Monthly Archives for May 2016

Clint Smith

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In Autostraddle: 5 Queer Poetry Slams and Open Mics From Coast to Coast

“So began my 2014 Autostraddle article on the National Poetry Slam, which was presented that year in Oakland, Ca. That year went down as one of the queerest ever as they introduced multiple queer open mics and workshops to their programming schedule. It seemed that the slam poets were using poetry to perfectly take on gender and talk about their experiences as queer people. Slam Legend Missy Fuego summed up how poetry is the perfect weapon to take on gender. “Poetry is all about deconstructing,” she said. “And gender is a social construct. So it’s only right that we use that.”

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In NYRB: A Poet Unlike Any Other

“More than with most poets, when people write and talk about Stevie Smith (1902–1971), they try to nail her down with comparisons. She is a female William Blake, an Emily Dickinson of the English suburbs, a mixture of Dorothy Parker, Ogden Nash, and the Brothers Grimm. Her reading style, which became legendary, with her cropped hair, baleful expression, little-girl dresses, and singsong lugubrious chanting voice, was described (by Jonathan Miller) as a cross between Mary Poppins and Lawrence Olivier’s Richard III. Seamus Heaney called it a combination of Gretel and the witch. He also compared her to “two Lears,” “the old King come to knowledge and gentleness through suffering, and the old comic poet Edward veering off into nonsense.”

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Steven Alvarez

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In Black Girl with Long Hair: 7 More Dope Black Women Poets You Need To Know

Beyoncé’s latest album, Lemonade, introduced the masses to Warsan Shire, and that was a wonderful thing. I think that much of the time we focus on the classic black poets such as Maya Angelou or Nikki Giovanni, who are both very important, but Shire’s recent shine made me think of what other amazing modern poets are out there. So I did a bit of research and reading, and compiled a list of seven more black women poets for you all to check out. This is in no way a complete list, but I selected these specific poets after reading their work and wanting more, so I purchased their poetry collections (if available) and have been living in a whirlwind of words for the past few weeks.

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Julie Carr & Leah Lovett

 

Julie Carr is the author of six books of poetry, most recently 100 Notes on Violence (Ahsahta, 2010), RAG (Omnidawn, 2014), and Think Tank (Solid Objects, 2015). She is also the author of Surface Tension: Ruptural Time and the Poetics of Desire in Late Victorian Poetry (Dalkey Archive, 2013). A chapbook of prose, “The Silence that Fills the Future,” was recently released as a free pdf from Essay Press: http://www.essaypress.org/ep-19/. She is the co-translator of Leslie Kaplan’s Excess-The Factory, part of which has been published by Commune Editions and in journals widely. Objects from a Borrowed Confession (prose) is forthcoming from Ahsahta press in 2016. Carr was a 2011-12 NEA fellow and is an associate professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder in the English department and the Intermedia Arts Writing and Performance Ph.d. She regularly collaborates with dance artist K.J. Holmes and is the co-founder of Counterpath Press and Counterpath Gallery in Denver. She is currently developing a website featuring forty imagined art installations in collaboration with forty artists. Find her on twitter @CarrCarrjuli

Leah Lovett is an artist, writer and activist embedded at Network Rail. She is currently developing Project Platform 2016 with Lloyd Jeans, commissioning local musicians to produce a song cycle responding to London’s new Crossrail train line. Other recent projects include Light Transmission (2015), an FM radio installation featuring songs about light for the Wellcome Collection and Contra Band (2014), a Google+ Hangouts performance negotiated between two musicians and their audiences in London and Rio de Janeiro, playing music censored in the UK and Brazil during the period of the Brazilian military regime. Leah’s writing is included in anthologies including Ben Campkin et. al. (ed), ‘Cities Methodologies’ (London: IB Tauris, 2016, forthcoming), and Outi Remes et. al. (ed.), ‘Performativity in the Gallery: Staging Interactive Encouters’ (Oxford: Peter Laing, 2014). For more, please see www.leahlovett.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Installation 27

 

Low light. 27 prison beds screwed into each wall vertically, so that none could lie down. Bedding and mattress affixed to the frame, but there is gravity. Sags and pulls. A hole in the center of the room. Far down inside the hole, glint of water. Empty water glasses arranged in a circle around that hole, but no way to get the water out. Deeper than anyone’s arm. Too narrow for a body. Alternately really hot and cold in the room. The distance between our “moods” and their artificial proxies shrinks down.

