The Letters of Carla, by Benjamin Hollander
The Letters of Carla, the letter b. A Mystery in Poetry
with a Foreword by The Future Guardian of the Letters
and an Afterword by Benjamin Hollander
Literary Nonfiction / Literary Criticism / Essay. ISBN 9781946104014. $19
A polemic, a dispute, an essai, a history of real persons in poetry, of agon and salient entanglement. An investigation, an epistle. A romp a ride, but open as conclusion. Across boundaries of time and place these ideas sing and let us serve an elusive poetic dream — Clara Bow perhaps. Like a Le Carre spymaster, this Carla, the letter b., is one of the ghosts whose imaginative skillful (means & motives one cannot grasp, and yet she leads us on.” Wallace Stevens and Charles Olson would be delighted. Kudos to the “forsworn author.” — Anne Waldman
Benjamin Hollander (1952-2016) lived for the past three decades in San Francisco, after moving there with his wife, Rosemary Manzo, in 1978. He taught English, Writing, and Critical Thinking, primarily at Chabot College, in Haward. He passed away on November 21, 2016. His many books include The Book of Who Are Was (Sun and Moon), Levinas and the Police Part 1 (Chax), Vigilance (Beyond Baroque), Rituals of Truce and the Other Israeli (Parrhesia), and In the House Un-American (Clockroot).
The Light Before Dawn by Drum Hadley
“In The Voice of the Borderlands, we have stories remembered as poems, picaresque vignettes and campfire tales rendered in the original voices—as faithfully and fully as by fellow cowman Will James. In LIGHT BEFORE DAWN, we have the koans of mortality faced as quietly and introspectively as Emily Dickinson. Hers: ‘I heard a fly buzz when I died.’ The fly outlived the protagonist. But the poem, as information, is forever: Drum’s—’He knew who he was, And then he was gone.’ The poem is a declaration that he knew who he was—which is a rare feat for any sentient being—and the poem—as information, is at the deepest level, immortal. Nice trick for an old cowman, Drum.”—James Northrup
The Notebook of False Purgatories by Standard Schaefer
“Standard Schaefer’s work has consistently been little short of extraordinary. But now in this his fourth book, in the tradition of politically committed visionaries (almost as if he were a mix of Gerard de Nerval and Hannah Weiner), he calls us toward a ‘humbler arrangement’ of art and love, insisting in this set of triumphant and authentic aphorisms that nothing of or in this world is a fiasco, that if we mistake distraction for enchantment and fail to listen to the static of war, the lack of love, the codes of poetics and politics (which are one), we fail the real. Wonderment is an ethical discipline. Noons are all around us. I have never seen a poet do this to such an extraordinary degree. This is one of the few books that will remain, or so I would hope.”—Gabriel Gudding
The Port of Los Angeles by Jane Sprague
“Part post-industrial sea chantey, part epiphany against the ‘economies of loss’ that expand exponentially with each morning’s news that struggles to stay news, Jane Sprague’s THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES offers us a rare and varied thick description (with Whitmanesque undertows) of those moments when our living-breathing-trying-to-pay-the bills-selves meet the vast expanse that is the seemingly boundless sea. ‘John Steinbeck was right,’ the poet writes. And Jane Sprague certainly is, too.”—Mark Nowak
Poet and Editor Jane Sprague is a poet and editor of Palm Press. Her poems, essays and reviews of contemporary poetry have been published in many print and online journals including Columbia Poetry Review, Kiosk, Tarpaulin Sky, How2, Jacket and others. She is the author of THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES (Chax Press, 2009) and Extreme Global: La Ciudad sin Extremo/Los Angeles, forthcoming from ChainLinks. She is the recipient of a NYFA grant as an Artist in the School Community at Cornell University and NYSCA grants for her curatorial and performance work. She has taught writing in public school classrooms as a teaching artist for Lincoln Center’s Institute for Aesthetic Education, at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women (in conjunction with Bank Street College), and at several colleges in Southern California. She is recently edited the collection IMAGINARY SYLLABI (Palm Press, 2011), a pedagogical project documenting and exploring the potential and actual work of innovative and radical strategies for teaching writing.
