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UNRULY by Elysia Lucinda Smith reviewed in Maudlin House

 

 

This is a confessional collection of prose. Elysia Smith sits her younger self beneath a ghost light and pulls the most arcane questions out from her chest. She looks back on the origins of her own sexual identity, surfacing the candid ugliness that flickers in all instances of coming of age and sex itself. Gritty detail and exquisite retelling crash together to disrupt the orderliness of simplified femininity that comes from a small-town upbringing. Unruly challenges the norm and celebrates what it means to be imperfectly female and naturally sexual.

The mechanics of adolescent girl and boy intimacy turn like broken gears when the discovery of sex begin to spread across the page. Each move is an awkward one. Each encounter leaves a spark of desire behind as she tries to find her footing and fit into her own skin comfortably.

This was the half life

Of teenage desire, the point in which 

I didn’t go down but let boys

Finger me, but never sex, not sex

By a degree of experimentation, Smith grips an understanding that most humans are naturally sexual beings. Although this is a grounding fact, her rooted definition of femininity becomes tenuous during the thick of her personally sobering, sometimes painful experiences. Smith puts a certain urgency into her prose. But simultaneously, she runs her hands over the gritty reality of sexual coming to.

I emerged in a foam

Of PBR, backlit by a Shell sign, lifting

The two slick bodies

With each squishing step, “I am

Sparkly with want, with what

Is to be, with what is” soaked

In the toxic brine of the White River

Pulling trash from my teeth

Read the whole review here 

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Daniel Borzutzky wins the National Book Award

 

Congratulations to Daniel Borzutzky on winning the National Book award. Check out his BlazeVOX The Ecstasy of Capitulation Daniel Borzutzky here: http://www.blazevox.org/index.php/Shop/Poetry/the-ecstasy-of-capitulation-by-daniel-borzutzky-17/

"Daniel Borzutzky’s poems bespeak an amazing grasp of current nounage that the writer skillfully employs to achieve a piercing social and political critique. Little of current or recent history has immunity. Richard Milhous Nixon, Ronald Reagan, the matter of requisite allegiance to sexuality, linguistics, even leek soup, serve as springboards to a greater revelation brought about by the ruthlessly comic clarity of Borzutzky’s eyes and ears. The writer plants the spotlight on speakers of the poem who do not know that they can plead the Fifth. Yet even in his most successfully sardonic observations, Borzutzky never merely points the finger. In a virtuosic display of rhetoric, these speakers self-reveal, self-incriminate, and in so doing, take us down with them. For Borzutzky consistently brings to the poem the recognition that his subject is not restricted to these few isolated others, but, at root, to all of us. Joining its best-of-genre companions, The Ecstasy of Capitulation provides scathing critique of culture amid an underlying self-effacement that holds itself responsible and consistently depicts a sense of caring. Borzutzky’s is the honest intellect we have been waiting for, to show us what we are."

- Sheila E. Murphy


“After I first read Daniel Borzutzky’s poems in magazines, I became a hellhound on his trail, pursuing him over the oceans (he was in Turkey at the time) until I ran him to earth and shook more poems out of him. I wanted my students to read those poems and to write like Borzutzky, yeah, but, more importantly, to think like him. There’s a divine foolishness to these poems, a knuckleheaded clarity that allows the poet to ask “Are Nudists Nuts? (the question of our time, to my way of thinking) and to say “We approve of intersections but are opposed to streets in general” and “Out with mayors, in with majordomos” and “We have too many potholes. They should be filled with violets, or ideas.” The title of this book not only describes it but recommends it—far too many poetry books today are about the capitulation of ecstasy. I love these poems. Daniel Borzutzky for president.”

- David Kirby



The Ecstasy of Capitulation by Daniel Borzutzky Book Preview

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Museum Hours by Michael Kelleher Now Available!

Museum Hours, Michael Kelleher’s first published collection of poems since 2007, is comprised of four sections imagined as rooms in a museum with “bright white walls./Infinitely tall.” The museum is a kind of memory palace, where images impress themselves on the mind with indelible force. The reader of Museum Hours is asked not so much to read these poems as to “inhabit and wander through” them, “Endlessly. Endlessly.”

“The poems in Michael Kelleher’s new book, Museum Hours, are by turns clever, moving, haunting, artful, and always well constructed. Whether it is a witty list-poem ‘Nature Mort’, or a prose-poem ‘Weather Report’, or the wonderful seventeen-part heliotropic long-poem set up as tightly wrought quintets — the poetry always soars. To savour them, one must return to them again and again, gently soaking in the art.”

—Sudeep Sen, author of EroText (Penguin Random House) & the editor of The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry

“Attraction has its pulls,” writes Michael Kelleher. Museum Hours maps, in moving ways, the force of gravity that art has on our lives, our attentions. One trusts the secrets that Kelleher’s poems share. With their precision, their quietness, their frequently keen but subtle wit, these poems enter the ear and the mind as intimately as a sudden sense of wonder just before “the roof gives way to the stars.”

