Tag Archives: Publishing Genius

Best Thing I’ve Read This Month: Sprezzatura

10 Sep

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Sprezzatura
Mike Young
Publishing Genius 
132 pp // $14.95

 

Mike Young doesn’t fuck around – but does he? This collection will make you pause and think things like “Wow, it’s great to be alive” but also it will make you think, “I wonder what the weather’s like in Switzerland right now?” What I’m saying is that you’ve got to follow the thread, follow Mike Young. The thread is a colorful thing that’s all tangled and strung in odd, unexpected ways. If it gets dark – don’t worry! – it’ll lighten up soon. If it’s too bright just shade your eyes and squint a little. It’ll all even out soon enough.

 

 

 

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VouchedATL (& friends) at the Decatur Book Festival!

26 Aug

2013 DBF Logo Hor

It’s Labor Day weekend which in Atlanta means the Decatur Book Festival is taking the city by storm! Once again, the Vouched table will be set up at the festival all weekend, this time we’ll be sharing a booth with the 421 and Publishing Genius in the ART | DBF pavilion, and in really good company there, neighbored by arts organizations such as our pals at BURNAWAYDad’s Garage, Deer Bear Wolf, Mike Germon & John Carroll, Lily & the Tigers, and more! You’ll find us in BOOTH 324 – 325. 

Here’s a map!

2014-map

(it’ll get bigger when you click on it, promise.)

As always though, there will be plenty of other things to do and see at the festival. I’ve compiled a list of events below that may help, but I heartily suggest you take a peak at the full schedule of events here. For updates on events throughout the weekend you can check out VouchedATL’s twitter page, and of course, the Decatur Book Festival’s twitter page!

Here are some highlights from the weekend’s schedule for you!

Saturday, August 30th

10 a.m.: Labor of Love: Running a Small Press – (Marriott Conference Center Ballroom C) moderated by Amy McDaniel with panelists Bruce Covey, Matt DeBenedictis, Amanda Mills, and Adam Robinson

10 a.m.: The Wren’s Nest Scribes (The Decatur Recreation Center Studio) listen to the works of the students of the Wren’s Nest KIPP Strive Academy 1

3 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.: Best American Poetry Book Launch (The Decatur Recreation Center Gym) featuring Jericho Brown and Patricia Lockwood!

5:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.: Worth A Thousand(At the Decatur High School Stage) a collaboration between Vouched Books and #WeLoveATL. Readings from Thomas Wheatley, Christina Lee, Alex Gallo-Brown, and Amy McDaniel, inspired by the photographs of David Voggenthaler, Wes Quarles, Jennifer Schwartz and Stephanie Calabrese.

5:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.: The Wren’s Nest High School Publishing Co. (The Decatur Recreation Center Studio)

5:3o p.m. – 6:15 p.m.: Yells & Oats: Write Club Atlanta tackles the classics (the Decatur Recreation Center Gym)

 

Sunday, August 31

12 p.m.: LGBT Poetry (Eddie’s Attic Stage) Megan Volpert, Matthea Harvey, and Mark Wunderlich

2:30 p.m.: The Collected Works of Lucille Clifton (The Decatur Conference Center Ballroom) Jericho Brown, Kevin Young, Sharan Strange, and Dana Greene

4:15 p.m.:  Emory University (Local Poetry Stage) Bruce Covey, Jericho Brown, Gina Myers, Dana Sokolowski

Awful Interview: Christy Crutchfield

4 Aug

Christy Crutchfield

To your left you see Christy Crutchfield. She’s fucking fierce. Christy penned a book. That book is titled How to Catch a Coyote. The book, like Christy, is fucking fierce. The fierce book may be purchased from its publisher, Publishing Genius, but only if you do so ferociously. You can do that here.

Christy is embarking on a book tour (possibly with a pack of coyotes? No promises.) …right now. You can follow that here. We caught up with her before she hit the dusty dusty and asked her a few questions about coyotes, Cocoa Puffs, and life in general. She had a lot of wise things to say.

