S. Preston Duncan
About the Poet
S. Preston Duncan is a writer, leathercrafter, death doula, and BBQist in Richmond, Virginia. He is the author of the short collection, The Sound in This Time of Being (BIGWRK, 2020), about which author Tom Robbins said, "Reading these poems today I had the feeling of having asked (and received) an autograph from starlight." His work has appeared in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, and has been commissioned by The Peace Studio, translated into Chinese by Poetry Lab Shanghai, and nominated for Best of the Net.
Deeply informed by grief processes, Duncan's poetry is often spiritually exploratory, and conversant with mystic traditions in its seeking for a direct experience of the divine. Born to a Christian-raised father from the bottom of the Appalachian mountains in rural Alabama, and a third-generation Polish-Ukrainian Jewish mother, Duncan describes himself as an ethnospiritual mutt - a designation frequently expressed in his work. Themes of identity, sociopolitical rebellion, and an abiding connection to the natural world (and Virginia's river country in particular) consistently surface in his free verse, which ranges stylistically from incantatory musicality to sparse minimalism, while maintaining a decidedly Southern, Virginian, and Jewish voice.
A former Senior Editor, Duncan has been writing for arts and culture publication, RVA Magazine, with remarkable inconsistency since 2009.
Virginia City or County Affiliation
Years of Residence in Virginia
Current City/State of Residence
Year of Birth
Mysticism, Judaism, Death, River
Published Works or Performances
“The Sound in This Time of Being” short solo collection (In BIGWRK, 2020).
“Ani Lo Yoda’at” [PANK] (In Jewish Diaspora Folio, September, 2020).
“Water Below” (In Free State Review, [forthcoming]).
“Image of God with Face Mask” (In 100 Offerings of Peace Project [commissioned], The Peace Studio, 2020).
“We Don’t Have a Grocery Store but We Got Farmer Joe’s” (In The Dead Mule School of Southern Lit, May, 2022).
“Recipes” (In Grimoire, October, 2020).
“Geminids” and “Fish” (In Poetry Lab Shanghai Anthology [poems in Chinese translation], 2020).
"Love[sic],” “You Don’t Need to Know Much About Dogs,” and “We Have Bathed in Nails and Been Restored" (In Wrongdoing, July, 2021).
"The Swallows" (In Witches Magazine, March 2021).
“Death Dresses” (In The New Southern Fugitives, October, 2019).
“We Can’t Help Ourselves” and “Open Moons” (In Twyckenham Notes, May 2021).
“Pogroms and Shoahs” (In Show Us Your Papers Anthology, Main Street Rag Press, 2020).
“You Don’t Steal from the Witch’s Garden” (In Atlas + Alice, April, 2020)
"A Week from which Beauty has been Erased," "Shopping," and "City Water" (In Star 82 Review, September, 2019)
“Even You,” “Where I Went for You,” “Something like Drowning,” “Don't Make This About You,” and “The River Written,” (In Water, Yardstick Books Water Anthology, 2019).
“Agkistrodon Contortrix” and “Pogroms and Shoahs” (In Coffin Bell TWO Anthology, October, 2019).
“Half Awake in No Pajamas” and “Outside the Ashram” (In Seven Circle Press, July, 2019).
“This Ruins Everything - or - Driving Drunk to Your Deathbed” (In Levee Magazine, Spring, 2019).
“Let’s Not Make This About Keys” (In Unstamatic [2nd Place, Spring Snapshot Contest], 2019).
Selected Individual Poems or Performances
"Love[sic]," Wrongdoing Magazine, 2020.
"Ani Lo Yoda'at," [PANK] Jewish Diaspora Folio, 2020.
"We Don’t Have a Grocery Store but We Got Farmer Joe’s," The Dead Mule School of Southern Lit, 2022.
"Pogroms and Shoahs," Coffin Bell, 2020.
"Open Moons," Twyckenham Notes, 2021.
S. Preston Duncan