Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category
Kirkus’ Indie Books of the Month Selection
In this narrative poem, Kirby the sneaky, dog-genius steals the hole Arlo dug in the yard and the social order begins to break down. Kirby faces grave, injurious peril in restoring cosmic harmony. In rhyming couplets he reflects on the hole’s eerie influence, he contemplates spider webs, Newton, The Old West, Scottish history, Templars, the Roundtable Knights, the existence of dragons, and the nature of time, itself. This nimbly written, playful poem will delight children of all ages, even the adult ones.
From Kirkus Indie Reviews:
“As told in rhyming couplets, when a sneaky dog steals a scrupulous dog’s hole, things fall apart, sparking philosophical reflections.
At the Burbles’ place, house 42, live “Kirby the Sneak and Arlo the True,” plus Kismet the Cat. Arlo is a clay-colored guard dog who keeps watch over the yard, which includes the hole he dug as a puppy. Kirby is a black-and-white collie “of a thousand disguises, unbeaten at Clue, // Dogma Cum Laude from Trickery U,” so he devises an elaborate plan to steal Arlo’s hole. He fills it in, runs off with the hole in his mouth, and puts it in neighbor Mr. McCornchowder’s yard, making a quick escape. Somehow this alters the balance of nature: “The earthyworms’ dirts had turned hard as a rock, / And the dragonfly’s motor was starting to knock,” for example. Kismet the Wise, however, orders Kirby to “get the hole back.” With some difficulty and a little damage to himself, Kirby does so, and all returns to normal. Kirby sits down to think it over, with wide-ranging philosophical musing on the nature of holes, points, circles, physics, time, webs, and more. Both dogs find themselves reflecting on family history and tradition: Arlo’s of fidelity and Kirby’s of sneakiness and sheepherding, counterpointed with the backdrop of a perfect summer afternoon. The end of Kirby’s exploring is his grand theory, “The Downhole Effect.” Williamson (A Most Marvelous Piece of Luck, 2008, etc.), a much-published poet, seems unable to write a dull line. His lists are a special delight, as when Kirby assembles his hole-recovery gear: “One snow axe, two snorkels, a hollow point spear // A vanishing hand cream called U D’sappear,” and so on. His images are fresh and striking: an American dog with “the patience of mesas”; “the Spirograph seeds in the sunflower’s swirl.” This might resemble a children’s book, with its rhyming couplets, animal heroes, and amusing line drawings, but adults will likely better appreciate its zinging verbal wit, clever rhymes, and learned allusions.
Brilliantly comic, pleasingly discursive, admirably dexterous, this narrative poem is a tour de force.”2016, 120 pages (Waywiser Press)
ISBN 978-1-904130-83-3 Paperback $20.00
Greta Stoddart’s third collection follows the human impulse to make sense of mortality. In these poems, Death is reconfigured not so much to console us but as a way of playing out different scenarios, trying for variants in metaphor and meaning, that we may better accept it. But for all their focus and attention on death, these are not poems of despair. In their intensity and spirit, our mortal life becomes a thing to behold, even in – or because of – the face of death.
“If the highest poetic calling is to tackle the overwhelming enormity of life and death, Stoddart honors the ancient pulse of our art, and in doing so proves her mettle, wisdom, and craft.”—Plume
“Stoddart brings an actor’s sense of cadence and vocal modulation to her poems, and her attention to sound is matched by an eye for the telling image and a keen awareness of life and its fragility.”—The Manhattan Review
ISBN 978-1-78037-151-1 Paper $24.00
Maninbo (Ten Thousand Lives) is the title of a remarkable collection of poems by Ko Un, filling thirty volumes, a total of 4001 poems containing the names of 5600 people, which took 30 years to complete. Ko Un first conceived the idea while confined in a solitary cell upon his arrest in May 1980, the first volumes appeared in 1986, and the project was completed 25 years after publication began, in 2010. A selection from the first 10 volumes of Maninbo relating to Ko Un’s village childhood was published in the US in 2006 by Green Integer under the title Ten Thousand Lives. This edition is a selection from volumes 11 to 20, with the last half of the book focused on the sufferings of the Korean people during the Korean War. Essentially narrative, each poem offers a brief glimpse of an individual’s life. Some span an entire existence, some relate a brief moment. Some are celebrations of remarkable lives, others recall terrible events and inhuman beings. Some poems are humorous, others are dark commemorations of unthinkable incidents. They span the whole of Korean history, from earliest pre-history to the present time. Translated by Lee Sang-Wha and Brother Anthony of Taize.
“This volume serves as a testimony, a monumental feat of remembrance memorializing the lives of ordinary people interrupted by extraordinary events.”—World Literature Today
ISBN 978-1-78037-242-6 Paperback $35.00
This second book of poems by Cody Walker offers an unlikely array of characters: Edward Lear, Mitt Romney, Amy Clampitt, and Andy Kaufman share the stage. Walker himself is ever-present, with his shrugs, his heartbreak, his “way-out rhymes”:I’d like to write some lines about the snow,
the snow seems so
a flock of gulls, late for a meeting.
