Thursday, April 30, 2015

Featured Book: The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost, by Michael T. Young

The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost. Michael T. Young. Poets Wear Prada, 2014.
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Michael T. Young has published four collections of poetry, most recently, The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost. He’s the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the 2014 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award for his collection, Living in the Counterpoint. He’s also received the Chaffin Poetry Award. His work has appeared in numerous journals including Fogged Clarity, The Louisville Review, The Potomac Review, and Rattle. He lives with his wife, children and cats in Jersey City, New Jersey.

. . . explores the difficulties and necessities of violating expectation, both one’s own and those of others. Through this necessary risk meaning and growth are found. Throughout the exploration, questions of memory and history, loss and identity are probed.

In The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost, poet Michael T. Young writes with a “dangerous brilliance.” Keening through histories, personal and collective, Young guides the reader to unimagined destinations. Rather than feeling lost, however, the reader arrives at termini of discovery, finding them to be inevitable, necessary, earned. Young enacts these journeys through cognitive leaps that defy reason and syntax, performed by his prodigious wizardry. And as the unknown becomes known, what is lost is regained, for these poems are redemptive. Each one is bathed in a luminosity of phrasing Wallace Stevens would have envied. Young writes, “[H]ear the voice in light / whose only utterance is melting snow.” Unlike snow, these poems will not disappear as long as important poetry continues to matter.  (Dean Kostos)

The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost

The secrets of a place are in its small streets,
its narrow passages, the alley in Venice
with cobblestones worn down and wet
by the humidity and dank progression of centuries,
the way we turned the same corner as others
in different years had turned into that dead-end
with its dark alcove, back doors and a wall
gaping with a niche containing a statue
of the Madonna and child, or in Florence
along a street where we pressed
into the painted brick to let a bus go by
while you pulled my backpack out of the way;
gnarled streets in Amsterdam, lower
Manhattan, passages like crooked fingers
pointing the way back to childhood,
when I liked to hide in closets, crouch
in a hamper full of clothing or make a tent
out of a bed sheet. Or the passes
and cul-de-sacs stumbled on in a beautiful
moment of being lost, the way we come
into life, without intention, snug in the primal dark.

More Poems:

The Adirondack Review

with audio

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Featured Book: I Carry My Mother, by Leslea Newman

I Carry My Mother. Leslie Newman. Headmistress Press, 2015.
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Lesléa Newman is the author of several poetry collections, including Nobody’s Mother, Signs of Love, and October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard (novel-in-verse) which received a Stonewall Honor from the American Library Association. Her literary awards include poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation; the Burning Bush Poetry Prize; and second place runner-up in the Solstice Literary Journal poetry competition. Her poetry has been published in Spoon River Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, Evergreen Chronicles, and others. From 2008-2010 she served as the poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts.

. . . a book-length series of poems that explores a daughter’s journey through her mother’s illness and death and how she carries on without her. The book starts with diagnosis and ends with first yarzheit (death anniversary). The poems are written in accessible form that will resonate with all those who have lost a parent or dearly loved one.

After the introductory poem I thought, "Oh dear, I’m going to cry my way through the whole thing." And then, the exquisite first-rate poetry—using forms like triolet and rondeau—took me to a much deeper place than tears can possibly reveal. This is a very beautiful book.” (Judy Grahn)

Lost Art

The art of losing my mother is hard to master;
Like a little girl lost in the woods who can’t find her way,
I’m afraid I will never survive this disaster.

Of course, somewhere deep inside I knew I would outlast her,
Though I did all I could to keep that notion at bay.
The art of losing my mother is hard to master.

She might return. Who knows? I wouldn’t put it past her.
Denial is not a river in Egypt, they say,
But it is one way to get me through this disaster.

As days slip by, the distance between us grows vaster,
my fading memories add to my growing dismay.
The art of losing my mother is hard to master.

Surely God made a great mistake when he miscast her
as Dead Mother, a role she was never meant to play
in the movie of my life, now called “The Disaster.”

If time heals all wounds, can’t it do so any faster?
Though I never did believe in that tired cliché.
The art of losing my mother is too hard to master,
I cannot get a grip on this crippling disaster.

