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poetry ebook

birth creatures duncan cover

birth creatures duncan cover

Download The Birth Creatures

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

How a woman’s body turns alien, fantastical, so foreign to herself when she grows a child—“under the crust I am cherry pie.” Samantha Duncan’s powerful chapbook-length poem The Birth Creatures traces a 37-weeks-pregnant woman’s struggle to accept what this birth will mean: “I’m an afterthought to be studied/ my insides sighing/ against the hunger for/ more of me   it   you.” Besides the innumerable bodily changes (what Duncan calls a “revolution”), in the house where the woman waits for labor, a cypress tree roots under the crib, a rhinoceros appears where the bouncer was to go, bird bones appear in the bathroom. The Birth Creatures is in one way true to the tradition of magical realism, but also unapologetically peeks at the undersides (those secret, sad feelings) of what it means to become a mother: “a journey   a century/ transforms insides/ into leftovers/ the waste  the time// the assimilation of you/ into me.” Yet also, the joy: “we are doing/ we are real.” —Nicole Rollender, author of Louder Than Everything You Love

A2Z Tanta“Gene Tanta comes from a land where the place of words and even of letters was challenged one hundred years ago. Tristan Tzara, born and educated in a very small town of Eastern Romania, Moineşti, as Samuel Rosenstock, and Isidore Isou, pen name of Ioan-Isidor Goldstein, broke the new wood between mimetic language and language as material. Twisting together the spectral traces of the Romanian and North American avant-gardes via the “fronde” (Dada’s sling against illusionist art) and the formal concerns of the Language poets, Tanta continues the path blazed by Tzara and Isou. Pastoral Emergency asks how words or even letters still manage to coexist without colliding after such a cultural and universal “Big Bang”?” – Radu Andriescu

“From “all that glitters” to “catch some Z’s before you zag,” Gene Tanta’s Pastoral Emergency is a vertiginous alphabetical romp. The twenty-six poems deconstruct each letter into a surreal and hypnotic brew of sound, non-meaning and sly signification that conflates the Danube and the Loop, the personal and the poetic, making the fusty fresh, the meta-chaotic a brave new word-cosmos. Tantalizing and triumphant.” – Adam J. Sorkin

“W.H. Auden and John Ashbery have published books in which the poems are arranged alphabetically.  Gene Tanta goes them one better with a book of poems which are themselves alphabetical.  PASTORAL EMERGENCY has a hypnotic feeling of inevitability about it as it demonstrates the way in which language writes our poems and our minds.” – John L. Koethe

“Oulipo meets Simic under the aegis of American elliptical poetry.” – Robert Archambeau

“Gene Tanta’s Pastoral Emergency is emergent alliteration as arrivalist’s dreamsphere molted in the fruit of rich anxiety and tensile love. We are getting there and writing the magic carpet simultaneously holding our coattails and devouring them. Yummy alphabetic alarums in the path of cultural littering; do read.”  – Lisa Samuels

“Gene Tanta is like that amazing stranger you find whispering on a bus. Leaning closer, you understand that he is saying almost more than language holds. His audacity dazzles—“a phantom-limb in actual lust,” “scenic as the hungry gurgle of ground-water say,” until one is overcome by his dream in language flexed to breaking. I admire this poet’s range and vision and ability to spread words in front of this reader’s eyes. He is a pointillist of the imagination.” – Maxine Chernoff

“The title – Pastoral Emergency – suggests that we long for a less complicated time, yet urgent intervention is required before things worsen.  We are pulled between poles, wandering alphabetic territory between constraint and incantation, simple taxonomy giving path to rich passage.” – Lane Hall

  Poems of A-Z with No Beginning (928.4 KiB)

A print version is in the works.

An earlier version of this chapbook can be found here.

Please consider a donation to the author for your copy of this book.