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During 2016, we will shine the spotlight of our public esteem & rapt attention on two poets per month. This month’s first poet is Sarah A. Chavez.      Fox Frazier-Foley: Talk to me about the core of your creative drive and the expression it finds through poetry. There are lots of ways to be creative in this world – what motivates you to write poems, specifically? Additionally, what motivates you to navigate the poebiz landscape? Sarah Chavez: It’s funny, but I think a lot about what poetry does and how it has functioned in my life, but hardly ever why I ended up devoting myself to it. I did have other creative outlets: I played piano briefly and am fair at drawing; I even got within a class or [...]

She collects pieces, forms whole body slowly   In Movement No.1: Trains, by Hope Wabuke, (Dancing Girl Press, 2015) an abundance of unexpected, organic relationships power through this chapbook, transmitting energy between humans and people, sound, color, and movement. Like the line referenced in the title above, there are many bodies at play in this collection. The train is a body, and the people, parts, stored inside. Using fluid language and an almost dream-like tone, Wabuke gives us glimpses of humanity’s core like spying on a commuting passenger through the windows of a subway car: intense yet indirect, witnessing a presence briefly. It’s how Wabuke wants us to see: life like “tiny match stick toys.” The word “movement” in the title illustrates a dual meaning: physical movement and orchestral movements, [...]

Deskins_Prairie Fires

The above text and images are by Laura Madeline Wiseman and Sally Deskins, from their book Leave of Absence: An Illustrated Guide to Common Garden Affections, a collaborative work whose lush look at the body and nature in this collection offers a rich pallet on the human form and these tall creatures that stand among us.

During 2016, we will shine the spotlight of our public esteem & rapt attention on two poets per month. We are excited to have an extra installment of our Spotlight Series during the month of February, featuring the collaborative poetry-visual art hybrid work of Sally Deskins and Laura Madeline Weisman.

 Prayer, as Ghost I wave at the blackbird just lifting from the crab apple tree. I’m among   the flightless, the left-behind. An opossum curled behind this tree   stump, dead, half-buried, its fur soft as ash. Everything is the ghost of something else. The starlings’ wings half-stab air, you leaving. The opossum’s eye, its last glitter—a gravedigger lifts his shovel. I ate peaches this morning. Dropped their pits mindlessly onto the kitchen floor.   Their gravities also pulling me closer to the earth’s core. Their gravities reminding me I’m flightless. Though an angel once in church’s nativity play, where I had glittery wings, that I wished were waxed to my bare back, I can’t lift off the ground.   If I jump, for an instant I separate from the [...]

During 2016, we will shine the spotlight of our public esteem & rapt attention on two poets per month. This month’s second poet is Nicole Rollender.    Fox Frazier-Foley: Talk to me about the core of your creative drive and the expression it finds through poetry. There are lots of ways to be creative in this world – what motivates you to write poems, specifically? Additionally, what motivates you to navigate the poebiz landscape? Nicole Rollender: Probably like many writers, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t tell stories or write stories. When I was a teenager, I really zeroed in on writing poetry, after buying an 1880s volume of Tennyson’s poetry in a used bookstore. I carried the tome (it had a green cover with flowers on it, and [...]

Christopher Gilbert – Turning into Dwelling Graywolf Poetry Re/View Series 2015 Page Length: 187 Retail: $16   “Who is this Christopher Gilbert and why am I only just hearing about him?” This is the question Terrance Hayes asks at the beginning of and throughout his Introduction to Turning into Dwelling, the collection most recently published by Graywolf’s Poetry Re/View Series. It’s a simple question with a few answers. Most of the answers, though, only produce more and larger questions. The question, of course, is really two questions. The first is relatively easy to answer: Christopher Gilbert was a poet born in 1949 in Birmingham, Alabama, who then died in 2007 after a twenty-year battle with polycystic kidney disease. The only book he published during his lifetime was Across the Mutual [...]

birth creatures duncan cover

Something fantastic mixed with the plundering lowing of pregnancy and early motherhood is present here. We have the surprise mixed with trim rhyme: “I’m pulled into the rhino / nestled in its crib of ribs” and we think of this grotesque comfort, the body as push and pull and grasping. So much is about consumption and aggressively so: the moon is devoured and “a peat bog / where the kitchen table was” becomes the murky counterpoint. This is a geography that lurks, that is an extra self within the realm that is the deep loneliness of early motherhood. I too felt consumed while reading this chapbook, but in the best, most delicious way. —Molly Sutton Kiefer, author of Nestuary, Tinderbox Editions EIC

LOTUS BLOSSOM REJECTS HER INTERMINABLE VIRGINITY A lotus root is a wheel cut full of hollows, a buoyant vessel with rowed chambers like port windows, framing the faces of those too restless to die at home. The lotus claims no relation to the water lily, a stationary and easily drowned lookalike who never discovered the benefits of hydrophobic skin. Rather, the closest living relatives of the lotus are the sycamore family. They too grow to be hollow giants with monoecious flowers, capable of pleasuring themselves. When the lotus flower opens its sex, it does so slowly. After the long unfurling strip, the petals will curl again in the evening. On cool nights, the lotus flower generates its own heat, offering a warm cradle to any visiting beetle or bee. The [...]

