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Best Thing I’ve Heard This Week: Xu & Hazelton

25 Nov

Last Friday, 22 November, the poets Wendy Xu and Rebecca Hazelton visited Cleveland, OH to read from their collections that were published by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center earlier this year.

Here’s Xu reading “Several Altitudes of Not Talking” from You Are Not Dead:

And here’s Hazelton reading “Questions About the Wife” from Vow:

Best Thing I’ve Heard This Week: Fortin & Pritts

4 Nov

This past Saturday, the Big Big Mess reading series in Akron, OH, once again, hosted some out of town readers for their monthly poetry spectacular. Two of the readers were the Rochester, NY poets Jennifer H. Fortin and Nate Pritts, both of who gave terrific performances. Below are videos of each, their heads balls of light and backed with a scrim of skulls.

Nate Pritts reads his poem “The Hills Have Justice” from his most recent book Right Now More Than Ever:

Jennifer H. Fortin reads a new poem, titled “Crash Reporter.” Her most recent book is We Lack in Equipment & Control:

The next Big Big Mess will be December 21 with Stephen Danos, Jess Poli, Athena Pallotta, and Bronwyn Valentine.

Best Thing I’ve Heard This Week: Cushing, Magnus, and Altman

7 Oct

The Furniture Press Books 2013 reading tour is coming to a conclusion with an event this evening in Milwaukee, WI. To mark the cross-country trek’s end, below is another post of tour videos.

First, here’s Iris Cushing, editor of Argos Books and the author of the forthcoming Wyoming, reading her poem “Beware of Gifts You Mean to Give Away” at the Storm King Art Center in  New Windsor, NY on 10/02/13:

Next, here’s Magus Magnus, author of Heraclitean Pride and the book-length poem The Re-echoesreading an excerpt from the latter of these two works at the Tully House in Syracuse, NY on 10/03/13:

Finally, here’s Toby Altman, author of the chapbook Asidesreading his poem “Landscape with Wind” at Rust Belt Books on 10/04/13:

Best Thing I’ve Heard This Week: Eckes, Bellen, and Puglionesi

3 Oct

Furniture Press Books 2013 tour continues through next Tuesday, and below you can find clips from some of the events.

First, here’s Philadelphia poet Ryan Eckes, author of Old News, reading an excerpt from his “Chase Scene” series at the Albany Center Gallery in Albany, NY on Wednesday, October 02:

Here’s Martine  Bellen reading her poem “Smiling Oven,” from her most recent collection Wabac Machine:

And, finally, here’s one of Furniture Press Books’ newest authors Alicia Puglionesi reading a poem from her forthcoming chapbook at Pace University in upstate New York on Tuesday, October 1:

Best Thing I’ve Heard This Week: Press > Play Festival

1 Oct

I’m lucky enough to be traveling around the East Coast and Great Lakes region for twelve days with several poets from Furniture Press Books, reading poems at twelve different events. The tour began at The Poetry Project in Manhattan on Friday, September 27 and includes stops at such venues and series as Rust Belt Books in Buffalo, The Big Big Mess in Akron, and Prairie Lights in Iowa City (the full itinerary can be found here).

Last Sunday, September 29, several Furniture Press poets read at the Press > Play Festival in Baltimore, hosted by Peabody Heights Brewery. Below you can find a few clips from the event.

Here’s Chris McCreary, author of Undone: A Fakebook, reading his poem “The Harrowing”:

Here’s Alyse Knorr, author of Annotated Glass, reading her poem “After Our Friends Arrived”:

Here’s Elizabeth Savage reading her poem “Prepositions” from her book Grammar:

Best Thing I’ve Heard Today: Russell Jaffe at DigitalRoots

16 Sep

Or should I say Seen Today? Russell Jaffe shirtless reading Sexton and his own poems in front of an American flag–

Digital Roots as another of them rad places I stumbled into later. Already with a good pile of good folks like Sturm and Xu and Thompson. The internet needs more digital reading series, but I’m stoked we have this one.

Best Thing I’ve Heard This Month: 90’s Meg Ryan

24 Jul

It’s always a weird colored cloud to vouch something I’m involved in. But then again, as several Yes people have put it, I’m not tossing things with my T-GOB hands that I truly don’t believe in.

And nothing in recent memory seems more that case than 90’s Meg Ryan, a new style of online literary journal–hosted on bandcamp–beamed out of Muncie, home to Ball State University. The Ball State connection to Vouched is BIG–founder Christopher Newgent, lead lady Laura Relyea, contributors like myself, Layne Ransom, and Ashley Ford all went to Ball State.