Full of comic interruptions and grave forecasts, these poems surprise, delight, and terrify. Cody Walker lives in Seattle.
ISBN 978-1-904130-70-3 Paper $19.00
These are poems of wonder and precarious elation, about learning to embrace the seemingly disparate landscapes of hermitage and court, the seemingly diverse addresses of mystery and clarity, disruption and stillness – all the roadblocks and rewards on the long dangerous route to recovering what it is to be alive and human. Arundhathi Subramaniam’s previous book from Bloodaxe, Where I Live: Selected Poems (2009), drew on her first two books published in India plus a whole new collection. When God is a Traveller is her fourth collection of poetry.
“In swift lines and short stanzas, Subramaniam envisions a world populated by supernatural beings and busybodies alike…Readers will appreciate the introspective depth and open honesty of Subramaniam’s unique voice.”–Booklist2015, 69 pages (Bloodaxe Book Ltd.)
ISBN 978-1-78037-116-0 Paperback $26.00
In the 1970s, after publishing two extraordinary poetry collections – and six satirical novels – Rosemary Tonks turned her back on the literary world after a series of personal tragedies and medical crises that made her question the value of literature and embark on a restless, self-torturing spiritual quest. This involved totally renouncing poetry and suppressing her own books. Her poetry – published in Notes on Cafes and Bedrooms (1963) and Iliad of Broken Sentences (1967) – is exuberantly sensuous, a hymn to sixties hedonism set amid the bohemian nighttime world of a London reinvented through French poetic influences and sultry Oriental imagery. All her published poetry is now available in this edition for the first time in over 40 years, along with a selection of her prose.
“A fragrant reopening of a bottle stoppered up forty years ago. As an amplification of the furibund poems that stood out a mile in the sheepish anthologies
where they appeared.”—Poetry
“Rosemary Tonks’ imagery has a daring for which it’s hard to find a parallel in British poetry.”—Poetry Review2015, 154 pages (Bloodaxe)
ISBN 978-1-78037-238-9 Paperback $29.00
Jo Pitkin is a native of Somers, New York. She received a BA in creative writing and literature from Kirkland College and an MFA from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. She is the author of The Measure (Finishing Line press) and Cradle of the American Circus: Poems from Somers, New York (the History press). Her poems have appeared in such journals and anthologies as The New York Review of Books, Little Star, Quarterly West, Salamander, Crab Orchard Review, Nimrod International Journal, and Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers. She lives and works in New York’s Hudson River valley, at the river’s narrowest and deepest point.2014, 80 pages (Salmon)
ISBN 978-1-908836-71-7 Paperback $22.00
Kelly Moffett’s work has appeared in journals such as Colorado Review, Cincinnati Review, Rattle, and The Laurel Review, and she is the author of a collection of poetry through Cinnamon Press and a chapbook through Dancing Girl Press. She maintains a blog about art and contemplative creativity. She lives in Kentucky and she stayed in Trappist monasteries to complete this book. When she isn’t with her family, her pets, or in a monastery, she can be found in the classroom at Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinatti, where she is an Assistant Professor of English.
“Moffett wrote these poems during retreats at Trappist monasteries, and they unfold according to the ecclesiastical hours, starting at 3:15 a.m. Don’t look for pious reflections, though… Lovely work.”–Library Journal2014, 64 pages (Salmon)
ISBN 978-1-908836-68-7 Paperback $22.00
Phaedra – with New Year’s Letter and Other Long Poems
Written by Marina Tsvetaeva & Translated by Angela Livingstone
Angela Livingstone’s version of this powerful but little-known work, with its shimmering variations of rhythm and assonance, was judged “not just an extraordinary and sustained translation, but poetry in its own right” and “a marathon done at a sprint.”2012, 160 pages (Angel Books)
978-0-946162-81-9 Paperback $28.00
Morri Creech’s third collection of poems, The Sleep of Reason, is a lyrical examination of liminal states of consciousness and experience. Including both a surprising take on Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale” and a dark meditation on the perils of the sublime, The Sleep of Reason explores the anxieties, horrors, and dreams that flash just beneath the surface of the waking mind, combining formal elegance and an acknowledgment of literary tradition with a fresh, contemporary voice.
Columbia University’s press release describes The Sleep of Reason as “a book of masterly poems that capture the inner experience of a man in mid-life who is troubled by mortality and the passage of time, traditional themes that are made to feel new.”
“A lovely mastery of craft… A poet to watch and, for poetry devotees, certainly to read.”–Library Journal
“These are masterful, rewarding poems.”–The Hudson Review2013, 72 pages (Waywiser)
ISBN 978-1-904130-53-6 Paperback $17.95