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pickles and Jams by cris cheek Now Available!

In Pickles & Jams, cris cheek exposes the very membranes that lie between the sensed-real of the culturally dominant and the barely-sensed hyper-real of the culturally emergent. His poetics (initially spawned and tested in Briton) isn’t of an “epiphany” variety, but rather is borne of a sabre-ready constructivist process, whereby the jettisoning of American Capitalist values is at a premium. And though History’s objects (“nation”, “family”, “self-hood”, “city”, “work-world”) no longer have the capture energy they once did, they are still malignant, and push us around. It is these ghosted objects/identities that cheek takes aim at. Acutely sensible to the post-occupy dilemma of “value the crash / crash the value,” his aesthetic tactics intend on having us both view and act on the spectacle from within. cheek's ever-increasing readership will once again be delighted to take much needed cultural cues from the most significant Anglo-American poet of our time.

—Rodrigo Toscano


The flarfy titles of these lush and brazen poems belie the intensity of their love and outrage, their puns tart and savory, acidic and sweet, and the preserving properties of poesie. The minor obstructions and dilemmas of these “pickles” and “jams” contribute to the texture of life in a neoliberal (though rapidly fascistifying) world, so much so that were life easier, “were you to get just what you wanted every time you read me/ as a bolt of white lightning striking a muddy brain repeatedly/… /
I would cry out please, I can’t stand it anymore, let me go.” cris cheek is one of my poetry heroes and he should be one of yours too.

—Maria Damon


Creative mishearings, extemporized speech, pattern/algorithm/procedure, typos (“Your typos / leak wisdom”), phonemic salad, technological fuckery… this is the stuff that cris’ work seems made of to me. Often he retains a certain syntax—a syntax of official “English,” and of past (official) English poets—deterritorializing it by bringing the arbitrariness of the phrase to a saturation point—and by this means breaking into “englishes.” Yet, when these poems stop playing they become deadly serious, arresting us with their melancholic romance and/or rants against racial capital and/or precise indictments of the (white male cis) liberal subject. Pickles & Jams offers a sustained and multi-modal demonstration of an anti-authoritarian language practice where the poet seeks “not a plain language but / a poetry advocating on behalf of resistance to external authority.” It extends cris’ ongoing investigation into and manifestation of a late-Antinomian tradition.

—Thom Donovan


How to taste impasse. Sniff (out) conundrum. Here is a myriad—cris cheek’s marble-mouthed, sardonic, homages to and parodies of pop and literary cultures. Pickles & Jams offers itself as a cornucopia of whimsy, satire, mimicry and, sandwiched between, moments of lyrical tenderness. Here then is a book of poems that track a human thinking more than planning, feeling more than plotting. Here are bursts of tactics (not strategies), wobbly selves running roughshod over British and American niceties (aesthetic, cultural, social, etc.), brandishing aphoristic wit (““As in framers of wonder but/ farmers of convention.”) and a Joycean delight in linguistic fidelity to experience (coat-tails flapping at the grubby hands of convention). In brief, no wrong notes need app here.

—Tyrone Williams


A Londoner in southwestern Ohio, poet, musician, performance artist cris cheek surveys 21st century life in the wake of Fukushima and Occupy. Channeling the buzz in the air, he stages a shimmering sequence of linguistic action. Pickles, as in difficulties. Jams likewise, but also music, a dense, sensual, wild-ass, shredding music. Burlesque humor of the dysfunctional body politic. Quick verbal combinations demonstrating subtle substitutions with a flick of the writ. Torque, twist, spin, mickey, body English. An antidote to normalization, colonialism, authority, exclusion, boredom. Check out these vibrant works and find out what’s really really real.

