), and please stay tuned for the chapbook anthology, When I Was Straight: A Tribute To Maureen Seaton, forthcoming from Harbor Anthologies fall 2025.

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