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The Metaphysician's Daughter by Richard K. Ostrander Reviewed on True Grit Lit

 

The Metaphysician's Daughter. Richard K. Ostrander. BlazeVOX Books. 2016.

Poet Richard K. Ostrander is clearly experimenting in many of the poems in this slim (standard-sized) volume of poetry, but his more sincere efforts into his poetry are the most rewarding. I am thinking in particular of his contemplation on the saying “that’s how they do you…” with his own: “It’s funny how they do you / then they don’t / that’s exactly how they do!” The saying comes up, back-to-back in his poems “Dromedary” and “Sin Eaters.” It kept me interested, not only because of how it varies in tone, going from quaint cliché to gross resentment or discontent, but also because it simultaneously alienates the narrator and reader.
The narrative in “Dromedary” uses the how-they-do-you saying in the contexts of a job interview. The narrator meeting an interviewer with his two-page resume and half-Windsor-knotted tie and knowing he probably has more experience etc. and that he’s probably taking himself down a peg just to land a much-needed paycheck. So, he uses how-they-do-you to snap himself out of it and realize where he’s at, sacrificing the self-examined life for the real world-ness. 
In “Sin Eaters” the how-they-do-you expounds on the poem’s narrator’s wartime experience:

They’ll have your six
until the twelve
then you’ll be the one.
[…]
They’ll call it clear
and when you’re near
you’ll learn its green on blue.
Ostrander keeps it simple and to the point, but the feelings that come with it are complex. It reminds me of a Rudyard Kipling poem “We and They” that ends on this thought:
All good people agree,
            And all good people say,
All nice people, like Us, are We
            And everyone else is They:
But if you cross the sea,
            Instead of over the way,
You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
            As only a sort of They!
“The Rockfish” might be the best poem in the collection. The poem's speaker teeters between dream and memory recalling a brother named Gregg, while the Rockfish itself is left undefined, something colloquial that the reader will probably never know or understand. But it is this type of unique, highly personal contemplations that establish Ostrander's best poems. And if you’re wondering about the title of the book: “The Metaphysician’s Daughter” the closest answer we get to what or who this is comes in the poem “The Town Drunk’s Daughter.”
Read the whole review here 
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So Long, Napoleon Solo by Patrick Chapman - micro review

 

"Patrick Chapman's latest book is one I know I will finish all too
soon, but will also return to. The writing seems so effortless yet
every second sentence is an aphorism or read-out-loud quote. I have
found myself with tears of laughter in one eye and of sadness in the
other. With six books of poetry, a novella, a collection of short
stories and now this, Patrick is a bit of a legend."

— Denis Goodbody

For more information or to by this book, go here 

 Paperback: 242 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-287-7

$18

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

So Long, Napoleon Solo by Patrick Chapman Book Preview 

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Ekstasis by Peter Valente and Kevin Killian Now Available!

 This collaboration between two poets who also work in the visual arts, is a near perfect work of concision. Peter Valente turns the camera into poetry and Kevin Killian entices the poem to work with visual mastery.

—Neeli Cherkovski is currently finishing his new book of poems, Elegy for the Beat Generation


While Valente’s photographs appear coolly intimate, the deeper revelation is individual memory. What, exactly, have we been invited to witness? Is a face and body in the blue light sufficient? Or do we crave more? More tension, more ambivalence in the decision to share: what and how much? Ekstasis is a ménage à trois that rivals anything one could experience on Google+.

—Vanessa Norton is the cofounder and editor of Wasted Books.


Kevin Killian and Peter Valente’s haunting collaboration Ekstasis comes on like one of those dark dreams you can’t seem to shake – it’s memory and sensations still lingering long after you’ve awoken.

—Michael Salerno, artist, filmmaker, and publisher.

Peter Valente is the author of several books, the most recent of which is a translation of Nanni Balestrini’s Blackout (Commune Editions, 2017), and a couple of chapbooks. His poems, essays, and photographs have appeared in journals such as Mirage #4/Periodical, First Intensity, Aufgabe, Talisman, Oyster Boy Review, and spoKe. In 2019, City Lights will publish his co-translation of 33 of Artaud’s late letters (1945-1947) with an introduction by Stephen Barber. Presently, he is at work on a book for Semiotext(e). In addition, he has made 60 short films, 24 of which were shown at Anthology Film Archives.

Kevin Killian, one of the original “New Narrative” writers, has written three novels, a book of memoirs, four books of stories, and three books of poetry. For the San Francisco Poets Theater Killian has written forty-five plays, and the anthology he compiled with David Brazil—The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater 1945-1985—has become the standard text on the subject. Recent projects include Tagged, Killian’s nude photographs of poets, artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers and intellectuals; and forthcoming, with Dodie Bellamy, The Nightboat Anthology of New Narrative Writing 1977-1997.