—Kit Robinson

The pickles are formal, riddles and riffs, the jams maybe cultural and political. Originally out of London cheek is now in his second decade in Ohio, but I hear his title as English. It refers to homegrown stanzas inventively shaped and occasionally rhymed, as if those clever origins had been run into the “designer chickens” of William Carlos Williams while Lewis Carroll caught the bus trying to escape the scene. cheek has always worked with the demotic and the found, with the surround sound of the everyday, so it’s no surprise that his new poems are more American than earlier work in their frames of reference. Indeed one poem wonders about the difference between framers and farmers, “at the convention.” Another appears to make passing reference to Descartes and then Bo Diddley in just a few lines. Dispersed subjectivities include those critical of what’s at hand and many others more tender or playful. The kind of memorable turns of phrase that experimental poetry too often avoids pass by pretty frequently: "beautiful lounge of the damned / in which i got the good peppermint.” I thought I had a handle on cheek’s practice as a performance writer and documentary poet given to expansive poems and sequences, but these little poems have left me upside down beside the fountain of post-post-objectivist lyric.

—Keith Tuma


cris cheek is a postpunk transatlantis maker and framer of playful marks with alphabetic language, with sound, with voice, with light and with the body

growing up in London is hard-wired through his circuitry:

early influences were with the Consortium of London Presses, working alongside Bob Cobbing and Bill Griffiths in the COLP printshop, and performing multi-voice pieces with PC Fencott, Lawrence Upton, and sometimes Jeremy Adler with jgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjg (. . . as long as you can say it that’s our name)

with Marshall Reese, Kirby Malone, Patty Karl, Nora Ligorano, Chris Mason and others for the festival of disappearings arts in Baltimore

with Mary Prestidge, Kirstie Simson, Sue MacLennan, Philip Jeck, Jacky Lansley and Fergus Early at Chisenhale Dance Space in London’s east end, with book-maker poets Allen Fisher and Ulli Freer

with poet-theareticians Carla Harryman and Steve Benson

with soundart as John and Mary Outchan on Balsam Flex, with Philip Jeck and Sianed Jones, Ansuman Biswas, and Samia Malik as Slant, with Kirsten Lavers as tnwk (things not worth keeping)

with cloven

for the past dozen years cris has lived and worked in south-west ohio at miami (myaamia) university and lives in cincinnati

Book Information:

· Paperback: 114 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-273-0

$16

 
 
 

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The Hole in the Den by Michael Martrich Now Available!

When Tory Spry’s hallucinations become more frequent - what start out as a “pinpoint,” extend into an “arc,” and eventually become the blunted but flashing “Fingerprint” - he reluctantly but necessarily retreats inward into the well of himself. Swimming through the blackholed remnants of his outside world - high school, church, diners, home, in the car with his friends - Spry can only find comfort in sleep, the cold, the woods, and in his best friend John, who has a deep internal secret himself. And within our haunting and untouchable loneliness, we are separate but not alone.

 
 
 
 

Vision is all radiance and irritation for a sentimental educator and teenagers alike in a depressed Pennsylvania suburb. Tory is an apt (and entangled) observer of phenomena related to conservancies, pools, schools; he thrives in twilight, traversing a topography of headaches, "flows and hang-ups." Friends and environments are obscured by smoke, so texture is most reliable, here rendered as "the Eternal Fingerprint," or "the wrapping touch.” Floating between the arcs and pinpoints of a migrainous ocean floor, briars and chain-linked fences are an analogue to the helplessness of relationships, the transparency of leftovers through which John, Min, Lucas, and others only fade. "The secrets between us are not so dissimilar.” More than that: they're bonded.

—J. Gordon Faylor, Gauss PDF


The Hole in the Den brings us directly into the tender, shifting stream of adolescence and childhood, and under the water too, with prose that is precise and haunting and like a map leading in circles, drawing us into the indistinguishable place between emotion and intellect, the soft and membranous divisions between self and other, and the halfway majesty of the woods just off the highway.