The Principle of Measure in Composition by Field: Projective Verse II by Charles Olson
The Principle of Measure in Composition by Field: Projective Verse II
Genre: Literary Nonfiction
Poetics. Literary Criticism. Editor Joshua Hoeynck has given the poetry world great service by uncovering two key essays from the Charles Olson Archive at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, that together form PROJECTIVE VERSE II, an important continuation of one of Olson's most important poetic works. Olson writes “that the conceptual, no matter how 'mental,' and as such the dipolar to perception, still a powerful discrimination is basic, it is this, the actualities have to be felt, while the pure potentials can be dismissed. This the great distinction between an actual entity (nothing is there except for feeling) and an eternal object (idea). A poem is made up of both.” This essay brings the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead into the central work of Olson's thinking about poetics.
The Tongue Moves Talk by Karen Mac Cormack
The Tongue Moves Talk
Karen Mac Cormack
“Sense is made and remade word for word in Karen Mac Cormack's THE TONGUE MOVES TALK. Exquisitely refractory, incessantly modulating, sumptuously uttering, these poems attain a state of aesthetic grace without recourse to hooks or props”–Charles Bernstein.
Traffic by Gil Ott
Traffic by Gil Ott. CHAX edition.
“As an architect of the gap, Gil Ott provides many doors whereby this place may be entered and whereby you may encounter and be part of the ‘traffic’ of that occurrence. It’s not a house of many mansions, but it is poetry, a place which may not take place unless you enter. So: a different sort of gesture, one of welcome invitation. Think it over. What have other hands offered you lately?” – John Taggart
Transcendental Studies: Graphics of Poetic Intent by Keith Wilson
The fourth book in the New West Classics Series published by Chax Press, TRANSCENDENTAL STUDIES, is an essential new work by Keith Wilson which reconstructs popular notions of what is commonly thought of as “western” literature in America today. “Here are poems as intimate as breathing, recognitions quick as a lizard’s moving in the sudden sun. Back of it all is the abiding love for those one’s lived a life with. May this circle forever be unbroken.”—Robert Creeley
TRANSDUCER by Jeanne Heuving
TRANSDUCER, Jeanne Hueving's book of poetry, speaks of the literal and figurative meanings of an actual transducer, a device that converts one type of energy into another for purposes such as measurement and information transfer. The book is broken into four sections: Frequency, Flora, Chthonic, and Limning. All characterize the internal and external processes happening in the natural world (the act of killing ants and waves traveling over oceans). She brings to life the energy transfer occurring between these nominal subjects and further transforms their images into poetry. TRANSDUCER is “a trance inducer. Watching its petals fall, I am hypnotized into hearing frequencies audible only to the blind”-Andrew Joron. Hueving facilitates a conspicuous conversion of energy between her readers and her intensely electric, magnetic poems.
TV EYE by Todd Baron
“TV EYE is a rich engagement with the preconditions of words and the advances of thoughts and bodies. Baron provides readers with insights into the ways of transmission – how 'the eye plunders,' how 'we indicate/what we sound.' He is a scout of the movements of meaning and lyrical enchantments” -Roberto Bedoya.
Under Virga by Joe Amato
“'An ingenious gathering of poignant leapfrogging…a muscular memorializing…a sly haunting.' This is the book that's everything Amato says it is and is not. It bounces on water, refuses to be paraphrased, and invites itself to dinner. Buy it by the case while there's still time.”—Cole Swensen
wardolly by Elizabeth Treadwell
“Elizabeth Treadwell's writing, in which human (usually female) figures appear amidst fantastically embroidered surfaces, demonstrates volubility, humor, and intelligence in spades.”—Joyelle McSweeney, Rain Taxi
“What is strange, then, is the way Treadwell's refusal, her backing off, functions to generate worlds whose ambiguities and erasures function, to my reading, as fully determined. I don't feel the labor of needing to fill in the gaps (perhaps because Treadwell's gaps are enormously hard to fill are, in a real sense, honest); I feel instead the way in which those gaps speak and explain their inability to be filled.”—Simon DeDeo