Archive by Author

All Of Our Pieces Are Impossible To Collect

20 Feb

The Incredible Sestina Anthology, recently published by Write Bloody, demonstrates editor Daniel Nester’s penchant for greatest hits. On a Wednesday night at the NYU Bookstore, Daniel Nester is excited, and he bounds to the podium each time another of the poets, recently published in The Incredible Sestina Anthology, finishes their piece. During the reading he sits in the front row in his usual pose, hand on cheek, rapt, along with the rest of the audience. Compiling a varied collection of more than 100 sestinas, the collection is reawakening a genre. Obsessive and enchanting, The Incredible Sestina Anthology is a pleasure to flip through, and an essential to own. For interviews with many of the sestina authors, visit here, for a sestina sampler, see below.

(Edited by Daniel Nester | Write Bloody Publishing | $25.00)

You’re crazy if you called this an affair.
We slept together, and I made you come.
No big deal. You’ve got a lot of strange
ideas. You think you know so much about me,
think because you’ve seen me naked that counts
for something. Just because I put my head

This is where we meet, in the crumbling,
navigation by skin flakes, chips of bone,
these trails of ourselves that we leave behind
as we learn what’s breadth and what is breathing,
that baby teeth were our first offering,
hard truths that fell unbidden from our mouths.

In spite of all common sense, I make my home in the rotisserie
Of your teeth. This was all prewritten on the gravity
Of a giant planet, and those slightly corrupted
Particles of light that formed the stars.
You say the Eternal. The eternal is not mine but has a Big Mission.
Despite our differences, we manage to create a hoax.

Rule one: The mouth rounds open as an O.
That shape’s yours, Slave, to lavish and caress
Whatever Master thrusts in you. It’ll go
Hard on your ass unless you mouth, “O yes!”
Drool, too. Unlike love, drool’s a no-no.
Droolers are beat in a big and baby’s dress.

Florence Cassen Mayers ALL-AMERICAN SESTINA
One nation, indivisible,
two-car garage
three strikes you’re out
four-minute mile
five-cent cigar
six-string guitar

Sadness pulls its drawstrings tight and a tragedy
that never happened becomes loss we
can’t answer for by carving a rectangle in the ground.
This kind of duplicity is so much more than two.
A tabernacle of coaches, a clowder of teammates;
we are poor indeed when only life measures death.

My new pet word is mozzarella
and I like how it sounds. You
mozzarella me when you park the
car. When you open the mail with
your teeth. Teeth are not tools my
friend’s mom says and she’s a

dental hygienist.

Kiki Petrosino CRUSADERS
The note you dropped became a bird.
It sleeps in my chest.
Wings abjure in dreaming white.
How fast it dreams.
How slur.
A silence in the canebrake.

A Collision of Urgency and Infinity

26 Jan


Legs Get Led Astray
Chloe Caldwell
168 pgs.
Future Tense Books

Legs Get Led Astray caused such an intense reaction, I considered walking to the title address of one essay, Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable (156 India Street), at well past two o’clock a.m. on an empty stomach and a bottle of wine. I finished the collection soon after, straight through.

I recommend you sift through however many books necessary until you find the most relevant one and read it. I recommend you read a book straight through whenever possible. I recommend you read Legs Get Led Astray (when said seemingly appropriate time comes).

As a line, every line was a hot iron and as a collection, the collection made me feel young and old and vulnerable (“Life felt gargantuan.”). These essays drove my desire to give myself wholly to myself. Like a hangnail that won’t be ripped off without some blood, Legs Get Led Astray prepares for just the right amount of regrowth.

A Seemingly Unlikely But Not Impossible Occurrence

6 Sep

Pages Unnumbered

There comes a sense of urgency when something one wants cannot be easily located, the keys, a pen, directions, information, a person. This momentary loss of connection feels unstable, until what is being sought is discovered, retrieved, and stability resumed, panic averted.

I happened upon Davi Marra’s truth and other lies: selected writings, vol. 1 at WORD bookstore. The slim volume felt right in my hand. I finished the collection quickly. While reading, it did not provide any immediate sense of urgency, more of a languid contemplation. As I finished and started researching the author it came to my attention no information was to be found. It began to feel urgent. In a time when finding a person, especially a writer, on the Internet is supposed to be a one-step task, this was not proving simple. Who was this author? Why couldn’t I find a Twitter bio, a Facebook page, a blog, a review, an outdated MySpace, a copy of the book for sale on Amazon, a Google Image. Where was the connection?

