The Identification of Ghosts by Maryrose Larkin
“Maryrose Larkin’s surprising and rangy poem is part exorcism, part tour of the ruthless canals of the body where memories like ghosts hover, retreat, get startled and go astray. Decay and loss are present, but as movement, animation. Even the process of revision is palpably felt, not as groping for excellence but as openness to re-vision. Where some poets simply evoke contingency, Maryrose enacts it, and with a powerful sense of compassion. The ghosts here lead not to an underworld or to what may come, but to ‘touch and hazard.’ The effect is both haunting and inviting. Go in and meet everything outside, anew.”—Standard Schaefer
The Invention Tree by Jerome McGann and Susan Bee
The Invention Tree
Jerome McGann and Susan Bee
Genre: Poetry, Art
Text by Jerome McGann with drawings by Susan Bee. “This delightful book plays with words and non-words, phonetics, and poetic conventions such as metrics, rhyme scheme, and figurative language to cleverly reflect on the much debated, long troublesome, ever wonderful process of artistic creation. Jerome McGann weaves a fantasyland complete with oceans and islands, lords and ladies, demons and creatures, and the familiar trope of the tree in the garden—here it is one of invention. The imaginative nature of the work, and its mastery of allegory liken it to the whimsical cousin of Spenser's Faerie Queene in miniature. Where Spenser discussed religious morality, McGann's work is a parable of the joys and trials of the creative process, and the dilemmas an artist will inevitably encounter on the journey to inspiration. Susan Bee's artwork provides a colorful compliment to McGann's poetry, the images joining in a medley of whimsy that reinforces his charmingly quirky style.”—Sarah Caitlin Ghusson
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 Long White Cloud of Unknowing by Lisa Samuels
THE LONG WHITE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING
Library of Congress Control Number: 2019943662
118 pages. Poetry. Published 09/15/2019
A woman with a suitcase of meat waits in a room for one day and into the night. Inside the room, language surrounds her. What is the stone phone, what images anchor her sentence? As heresy and authority intensify, she readies to open the door.
How can we come to know — to truly experience — place, presence, and time’s own embodiment in us: what earlier writers have called “the divine”? In the quiet power of Lisa Samuels’s vocalized listening across languages and via bodies, we too are a listening body, a body in absorption and expulsion, attentive in the thinking, pause, and query of a day in a woman’s life. Spanish French Māori Latin all course thru the mind of the one thinking in English, whose rich linguistic inner life we inhabit and move in as if it were a spacesuit we don to float in atmospheres otherwise inaccessible to us. In this language, this unknowing cloud full of knowledges, relations, worldly resonances, we are held. The Long White Cloud of Unknowing captivates utterly.
— Erín Moure
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.
Towards a Menagerie by David Miller
Towards a Menagerie. isbn 978-1-946104-17-5. Short Fiction. 136 pages.
by David Miller
These are children’s stories for adults, you could say… and they have the sort of quirkiness, humour and wisdom that might be expected from such an enterprise. Read… and enjoy.
Miller is a conjurer of narrative, pulling not rabbits but marsupial mouse, flamingo and others out of the hat or from behind the reader’s ear. Said ear takes delight in the adventures of this intrepid gang. The animals have a hard time but they come through. As does the reader, entertained, educated and re-humanised by this encounter with the Other.
(Anthony Rudolf, from the Afterword)
This is a book for dreamers and those who can still summon up what WH Hudson called the animism of childhood, or delight in Buddhist Jataka Tales and Beatrix Potter, Kipling and Calvino’s Invisible Cities. The living world speaks to us. One of my favorite characters is Antechinus — the pouched mouse (marsupial, really) of Miller’s Australian homeland — a fine example of convergent evolution. Throughout his career, David Miller has been drawing the unlikely worlds together in crystalline structures. You want to look forever; you learn what lucid means.”
In Towards a Menagerie, David Miller (Spiritual Letters), that versatile polymath, hooks up Kenji Miyazawa with Ub Iwerks—and Ovid!
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