 

 

The ambience installation 32

 

Hanging from the ceiling, heavy sacks of coal, each about the size and weigh of newborns. Sacks are made of red plastic netting so the coal glooms through. The sacks sway slightly; the air stirred by the movement of viewers. As the sacks sway, coal-dust releases. Dust in the collars, dust in the eyes. Taped to the wall, squares of tracing paper: hastily drawn portraits of each viewer. Not that anyone can tell whose face it is. The portraits flutter. In the slight breezes the bodies make, the coughing.

 

 

 

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An Installation on Sex: 33

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“Everything appears for others eyes” emblazoned in neon across the far wall. An animal is eating out of vision’s range. The walls look wet when the light hits them.

The light is coming from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eloisa Amezcua

Eloisa Amezcua is an Arizona native. Her poetry and translations are published or forthcoming from BOAAT, Prelude, The Journal, and elsewhere. Her chapbook On Not Screaming is forthcoming from Horse Less Press. You can find her at www.eloisaamezcua.com.

 

 

Watching Underworld, Inc. Episode 3: Human Cargo

 

1.

The Pima County Morgue,
approximately 110 miles

from my childhood home,
houses John Doe, Jane Doe,

[sexless] Doe. Dated remains
found in the Sonoran Desert—

nameless and alone. The medical
examiner holds a fragmented

cranium, points to where
the eyes would go.

2.

I cross the borderxxxxon foot.
My fatherxxxxxwaits for me

in the McDonald’sxxxxparking lot
one blockxxxxxxinto America.

I standxxxxxxin the line
labeledxxxxxxxxxCiudadanos.

3.

Francisco, a people smuggler
in Nogales, says his secret

is training others
to hide and survive.

4.

I don’t remember muchxxxxfrom middle school
US History—xxxxxxxxwho lead the troops

that tookxxxxxxFort Ticonderogaxxxor who forced
General Pembertonxxxxxxxxxto surrender in 1863—

but I rememberxxxxxxxlike yesterday
xxxxxxthe sound of my mother’s voice

practicingxxxxthe Pledge of Allegiance
before herxxxxxxxxxxnaturalization ceremony.

5.

A Border Patrol agent
explains how after five days

on foot in the desert,
skin begins to split

from the burning sun—
flesh exposed and open.

Nothing can be done once
the breaking has started.

6.

Gratitude

xxxxxxis a word

that comes

xxxxxxto mind.

7.

In Phoenix, Magdalena buys and sells
moneyless migrants wholesale—

their families unable to pay off cartel
trafficking rates. Three women/girls sit

one room over, faces hidden with pillow cases—
they’re background. And Magdalena, she talks

a tough talk, says business is business
and business is good. Her face concealed

by a black bandana and mirrored sunglasses
reflecting the camera back into itself.

8.

When the show’s over,xxxxI’ll call my mother
xxxxxjust to hearxxxxthe sound of her voice.

Como estas?xxxshe’ll ask.xxxxxAnd I’ll lie,
tell her things are finexxxxxxxthe way

xxxxxxxshe’d sayxxxxthe same to her mother
thirty years beforexxxxxxxxxxwhen she moved

to this countryxxxxxxxxxxxxxxalone
xxxxxxwith her husband.xxxxxxxxxxxI’m haunted

by that for her.xxxxxxI moved thousands of miles
awayxxxxxxxxalonexxxxxxxxxxjust to feel

closer. Beforexxxxxxxxxxwe hang up, she’ll say
Dios te bendiga,xxxxxxpicture me signing myself

or kissing a crucifixxxxxxxxxxxI can’t bring myself
to wear.xxxxxA blessing I don’t need

but I take itxxxxxxxxanyways.