While many of us try to falsely avoid loneliness by being omnipresent on the Internet, this author had made finding his information difficult. Imagine that. This led to no other conclusion than how easy it is to become incredibly reliant on the immediacy of information, both for reference and connection.

Was this lack of accessibility intentional, a part of the image to go along with the many contradictions, the “truth and other lies” in the book? Or, perhaps Marra simply wanted to release his thoughts into the world and let them be found, let them become connected to the reader rather than the author.

Abrupt and scattered, I couldn’t stop thinking of this first selection:

We sat and we talked then we laid and we fucked then sat up again and talked again and this time we didn’t lie. I got up and went to pee and you felt what my new room was like without me and you sat in the middle of my new life without me and you laid back and got up again and sighed before I returned. You smiled at my back as I shut the door quietly and I turned around and pretended not to see you your hungry tell-all eyes and came over to you where you sat on my bed and put my hand on your thigh and took it off and put it on my own. You put your hand on my thigh and stared down at your own and said that was nice. I put my hand on your thigh and said agreed and found your hand so interesting as it rested on my skin like it might contain all of you. Your fingernails were painted dark red and I asked want to smoke a cigarette and you said yeah is it okay to smoke in here. I said yes and removed your hand from my thigh with both of my hands but slowly and gently like a bandage. And hopped to the corner where my bag lay toppled and open and retrieved my pack of cigarettes as you tipped on your bottom reaching to open the window and swiveling to arrange yourself. We sat with our skin exposed to the cold smoking our cigarettes making no sound until you said I still love you you know and I laughed and said are you talking to me or your crotch and you looked up and your breath tripped and a tear came out of your right eye and caught the ceiling light and I stopped laughing and said your name. Then I said it again like a question. You inhaled sharply through your nose and the cats scampered and thudded outside my bedroom door and I said that sounds like my heart and you said my name like a question and looked down and shook your head and apologized and took my left hand in both of your hands and rubbed it with your thumbs as if it belonged to a corpse. I wanted to say I’m not dead yet then I remembered we’d stopped lying so I just smiled and said your name softly like an answer.

Books turn into spectacles for numerous reasons. This is one of them.

A Period In Which I Come To Realize Inertia Is The Death Of Creativity

11 Jul

A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World
by Adam Clay
Milkweed Editions
96 pgs, $16

I am only
Starting to gather up what
I claim as my own.

I am amazed at how many
Days can go by in which I say

I have more energy than I have been energetic in months. A restless itch, an expanding chest, a ceaseless shake of the legs. The only solution: a midnight walk in Chinatown. I was looking for the place with the most people, but all the street vendors were closed, all the children asleep. I was looking for alleyways to photograph. I was looking for a new subway stop. Get on, pick a number: six. Six by six. Six stops brought me to Koreatown.  I wanted a stop I’d never seen before, a place I couldn’t find. It has become difficult to get lost. What if the place with the most convergence is the place where everything is hiding? I counted the train line with the most stops and rode it bottom to top. Then got out and got on and rode it top to bottom. I made sure no one saw.

These are the first attempts at turning an unproductive circle into a square, a shape offering an exit point. I wanted everything different. I sat in different corners of my apartment, I looked for everything new, photosmusicbooksmagazinespeoplespacepaperpensfooddrink.

The man with a stroller
Filled with aluminum cans is now coming back up the street
With a wheelbarrow.

Here’s to reclaiming productivity. Here’s to looking for discomfort.

SSR: Steal Me For Your Stories by Robb Todd

23 May

Steal Me For Your Stories
Robb Todd
Tiny Hardcore Press, 160 pgs., $11

Robb Todd wants us to remember that we need to be comfortable in our loneliness, that we need to remember every day is made of 1,440 moments and we never know which ones will be the loveliest, yes, Robb Todd wants us to remember these things and while he may not stick with you immediately, you will find yourself wanting to keep returning to his pieces to remember to discover them again.

All I’ve Learned, I’ve Learned From You, An AWP Wrap-Up

5 Mar

Feeling is an extremely unavoidable, but perhaps not entirely necessary, part of AWP.
Sleep does not equal rest.
Elders needn’t always act like them.
Cab drivers like listening to poetry, too.
Also, cab drivers are sometimes adorably nosey.
If there were a way to avoid having a “real life” that required coming home to, we would all avoid it.
Facial expressions which you believe to be neutral but can actually be interpreted as full of a desire to kill are best avoided.
Free shots are dangerous.
Situations for which the emotional reaction is a foreign conclusion are an easily avoidable, but perhaps entirely necessary, part of life.