So Christy, let’s get straight to the good stuff. When did you realize that you had such a gift for catching coyotes?

When I almost hit one with my car.  If I hadn’t hit the brakes, I’d have more than caught one.

Oh my God, just typing that made my heart hurt.  I could never actually do that.  I did a lot of research about hunting and coyotes while I was writing the book, and it made me realize two things:  1) I Iove coyotes, and  2) I could never be hunter.  I barely eat meat as it is, and I’m pretty sure the closest to hunting I’ll ever get is fishing.

Don’t worry, I totally understand. How does one fish? I’ve never actually been.

I haven’t been fishing since I was a kid, and I’ve never caught much.  You need bait (crawlers for fresh water, shrimp for salt water), good rods and bobbers, and a lot of patience.

Here’s how coyotes catch fish:

Wowee! That’s incredible! Way to go coyote! Speaking of which,  I feel like I must confess something. Christy, I was a little sad when I discovered your book wasn’t actually a Count of Monte Cristo-esque revenge story told from the perspective of the Road Runner on Looney Tunes. (Are you mad at me?)

Yes and no.  Yes, because I always kind of hated the Road Runner (and Tweety Bird if we’re keeping score).  I know Wile E. is the one starting shit, but the Road Runner is always so smug about winning.  No, because not matter what I think of the Road Runner, I would totally read his revenge story.  I would really like to know what’s in the Road Runner’s head because he doesn’t say much.

 Shew. And yeah – what is with those Looney Tunes birds always being so snarky anyway? What’s with birds in general?

Oh come on.  Birds are great!  Songbirds, hawks, peregrine falcons.  There are lots of blue herons in Western Mass, and there’s something majestic about them when they fly.  Parrots creep me out though.  Maybe it’s a talking/cartoon bird thing.  The Cocoa Puff’s Cuckoo–the worst!

But Cocoa Puffs are so good! The milk! It’s the best, don’t you think?

I feel pretty meh about Cocoa Puffs.  And I love cereal.  I love cereal so much I had to stop buying it.  But yeah, not huge on the “chocalatey” kinds.  I hold out for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Bunches of Oats, and Peanut Butter Crunch.  I’ll give you the milk part though. (Are you mad at me?)

How could I be mad at you? You’re so endearing! And also, now that I know you’re not a fan of Cocoa Puff Milk and cereal milk in general – we make a dynamite duo. Plus, aren’t we about the same height and disposition? I feel like people may find that endearing.

I clock in at just (or just barely?) 5’2”.  I also remember you being a wee person.  How tall are you?   Does that mean we can share clothes?  According to facebook, you have really cute clothes.

Your disposition may be a little sunnier than mine, but that works well for a duo.  What would our duo name be?  Whoops, I think I just started asking the questions.

 Holy shit, I’m taller than you by one inch – that’s such a rarity! And yeah we can totally share clothes! Want to brainstorm some duo names? We go together like bourbon and lemonade. (Those go really well together.)

Those do go really well together.  Could we be The Boozy Lemonades?  What else goes well together? Chocolate and Peanut Butter?  Egg and Cheese (can I be Egg?)

The Endearing Duo?  The Dynamic Shorties?  I’m struggling here.

 We can keep brainstorming. (Maybe we can get a whole gang going!) But yeah, you can totally be egg, if we go that route. What are your feelings on breakfast, anyway? Do coyotes eat breakfast?

I love breakfast so much!  I will eat breakfast any meal of the day.  If I’m home for lunch, I almost always make a veggie scramble.  Coyotes will eat just about anything.  Animals,vegetables, fish, trash, pizza.  So I assume breakfast foods are on the list.  Breakfast hours, not sure.