More Poems:

At Length Magazine

Lavender Review

Watch the Trailer

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Featured Book: Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes, by Kerrin McCadden

Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes. Kerrin McCadden. New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2014.
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Kerrin McCadden is the author of Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes, winner of the 2013 New Issues Poetry Prize, judged by David St. John. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Vermont Studio Center, she also received a Sustainable Arts Foundation Writing Award and support from The Vermont Arts Endowment Fund. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, and Verse Daily, and in such journals as American Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, and Poet Lore. She holds an MFA from The Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She lives in Plainfield, Vermont and teaches English and Creative Writing at Montpelier High School.

Lyrical, honest, descriptive, Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes by Kerrin McCadden is a thoughtful meditation on wandering through a human landscape, one full of loss and desire. Often elegiac, this collection of poetry accepts the world before it, acknowledging the quotidian value of our lives while also seeing the beauty in it.  (Katie Rensch, NewPages review)

. . . one of the most compelling and powerful debut collections in recent American poetry. These exquisite meditations on the lived life are often nothing less than stunning, and are at times truly devastating. This gorgeous collection is both mature and tender in its reckonings of our shifting relationships with family and loved ones. Kerrin McCadden is especially accomplished in considering those who've engaged in constructions of daily happiness only to discover that what they'd begun in dream has ended in quiet wreckage. Poem by poem, we are consoled by the poet's remarkable reflective ease and her profound intimacy. The beauty of these poems is matched only by their sense of triumph in resilience, and its resulting peace. (David St. John)


At the four-way stop I wave you on,
a kindness. You wave no no, you go. I wave, go.
We keep on. You insist. Me: no you,
please. A bird shifts, a sigh. The penned
horse tosses, pacing. I mouth you go.
There is a fleck on your windshield. I notice your hands.
Rain falls. Your hands cup the wheel
at ten o’clock and two, then float
past my knee and only sometimes land.
One hundred times on my back, they tame me.
Cars line up. Birds lift. I nod my head into your chest.
There is a trail of clothing. I walk to the
plank door of your room. This takes hours
and hours. This is a small cottage and there is sand
on the floor and nothing on the walls, crows calling,
dishes in the sink. Days go by. We are still making
our way to the bed. This is an inventory:
black telephone, board games, frayed chairs,
coffee table spotted with the old moons of drinks,
curtains pulled back on tiny hooks, single pane glass
windows like the ones I used to sneak out of at night, lifting
them as slow as this stepping, and when you talk
into my neck the words settle in the hammock
of my collarbone, puddle there and spill,
slide over my breasts and I am slowly covered,
and rinsed. I do not close my eyes. Nothing hurts.
The dust rises in swirls. Dogs bark. You turn
your windshield wipers on intermittent.
Your car rolls into the space I have built between us.
I am up to my belly in a northern lake, cold. I am afraid now.
When I get home, everyone will see.

More Poems:

American Poetry Review

Click Here to Purchase This Book

Friday, April 24, 2015

Featured Book: Bird Watching at the End of the World, by Lisa Mangini

Bird Watching at the End of the World. Lisa Mangini. Cherry Grove, 2014.
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Lisa Mangini holds an MFA from Southern Connecticut State University. She is the author of the poetry collection, Bird Watching at the End of the World, as well as the poetry chapbooks Slouching Towards Entropy (Finishing Line Press) and Immanuel Kant vs God (Red Bird Chapbooks), and a fiction chapbook, Perfect Objects in Motion (Red Bird Chapbooks), all released in 2014. She has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets, and won the 2011 Connecticut Poetry Prize. Her work has been featured in McSweeney's, Weave, Words Dance, Silver Birch Press, and elsewhere. She is the founding editor of Paper Nautilus, and teaches English composition and creative writing at handful of colleges in southern New England.

Bird Watching at the End of the World explores the consequences of living in a body, the psyches of philosophers, and the tenuous nature of human connection. Using a range of poetic styles from formal verse to sprawling prose, this collection returns again and again to the persistence of doubt—even toward those we love the most.

