Tag Archives: Diagram

New Love: Natalie Eilbert

18 Oct

I got embarrassed a recent morning, waking up to a small flood, waking up to this new love Natalie Eilbert. I read two of her poems in this fabulous new issue of Sink Review (below below!) and got twelve (or more!) kinds of shocked as I dug deeper into her work. How had I not perked to this stuff, canvassed in my favorite journals? How does this gal shine so darkly?  “Assembled the ashes like they were a thing/in need of assembly.” That’s one way to put it. In Guernica, she hints at her way of reckoning, carrying the machine, hoisting the flag, creating this new etymology (and further, the new country), with pained story and images of the so cruel is so beautiful variety (i.e. “I carried my machine still//to a bog. Dumped it there the way a bullet/enters say an elephant’s heart.//When the elephant’s heart won’t quit/and we fail again at mercy//this means my country, the sinking/of its metal a new form of prayer.”) In Smoking Glue Gun comes her honest reminder to love the trash of this world, the piles we’d rather not see again, as “like it you didn’t ask to be made.” Or what about in Diagram, did you see that? How she made the anguished ugly blotch roll off your tongue into another portion of the lit world so charismatically, rhythmically, somehow calm.

As if there is need for an alibi,
Say home, mean house. As if neither could burn.
Say fallen, as if it were a branch already
Mulched and turned. (You’re boasted, detached)

Man, I’m pumped at this new love. Natalie Eilbert, I do declare, rocks the poetic boat right with her snapping of plastic forks, daring you to dig into this muck with her, so dangerously enchanting, until like her poem at Sixth Finch begins, “I keep thinking about the sorceress.”

Until I’m back where it started, in the mystifying mist of her poems in Sink Review:

And did it occur to you in all these years that I could speak for myself. You’re a good girl, N, you stick to your books. Let us say I’ve moved on, I’ve rented the city for one year’s time and will not stop fucking these scared little boys. There is a fog over the towers, they hover and putrefy in Ozymandian disgrace. Pastries clog the gutters and I’ve never had such a fat ass fat breasts fat hands, this fat my beautiful beautiful. I’ve gone dizzy with drink, The Philadelphia Story won’t stop playing and I won’t ever get over the bored portrait of godhood in Katharine Hepburn’s waistline. There will never be enough milkshakes so far as I’m concerned.

Feed Your Cosmic Heart And Read This Elegy For NASA

21 Jan

Once I told a roomful of friends I’d marry Carl Sagan were he still alive. Maybe the verb wasn’t “marry” but this should be illustrative of my total butterflies and hand drawn notebook hearts for science and the people who ensure its continuing forward trajectory. Especially those who are/were constantly living out the idea that we are conscious marvels made of wild, scintillating  star stuff.

I’m enamored with this poem from the newest issue of DIAGRAM, “NASA Elegy” by Michael Canavan, and its marvelous messy real feelings about scientific progress and the optimism it can usher into a society, here specifically the U.S. during the Space Race. These lines emanate the most radiant ache:
                                                                         That time I heard
John Glenn speak his voice broke orbit, he let
……….the dream back into his voice. The flags on either side
of him blurred and stilled, as if trying to come true.
……….The Russians sent that dog up.
The corpse of that dog fell to earth in flames.
This poem so gorgeously details what happens to societies, us, when the spirit of progress and discovery is shuffled to the margins of our collective consciousness and individual cosmic hearts.  Head over to DIAGRAM, read the rest, mourn a sky emptied of shuttles.

J.P. Dancing Bear at DIAGRAM

7 May

For the love of God, stop what you’re doing right now and go read these two poems.


someone holds a toothbrush like a rifle

You won’t regret it.


7 May

Finishing up my undergraduate degree this past week, I used new issues of some amazing journals that May unleashed to give me a break.

Below are the new issues of journals that I’ve read this week and enjoyed a great deal, featuring the declaration of my favorite piece from each issue:

Sixth Finch:
Each With Our Own Occult by Eric AndersonThe first poem from the issue and oh man, it brings the POWER. Maybe, I’m biased because it’s two lines in and INDIANA. I love Indiana, but no, I love this poem for more than that, it’s delicate progression before the awww-boom ending.

Take 42 by Brett Elizabeth Jenkins Another delicately progressive poem that unfolds beautifully. That last line for some reason really shakes me.

Vinyl Poetry:
Self Portrait as Jeffrey Dahmer by Ocean Vuong I love how this poem uses its artifice and unexpectedly unleashes an insightful emotional journey. Just check out the opening two stanzas:

It is not the flesh I want
but what glows behind it.
For you are not the face
softened with evening. Not
the eyes I’ve searched,
in vain, for my own.