 

 

WALKING HOME ALONE: AN INNER MONOLOGUE

 

map your surroundings

locate another womanxxxxxxxlocate

a group of womenxxxxlocate a well-lit space

xxxxxto stop and punch

9-1-1 into your cellphonexxxxxif needed

hold your cellphone hold your thumb

over the green ‘dial’ buttonxxxxxxhold

xxxxxxyour cellphone inside a pocket

your keys in the other

xxxxxxxhead between two fingersxxxxblade sticking

out from your fist like a small rhinoceros

xxxxxxx[whose only predator is man]

wear clothing with pocketsxxxwear nothing

that clings to your shapexxxxxxxxbe shapeless

don’t look scaredworriedpanickedxxxdon’t look

friendlyapproachableopenxxxxdon’t look back

xxxxxxlook natural

don’t smilexxxdon’t not smilexxxxxxxdon’t

come undonexxxxxxxxthe key is to go unnoticed

the key is to get where you’re going

the key is to hold yourself

inside of yourself as long as you can

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IN CITIZEN OF THE WORLD: ARTPORN by Jacob Brooks

Jacob Brooks’ work has appeared in Adult Magazine, Enclave, and The Yalobusha Review. He aspires to use poetic performance, in collaboration with audio and visual artists, to create intensity that generates healing and political passion in his audience. This is his debut collection. “Grotesque and burlesque, ARTPORN is sixteen effluvious poems that echo and decay in the overlapping spaces of queerness, masculinity, anxiety, childhood trauma, and sexual expression.” The release date is May 31st. To purchase and find out more …..DIVE>>

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IN BUTTONPOETRY: Kai Davis, Nayo Jones & Jasmine Combs – “Sandra Bland”

Performing for Temple at the 2016 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. Temple won the tournament.

 

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IN CHICAGO TRIBUNE:Poetry for the Purple One: A look at the lyrics of Prince

“I used 2 cry 4 Tracy because he was my only friend

Those kind of cars don’t pass you every day

I used 2 cry 4 Tracy because I want to see him again

But sometimes sometimes life ain’t always the way”-PRINCE

Article By: Michael Robbins

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Robert Andrew Perez

Robert Andrew Perez is a poet living in Berkeley. He is an associate editor & book designer for speCt!, an artbook press that prints small-batch single-author chapbooks & the magazine Oar out in Oakland, where he also curates readings. Born in Manila & raised in the sprawling outeredges of Los Angeles County, he moved to the Bay Area to receive his BA from Berkeley & MFA from Saint Mary’s College of California, where he occasionally teaches. He is an alum of the Lambda Literary fellowship & a recipient of the Lannan Literary Award for poetry. His poetry has appeared in print & online in publications such as DIAGRAM, The Awl, The Laurel Review & The Cortland Review. His chapbook, the field, is out fall 2016 from Omnidawn. He is currently writing a movie, pitched to his producers as the “gay Sideways.”

 

 

weekend

 

choose a window upon which to
assign a narrative that thus
decides whether

we wear pants or shorts.xxxfloral
or a solid earth-

tone like blood-orange
nantucket redxxxxxpeople salmon
their way up through the panhandle

we cook our kale with onions
& yellow beets to beats by deptford goth

bay to breakfast. braid our hands

like challah. this morning began the end
of the weekend which begins the week

until the next i see youxxxxpull up
the future is far away, let’s repeat it

 

 

permanence

 

/

did the tatts hurt
when you got them / thought first
i had forgotten i had them

exposed / we fail to anticipate
pain / even slight

till its imminence / we disregard the sun
on x nights dawn arrives
pink and uninvited

forget she always comes

sleep on the ground / pretend
our bones on cardboard / grass seek

i got my first tattoo after my grandmother died / &res

i got my second and third tattoos for balance / fff / penguin

i got my fourth tattoo right before my mother’s hysterectomy / Avelina

 

//

 

the unnamable grows / dark ink
seeps out the pen inside his pocket
without sound or warning
the shirt is ruined / the sheets revise their white

absence // then a visit interrupts
as if a face clocked
from a brief look / it has no face
before he erodes

i learn it like a heavy book
swept across the chin / unexpected / to
keep him

on the bed, before the needle
i think, oh, yes, this will hurt

am i sure i want this?

i am sure i want this / surrender gifts
endurance / yes, wanting a thing forever costs

 

 

 

 

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NEW POET SPOTLIGHT: Chuck Harp

Past Shadows

His hands shook violently

as the mop water seeped

through his rough fingers.

What was once a well-oiled machine,

Carl’s body was now no more

than a rusted old jeep.

Smells of sweat and strength

filled his nostrils.

To some it’s objectionable,

vile to outsiders,

but not to Carl.

The shadows of past fighters

still stained the white mat.

Modern day gladiators

fighting for survival in a world

that served them harsh realities.

But Carl missed it all.

And as he cleaned,

he could hear a faint bell

ring out through his church.