Fabulous in their diction, the poems of Lisa Mangini present a world of sadness and grace, particle and wave. Victims of the body, shadowed by the eighth Deadly Sin—not to be loved—these lovely vessels stuffed with philosophical gleanings and lyrical meditations make possible a future for poetry, and thus, for us.”(Alan Michael Parker)

Every Time We Go to Ikea

it’s raining.  It starts as a light spray
across the windshield, so slight the wipers squeal
against the glass. But there’s no fighting

against the allure of clean lines, the illusion
of better organization, despite that no
number of cubed shelves can tidy up a life.

And every time, there is a young woman
assessing the sturdiness of a crib, sometimes alone,
sometimes with a man or her mother beside her,

and I do my best not to meet your eyes.  Every time
we weave through the model kitchens, I make a bee line
to the sink — farm apron, stainless steel, undermount —

and press my palms against its cool basin; if it’s not
crowded, you’ll lean your hips along my back, rest
your chin on my shoulder, trying to see what it is

I’m seeing.  We’ll look for a chest of drawers
for your apartment, debating Malm versus Hopen,
birch finish or espresso, and I’ll scribble

their dimensions in inches with a tiny golf pencil.
We’ll emerge with a cardboard box on a dolly
to a downpour, and against your wishes, I’ll insist

on moving the car to the loading area myself. Every time,
I will lose a sandal while running in the slick lot
and have to turn back to retrieve it.  We’ll maneuver

the box in some impossible diagonal in the back seat
of the sedan, wipe the rain from our faces, prepare
ourselves to go home and build something.

Other Poems: 

Found Poetry Review

Lunch Ticket

Click Here to Purchase

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Featured Book: This Visit, by Susan Lewis

This Visit. Susan Lewis. BlazeVOX, 2015.
Susan Lewis lives in New York City and edits Posit. She is the author of eight books and chapbooks, most recently This Visit, How to be Another (Červená Barva Press, 2014), and State of the Union (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2014). Her work is forthcoming or has recently appeared in The Awl, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, and Connotation Press.

An elegy to "this visit" of the living to our own existence, This Visit is a pastiche of lyrical and probing dissonances assembled from intimate voices yearning for a connection as deep and ephemeral as “your desire and your embedded thorn.” Like our mortal trajectories, the world of these poems is captured in its struggle to take shape, like Michelangelo’s slaves emerging from the half-hewn stone, or Duchamp’s nude descending a multitude of unsettling but resonant linguistic staircases.

In the fissures and gaps of a malleable lexicon, Susan Lewis’s playful, punning, musical lyrics create spaces for a reader to explore. In her “mythic stickiness” edges are blurred in service to an “everlasting loop.” Her poems are oddly intimate, full of a wise skepticism and a quirky grace—perhaps more of a place to live in than to visit. (Joanna Fuhrman)

This Visit


This time
which is “yours,”

that face you covet,
the hurt it bleeds,

blows landing
puff with satisfaction

shamefaced as childhood,
as roundly accidental.

What is to be done
with cliff-edged blunders

howling & hollowing
your unfathomed deeps?

—As this time,
your time,

whittles you,


They too must age, decay
& slowly quieten.

& can only live,
more or less.

& choose,
more or less.

& search furtively or not
for the nonexistent exit.

(Mother, what you could have told me)
(Stranger, what you might have known)

On the wall with no writing
through the dark glass

(floor littered with doll heads)
the grenade of your despair

plus sleep, that sweet rehearsal
(fingertips in love)

wistful bones withering,
winding down—


these mountains seeping
sighs on loan,

lording over
our boundless lack,

impassive as viscera exhumed,
impulsive as firmament festooned

with friction &
aimless fury

while the debt of the body
on loan

(this stray ferocity)
(that frayed caress)

or other ephemera
sauced & musical

hurtles, to be contemplated
for signs of betrayal

which should be banished—
the word, I mean, reeking

its sly promise of rectitude
as if we know what should be done

(should we glisten
or should we judge?)

the brittle shell of disappointment
lying in wait

too early or too late
while mountains right themselves

in the purple distance,
blind men send me to offer 

this mast,
this hour,

hanging on the weakening light,
bluing in the deepening night

like a hoarded memory from our
secret past—


& you who are leaner
& more intricate:

float with me in this
brittle bowl,

drink the cruel juice
jagged as sunlight

untying us,
shedding notes like jewels

    (against the grain)
    (beneath this petaled canopy)

never glance at what I am
unless to offer

    (or boldly go)