Because you are never what binds you—
not muscle or organ, not even
the voice: that rupture of air
I dare to deem melodic.

Diagram: Richard’s Mother Calls To Ask When He Is Coming Home by Daniel Story The distance this poem travels in its discussion of place, identity, and relationships is remarkable. Call it a ping-pong kinda thing. Also, I was impressed with how the use of the third person informed that movement.

I know many of you already read these magazines, but I hope you’ll check out these pieces and others if you haven’t already.

What are your favorite pieces from these issues? Any other new issues of journals I should not miss?


9 Mar

Spring Break 2011 WOOHOOHOO

Now, good words by Thomas Patrick Levy in the new Diagram.

In the bottom note, he admits these poems have been accused of being “celebrity worship.” I see no worship; I see frames. Using Scarlett like this allows the poems to say things, uncover emotions, and pull at the reader in ways that approached in a less surface level humorous way. This method dismantles expectations and pushes boundaries in a way that is beautiful, daring, and HELLYEAHCOOL.


30 Dec

The following are my three favorite pieces and favorite diagram from the piece, followed by a four word sentence about the piece and an onomatopoeia as an initial reaction to the piece:

Stealing Strawberries by Jody Brooks: My eyebrows kept raising. Phew.

Books by Rebecca Mertz: Well done and neat. Thump.

Mothermind by Samantha Stiers: Metaphors are wildly controlled. Swoosh.

Public Recognition Doesn’t Seem To Be Related To Happiness For The Client Whose Graph Is Shown In Figure 17: I totally get you. Boom.


Duck Duck Goose by Feng Sun Chen

8 Nov

Is it still a game if you’re the only player?, the speaker asks in the middle of this poem in the new issue of Diagram. And the parts of this poem surrounding this line answer a definitive maybe. We’ve got the action, the movement, as this poem twists, turns, and causes havok with some awesome language. But also, it seems more than a game, as the speaker realizes, Each targeting our one ever-bleeding legend/wrapped up in all sorts of literal objects.

Here is a definitive yes: this poem rules.

Also, here are two other pieces from issue 10.5 that smacked me in the mouth (FEELIN GOOD):

Self-Portrait on Pop Rocks by Sarah Carson: OHYEAH first line, very cool build

Heat, Pressure, Time: Desire, Narrative, Time by Hilary Plum: impressive stretching of language



15 Oct

Blake Butler posted a question on HTLMGIANT the other day, asking what people think are the best (“based on content, prestige, and design”) online lit journals, and oh boy, the lists were interesting.

This question and the answers seem useful to explore, think about, discuss, etc. I’ll post my list, with some short notes, and I hope that is okay and worthwhile.

Elimae: Slick, simple beauty, like handcrafted paper. Consistent work, pushing limits I think on genres, form, etc. Surprising artwork. MONTHLY THANK YOU. A golden oldie of sorts too, right? And check the HTMLGIANT comments, elimae on about every list.

Diagram: Another smooth beaut. Easy archives, like I wanna read that Ryan Ridge thing about piece about doors, got it, woah. Do I always “get” the diagrams? Probably not, but hey that’s different and thought-provoking cool. History doesn’t lie, this is a big gob of goodness to gobble gobble up.

The Collagist: Is this wrong of me? I am a blog editor for these fine folks, but I’m talking journal. Anyways, I was a big time fan long before I was allowed to act a fool on that blog. Look at those colors popping off my screen. Timely, I know the 15th of the month, maybe even like 10 pm on the 14th, I am getting some new word goodness. WE ALL NEED GOOD WORD PALS TO COUNT ON TO HAND US GOOD STUFF.

Everyday Genius: Sometimes, I just can’t wait a whole month, enter EG, and woah, I have this cool new piece (WITH PICTURE SOMETIMES) to give my eyes and brain some lovin’. Good. Also, that logo rules real yes, the doubleness, not allowing me to look too long, EVERYDAY GENIUS got it, now move on to the awesome writing below.

Robot Melon: This journal, are they done with issues?, was not selected, I believe, by anyone else in the comments, but it holds a special place in my online lit journal cobweb. One of the first places I burned my eyes on. One of the first places I read some of my favorite indie writers–Mike Young, Sam Pink, Adam Robinson–as well as spying some work from people associated with my university–Sean Lovelace, Ryan Rader, Daniel Bailey. In short, man, this journal was my “gateway” into this glorious kingdom I’m in now. OH THANK HEAVENS.

So, I’m sure this will change, some people hate lists, they are okay I think, I see lists like fingers, sometimes they break or get all scabby, other times they are handy. BADDABING.