To Heal

Time up and flew off my palm,

soaring to distant shores

of which I’ll never know.

Just before,

it lightly kissed my cheek

and left its withered mark

upon my once youthful face.

It buried its wisdom

along with every mistake,

in the brooding caverns

of this old man’s mind.

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IN FREETIMES: Bugsy Calhoun’s Passion for Spoken Word Poetry Helps Spark an Entire Scene

“I found stability in broken homes — a latch-key kid raised by The Cosby Show hoping to leave Brooklyn and go to a different world,”- Bugsy Calhoun

Article By: David Travis Bland

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IN INDEPENDENT: Naked Lunch: William S Burroughs’ Beat classic set to music for spoken word punk album

‘Burroughs recited the most obscene passages from his non-linear, free-flowing novel for an experimental album shortly before his death in 1997 but the project was “buried and put out of print very quickly”.’

Article By: Jess Denham

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In The Los Angeles Times: From ancient Persian poetry rises ‘Feathers of Fire’

“The story is culled from the “Shahnameh,” an ancient book of epic Persian poetry that Rahmanian adapted into a lavishly illustrated book for a modern audience in 2013. “Feathers” is the origin story from that book: of the outcast boy Zaul, brought up by a mythical bird, who enters into forbidden love with the princess Rudabeh, giving birth to Rostam — “the Hercules of Iran.”

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In VOX: Rosario Castellanos was one of Mexico’s greatest poets

“Castellanos wrote poetry, essays, short stories, and novels. The daughter of wealthy parents who lost most of their money under Lázaro Cárdenas’s land reform, Castellanos produced work that grappled with class, nationality, and gender. Her master’s thesis, Sobre cultura femenina (“On Feminine Culture”) has been described as “the intellectual starting point for the liberation of Mexican women.” Wrote fellow Mexican poet José Emilio Pacheco, “Nobody in her time had as clear a consciousness of the twofold condition of being a woman and a Mexican.”

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In The Believer: A Conversation Between Poets Monica McClure and Josef Kaplan

“That’s what I think those elements of the poem are trying to enact: the pull between critique and empathy, amidst this terrifying and complex process by which power determines what lives actually count as such. To refer back to something we were talking about earlier, it’s about trying to represent the difficulty of approaching individual atrocities in a world that is literally built on atrocity, where nothing really escapes the grasp of that violence, without falling into a kind of self-satisfied nihilism—either the cynical, liberal democratic variety or the fire and brimstone, apocalyptic variety.”

 

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In The Adroit Journal: Chen Chen

“Why can’t I stop
needing you to see me?”

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Justin Philip Reed

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Sophie Klahr

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IN TELESUR: Palestinian Poet Under House Arrest for her Poetry

“If I cannot mourn for my compatriots who are being killed, how will I be able to be a poet?”-Dareen Tatour

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IN WOMENS VOICES OF CHANGE: ‘Anti-Pastoral,’ by Vievee Francis

“Which is not to say, Praise the urban, privilege the shadow
of the alley over the shade beneath a tree, or the average sky-
scraper over a clearing.”- Vievee Francis

Article by: Rebecca Foust

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NEW POET SPOTLIGHT: Saquina Karla C. Guiam

Saquina Karla C. Guiam is currently taking up a Master’s degree in English. Her work has been featured on Dagmay, The Rising Phoenix Review, The Fem Lit Mag, and Transcending Shadows Review. She is the Roots nonfiction editor of Rambutan Literary, a literary journal to showcase Southeast Asian literature and art.

 

Bones Uncovered in the Dirt

A daughter I’ll never have

lies buried in the garden.

During siestas,

she holds my hands,

asking me to open my eyes.

But I am terrified of seeing her face—

what if I see my father

in the tilt of her head,

my mother in the sigh

of her lungs?

What if I see an old family history

scribbled on her skin

with a black sharpie,

but she’ll never claim that inheritance?

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IN PHILLY.COM: R.I.P. Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore, 75, Philadelphia poet

The cancer I’ve been dancing with

 (and cancer’s a fancy dancer)has overcome its scruples

and wants to marry me.