Well, you’re a living testament to the fact that breakfast cannot be inhibited by menial things like time, right? Say, what are you most excited about your book tour? And more specifically, the release party in Atlanta on August 9?

I have been looking forward to this book tour all summer (it’s been getting me through teaching at summer camp this July), especially the release party in Atlanta.  I think I’m most excited to see friends, family, and all the amazing people in the lit community along the way.  I’m reading at some awesome series in the coming months (Federal Dust, Three Tents, Tirefire, Sunday Salon) and at some amazing venues (The Goat Farm, Lorem Ipsum, the Regulator Bookshop).  It’s a little scary to have a first book out, but people have been so supportive helping put this tour together (thanks to you too!).  It makes my heart so full.  Also, Atlanta’s my hometown, and Publishing Genius is now based there, which makes the release party even better.

Best Things I’ve Read This Week: Proving Nothing To Anyone by Matt Cook and Tina by Peter Davis

19 Aug

Proving Nothing To Anyone by Matt Cook
Publishing Genius Press, 86 pages, $14.95

Tina by Peter Davis
Bloof Books, 92 pages, $16.00

If I asked you to make a list of things you find funny—shows and comedians, writers and songs, photographs and everyday situations—what would be on it? Where would you even start?

*

Let’s start with “Interesting Things,” a little back-and-forth tongue-in-cheek grumble between two pals about, hmm, ‘interesting things.’ After the non-speaker fella brings a load of unspecified such things over, Matt Cook writes,

I had no idea there were so many interesting things, I said.
When something compares favorably to something else, he said,
That makes it an interesting thing, but it’s also interesting
When something compares unfavorably to something else, he said.

And this is how Cook’s book solicits itself as a worthwhile object, a collection of things, interesting and humorous and full of life. He consistently backdrops the normal everyday with the weird everyday or the awkward everyday or the ambiguous everyday or the absurd everyday. He pines for the moment we hold up the book and see that the normal mirrors the ridiculous.

*

What makes something humorous? What makes something humorous to you? Startling confession. Surprising intersection. Forced realization. An unfaced gal turned scapegoat.

*

tinaIn Jeremy Bauer’s interview with  Peter Davis at Front Porch, Davis tells us a little about Tina, the title of his latest book of poems, the name of his not-a-muse-but-okay-a-muse in his ear, the exclamation called the addressed:

Well, this is the way I imagine it. To me Tina is, essentially, what other people might call the muse. I would never say muse though because I don’t believe in a sort of pseudo-mystical inspirational source. I would say, Tina. Having said that, Tina is not necessarily somebody you want to have on your back. She demands you spend each night in your basement (even when it’s cold) writing and thinking and drinking. And to what end? So you might be frequently, tacitly and overtly, rejected by society, by your friends and family, not to mention literary journals? She makes day to day living difficult because she forces you to constantly compare your own efforts with all of the phenomenal efforts of the past, imagined or real. “(Read the rest of their interview here.)

In this, his third book, and in my opinion his most humorous yet, Davis peers out of the ridiculous in search of some balance on normal land. These poems appear as efforts to blame Tina, to distract Tina, to entertain Tina, little methods of giving in, hoping each poem surfaces some reward, anything, in hopes of turning down the difficulty setting of the day-to-day.

*

Oh, and you know what, I find the poems in these two collections, more often than no way, very funny–haha funny and ah geesh funny and wow funny. They run the gammit of funny, it seems, by letting a peer’s hair burn a little too long or confronting poor ol’ Tina, by unveiling the complicated in something uncomplicated (like dog watching) or telling us the real scoop on Emily Dickinson.

*

Setting for “Commitment to Excellence” by Matt Cook: dinner party, speaker telling a story, woman’s hair on fire, only speaker notices, and—

So I continued, and only after the punch line was delivered,
And after the appreciative reaction of the room,
Did I finally let the woman know her hair was on fire.

The woman was not seriously harmed,
And she ended up writing me a letter of recommendation.