—Emily Kiernan, author of Great Divide


"All-American alchemy! With The Hole in the Den, Michael Martrich manages the miraculous transfiguration of youthful suburban memories into something far more mysterious and wise. Incantatory sentences swirl and spin, piling on secrets, smells, glances, rocks and cigarettes, names carved in bark and flashes of jarring erudition. Loss and longing, caught in the gravity well of time and language, cast a spell that imbues hard truths with uncertainty and dreams with the lucid texture of the real."


—Jürgen Fauth, author of Kino and Head Cases


Michael Martrich is a writer and musician from Eastern Pennsylvania. He released A Night I Could Have Sworn Was an Ocean Floor (2016) with his band, Sports for Kin, and is the author of “Like a Sewn-up Skin with Salt” Near-Recognizing the Sea: An Idiot Body Without Organs Threatened and Tempted by Becoming (Listening, Whispering) Sea-Ghost (2014). The Hole in the Den is his first novel. He lives in Dakar, Senegal.


Book Information:

· Paperback: 238 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-277-8

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So Long, Napoleon Solo by Patrick Chapman Now Available!

Dublin, 1999. Jerome Williams is a man in denial. When his childhood friend Tom shoots himself dead, Jerome enters a world shaped by the spy games of their youth, as their secret identities re-emerge in unexpected ways. He encounters Tom’s pregnant girlfriend Ro, who might just carry out the death pact she had with her lover—but should Jerome even try to save her? And can he convince Clea, his new oldest friend, to leave her potentially dangerous partner? As he navigates a city where violence and betrayal are personal, he learns that the real damage from suicide is collateral. Jerome begins to see his life and his past with a new clarity, as he faces a future he never imagined.

So Long, Napoleon Solo is a sophisticated comedy about suicide, relationships, and Irish society at the turn of the century. It’s not a Man from U.N.C.L.E. story, it’s the legend of two boys the show inspired, in all sorts of twisted ways.


Patrick Chapman is an Irish-born writer. His books include seven poetry collections and two volumes of fiction. He has written an award-winning short film, audio plays for Doctor Who and Dan Dare, and many animated television shows for children. So Long, Napoleon Solo is his first novel.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 242 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-287-7

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Wave Particle Duality by Dana Curtis Now Available!

Intellectually astute, emotionally complex, imagistically provocative, Dana Curtis’s poetry, here assembled in this richly compelling new volume, plies the profound paradoxes and strange riddles of being human. The breadth of the poet’s regard is wide: she proffers a brilliant parade of poems containing meditations, laments, lyric complaints, love letters, and philosophical conundrums. She also explores physicist Erwin Schrödinger’s quantum theories (including his famed boxed cat experiment), concurring tacitly with him that “reality” may collapse onto one possibility or into another (opposite) one. 

These are poems that stretch the limits of consciousness, perception, and awareness, and that challenge our default notions of meaning and purpose. Curtis’s lush and powerful language rushes us into unknown territories of the psyche like a locomotive without brakes.
Under her tutelage, we may learn to “worship the mathematics of light,” and “explain the necessity of metaphor,” knowing “that beauty is as much a lie as anything else.” Savor these gorgeous poems seared by molten fire and calmed by insight: they’re voiced by a true American original.

—Maurya Simon, author of The Wilderness: New & Selected Poems, 2018

In Wave Particle Duality, Dana Curtis takes us into her nocturnal sphere, the film noir where fission splits the soul, and dark energy is all we have to go on. These are poems full of twisted desire and visionary clarity, pure need and thin hope. Throughout her language is as sharp as a pinprick. She cites Hogarth, which is apt, because Dana Curtis is a moralist, with gallows humor and a sense of the perverse. "Will you be my infidel," she asks? Oh, yes, we think. Just keep on talking.

—David Lazar

Dana Curtis has published two previous full-length collections of poetry, Camera Stellata and The Body's Response to Famine which one the Pavement Press Transcontinental Poetry Award. Her work has been published extensively in literary magazines, and she has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize on multiple occasions. She has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the McKnight Foundation. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Elixir Press and lives in Denver Colorado.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 102 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-282-2


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Through a Certain Forest by Laura Madeline Wiseman Now Available!