    (this fear,
    or other jagged edge)

cold mountain
waking to our shame

 & smitten

More Poems: 

Word For/Word 

BlazeVOX Journal  

Click Here to Purchase

Monday, April 20, 2015

Featured Book: Upon the Blue Couch, by Laurie Kolp

Upon the Blue Couch. Laurie Kolp. Winter Goose Publishing, 2014.
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Laurie Kolp, author of Upon the Blue Couch and Hello, It’s Your Mother (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming) serves as president of the Texas Gulf Coast Writers and belongs to the Poetry Society of Texas. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications including the 2015 Poet’s Market, The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop, Scissors & Spackle, and Blue Fifth Review. An avid runner and lover of nature, she lives in Southeast Texas with her husband, three children and two dogs.

Upon the Blue Couch is a compelling collection of diverse poems certain to intrigue the reader with its courageous look into one woman’s turbulent journey through adulthood. With a comfortable blue couch as the common thread throughout the years, we are shown all the highs and lows of life while some things remain a constant source of peace. This blue couch, if only it could talk, might just reveal the secrets to happiness based on the experiences it has unwittingly been a part of.
Laurie Kolp's poetry jumps from playful to gritty, from tender to dangerous. In other words, Laurie is a poet who takes chances and dares to surprise her readers with each poem. (Robert Lee Brewer)


They say it's snowing somewhere
off in the distance, past the ocean's
line of separation,

up north where leaves of yellow, red and orange
fill the black and white page with passion,
and lined coats are more than closet fillers
soaking in the acrid smell of stale mothballs.

Yes, it's snowing where you are
while I sit alone on the cusp of indecision,
the warm breeze drifting through my car
like the whisper of your voice.

More Poems:

City Lit Rag

Poppy Road Review

Click Here to Purchase Upon the Blue Couch

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Book: A Lightness, A Thirst, or Nothing At All, by Adele Kenny

A Lightness, A Thirst, or Nothing At All. Adele Kenny. Welcome Rain, 2015.
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Adele Kenny is the author of several poetry collections, most recently A Lightness, A Thirst, or Nothing At All and What Matters (2011), both from Welcome Rain Publishers. She is the recipient of two poetry fellowships from the NJ State Council on the Arts, first place Merit Book and Henderson Awards, a Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, a Writer’s Digest Poetry Award, the International Book Award for Poetry, and Kean University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. A former creative writing professor, she is founding director of the Carriage House Poetry Series and poetry editor of Tiferet Journal. She has read in the US, England, Ireland, and France, and has twice been a featured reader at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.

Intensely focused, compressed, and sharp-edged, these prose poems by Adele Kenny take the spiritual journey into heightened awareness of experience, place, and identity. Deliberate fragments, the language of dreams, and an occasional nod to the surreal combine with Kenny’s signature elements of striking imagery and compelling immediacy to inform an enhanced vision of the ways in which the interior life intersects with the outside world. These poems startle, surprise, and tell us things about ourselves that we didn’t know.

In language so subtly pitched, paced and modulated it captures our attention without drawing attention to itself, Kenny draws us into discovering that what never changes is all around us in the ever-changing world, that one is only approachable, knowable, bearable through the other. We trust her to be our guide because her vision is so unwavering.” (Martin J. Farawell)

Sample Poem:

More Poems by Adele Kenny:

The Poetry Storehouse

Shot Glass Journal


Click Here to Purchase Lightness, A Thirst, or Nothing At All

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Featured Book: Untying the Knot, by Karen Paul Holmes

Untying the Knot. Karen Paul Holmes. Aldrich Press, 2014.
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Karen Paul Holmes is the author of Untying the Knot. She founded and hosts the Side Door Poets in Atlanta and Writers’ Night Out in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She received an Elizabeth George Foundation emerging writer grant in 2012, and her publishing credits include Poetry East, Atlanta Review, and Flycatcher. Formerly the VP of Communications at a global financial services company, she is now a freelance business writer, poet, and “roving” writing teacher whose venues include the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina.

Untying the Knot tells the story of the sudden loss of a long-term marriage and the eventual healing that takes place. The poems are written with “grace, humor, self-awareness, and without a dollop of self-pity,” according to Poet Thomas Lux.