I’ve rebuffed it once or twice now

but its piteous face puckers

and tears fills its eyes

with the thought of losing me. – Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore

 

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IN DETROIT FREE PRESS: In Detroit, students blending beats and poetry

“The event, called “Techno Poetics,” was the culmination of a year-long effort to teach students about the city’s history as the birthplace of a genre, and to celebrate that history through creative expression, said Nandi Comer”

Article By: Daniel Bethencourt

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IN THE HIGHLANDER: Urban Roots of Poetic Justice: A Spoken Word Event

“Critics of spoken word might call the art form didactic, sentimental, overtly political and a type of poetry whose success is measured by the delivery rather than the words.”

Article By: Kali Veach

 

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IN THE HARVARD CRIMSON: ‘Endless Poetry’ an Exuberant Celebration of Life and Art

“If every Harvard student were required to watch Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “Poesía Sin Fin (Endless Poetry),” one imagines that the number of students pursuing art might triple.”

Article By: Tianxing V. Lan

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IN CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Ed Roberson wins 2016 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

The Poetry Foundation recently announced Ed Roberson as the winner of the 2016 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which honors a living U.S. poet for “outstanding lifetime achievement.”

Article by: Jeremy Mikula

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IN BUFFALO RISING: Pop-Up Poetry Series: Take One

“The idea is to invade – or a better word may just be to invite – poets & musicians to fill public spaces along Main Street and the East Side, so that people stumble unexpectedly, as you did, upon great poetry and lively music,” said Noah Falck. “It is a sort of guerrilla poetics project.”

Article by: Queenseyes

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IN CITY LAB: Boston’s Secret Sidewalk Poems Add Some Cheer to Rainy Days

“The project, appropriately titled “Raining Poetry,” uses biodegradable water-repellent spray to stencil poems on Boston’s concrete streets. On a sunny day, the letters remain invisible. But once water hits them, the words of famous poets suddenly reveal themselves to unsuspecting passersby.”

ARTICLE BY: Aria Bendix

 

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NEW POET SPOTLIGHT: Mickey Lucas

Mickey Lucas is a Canadian student currently working part time at a movie rental store. “Most of my work is poetry but I am currently working on a novella that although proves finding inspiration can be irritating and demanding, also redefines what I think I’m capable of as a writer”. Mickey has recently been published in Sea Foam magazine and Bottlecap Press.

 

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Willow Smith Drops Spoken Word Track: produced by Micheal Cera

“We’ve manufactured a society that runs on the backs of those that choose to victimize”- Willow Smith

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In The Olympian: Minimum wage backers slam Olympia council with poetry

All the world’s a stage, including the Olympia City Council meeting, where supporters of a higher minimum wage played their parts in a politically-charged poetry slam. A handful of people from Working Washington have been weekly fixtures at the council’s public comment period to advocate for a $15 minimum wage in Olympia and beyond. The supporters took it to the next level Tuesday in what could have been the first organized poetry slam at an Olympia council meeting. Nine speakers — one after another — used their allotted three minutes to grieve openly about their struggles to survive on low wages or harshly criticize the council through prose and poetry.

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IN JAPAN TIMES: Giving voice to foreign talent via the spoken word

“This is not a poem, but narrative prose against narrative prose
All styles & methods are open, the above broken,
but if the spoken is prose, it aint poeetryyy”- Taylor Mignon

 

Article by Simon Scott

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In Tenderloin: Sophia Terazawa

“Mama changed a diaper in three languages.”

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In Muzzle: Amaris Diaz

“you did not have a word for what happened to you. shaved your head. again. filled an entire journal with different versions of the same sentence about an empty city.”

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In The California Journal of Poetics: David Tomas Martinez

“At nine, I had no language for lonely,/but could watch cars swim laps forever.”

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In Sixth Finch: Candace Williams

“Eyes pick apart my cornrows/as our teacher recites Slavery in the Americas”

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Small Press Spotlight: Canarium Books