*

David Cross, yeah that David Cross, apparently thinks Matt Cook’s poems are funny too, “[n]ot ‘funny for poetry’ but straight up funny. And thoughtful. And human.” Yeah, David Cross blurbed this book.

*

*

Certainly, both of these fella’s books are funny, straight up, but I find it interesting (there’s that word!) how Cross makes that distinction, then rolls further. Straight up funny. Thoughtful. Human.

Does the presentation of these anecdotes and quips and awkward confrontations as poems make them funny in a way that would be much different otherwise? A poem being a special plug-in, like the difference between a baseball bat against a tree and a baseball bat in Ken Griffey Jr.’s hand? I think so. Poetry offers (or maybe rather lacks) the visual and auditory elements that harness other humorous forms (I know, I know there are readings—sourpuss!—but you know what I mean). Poet and words on a page. Here you go—Reader and words on a page. Words swirled in a head from another head trying to paint a picture, to swing the bat in the silence there. It’s delicate and it’s brave and it can fail at any word.

*

What makes a poem humorous? What makes a poem humorous to you?

*

It is impossible to ignore the top-notch reading styles of these two funny poet men. So, let’s sample that:

“In the Bodega” by Matt Cook on soundcloud

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People like to talk about themselves, their experiences. Poet people, sure, but also teacher people and truck driver people and pizza delivery people and old people who don’t have jobs anymore. And it’s often so funny! Wow. Funny stories about their spouses. Funny stories about their youth. Somehow funny stories about tragedy and stress. It’s inevitable, unavoidable, ridiculously human.

*

First stanza from Cook’s “You’re A Minor Poet Standing Near The Frozen Spinach”:

You stop by the store to pick up your wife’s favorite brand of beer.
Inside, an old woman goes out of her way to start a conversation with you.
You’re wearing an overcoat that reminds her of an overcoat she once knew.
An old woman is allowed to talk to you for as long as she likes.
You cannot tell an old woman to stop talking to you.
You’re a minor poet standing near the frozen spinach.

Like with Davis’s struggles with Tina’s latching on, Cook grapples with his place in the world as “a minor poet” following him wherever he might go. And the funny reality here is the bruteness in the innocent reminder (the old lady yapping here) you can’t escape reality, and like the memory of the old coat, you’ll carry this shit with you a long time.

*

From Peter’s “Old Problems”

My wife calls on the phone and I answer it. Have you
Received phone calls before, TINA? Do you know what
This is like? Well, then why don’t you keep your
Mouth shut for a change.

Yet, Davis continues and explains to Tina phones and phone calls and the little idioms that go along with it. The explanation a distraction to the story of the call.

My wife calls and she’s lonely so she’s
Calling me to say so. I respond to her with some sort of
Reassuring statement, like, glad you called. This kind
Of banter continues for a few minutes and then it’s
Over with. I’m back to being off the phone and back to
Helping you with all your dumbfuck ideas.

The phone call a distraction to the distraction, this inescapable/inexplicable shadow of being a poet in a non-poetry world (a.k.a the real world), the inescapable/inexplicable necessity of explaining, of dealing with all the talking. newspaper-mockup

*

Another thing many people find funny is teens, youthfulness as fuel for ridiculousness, lack of self-awareness as springboard for creative recklessness.

Cook’s “Jesus In My Hair” is the story of a once-imagined sitcom of the same name, one of those goofy high school ideas, over-the-top and somehow poignant (this one involves Desi Arnez Jr. playing a barber who helps Jesus, Jesus who has come back and forgotten his purpose), made up by the speaker and his friend in high school. In the end, the speaker writes the friend, years later, to say they should rewrite the sitcom, only to be bummed with the friend seems “like he was way beyond the whole thing now.”