Through a Certain Forest draws us irrevocably into the faerie- and ghost-inhabited wilderness where we’ve all been lost in dreams. Evocative as hell, it draws on the accumulated weight of human folktales; even the title evokes the language of French fairy-tales: Il y avait jadis une certaine forêt … and, yes, I was enchanted. Trees as exploited women and as the inheritors of the earth, trolls as men and as the kitschy detritus of our society, share, at times, with humans a landscape cratered by unexplained bombings, and somehow, survivors of one sort or another pull through. These poems are filled with entities familiar to us who in turn gaze into the abyssal mirror of what does my life mean? A wonder-filled collection.

—F.J. Bergmann, author of A Catalog of the Further Sun


We are given a field guide to trees in Laura Madeline Wiseman’s latest book of poetry Through a Certain Forest, realizing as we step in that we are deep in the mythos of ourselves. Each poem is a persona, each tree species recounting its survival from humans. Us homo sapiens are the trolls lurking through the middle of the collection. In the midst of bombings and ecological disasters caused by us is the private life of the speaker, too, living with her own personal troll. Things are bleak, like the first half of a fairy tale. In a car on the freeway, the speaker thinks, “I want to ask how we’ll pay all the tolls still left before us.” We know there is always a cost. Yet the trees each have a voice of resistance as even laurels share, “Now we are the welcome—survivors, winners, and crowned.” We should be listening.

—Dennis Etzel, Jr., author of My Secret Wars of 1984


Laura Madeline Wiseman’s Through a Certain Forest is a quest, searing and searching, through a dystopian landscape that is partly natural, partly ruined by human choice. The collection's controlling symbols—trees, trolls, fairy rings, thunder, and bombs—are multivalent, linking primal ancient beauties and blasted modern realities. The saintly, forgiving trees are exploited and despoiled—sharing psychic space with a female speaker who suffers irruptions of domestic violence and sexual violation. This collection presents an audacious new myth—and it is shattering. The book also offers resolution and hope in a language of intense lyricism and music.

—Clif Mason, author of From the Dead Before


Laura Madeline Wiseman mixes the modern with the mythic so seamlessly I often emerge from her poems having forgotten which world I am in. Her apocalyptic visions in Through a Certain Forest are no exception; a true master of metaphor, she weaves tales of the takeover of trolls—those predatory people your mother warned you about—and the healing power of nature even at the end of the world. This collection confirms Wiseman as one of my favorite modern poets.

—Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, author of Strange Monsters


Via Laura Madeline Wiseman’s precise and nuanced language, Through a Certain Forest calls forth myth and folklore to illuminate the lives of women in a chaotic world. These evocative poems meld imagery of botany, trolls, factories, and apocalyptic disaster to reveal a narrative that is both beautiful and unsettling. Some poems give voice to plant life, each species forming a kind of collective consciousness, female voices sounding out against witnessed violence and destruction. In other poems, a woman shapes her life in the aftermath—joggers wear headbands, neon haired troll dolls remain hidden in old boxes, trolls hunker down under bridges. The world presented is much like our present world and vastly different from it. In the end, the poems reveal, “permanent scars” may remain, but life continues on.

—Andrea Blythe, author of Pantheon


Laura Madeline Wiseman teaches writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the author of 25 books and chapbooks and the editor of two anthologies, Bared and Women Write Resistance, selected for the Nebraska 150 Sesquicentennial Book List. She is the recipient of 2015 Honor Book Nebraska Book Award, Wurlitzer Foundation Fellowship, and an Academy of American Poets Award. Her work has appeared in Feminist Studies, Mid-American Review, Arts & Letters, Calyx, and The Iowa Review. Her book Drink won the 2016 Independent Publisher Bronze Book Award for poetry. Her latest book is Velocipede (Stephen F. Austin State University Press).

Book Information:

· Paperback: 84 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-284-6

$16

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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