On its surface, Untying the Knot is about severance—about leaving the beloved behind and, likewise, getting left—but it is also a meditation on the sources of love and language. … Holmes’s voice pushes readers forward into the unknown with confidence, precision, and empathy.  (Dorianne Laux)

Has He Landed Safely?

     I worry that the outstretched legs on the hart are bent the wrong way
     as he throws himself off.
          —from "Stag’s Leap," Sharon Olds

Not at all a graceful takeoff
his leap threw him into the wild blue
ambiguity of an affair.
I now know he had to do it:
had to explore, sail off the edge
of the world.

I now know he had one limb out
of our marriage for years.
Kept trying to balance
his accounts—in his mind            
he and I did not equal happiness
even though I was the wife he wanted
to show. Smart,
pretty enough, a good mother.
He loved me as much as he could
but I did not fill his coffers.

For two years he resisted the lure
of her but it persisted,
a bee in his palm,
until he couldn’t hold it any longer.
He was barely more than fawn
in the ways of betrayal, antlers
uncalcified. Yet he craved
the danger, needed it
like heroin to addle his pain.

He had to leap, to deny the gravity
of his action. To land, gashed
in another galaxy.
Does he speak the language?
Can he breathe?

More Poems by Karen Paul Holmes:

As It Ought to Be

Sound Cloud

Click Here to Purchase Untying the Knot

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Featured Book: Paper Doll Fetus, by Cynthia Marie Hoffman

Paper Doll Fetus. Cynthia Marie Hoffman. Persea Books, 2014.
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Cynthia Marie Hoffman is the author of Sightseer (winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry) and Paper Doll Fetus, as well as the chapbook Her Human Costume. Hoffman is a former Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, Director’s Guest at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Wisconsin Arts Board. Her poems have appeared in Pleiades, Fence, diode, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. She also curates, along with poet Nick Lantz, the project book interview site "The Cloudy House."

The visceral, mystical poems in Paper Doll Fetus give voice to the phantom and the embryonic (homunculi, ectopic twins, fleeced lambskin) and to those who create them, biologically or otherwise. Here, the unusual reigns: a fetus is flattened to pulp by its twin in utero, a doctor cracks open a stone child, a stork delivers a baby through the chimney to its mother’s waiting hands. At once tender and dark, these tales transcend shock and reaffirm the tenuousness of our earliest stirrings into life.

Arising from the history of obstetrics, midwifery, and the many possible experiences of childbirth, these lush and harrowing poems astonished me the moment I encountered them. Here, a lamb’s-wool strap on a gurney describes the woman it restrains. Elsewhere, a phantom pregnancy speaks from within the body of a nun, or a stork, having plucked us from the marshes, spreads its wings with the sound of "umbrellas snapping open upon the wind." In Paper Doll Fetus, Cynthia Marie Hoffman creates one beautiful inhabitation after another, each a feat of dizzying perspective and musical dexterity. I have not encountered such a moving and terrifying collection of poems in years.” (Kevin Prufer)

The Flower from which Forgetfulness

Lie down beneath this tree this is the lying-in
velvety sweet this is the green sky dripping with
trumpets do you hear anything if you hear something
you will not remember it the insect that pricks your
arm flick it away you have much to do here do you
smell something lemony twilight the scent is narcotic
wipe the melody from your mind wipe the lemony
you may feel something but you will forget it don’t
bother to scream just push do what the doctor
who is not here tells you to allow the invisible
nurses have you forgotten them already to touch you
these are the plants of the gods the hell’s bells
the devil’s weed push the baby comes in the grass
someone wraps her in a towel and hands
her to you now ah the trumpets swinging the angels
struggling to keep their lips to the stems, sleepy baby.