Which reminds me of Davis’s “My Education,” a poem lamenting on the weird joy of being in high school. Here’s a part of it:

I appreciate the veil, Tina. I like
high school where you know
everyone and have kissed
a higher percentage of your
graduating class. I got even
more play in middle school.
That’s when French kissing
Was like finding a cool place
To skate.

These silly, “useless” moments in youth, conjuring silly ideas and trying to kiss lots of girls, only to graduate, in several meanings, to the real world, adult life, supposedly more grownup things, like buying beer for your wife or writing poems in the basement. There’s the pogo of being relieved to “make more sense,” but also the bummer of having to. And of course, there’s that never ending reminder that you’ll never be under that umbrella again, and though one has the poem as an escape mechanism, it’s temporary. The comedy in the tragedy.

*

Cook and Davis compare favorably here, for me, launch together as interesting things, because they refuse to just be funny, they refuse to just be storytellers, they refuse to just bite into the sticky everyday apples.

These poems, in both the collections, made me reengaged with life, paying attention to how the ongoings of life leap out in startling, humorous ways—the advertisement for a strip club declaring “The Only Thing Our Girls Wear Is A Smile” or how a man brushes my shoulder while jogging past in the dark, only to return five minutes later and apologize (still jogging).

*

This humorous approach to dealing with the difficult strangeness of the everyday becomes an interesting thing because it’s so useful, so addictive. You start putting Tina everywhere, naming your own pseudo-muse. You wonder how Matt Cook would deliver the story, what parts he’d include. And that’s what makes this style so brilliant, so enjoyable, so lasting, so difficult. Both for the writer and the reader, it’s a stickler that one must carry around, but that only a few, like these two fellas, have mastered creating on the page.

*

The last stanza of “Interesting Things” by Matt Cook:

I wanted to understand more about interesting things.
I wanted to ask him if it were possible to define interesting things.
But I knew well that he distrusted precise definitions.

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Special End Reminder: Don’t forget to check out Publishing Genius’s Kickstarter page for their 2014 lineup. It’s gonna be sickkkkkkkkkk.

Awful Interview: Adam Robinson

14 Aug

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A few days ago Publishing Genius launched a Kickstarter to fund promotions of the five books they plan to release in 2014. Over here at Vouched we are big fans of Publishing Genius. Their Head Honcho, Adam Robinson, was our first-ever Vouched Visitor and we’ve featured reviews of several titles of theirs over the past few years in addition to carrying them on our tables.

It only leads to reason that we vouch for their Kickstarter also! You’ll want to, too, after reading this Awful Interview with the aforementioned Adam Robinson – who somehow has never been awfully interviewed by us before (!? I know, we’re not sure how that is either).

Adam Robinson on  a Ferris Wheel in Atlanta

Adam Robinson on a Ferris Wheel in Atlanta

Adam, you’ve recently launched a Kickstarter to raise funds for your 2014 releases. Can you tell me a bit more about that kitten (or as the french would say, “le chat”)?

Oh hi! That kitten is from, I think, 2010, when I put out Timothy Willis Sanders’s book Orange Juice. Tim and I talked about what should be on the book, and he said he wanted a cat. I asked Justin Sirois if he would make a quick cover with a cat on it. This is what he made, kind of as a joke. But we loved it so much, Comic Sans and all, that later he made it into a logo.

Any idea where the cat is now? Does he have a name? Also – tell me a bit more about your feelings in regards to Comic Sans MS.

Ooh, good question. If I had to guess, I’d say Clarice is off in college now, studying oceanography. She loves fish. As for Comic Sans, I like it because it’s an easy typeface to know things about. I think it was developed by Microsoft for that little dog/paperclip that would pop up and offer annoying help. People hate it because the “o” angles the wrong way. It’s awful. It was only supposed to be used to be non-threatening and make computers seem easier to use. Like if you’re asking a question to a “paperclip, it makes sense that it would answer in a stupid font. Because I know all that stuff, I love Comic Sans. Can I share another picture? I call it “Comic Sads.” I took this photo in the Adirondack mountains, which is weird to me because life there is pretty sweet.

I like to imagine Clarice in a little kitty submarine. (Does Lisa Frank take commissions? Do you think she would draw that for me?) Comic Sans makes a lot more sense to me all of a sudden. Why do you think that Jeep driver was such a pessimist? I mean, he lives in the mountains and has a pretty sweet ride – what’s not to love?

I figure the driver is just being an American Buddhist. Life is hurting, hurting comes from desire, eliminate desire and eliminate hurting . . . by getting a dope ride and putting a meditative wheel cover on it. Can you imagine being his kid, getting picked up at school? If you were his kid’s teacher, what would you think?

I mean, it would make me a bit concerned for the child’s well-being. I imagine the kid turning in blank homework with “What’s the point?” scrawled listlessly across the top of the page or sitting by herself on the playground after lunch, kicking pinecones and throwing away the crusts of her tofurkey sandwich. But you know, she could grow up really centered and realistic. She could graduate at the top of her class. It’s hard to say.
This whole scenario is really throwing me through a loop, you know?

Well, see, that’s why it’s good we have Comic Sans to take some of that pressure off.

Oh wow! That is a relief! What Saint invented Comic Sans anyway? I want to shake his hand. I was about to spiral into an existential crisis there, and Comic Sans spared me from the sink-hole.

So Publishing Genius 2.0. Tell me a little more about it? Like where did you get that big ol’ phone from the video? I need one of those, my eyes just ain’t what they used to be.

That phone gets such good reception, it sounded like the printer was just next door. But anyway folks, Publishing Genius 2.0 is a project not just to publish five books next year, but also to do more than what I’ve been able to do in the past with those books. That means I want to print higher quantities of each and get them into more stores. But as your readers know after what happened to the mighty Mud Luscious, it is burdensome to expand without a surplus of resources. The $10,000 I’m asking for isn’t actually more than what I would already spend on five books. I’m still going to be using the existing PGP budget. More important for that, though, is that I’m really hoping that people’s generosity will keep going once we hit that $10k mark.

That answer is totally on the money. Sorry.

Oooh I see what you did there! It sounds like a really great cause. Any noteworthy bonuses for donations made?

There are some great incentives to pledge, I think, but they’re going fast. Art by John Dermot Woods and Stephanie Barber and Michael Kimball are all gone now. You can get all the books we’re releasing next year for $100. You know, Kickstarter is hard. When I’ve thought about it in the past, I thought, “Why contribute to this? Isn’t it supposed to be a money-making proposition? Like, if someone is going to sell something, why fundraise for it?” But now I totally get it. Getting an infusion of money allows a project to grow into, or beyond, what the market will automatically sustain. I think it’s going to allow for a generally higher level of quality for products in the future. Is it possible to consider Kickstarter a cultural renaissance? People are supportive beyond commerce. It’s beautiful.

Best Thing I’ve Read This Week: Nelson & Gould

16 Jul

Nelson-CoverGouldCoverWeb

In 2011, the Baltimore-based small press Publishing Genius released a split chapbook comprised of Amber Nelson’s Your Trouble Is Ballooning and A. Minetta Gould’s Arousing Notoriety. While each poet writes in her own unique style, both halves of this double-book offer readers a compelling poetic experience.

Nelson’s Your Trouble Is Ballooning opens with an epigraph from Lyn Hejinian’s The Language of Inquiry, which reads: “language is a medium for experiencing experience.” And it would appear that in the meta-experience of “experiencing experience,” the trouble that is ballooning is the medium of experience, which according to Hejinian is language.