Before Canarium Books, there was The Canary, a magazine founded in 2002 and edited by Joshua Edwards, Anthony Robinson, and Nick Twemlow. In 2008, with the assistance of the University of Michigan, Canarium Books was formed with its first publication, Canarium 1. This anthology included poems by Ed Roberson, Arda Collins, Takashi Hiraide, Dunya Mikhail, and a dozen other poets. Canarium’s single-author book series began the following year with Union! (Ish Klein) and The Tangled Line (Tod Marshall), and since then we’ve published The Waste Land and Other Poems (John Beer), The Irrationalist (Suzanne Buffam), Flowers (Paul Killebrew), Moving Day (Ish Klein), We Are Pharaoh (Robert Fernandez), A Fireproof Box (Gleb Shulpyakov, translated from the Russian by Christopher Mattison), Madame X (Darcie Dennigan), The Invention of Glass (Emmanuel Hocquard, translated from the French by Cole Swensen and Rod Smith), I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say (Anthony Madrid), Great Guns (Farnoosh Fathi), Pink Reef (Robert Fernandez), Ethical Consciousness (Paul Killebrew), Bugle (Tod Marshall), Void and Compensation (Michael Morse), The Great Medieval Yellows (Emily Wilson), The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa, Consolation and Mirth (Ish Klein), Lucinda (John Beer), A Pillow Book (Suzanne Buffam), and Palace of Subatomic Bliss (Darcie Dennigan). We publish three or four books of poetry each year.

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Alysia Nicole Harris

Alysia Nicole Harris hails from Alexandria, VA. She received her MFA in poetry from NYU and is currently a PhD candidate in linguistics at Yale University. Two-time Pushcart nominee and winner of the 2014 & 2015 Stephen Dunn Poetry Prizes, her poetry has appeared in Indiana Review, Catch & Release, Solstice Literary Magazine, Vinyl Magazine, and Best New Poets 2015. Alysia was also chosen as the 2015 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence at the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati. Her first chapbook How Much We Must Have Looked Like Stars to Stars won the 2015 New Women’s Voices Series Contest and is available from Finishing Line Press. Alysia lives in Atlanta, GA.

 

 

 

INTEGRATING INTO A BURNING HOUSE
 qqqqqqqq– for Charleston, SC

 

I have eaten many a hog off the floor of America’s gut,
even where you are born. Fearfully and invisibly made,
we’re already phantoms in the picture. Rain trying to slip through
our fathers’ graves. Pardon the sky for speaking up from beyond
for sympathy. During the persistent sweat of summer,
black ‘cause black ugly, all the blood of our world pooled
under a kettle, making everything boil and cook.
I’m tired of you spitting in my face,
of you burning down our churches.
In these white gutted buildings, I’m tired,
covered in bows, begging God to do tricks,
though sixty years ago I would’ve sung.
I would’ve jumped but
I haven’t won.
Don’t tell us this life that we know
is the amen.

Exile is exile still,
in the smallest corner
of our bird-hearts. We’ve been colored
neutral, and our gravesite mouths were never asked.
Heaven is a bruise that won’t fade.
There, underneath, like heat
cooking it tender enough to chew, my face dazzles.
I’ve been dressed and readied for church though I’m tired.
Don’t you know the God we praise is in the body not, goddammit,
in trotting English out like a dumb pony.
In another conversation with another biggety hipster
whose lily-white liberalism puts my granddaddy
through noose after noose, I realize that dream got us nowhere,
got us nothing but this empty handed feeling, which is worse than paralysis—So,
about death? It falls open like the mouth on an invisible priest but the benediction
never comes. Just an ivory hood over a vacant maw shaped into a nation.

 

 

 

THE FUTURE WRITTEN WITH KNIVES

nnnnnnn– after Nizar Qabbani’s Verse

 

The emcees and dope boys are past forty.
The sweet tea ain’t sweet no more.
Rat tail combs, head scarves and house shoes,
everything has gone sour.
The Southern preachers are worn out.
The 1960 suits and fat ties are worn out.
The hospitals in New Orleans are graves, the speeches are graves,
the church dresses we sing our grandmothers’ hymns in are worn out.
My beloved country who has been both a serpent
and a mother to me, you have wanted me dead
so many times you replaced my eyes with diamonds.
I know there is a death beyond death. I am tired of waiting
outside the club with girls whose thighs read like epitaphs.
These are our tragedies
which we gather to us like children
too big to spank. Our swords
are taller than us. Our president wears
a cod piece. His wife sleeps
in all black negligee while our souls
are being waterhosed. Our bodies
be clogging the mouth of the Mississippi
so all that gurgling you hear, all that sass around St. Louis
is just the river talking back, our ancestors warning us
you can’t fight win a war with unwed mothers,
and videophones alone. You can’t marshal a generation
with a wax cut-out of Jay-Z,
Assimilation cost
our daughters’ wedding rings.
It’s painful to get on your knees and beg
but don’t curse these plantations.?
My beloved country, I have been a cash crop.
It’s been so long since I’ve worshiped you and taken off my shoes.
Your forefathers brought me home
so you could have someone to hate. Hate-
hate-hate like a line of ants across my momma’s tilework
fishing out the curried goat on an already empty plate.
I cannot tell if I want to slap my people
or offer us salisbury steak
but for that we’d need silverware.
For that we’ll need silver.
The thought of us in the kiddie pool
for another generation
unable to swim makes me write
another ode to the shore opposite the ocean.
Not an ode, a blues song: Take me back
into your quick-dry mouth.
Why you think so many of our great
jazz musicians practiced drowning on land
blowing breath into a trumpet. It’s what happens
when the marrow ain’t got much meat.
Survival some soul-sucking shit!
We shoot craps, send snap chats,
and ask the whores to call us kings
while the music we buried our grandfathers in
becomes a white man’s oil.
So fuck us if we ain’t riot.
If we didn’t tear the sky out
of its white cloak. Fuck us if we don’t
piss on the police station
and lock God in the church.
If the grave then the grave—any death but this
sloe living.
But I’m a coward.
If I could I would tell the President
Martha’s Vineyard has replaced your blood
with vinegar. My friends are shot
on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule, You lost
the war. Our boys are somewhere in the belly
of a Trojan horse made of sand.
but still you ask Beyoncé to The White House
to sing the national anthem. Rhetoric of the smokehouse
riddles in a warzone . We lost the touch of our children.
They wander through the streets like lost cats.
Oh you proud young untouchable things,
Your pride was never broken into and thieved.
You cut a hole in the fence
where they tried to raise you like chickens.
You be the bright eyes to our constellation.
The hair we used to hide freedom in.

 

 

AFTER FERGUSON: STUDY OF BLACK DESPERATION (LARRY LEVIS CENTO)

 

aaaaaaaaaaaaThe lion paces the shadowy zoo
as a train shotgunned and tangled on a wire,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxtrailing its forefinger through the dust.

A cop spits milk on a hot night
sssssssssssssssssssssshigh on painkillers. Against laws
sssssssssssssssI get a gun and go. I take my last

sssssssssssssspaycheck— Here is a train I’m supposed to be on.
ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssHunger, it goes on
made up of small dogs.

ssssssssssssssssOne of them undid your blouse.
That summer the prices fell,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxthe cops held me up like a fish

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxoff shore of the ocean. The picture
of a scared girl in panties. I noticed my arms
xxxxxxxxxxxxxlike spittle

being wiped off a plate.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxThe leaves that lie
xxxxxxxin a bruised doorway, sometimes they smear

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxthe evening on the air.
xxxxxxxMaybe the dead know
the ants’ troubles: Here are the shadows

xxxxxxxxxxxxxthat have fallen.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxIt’s silence falling
xxxxxxxlike ashes from the high,

xxxxxxxxxxxxxand I don’t hear anything
as I let the flesh go.
xxxxxxxA seagull, who stands listening to the rain

xxxxxxxsettles. The stilled elm leaves are stainless
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxas knives picked up in a razor fight.
The sky has the look of dirty paper;

xxxxxxxxits thinness crackled. I tried to doze off,
I tried giving it water,
xxxxxxits sky into my forever pocket. Green moth

on the inside of the rumpled bed.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxHerds of butterfly
xxxxxxxstruggle quietly and open,

are absolutely still while the snow is
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxon all sides of me.

 

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The 5th annual Gigantic Sequins summer contests in Poetry & Flash Fiction & The Gigantic Sequins Spring Subscription Drive

Spring2016SubDriveFlyer2

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Eric Amling

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IN DELAWARE.GOV: Applications Now Open for the 2016 Delaware Seashore Poetry & Prose Writers’ Retreat

The Delaware Division of the Arts is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2016 Delaware Seashore Poetry and Prose Writers’ Retreat. The retreat will be held from November 3 – 6, 2016 at the Cottages at Indian River Marina, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

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IN PEOPLE: Jaime King Taps a Live Audience to Help Her Finish Her Poetry Book with Kris Kidd

“Jaime took every suggestion to heart, especially about finding the balance between what we do for money and who we actually are as people.”

 

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IN PBS NEWS HOUR: The poetry of simmering Chicago summers

“A harvest of migrating hearts
tell our way back when.
We are porch stories, buttermilk aprons,
lovers of Sundays and sailboats.”- Parneshia Jones

 

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