There’s a bumper sticker speeding on the back of several cars over there proclaiming, “Muncie: We’re Trying.” At first aw sad but ultimately, better than we tried and then let’s see it.

In the who, the how, and the what, editor Austin Hayden has captured that rejuvenating spunk the Muncie art scene barrels forward with. By taking indie lit to bandcamp, tossing these poems and stories next to songs by two top young Muncie musicians–Carrington Clinton and Derek Miller–the journal does right by its biggest influence–the Muncie music scene. Even the artwork is done by Muncie music’s top dog, Travis Harvey of Village Green Records.

90’s Meg Ryan features only work by my favorite of Muncie’s young writers–Ryan Rader, Elysia Smith, Zach Arnett, Layne Ransom, Davis Macks. Although future issues won’t be Muncie-exclusive, this issue is a shining pow from an underrated lit scene, both a community and journal I’m mega-proud to be accepted in.

Best Thing I’ve Seen This Month: Book Trailer for How We Light by Nick Sturm

17 Jul

This video, shot and edited by Dave Carulli for Nick Sturm’s debut full-length How We Light, is probably the best book trailer I’ve ever seen. I know I know, I’m getting hard to listen to here. (Check out all the Sturm love here so far.)

I love Nick Sturm and lemonade and skateboarding and these poems already A LOT. Though my opinion is still up in the air on balloons. GOSH. Anyhow, this is an incredible thing to watch. Watch it. Feel incredible. We all deserve it.

You can glow in the title poem in the new issue of Coconut.

And now that you feel incredible, go check out the book page and consider picking up a copy.

Best Thing I’ve Heard This Week: SP CE, Pt. 3

11 Jul

SP CEbooks’ most recent publication is Kelsey Reifert’s chapbook I am a NarwhalThe collection offers a series of untitled poems strung together as a fragmented narrative about the exploits of a lovelorn narhwhal. The opening section reads:

I am a narwhal
in a movie where I
love a little girl who
has shiny earrings.
She reads stories
to these stuffed
animals and I
hear her through the
floor of the igloo. The
movie we are in will only
be funny to kids. It is
sad for me. I really
want this little girl to
love me and look—she’s
right there.

The poems in Narwhal read like “stories” or a “movie” that, perhaps, “will only / be funny to kids” in the same manner that the Surrealists, as Breton wrote in his “Manifesto of Surrealism,” sought to “turn back toward…childhood which, however [their] guides and mentors may have botched it, still strikes [them] as somehow charming.”

But more than a return to a charming childhood, Narwhal narrates a story of unrequited love with the narwhal-speaker always pining at a distance for the “little girl” in these poems. No more clearly does the trope of impossible love evince itself, than it does in the following fragment found near the conclusion of the chapbook:

The echo-call I yell and yell
keeps bouncing back to me.
No others seem to get it.
I am a narwhal alone
under Arctic water.

“Alone” and calling out for the one he loves, the narwhal’s song “keeps bouncing back” to  him. While his song might not reach the girl of his dreams, readers can certainly hear the “music” as it “booms / on top of the ice.”

Below are two videos of Reifert reading from I am a Narwhal at the SP CE studio in Lincoln, NE last month:

Best Thing I’ve Heard This Week: SP CE, Pt. 2

10 Jul

Last autumn, SP CEbooks published Rachael Wolfe’s chapbook SauceIn a previous review of the collection, I wrote:

Wolfe’s collection contains eighteen short poems, each of which are titled “Sauce.” But Wolfe makes sure to note that the “very repetition of sauce makes it somewhat meaningless as a title. [Its] function is similar to that of an asterisk or a number or anything else used to separate parts.” To this extent, the chapbook can be read as a sequence of interrelated poems that speak to and against one another… [wherein] the individual poems work as a series of both absurd and witty non sequiturs, keeping readers off-balance through threadbare connections and associative leaps.

The poems, to my mind, are reminiscent of Berrigan’s The Sonnets in their associative leaps, disconnected logic, and the manner in which individual poems converse with one another throughout the entirety of the collection. During my recent visit to Nebraska, Wolfe read an excerpt from SAUCE in the lobby just outside of the SP CE studio in downtown Lincoln:

And speaking of Berrigan, that same evening, Justin Ryan Fyfe, one of the SP CE founders, read his wonderfully titled poem “Give Me Berrigan’s Liver”:

Finally, Mike Knott, another SP CE poet, read his poem “Stheeee”: