11 March 2013

Index of Reviews and Interviews

From 12 March 2012 through 11 March 2013, I read books of contemporary poetry, then wrote and posted reviews of them on this site. In some instances, I conducted interviews with authors of these collections. I would like to thank anyone who gifted me a book; without you're help, this project would not have been affordable/possible. And, of course, I would like to thank all the wonderful poets for writing such terrific work and the editors of these presses for publishing them. Below is an alphabetized list of books with links to the original post. 

Alessandrelli, Jeff. Don't Let Me Forget to Feed the Sharks. Portland, OR: Poor Claudia, 2012.
Alessandrelli, Jeff. Erik Satie Watusies His Way Into Sound. Spokane, WA: Ravenna Press Books, 2012.
Altman, Toby. Asides. Baltimore, MD: Furniture Press Books, 2012.
Baus, Eric. Tuned Droves. Lincoln, NE: Octopus Books, 2008.
Beer, John. The Waste Land and Other Poems. Ann Arbor, MI: Canarium Books, 2010.
Biddinger, Mary. O Holy Insurgency. Pittsburgh, PA: BLack Lawrence Press, 2013.
Biddinger, Mary. Saint Monica. Pittsburgh. PA: Black Lawrence Press, 2012.
Bloch, Julia. Letters to Kelly Clarkson. San Franscisco, CA: Sidebrow Books, 2012.
Brainard, Joe. I Remember. New York, NY: Granary Books, 2001.
Brodak, Molly. The Flood. Atlanta, GA: Coconut Books, 2012.
Chávez, John. City of Slow Dissolve. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2012.
Chopra, Serena. Penumbra. Denver, CO: Flying Guillotine Press, 2012.
Clay, Adam. A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions, 2012.
Cohen, Julia and Mathias Svalina. Route. Brooklyn, NY: Immaculate Disciples Press, 2012.
Cooperman, Matthew. Still: Of the Earth as the Ark Which Does Not Move. Denver, CO: Counterpath Books, 2011.
Copeland, Brooklyn. Siphon, Harbor. Bristol, England (UK): Shearsman Books, 2012.
Courtright, Nick. Punchline. Gold Wake Press, 2012.
Cutter, Weston. Plus or Minus. Salem, MA: Greying Ghost Press, 2012.
Falck, Noah. Snowmen Losing Weight. Midland, PA: Bat Cat Press, 2012.
Fernandez, Robert. We Are Pharaoh. Ann Arbor, MI: Canarium Books, 2011.
Gannon, Megan. The Witch's Index: Spells, Incantations, Poems. Syracuse, NY: Sweet Publications, 2012.
Giampietro, Frank. Begin Anywhere. Farmington, ME: Alice James Books, 2008.
Gridley, Sarah. Green Is The Orator. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2010.
Hall, Joe and Chad Hardy. The Container Store, Vol. 1 and 2. Denver, CO: Springgun Press, 2012.
Hastain, j/j. cadences. Triton Books, 2012.
Jaeger, Tyrone. The Runaway Note. Conway, AR: Toad Suck, 2012.
Karl, Steven and Veronica Wong. Don't Try This On Youe Piano or am i still standing here with my hair down. Atalanta, GA: Lame House Press, 2012.
Klane, Matthew. Isle of Wight / Israel. Iowa City, IA: Self-published, 2011.
Klane, Matthew. Sons and Followers. Iowa City, IA: Self-published, 2009.
Ladewig, Lily. The Silhouettes. Denver, CO: Springgun Press, 2012.
Lasky, Dorothea. Thunderbird. Seattle, WA: Wave Books, 2012.
Lucas, Dave. Weather. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2011.
Magnus, Magus. The Re-Echoes. Baltimore, MD: Furniture Press Books, 2012.
Martin, Camille. Sonnets. Bristol, England (UK): Shearsman Books, 2010.
Metres, Phil. abu ghraib arias. Denver, CO: Flying Guillotine Press, 2012.
Mirov, Ben. Hider Roser. Portland, OR: Octopus Books, 2012.
Moody, Trey. Once Was A Weather. Salem, MA: Greying Ghost Press, 2011.
Moseman, Lori Anderson. All Steel. Albany, NY: Flim Forum Press, 2012.
Myers, Gina. False Spring. TX: Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2012.
Noftle, Kelli Anne. I Was There For Your Solmniloquoy. Richmond, CA: Omnidawn Publishing, 2012.
Pafunda, Danielle. Manhater. Dusie Press Books, 2012.
Peterson, Adam. The Flasher. Denver, CO: Springgun Press, 2012.
Pilch, Jennifer. Profil Perdu: Art School Retrospectives, 1987-1990. Salem, MA: Greying Ghost Press, 2011.
Poe, Deborah. Hélène. Baltimore, MD: Furniture Press Books, 2012.
Olszewska, Daniela. cloudfang::cakedirt. Horse Less Press, 2012.
Orange, Tom. American Dialectics. Oxford, OH: Slack Buddha Press, 2008.
Rexilius, Andrea. Half of What They Carried Flew Away. Denver, CO: Letter Machine Editions, 2012.
Rohrer, Matthew. Rise Up. Seattle, WA: Wave Books, 2008.
Savage, Elizabeth. Grammar. Baltimore, MD: Furniture Press Books, 2012.
Schapira, Kate. How We Saved The City. Ithaca, NY: Stockport Flats, 2012.
Schickling, Jared. The Pink. Buffalo, NY: BlazeVOX, 2012.
Schomburg, Zachary. Fjords, Vol. 1. Boston, MA: Black Ocean, 2012.
Seigel, M. Bartley. This Is What They Say. Louisville, KY: Typecast Publishing, 2012.
Short, Kim Gek Lin. China Cowboy. Grafton, VT: Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2012.
Solomon, Laura. The Hermit. Brooklyn, NY: Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011.
Sturm, Nick. What A Tremendous Time We're Having! Northampton, MA: iO Books, 2012.
Wagner, Catherine. Nervous Device. San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 2012.
Ward, Dana. This Can't Be Life. Wasington D.C.: Edge Books, 2012.
Williams, William Carlos. Spring and All. New York, NY: New Directions Publishing, 2011.
Wolfe, Rachael. Sauce. Lincoln, NE: SP CE Books, 2012.
Yau, John. Exhibits. Denver, CO: Letter Machine Editions, 2010.

Toward the beginning of this project, I also wrote several posts not related to poetry. On this site, you can also find reviews of Gus Van Sant's Last Daysthe first two albums by Perfume Genius; concerts by Radiohead and Girls; Denver-based establishments Jelly, Great Divide Brewery, and the Clyfford Still Museum; an excerpt from an interview I gave about photography for Open Letters Monthly; and an alphabetical index of poetry reviews I wrote on various blogs before creating this site.

Isle of Wight / Israel

Matthew Klane is a man of many hats: in conjunction with Adam Golaski, he edits Flim Forum Press; and, along with James Belflower, he runs the Yes! Reading Series in Albany, NY.

Klane, though, is more than an editor and promoter of poetry. He is also an accomplished poet who excels at writing minimalist, sound-driven verse. He authored the full-length collections B____ Meditations {1-52} (2008) and Che (2013), both of which Lori Anderson Moseman published on her Stockport Flats imprint.

In addition to his “official” book releases, Klane has self-published several chapbooks, one of which is Isle of Wight / Israel (Self-published, 2011). Originally intended as a gift for his friends when he left Iowa City to move back east to Albany in 2011, Klane produced the chapbook in a limited-run of 100 copies.

The poetry of Isle of Wight / Israel, like most of Klane’s work, is a minimalist writing highly attuned to the sonic aspects of verse and, among other thematic concerns, focuses on the nature of language and poetry. Take, for instance, the poem “The Sonnet”:

I set a pretty peal
of chimes

        T dillo dee

I’m witty and full
of Rhyme
I’m quick I’m sly I’m wry
I’ll write
my bonny-tippled
riffs ripples
sequences different
minnow skittling
of Thyme
surprise! surprise!
a dish of filberts
a mince pie
if I strive to fill it more
the Isle of Wight
will burst
“full / of Rhyme,” the poem “The Sonnet,” as with the entirety of the Isle of Wight, does “burst” with Klane’s musical “riffs” and “ripples” in “quick” minimalist verse. Indeed, as the poet writes in the “Indices into the Midst,” he composes the poem’s in this chapbook from:
Sound stringing
splendid meridian
of mingled
Yes, the poems in Isle of Wight exude a “Sound” predicated upon a certain “finesse” of language that most definitely is a product of a well-tuned ear.