During 2016, we will shine the spotlight of our public esteem & rapt attention on two poets per month. This month’s first poet is Jasmine An.    Fox Frazier-Foley: Talk to me about the core of your creative drive and the expression it finds through poetry. There are lots of ways to be creative in this world – what motivates you to write poems, specifically? Additionally, what motivates you to navigate the poebiz landscape? Jasmine An: I think that poetry fits my creative process because I am a slow thinker and not necessarily a visual one. Often times, I write poems to learn and to sift through my own thoughts. I won’t know the entirety of what I was attempting to say with a poem until I reach the often [...]

It’s Just that this Floor is Dirty. And I Can Never Say Anything   The Filaments of Heather (Sad Spell Press, 2015) reads like a tightly knit horror tale. These poems have no individual titles. The narrative arc centers around a girl: Heather. Like the above line indicates, Heather cannot keep the floor clean enough, but she also is steadily losing her voice. Goodrich chooses to make “Heather” the speaker in the poems. Since this is the author’s name as well, an immediate intimacy is created with the reader as we recognize Heather as author and Heather as metaphor in a new universe. (In this case, the universe is filled with dust and hair.) Trusting in her story, Goodrich can do whatever she likes with her Heather avatar. “Speaker” Heather [...]

Thirty Ways of Looking at a Nuyorican I. i do not wake up to roosters, i wake up to construction sights & exhaling buses II. english was fed to me by my television baby sitter III. i barely know what oceans look like orchard beach & brighton beach do not count IV. rice & beans are in cans, i know how to grow culture but barely food V. my skin is pale, my cousin’s skin is black we are called white boy & negro at the same time on the same table VI. i do not know how to hotwire a car VII. i have a fear of needles, so being a junkie is out but being a thief is (only sometimes) VIII. i have more books than articles of [...]

During 2016, we will shine the spotlight of our public esteem & rapt attention on two poets per month. This month’s second poet is Bonafide Rojas.    Fox Frazier-Foley: Talk to me about the core of your creative drive and the expression it finds through poetry. There are lots of ways to be creative in this world – what motivates you to write poems, specifically? Additionally, what motivates you to navigate the Poe-biz landscape? Bonafide Rojas: I push myself harder than anyone else can to get better, especially when i don’t feel “creative” i push to write. I challenge myself by writing with forms that have constraints. I’ll write fifty haikus, twenty villanelles, or ten sestinas for me, no one really ever sees those poems. They’re for me to look at, [...]

Russell Dillon – Eternal Patrol Forklift Books 2013 Page Length: 82 Retail: $15   There was something nearly traceable within us, horse-like and holy. Without this field, there would be an unnamed vacancy between trees. … Here: A photograph where your face is obscured by blurring snowflakes. Gloam-lensed, a moment before inviting me into your papier-mache home. … Maddening how, in this home, in this storm, I fear most the lightning and not the rain, the improbable over the certain. A sound from the map room: mellifluous, stupid river.   “Each Combustible Fluid Ounce in its Divorcing” (12-3)   Russell Dillon’s debut collection from Forklift Books, Eternal Patrol, radiates bioluminescent longing and maniacal ache. Dillon’s poetry fuses the energy of ecstasy with the reflective intensity of a mind that catches [...]

Waadookodaading Drum at the Wisconsin State Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection Consultation with Tribal Leaders meeting at the LCO Convention Center, 10/8/14; or: MVI_8407   I can’t stop watching this YouTube video: of seven little Indian boys with their switches in hand and they begin to sing. How can you stand this? I would ask my mother at each Pow Wow, young and heartless, before it became a homecoming, their pitched wail, fevered yips and arpeggios, how the longer you stayed they were like wolves, then crows, then, eventually, the river, too. Oh yes, the river moves like this, sometimes broken by tributaries, but carried by momentum, sometimes the floodplain and one stick at a time strikes and all pick up again together like a shared lung. We who [...]

During 2016, we will shine the spotlight of our public esteem & rapt attention on two poets per month. This month's first poet is Kenzie Allen.    Fox Frazier-Foley: Talk to me about the core of your creative drive and the expression it finds through poetry. There are lots of ways to be creative in this world – what motivates you to write poems, specifically? Additionally, what motivates you to navigate the poebiz landscape? Kenzie Allen: One of the things I love about poetry is that ideally it becomes a fractal. The smallest parts of it, sentence, line, word, can each be a poem. Like a good sketch, there’s space and negative space in the poem, what is depicted and what is inferred, and the drawing’s refinement upon initial impressions through [...]