Everywhere in her chapbook, then, Nelson troubles language. Take, for instance, the opening of poem “3.2”:

Less unison than violence, very often
sparrowing                  He understood according to the even
migration of voices       befuddled wanting     recess   gravity
two windows            consolation catered by churches as
to what is sacred mouth of sick & searching happiness
                 time of good health

Employing techniques such as fractured syntax, abstraction, and non-normative use of punctuation and white space, the poem enacts “violence” upon normative language practices, leaving readers “befuddled” if they attempt to access it by traditional means. Instead, one must take flight with a “migration of voices” or listen to the “sacred mouth of [the] sick” not in order to understand, but, instead, to be subsumed by the experience of the experience (i.e. the poem) and the world which it creates.

This willful disorientation asks the reader to enter the medium of language and allow the poems themselves to be the experience, as opposed to mediating experience. So, when we encounter a poem such as “7.4” that reads in its entirety:

consider a baby
to break me with
accessory and purchase

what means umbilical
and sudden
so still

ocean my chest
children are echoes

burn us
recall
aquarium

recall your skeleton
with my organs

we burn underground
like how eggs
acquiesce into vacancy

Nelson and, perhaps, Hejinian don’t want us to ask: “What does it mean”; rather, they might have us ask: “How are you feeling” and “What are you thinking.” In short: “What was your experience within the poem?”

While Nelson’s poems work to create an experience within language, Gould’s Arousing Notoriety reads as a series of apostrophes, missives to, and declarations about former lovers; in other words, an experience within love. During the opening poem, “Banjo Affair,” the speaker sings to her lover:

O, [it is sad]
my Banjo
cannot read—
Banjo is lean
& vaudevillian

Later on in Arousing, the speaker sings out in “Strong Heart Affair”:

O, my Strong
Heart is real; he
donates to NPR
for our anniversary

Gould laces these and other short poems throughout her collection, and the speakers sing out to loves with names as varied as Half Organ, Russia, and Bowtie. By calling out, singing, or simply invoking these names, the speaker seems to address a past she sometimes forgets but wants to remember. She tells us as much in the beginning of “Strong Heart Event”:

I forget sometimes what it feels
like to be asleep & love someone

named after a noun or bodily function.

These “Affair” poems, then, serve to remind both the speaker and whoever will listen what it means to be loved by this cast of characters “named after a noun or bodily function” and the feelings that such lovers once instilled within her.

Although these are love poems (or, better stated, remembrance poems of love past), Gould’s poetry does not succumb to the bathos or sentimentality to which poems of this genre often fall prey. In fact: “These poetries are / cracked & broken & ugly & naked” in a way that creates a complex emotional milieu. Take, for example, “Bear Amour”:

Having no other means to express ourselves, we hold fallen
leaves desperate not to crush them; like they aren’t already dead.

Where Bear gracefully stares
off onto a different
flavor of couplet
I stand a soliloquy.

This does not mean the same thing as
vegetarian meatloaf. This does not
mean the same to me as it does
someone else.

I remember years ago
Bear planted his heart
under a stone in Washington,
D.C. Bear remembers missing me.

Thinking only in memories, we digress together about C major scales & Eramus Darwin in stage plays or possibly chartreuse.

No doubt, if read in isolation, one could consider the poem’s penultimate stanza to be a bit too cute for its own good. But when placed within the poem’s broader context, which addresses the failure of language (i.e. “Having no other means to express ourselves…”) and contains meta-poetic statements (i.e. the second stanza), as well as absurdist gestures (i.e. “This does not mean the same thing as / vegetarian meatloaf.”), the thematic shifts of the poem produce an overall effect that is emotionally and intellectually dynamic. To this extent, then, the poetic maneuvering leaves readers both “badly disoriented & a lover” in all the best ways, creating for us an aestheticized experience of love.

SSR #4 of 15: Fun Camp

6 Jul

Durham-Front-Web

Fun Camp
Gabe Durham
Publishing Genius
166p/$12.95

This book will stain your lips with barrels of bug juice, callous your fingers from failed archery attempts, and give you the crisp thrill of a post-popsicle kiss: revel in the confusion and anarchy of summer camp.