More Poems:

The Missouri Review Online

The Journal with audio

Click Here to Purchase Paper Doll Fetus

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Featured Book: Frozen Latitudes, by Therese Halscheid

Frozen Latitudes. Therese Halscheid. Press 53, 2014.
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Therése Halscheid’s poetry collections include Frozen Latitudes (Press 53), Uncommon Geography, Without Home and Greatest Hits, a chapbook award from Pudding House Publications. Her poetry and essays have appeared in such journals as The Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review, and Crab Orchard Review. Through cultural exchange programs she has traveled widely and taught in England and Russia. Through the Alaskan Arts Council, she had the privilege of working with an Inupiaq Eskimo tribe on White Mountain, and enjoyed a teaching artist residency in Homer. For the past two decades, she has been house-sitting—caring for others’ homes and animals—while writing. This mobility, along with simple living, has helped her to sustain her writing life. Her photography chronicles her journey and has won awards in juried shows.

Frozen Latitudes melds two journeys where lives are at the very edge of survival. One is the literal location of Alaska, where the writer lived among clans of the Inupiaq tribe. The second location is the time and place where her father’s life was frozen during heart surgery, when he suffered brain damage. In this new body of work, landscapes are linked to the rugged terrain of home, while the poet cares for a father with dementia.

In Frozen Latitudes, Therése Halscheid welcomes the lucky reader into a world of deep love, familial illness, and the dual human urges to speak and be heard. The narrator takes a look at “how it really looked long ago” and how “lips, bright as scars, are parting open with words so the great air can take them.” The settings of these exquisite poems range from a childhood home colored by a father’s dementia to the northern interior of Alaska with its stories from The Real People in which each word is "a language of light." These are moving, masterful poems in a brilliantly cohesive collection. (Donna Baier Stein)

After Alaska
         for Lisa

She lives in me now, in the north of my chest, where it is all dark, all winter—
to my ears will come her voice, then to my eyes, this white woman,
then pathways to the tribe she roamed with, to places inside me
where they are hunting and she is gathering and there, a certain arrow,
and there, a stab of certain pain

then to moments other than these, to nights when my heart is a drum
for her dancing and her movements tell stories, and I feel in her feet
all that was told to me, all that was shared.

When I breathe and the wind blows in a mighty power, my mouth forms
a small opening and she scales the dark throat to leap where
my lip catches the light, that she might sit
and be warmed for awhile—

I felt her once, during an inner storm, as a certain chill ran through,
after my muscles tightened into big cold mountains
that she was arranging my ribs, arching them, same as the shelters
she spoke of, in the icy north of Alaska, where they shape
whalebone over driftwood and pack it with sod.

There is a veined landscape she traverses in the spring
where my blood runs as thawed rivers

and she waits on the sands of myself for the return of the whale,
propped against a white embankment of bones, knees drawn to her chest
as in the way of the Eskimo, at times looking up, reading
the starry pores, the sky of my cloudless skin.

More Poems by Therese Halscheid:

We Wanted To Be Writers

Sliver of Stone Magazine

Click Here to Purchase Frozen Latitudes

Friday, April 10, 2015

Featured Book: Mendeleev's Mandala, by Jessica Goodfellow

Mendeleev's Mandala. Jessica Goodfellow. Mayapple Press, 2015.
Jessica Goodfellow's books are Mendeleev's Mandala (Mayapple Press, 2015) and The Insomniac’s Weather Report (Isobar Press, 2014). Her chapbook, A Pilgrim’s Guide to Chaos in the Heartland, won the 2006 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Competition. Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Verse Daily, and NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac. Jessica received the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize from the Beloit Poetry Journal, and her work is being made into a short film by Motionpoems (May 2015). She has graduate degrees from Caltech and the University of New England. She lives and works in Japan.

Mendeleev’s Mandala begins in pilgrimage and ends in pilgrimage, but nowhere in-between does it find a home. Invoking muses as diverse as Wittgenstein, Newton, the Wright Brothers, and an ancient Japanese monk, Goodfellow uses and misuses mathematics, cosmology, biology, and etymology to push the boundaries of poetic form in a manner that mimics how time and tragedy push the human form to its limits. Welcome to the pilgrimage.