—Richard Deming, Yale University

Michael Kelleher is the director of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University. He formerly served as Artistic and Associate Director of Just Buffalo Literary Center in Buffalo, New York, where he founded Babel, an international lecture series in which he interviewed authors such as V. S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie and Zadie Smith.

His published collections of poetry include Museum Hours (BlazeVOX, 2016), Human Scale (BlazeVOX, 2007), and To Be Sung (BlazeVOX, 2004). His poems and essays have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Colorado Review, the Poetry Foundation Website, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, ecopoetics, The Poetry Project Newsletter, The Queen St. Quarterly, Slope, and others.

From 2008-13 he produced a blog project entitled “Aimless Reading,” in which he documented the more than 1,200 books in his personal library.


Book Information:

· Paperback: 102 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-243-3

$16

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Museum Hours by Michael Kelleher Book Preview

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GHOST / LANDSCAPE by by Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher is featured at Verse Daily

GHOST / LANDSCAPE by by Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher is featured at Verse Daily! Hurray and congrats!


®

Today's poem is by Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher

The Museum of the Occupation 
        

So, of course, you have to go in. And of course, each piece has
a card that reads "Give Me Back" beneath it, but, as you're
reading it, it's not clear if it's directed at you or if it's just a
subtle reminder that each brick of the city was forged in a
different world, by different workers, with their different
dreams and hopes who were later to be shot and lined in rows
to illustrate the garden plot, where the hedge will one day go.
It's April. There's a woodpecker letting loose somewhere
down the block. The museum windows are open, which
makes it seem the woodpecker is right next to you. But
instead, you've just this floorplan with the guard rotation
schedule and a cyanide pill in case you're captured, and the
questions get too complicated, where you forget to carry the
ten, and they implore you to take a light rest, maybe some
lemonade. "I Remember" is the title of the travelling
exhibition you came expressly to see, and it's still here, which
is surprising, as usually by the time you get to these things
they've gone on to Cincinnati. It's never really Cincinnati,
though. When we say Cincinnati we just mean we're going to
die soon, that the weather's looking bad.

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To The River by Diana S. Adams Now Available!

Diana S. Adams’ To The River, is a delicious novella – the first of a trilogy – that is both resolutely gritty and often magical. It’s a wonderful, modern-day exploration of urban life, with characters who stick to the ribs and travel well past the final pages. Adams is a spare, clear-eyed and fearless writer who wades into the lives of her characters and reveals just enough to give them perfect breath. A mere glimpse of a character in an Adams’ novella is full meal – with wine, dessert and an espresso. She reveals the right flavours and readers come away with a full understanding, complete with unanswered questions.

You know these characters – they are your neighbours, your acquaintances, the people you work with. Adams peels away the layers and we get a look at the eccentric, the unconventional, and the banal oddities beneath. Adams reveals them providing mysteries within mysteries.

—Thomas Trofimuk, Author of Waiting for Columbus

In her provocative new novel, To The River, Diana S. Adams presents us with a landscape that is fraught with tension: the deathly currents, "paper birch," and "spring debris" that surround the protagonist are gradually revealed as both beautiful and violent, as luminous as they are destructive. As the book unfolds, each of Adams' expertly described characters see "their own warped reflection" in the world around them, suggesting a complete breakdown of boundaries between interior and exterior, self and world. To The River explores these complex philosophical questions about landscape, interiority, and projection with great elegance, offering tentative answers in the work's most subtle stylistic choices. Diana S. Adams is a writer to watch.

—Kristina Marie Darling, Author of Failure Lyric

The inventiveness of To The River by Diana Adams seems never-ending. It leads you into unexpected spaces, resonated by a unique strong vision. Through a juxtaposition of contrasts and a countless array of brilliant images and atmospheres, Adams reveals an energetic intelligence. At once dramatic and surreal, organic and synthetic, ornate and evocative, To The River is a poignant journey and a compelling delight of a narrative.

— Geoffrey Gatza, Author of Apollo

Diana Adams is an Edmonton, Alberta based writer with work published in a variety of journals including Boston Review, Drunken Boat, Fogged Clarity, Oranges & Sardines, The Laurel Review, Ekleksogaphia. Her work has been included in several anthologies including the 2009 Rhysling Anthology. Her work will be included in Best American Experimental Poetry 2016. Her third book of poetry Hello Ice was published by BlazeVOX Books. Theaters of the Tongue was also published by BlazeVOX Books in 2008. Corrupt Press recently published her poetry chapbook Catch. Larry Fagin kindly published her chapbook Lights on the Way Out through Greenzone Press. To The River is the first of a three novella sequence that will be completed this year.


Book Information:

· Paperback: 108 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-213-6

$16

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To the River by Diana S. Adams Book Preview

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Photos on flickr