There is Something About the Weight of Words in our Hands: Salt Hill 28, A Review

5 Feb

There are a lot of things I’ve never done. One, review a lit mag. But when I saw the list of contributors for Salt Hill 28, I was excited. And when I read Salt Hill 28 in full in one sitting, I was even more excited. The editors note sets the tone stating,

Each of us is contained by and immersed in personal experience, our brackish travels of the past and their briny apparitions in the present. We bring these journeys to the page to create and confront life, to embody the paradox of being conscious…Yes this life may constrict but in its vessel, seas are held, ones upon which we both float and drown.

I love that. And I love the lines from the following pieces and the way in which that editor’s note  is fulfilled in each. In each one is multi-dimensional thought, thundering words and encapsulation that threatens to break boundaries.

From “Because Thought Isn’t a Prayer” by John Gallaher

We’re going through alone,
or asking for help, and how can we get there as us
or as ghosts, with this tin cup. This ocean.

From “Abstract Lessons” by Nate Pritts

Emphasis is a trick we apply
to the stupid animal hum when the real feeling
employed isn’t right, or enough.
Whenever I get confused I use maps
to help me; they show how our limbs
are nothing but bundles of blood & twisted.

From “Falling in Love with the Death Thought” by Zachary Schomburg

This is how you
love: you try over and over again to throw a
red balloon across the river from a tree.

“Foreign Wedding” by Maile Chapman and “Gown Rain” by Sarah Rose Etter also instigate, investigate and enamor.

Salt Hill Journal

this morning I pulled a picture of my mother from my mouth

27 Jan

Sometimes, no matter how much we try or how much we want to, we can’t get rid of things. They are constant, stagnant.

You confound me every day. You are not who you look like. You are not you. Look at your tiny eyes and lips.

Their value dissipated, they remain. The way we can’t get rid of memories, the smell of cigarettes. The way that we can’t stop taking what we read and applying it to what we know, what we have. When I read this piece, published at [PANK] by Rachel Bunting, after my brain slowed down and my eyes seemed able to see again, I couldn’t get it out of me. It refused to go away.

Oh how you hate to be humid.

I read it over and then I read it again. Today, I went back to it. I printed it off and read it out loud and then I pinned it on my wall. And now, as I read it once more to write about it, all I can think is that some things keep coming back. That this piece could be read a hundred times and not lose its value.

Your sharp edges. Yes, you confound me.

The days feel longer though the sunshine hours makes them shorter.

28 Nov

when all our days are numbered marching bands will fill the streets & we will not hear them because we will be upstairs in the clouds by Sasha Fletcher has been on my coffee table a long while. Too long a while, in fact. Yet I now feel that it was there so long a while because it was waiting for the perfect moment to be devoured and last night that perfect moment came. When I read Sasha Fletcher’s words, I was reading our restlessness, there is a resonance in his voice that will carry across generations, across obligations across spaces a many.

We were all of us waiting to become electric.

We were all of us waiting to become something.

We were all of us waiting.

There are stories that once we get to the end, our eyes are not tempted to skip ahead and read those last lines, not because we do not want to know the ending but because we are so entranced with reading the stream of words that they cannot be torn away. This is one of those.

Sometimes we want to leave and we want to forget our responsibility, no matter how trivial or massive that responsibility be. Sometimes we want to throw our clocks out the window thinking it will stop time but knowing it will only create silence. Sometimes we want to throw our clocks out the window because then we can see something shatter out of our hands.

Speaking of being hungry, of running out of time, of the ambiguity of why we are here, Sasha Fletcher joins together the real and the not yet real, the brutality of the daily grind and the hopefulness of our daydreams, our night dreams and our nightmares.

Available from:
mud luscious | Powell’s | Amazon

SSR: Us by Michael Kimball

12 Nov


Michael Kimball
Tyrant Books, 180 pgs, $14.95

“She was breathing too much of herself out and not enough back in.”

Faced with our own mortality Kimball shows us gently, urgently the loveliness of the minutia, slowly pushing us forward through a story of a life’s love in the same slow pace that death sometimes takes, we are reminded that  in an age of ambiguous diseases and a desire for classification we can still pass of old age.

Available from:
Tyrant Books | Powell’s | Amazon