Jessica Goodfellow has a joyous intelligence and electric tongue. Reading this book a first time, my only regret was that I couldn’t read it a second first time. But then I read it a first second time and a first third. You see what I’m doing? I’m reading this book over and over, without ever completely taking it in. I think you will too. And like me, want only one thing from Jessica Goodfellow—more. (Bob Hicok)

A Metronome is the Opposite of Wind

Wind launches the laundry, shakes hands
with a scarecrow, shuffles rust-edged petals

of dogwood, hungry for anything hung,
dangled, crucified. Who do you—or maybe

Hoodoo you, she calls, passing. The wind is
a woman, we say, when a thing disappears;

a man, when a thing is demolished.
I’ve come to the field today to be

away from metronome, clock, and door—
instruments of opening and closing, of doing,

undoing, redoing. The wind is no one’s
instrument; it opens and opens, which is why

it cannot stay. Once you made me a gift
of a metronome, saying, Without symmetry,

there’d be too much to desire. What your rule forgets
is the human heart’s four unequal chambers,

left of center. But its valves close and open,
its throbbing is even, metronome in give-and-take

with wind. Or vice versa. No one’s wholly satisfied,
or wholly dispossessed, in this elliptical ruin of breath.

More Poems by Jessica Goodfellow:

Thrush Poetry Journal 

Vinyl Poetry

Click Here to Purchase Mendeleev's Mandala

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Featured Book: How I Lost My Virginity. . ., by Alexis Rhone Fancher

How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen & Other Heart Stab Poems. Alexis Rhone Fancher. Sybaritic Press, 2014.
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Alexis Rhone Fancher is the author of “How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and Other
Heart Stab Poems,” (Sybaritic Press, 2014). Her work appears in Rattle, The MacGuffin,
Fjords, Slipstream, and elsewhere. Her poems have been published in a number of American and international anthologies. Her photos have been published worldwide. She’s been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes and a Best of The Net award. Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.

Description: Alexis Rhone Fancher's How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen and Other Heart Stab Poems, is a gorgeous collection of erotic poems and black-and-white photos which chronicles her journey into the sensual world of sexual experience. Fancher's writing is sharp, insightful, beautifully composed, and will strike a chord with women and men of all ages. (Marie Lecrivain)

Blurb: I keep trying to remember what 19th century writer accused of impropriety replied crossly with words to this effect: These are writings for adults regarding adult experience. They are not intended for little girls for whom one prepares slices of buttered bread. Indeed. That goes triple for this collection. Reader, these are erotic poems, and I do not mean poems that muse upon the sensual suggestiveness of certain blossoming flowers. Regard yourself as forewarned. Alexis Rhone Fancher may very well be the lustiest poet in all L.A. (Suzanne Lummis)

Walk All Over You

The stiletto boots in the back of my closet are
restless, long to stroll the 3rd Street Promenade,
looking for a red silk bustier. A Louis Vuitton bag.
A lover who won’t let me down.

The stiletto boots in the back of my closet
want to party, want to grab my feet,
climb my calves, hug my thighs. They’re
ready for action. Ready to put on a skintight
Versace, and head for the club.

They want to clack on terrazzo floors,
totter from great heights, see the world.
Escape the flats, the Mary Jane’s, the penny
loafers, the two-toned, two-faced saddle Oxfords
that guard the closet door.

The stiletto boots in the back of my closet
want to walk all over you, punish you for
cheating, make you pay.
They have a short memory, don’t care
why they were banished or what you
did. They’re desperate to reclaim you,
dig their heels into your shortcomings,
make little marks up and down your libido.
Welcome you home.

They long to wrap themselves around
you, put you in a headlock, rake your thighs,
want to lead you into ecstasy.
Saran Wrap.
Whipped cream.
Wesson Oil.
Room service.

My stilettos can’t forget you.
My stilettos can’t move on.
My stilettos want to forgive you.
Even if I cannot.

They bear the scuff marks
of your betrayal far better than do I.

The stiletto boots in the back of my closet
are negotiating their release, want me
to give you a second chance
to trample my heart.

Like the last time and the time before.
They want to get started, head out the door.
Who do you think gave me those boots,

More Poems by Alexis Rhone Fancher:

Menacing Hedge


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Monday, April 6, 2015

Featured Book: The Arranged Marriage by Jehanne Dubrow

The Arranged Marriage. Jehanne Dubrow. University of New Mexico Press, 2015.
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Jehanne Dubrow is the author of five poetry collections, including most recently The Arranged Marriage (U of New Mexico P, 2015), Red Army Red (Northwestern UP, 2012), and Stateside (Northwestern UP, 2010). Her work has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, The New England Review, and Prairie Schooner. She is the Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House in Maryland and an Associate Professor of creative writing at Washington College.

