First of all, I want to thank all the poets and artists who have come together (with us) to produce what’s been a really strong slate of chapbooks (and one book-book) over the past couple of years. The poetry has been consistently stellar and the cover art is getting better and more imaginative all the time. And thanks to everyone who’s been supportive of the press, either through direct purchases from the website or by sharing the love in the world (and the virtual world of social media).
We’re still coming down from the intense one-two punch of April’s releases by E. Kristin Anderson and Jessie Janeshek. In early June, we’ll have Jenny MacBain-Stephens’ Clown Machine for you. Around a month after that (mid-Summer), it’ll be time for Genevieve Kaplan. Maybe by then, we’ll have a solid plan for the second half of the year . . .cont.
Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish by Jessie Janeshek was selected as the “winner” of the 2015/2016 Open Reading period and is the first chapbook of that group to appear (after two recent “off-season” releases).
Owing its name to medieval torture devices, this collection takes on the oppressive forces that continue to deny women their rights and generally stand in the way of feminism. And the poetry is just as strong as its message. I was really struck by the evocative language and the use of imagery that almost makes tragedy into beauty. It’s powerful.
From “Summertime’s the Time for Torture
Time for Torture’s Summertime”:
“We’re glass figurines. We use autocorrect
to tell fortunes, the glut.
Theft gives us pleasure, everyone drugged
mornings no better, slow monsters.”
I was deeply suspicious of Lana Del Rey when she emerged on the music scene, even before I’d heard one of her songs. She seemed, on the surface, to be over-hyped and more like a stylized cigarette ad. But when I started actually listening to her, I found that there is a lot of poetry there. Albeit a sordid kind of poetry.
We hadn’t previously published a full collection of found/erasure poetry, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to read when E. Kristin Anderson pitched a chapbook that uses three LDR albums as source material. Would it be a slightly fragmented rearranging of her song lyrics, with many of the evocative, iconic lines left intact? As it turns out, no. Not at all.
The poems in FIRE IN THE SKY are Rey-esque, in that the vocabulary is pulled from three of her albums, but they are scrambled into something totally different . . . and no less powerful and provocative.
From “I will take and take and take”:
“Don’t make the girl dark. No butterflies. Bats come sing
drinkin’ like memory, sad mountain paradise. But life?
Want that vitamin crazy hard, radio queens and rain.
You raised chasers; I want the close cry.
Lick them like a national party, know my every worth.
I’ll die now, in my party bikini, honey true, the shameless way.”
The cover art was hand-embroidered by Emily Capettini. The chapbook, LDR and all, is ready for your enjoyment.cont.
It’s that time of year . . . when all the literary community is headed to AWP. Alas, we are not. Last year was a nice recon, but this year, it was badly timed and too far away. Next year might be more feasible. (And beyond that, Tampa 2018 is just “down the road,” we’re gonna be there for sure.)
We currently have two chapbooks in the works. The cover art for E. Kristin Anderson’s Fire in the Sky had to be hand-embroidered, which took some time, and the results look awesome. That chapbook will be released a couple weeks after AWP (mid-April). Following very closely behind that will be Jessie Janeshek’s chapbook, which is the first of our 2015/2016 “season.” The “season” continues with two more chapbooks (Genevieve Kaplan and Jenny MacBain-Stephens), and then we have some special projects evolving for the second half of the year. More on those later.