Of course, Klane, it would appear, has a knack for sound because he, in some respects, leaves himself open to the vibrations of the world around him: he is a receptor of sound, transmitting their energies to an audience through poetry. Or, as he writes in “Higher Power”:
I lie in bed
my eyes open
ears open
hear me
The “Higher Power” of the poem’s title, one could argue, is poetry itself and the force of sound that enters into and emanates through/from the body (i.e. the eyes, ears, and mouth) while reading and writing it.

But this collection of poems and their corresponding sounds are not merely art for art’s sake, or sound for sound’s sake, etc. More than anything, Isle of Wight, a self-published chapbook gifted to friends, connects people to one another. No more clearly does Klane highlight the communal intention of this collection (and poetry in general) than in the concluding poem, “Absent-Mind”:
we wind our way
through this
on a quest
of words absurd
and fertile

that we should meet?
Although the poem ends with the interrogative statement, “strange / that we should meet?” we are already well aware of the answer: no, not so strange at all. In our lives and in this world, poets and writers connect through their “words absurd” as “we wind our way / through this / abyss” in the shared “quest” for poetry.

04 March 2013

Plus Or Minus

We’re suckers for the hearts we wish to draw
but can’t or won’t through insistence or fear,
habit or worse, and so, we draw the hearts we see
ourselves loving with. And those we crave
writes Weston Cutter in the poem “We Are The Hearts We Draw,” from his chapbook Plus Or Minus (Greying Ghost Press, 2012). The speaker’s inability to draw a certain heart addresses, to some extent, the chapbook’s central concern: lamenting our unfulfilled wish to love better or stronger those around us.

But the melancholia that imbues these poems does not only stem from the speakers’ inability to love, but also from an inability to be loved. Take, for instance, the poem “Yours, Alaska.” Toward end of this direct address to the forty-ninth state, the speaker says:
                                                     so your
salmon don’t love you enough to visit or
return your call, so the languages with
all those words for snow are dying inside
your grip
While Alaska has many “languages” and “all those words” with which to express itself, the state fails to attract the beloved, who never visits or returns calls. The terms of endearment are left “dying inside” the mouth; or, in the poet’s case, upon the page.

In some instances, the inability to love, or the beloved’s reluctance to reciprocate, appears to be a matter of inexperience. In “Exposure to Various Flow,” the collective voice says:
                   The difference was that none of us on those boats’s edges
had taken our loves up to the top floor of any of those skyscrapers
       whose reflections we floated past + boated through—
               the difference was the captains had,
            did, and while we’d talk kissing and bases the older men
would laugh at us and, arms across their chests, kindly not tell us
what we didn’t know.
The youthful speakers talk rather innocently of “kissing and bases,” missing, it would seem, a fuller expression of love in the “top floor of any of those skyscrapers” above them. The older gentlemen eavesdropping on their conversation won’t tell their junior counterparts “what [they] didn’t know” under the assumption, one would think, that they’ll learn first-hand (eventually) through experience.

During other moments in Plus Or Minus, though, lovers are kept apart for nefarious or malicious reasons. The chapbook’s opening poem, “Casabianca,” narrates one such instance:
                      Love’s a man
watching his favorite bridge
                      catch fire, gust
for gust’s sake, wind because
                      what else is there,
fire grows with elemental breath
                      and if only love’s
burning boy could look back,
                      see the man
at the burning bridge’s edge,
                      say: love is wind
feeding fire, or love’s fire, or
                      love is opening
+ closing some pain.
But “love’s / burning boy” cannot look back and “see the man / at the burning bridge’s edge” proclaiming this fire to be a metaphor for passion, of “wind / feeding fire.” No, when he looks back all he sees is “an old arsonist friend walk away” on the “bridge’s far side,” wave to him, then head “for the stranded / man’s home.” We can only presume the arsonist will either burn the man’s house down, or steal the lover within it. Either way, the stranded man will lose his love to death or someone else. The metaphor of love-as-fire transforms into a new metaphor of fire-as-impediment to the beloved.

And so, given the seemingly insurmountable odds of attaining love, Plus Or Minus concludes with the poem “Virginia is for Lovers,” in which the speaker asks of the Union’s tenth state:
                                    where’s your responsibility to us
lovers, Virginia, those of us who came to and in and on
and for you, looking for something to feast on or fill up with
or be emptied by, for, because of, etcetera
Far from an encouraging response, though, the collection’s final line answers this inquiry with the line: “just like you I’ve never let anyone leave satisfied.” So we wander through this the country searching for love, but lacking the language, knowledge, and feeling to satisfy ourselves or our lovers.