Description: With her characteristic music and precision, Dubrow delves unflinchingly into a mother's story of trauma and captivity. The poet proves that truth telling and vision can give meaning to the gravest situations, allowing women to create a future on their own terms.

Blurb: Here is a sequence of nuanced narratives, each anxiously circling arrangements of marriage, violence, and the shadows of history. Jehanne Dubrow has a storyteller’s gift for suggesting, with enviable economy of language, the complexities of our relationships with those we love and the inescapable past that surrounds us. Elegant, intimate, and unsettling, The Arranged Marriage is a terrific—an important—book. (Kevin Prufer)

More poems by Jehanne Dubrow:  

Click to Purchase The Arranged Marriage.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Featured Book: Mr. West, by Sarah Blake

Mr. West. Sarah Blake. Wesleyan University Press, 2015.
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Sarah Blake is the founder of the online writing tool Submittrs, an editor at Saturnalia Books, and a recipient of an NEA Literature Fellowship. Her poetry has appeared in Boston Review, Drunken Boat, and The Threepenny Review. Mr. West is her first book. Named After Death is her first chapbook, forthcoming from Banango Editions this summer. She lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband and son.

Description: Mr. West covers the main events in superstar Kanye West’s life while also following the poet on her year spent researching, writing, and pregnant. The book explores how we are drawn to celebrities—to their portrayal in the media—and how we sometimes find great private meaning in another person’s public story, even across lines of gender and race. This is a daring debut collection and a groundbreaking work.

Blurb: Mr. West transforms the poet’s fascination with the rapper into an amazing group of poems that explores what she knows or can find out about West, alongside her own life. The poems construct West as unmistakably human and larger than life—as much like as unlike the poet. The work is tender without being sentimental, funny without being cruel, and obsessive without being exploitative. It is a study in nuance and it is strangely moving. (Evie Shockley)

Seeing Kanye

Along the Juniata, the gray stones,
gray squares in the grass,

keep the hills from the road, keep them

where they are.

When we pass the stones,

like the Earth’s stitches,

I know we’re about to see a rock face

following a bend in the road,

where the strata bends like sound waves.

It’s clear God is below the Earth, not above—
his head, giant frame for the planet—
and he makes a sound that makes the Earth.

But first I thought of Kanye’s head

singing, singing, singing into that rock.

More Poems by Sarah Blake:

The Awl

Flavor Wire

Click Here to Purchase Mr. West

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Featured Book: Love, Etc., by L.L. Barkat

Love, Etc.: Poems of Love, Laughter, Longing & Loss. L.L. Barkat. T. S. Poetry Press, March 2014.
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L.L. Barkat is the author of six books, including her most recent poetry collection, Love, Etc.: Poems of Love, Laughter, Longing & Loss. She is also the author of The Novelist: A Novella (an experimental fiction) and Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing (twice named a Best Book of 2011). Her poems have appeared at Best American Poetry, VQR, and Every Day Poems. She is a staff writer for The Curator,  a contributor for Makes You Mom, a writer for Huffington Post Books blog, and the Managing Editor of Tweetspeak Poetry.

Description: Love has many faces. From the sensual to the reflective, from the whimsical to the worrisome. Love, Etc. explores the mixed experiences of love, in language infused with Barkat’s signature sensual touch.

Blurb: Though subtitled poems of love, laughter, longing & loss, L.L. Barkat’s new collection, Love, Etc., is all longing to me—reaching repeatedly for the clarity that surely lies within life’s entanglements. These poems flirt and seduce. Wait patiently for mulberries and ghosts at the window. Make nests. Button and unbutton. Press the edge of the self. They imitate breath and the spaces between, the desires that get caught in the throat when only a picture, a word, a letter, or silence will do. (Tania Runyan)


I should tell you
about my hands, small
and experienced.

The other night,
when my youngest daughter
said, as I tucked her into bed,

Tell me something. Tell me anything,
I turned off the light and whispered this:

when I cut the beets tonight,
the red water went all into
the lines on my hands—

so many lines.

More Poems by L.L. Barkat:

Every Day Poems


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