Book Information:

· Paperback: 102 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-292-1


$22

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ekstasis Images by Peter Valente - Text by Kevin Killian Book Preview 

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Excentrica: Notes on the Text by Steven Reese Now Available!

It’s a rare poet who can look the muse in the eye and speak through or with her as Reese has done in this fragmentary and insightful collection, which reads both as a form of exegesis, literary criticism and dialogue, as well as a love poem to literature. It is at once a beautiful composition in its own right, and an illumination of the magic and mystery of composing verse, addressing the poets’ many sources of influence and inspiration. Reading it, I envisioned a stone skipping across the surface of our literary history, leaving ever-expanding circles behind it before sinking into the water. And while the muse, Renate Ștefan perhaps the alter-ego of Steven Reese, or the reborn Reese as the name suggests, might be like the skipping stone, it is the circles left in her wake that the writer is left with, that he delineates and celebrates in this remarkable text.

—Nin Andrews


Steven Reese’s poem/essay/disquisition on/history of poetry stretches the boundaries of not only our definitions of poetry, but also the limits of language and its ongoing challenge to loosen itself from its leashes. True to its thesis, this work itself extends our definition of what a poem, as well as a poet, should be. His argument describes that quality of poetry that (similar to what Robert Bly says) “leaps” beyond the strictures of inhibiting poetic form, away from the ethno-, ego-, concentric, to the ex-centric. He brings along for the tour some of the greatest voices in poetry—not only in English, but in many other languages—including Yeats, Emerson, Rilke, Sappho, Dickinson, Paz, Mallarme, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and others who describe poetry’s out-bound force. Someone once said a great poet should think as well as sing, and Reese proves it can be done by taking us on a breathtaking poetic/aesthetic ride. And don’t even think about fastening your seat belt.

— William Greenway


Exhilarating. Expansive. Two margins charging the space between with eros.

—Caroline Longstreet

Steven Reese is the author of two previous volumes of poetry, Enough Light to Steer By (Cleveland State) and American Dervish (Salmon), as well as two volumes of translation, Synergos (selected poems of Roberto Manzano; Etruscan) and Womanlands (selected poems of Diana María Ivizate González; Verbum, Spain). He teaches literature and poetry writing at Youngstown State University in Ohio, where he currently directs the Northeast Ohio MFA in Creative Writing. Visit him at screeseonline.com.


Book Information:

· Paperback: 110 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-279-2


$16

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Excentrica- Notes on the Text by Steven C Reese Book Preview 

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So Long, Napoleon Solo by Patrick Chapman discussion on Writing.ie

The great Russian-American author Isaac Asimov once remarked that if he were given only six months to live, his response would be to type faster. Famously, he published hundreds of books in his lifetime, so such a prognosis could have yielded him about twenty novels, an opera, five collections of stories, and a shopping list. Not everything he wrote was rendered in glistening prose, but he was a genius whose ideas helped shape the world we live in. It is not just any writer who can say that, or be so prolific. For most of us it takes a bit longer to write a book.

My new novel, So Long, Napoleon Solo, took fifteen years, on and off. That was not intentional. I started work on it in 2001 in response to the self-deliverance of a childhood friend, who was and is utterly unlike the fictional Tom, whose suicide sets the story of the novel in motion. My first draft was laughter in the dark, written blindly in marathon sessions made possible by solitude; I needed to get everything down as fast as I could, in a fugue of energy and work, banging it out until I’d got an ending. The result looked like a novel and read like a novel but what it wasn’t quite, not yet, was a novel.

Being a poet, I came to the task of writing a long prose piece as one who didn’t realise what he didn’t know. I learned that there’s a different art to it. An agent, when I showed an early draft too soon, said that the writing was good and the dialogue amusing, but the characters and story needed work. His advice made the book better. As the process went on, I found myself detaching creatively from the cathartic origin of the book. It assumed its own surprising course. What a trip it was to hold an entire world in my head, as the characters become semi-autonomous and their journey took on a life of its own.

Words are a time machine. I’d put the text aside for long periods then take it out and the characters would still be there, as they were, waiting to tell me what they needed. In between, I wrote other things. Poetry and stories, scripts for film, and plays for Doctor Who and Dan Dare. I also worked in advertising, the profession of my protagonist Jerome, and felt his nostalgia for a world long departed. Revisiting the book, I’d make changes and polish the prose until it gleamed and I was done. Then, every time, the flaws would appear, and I’d realise it needed more work after all.

A book is done when it’s done. In 2008 a publishing company accepted So Long, Napoleon Solo, then folded when the publisher himself disappeared. That mystery remains unsolved and I often wonder what happened to him. In the grand scheme, the fact that my novel no longer had a home, was a very minor consequence of a possibly tragic story. In the years since, the book matured while I wasn’t looking, like a literary sourdough starter kept in the hot press of my mind, as I put it away again and wrote more poems.

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