Solid Quarter

Visit Trembling Pillow Press for poetry books, broadsides, chapbooks, and Solid Quarter Magazine.

Visit New Orleans Poetry Fest for the annual 4 day poetry festival directed by Bill Lavender and Megan Burns.

Megan Burns' Poeticsofbone&city project on Tumblr

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

100 Thousand Poets for Change: New Orleans

Poets, Musicians, Artists, and People for Change join this worldwide event in New Orleans

Location: Alcee Fortier Park on Esplanade and Grand Rte. St. John

Date and Time: September 24, 4 PM

Organized by Dennis Formento

Event page on 17 Poets! Literary and Performance Series website:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New from Trembling Pillow Press: John Sinclair's SONG OF PRAISE

Pre-Order at Trembling Pillow Press

Available September 10th:

John Sinclair's newest collection SONG OF PRAISE Homage to John Coltrane
134 pgs, $19.95

ISBN-13: 978-0-9790702-59

CD also available: ($15.00) featuring verse and music by John Sinclair and His Blues Scholars (Kosmic Cow Productions)

John Sinclair pays poetic tribute to jazz musician John Coltrane in a collection of Sinclair's poems along with jazz album reviews and concert reviews from the 60s as well as edited and refined earlier works spanning decades of Sinclair meditating and reflecting on the influence of Coltrane and his music. As stated in the afterword by poet Dennis Formento, this collection reveals Sinclair to be in the lineage of the great Beat poets who were moved by the culture and the influence of Jazz in the 60s.

It can truly be said that John Sinclair has walked the talk. He was THERE, in the middle of the Rev, not standing and nodding on the side, but there in the forefront. Part scholar, part encourager, part organizer, part Activist, part poet, part chronicler— John Sinclair looms tall and vibrant and strong in the centuries he straddles, demanding that we KNOW, that we DO RIGHT, and that we PRESERVE OUR CULTURE, and somehow, at the same time, CONFRONT the depredations of poverty, racism, lack-love, cruelty and the "creeping meatball." All hail, John Sinclair, and his book of praise for John Coltrane! - Ed Sanders

John Sinclair’s writing about “The Music” has always been well informed and inspiring, from his early Detroit-hip days. So it’s important to gather this writing to show where he and we have been, and the great period of American Classical Music we lived through and particularly the marvelous revelation that John Coltrane provided everybody who could hear. Amiri Baraka

Poet, activist, major jazz head, John Sinclair’s SONG OF PRAISE is a wild outward/ inward ride through time like any of Trane’s great solos. It’s a surge of time travel from the ‘60s breakthroughs & breakdowns as reflected in the revolutionary free jazz awakening as well as in the political uprisings of that time that changed the world.

–David Meltzer

Trembling Pillow Press Books are available through SPD Books and Amazon. CDs are available through Amazon and digital downloads are available through CDBaby and iTunes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Five from Dancing Girl Press (Part Two)

{Part two of a look at five chapbooks I bought this summer from Dancing Girl Press: Dancing Girl Press, edited by Kristy Bowen was founded in 2004 and publishes several handmade chapbooks a year by female poets in limited editions of 100 or so.}

The History of a Lake Never Drowns by Julia Cohen (2008) with cover art by Alexandra Brokalakis offers nine poems brimming with stark images and a curious pairing of the natural world wound round the human body. The initial poem begins: "If I had two cell walls it could be easy/ I so snuggly fit in your back/ Hiking away from the saintly glass vacuum" Is the speaker in this case amoebic? Amorphous? References to the body and its structure tumble around language referring to the natural world with the final synopsis: "I think I was a body-shaped hole in the clouds" Cohen continues to collect images and throw them up against references to flesh, fists, feet in dazzling combinations that create a cacophony of aural delights: "Capillary action, it is nothing like cold rain" The body is excised from nature, lined up against it and called out in its disparity; the "I"of these poems is tinged as well with a sense of longing: "I'll widow, I'll always form a body to mourn" Line after line, Cohen cuts to the quick with surprising comparisons and passionate reflections boldly declared by the speaker of these poems.

Check out Julia Cohen's other works and enjoy her "poetic" banter and intriguing photographs at her blog:

The Calculus of Owls by Sarah J. Gardner (2009) with a cover by Elisabeth Pellathy is the second chapbook DGP has published by this author. How to Study Birds was released in 2006. I remember reading it two summers ago, but my impression from this chapbook was much stronger. The cover is probably, in my opinion, one of the best covers in my DGP collection. Here, Sarah Gardner presents 22 poems in three sections. These poems are largely narrative, clear in their descriptions and structurally coherent on the page. Gardner's gift lies in her word choice, stunning pairings and striking collisions occur as she dredges the word pool to populate her poems with phrases like: "rutted hinges of leaves" or "purse-heads of grasses." Visually, she piles up images to inhabit nebulous emotions as in the poem "An Explication of Loneliness" where we are told "Because a train is long sentence with a single verb." This litany reveals to us in layers and from different angles the facets of loneliness ending with the conclusion that, "none knows as the heart knows/ the difference between nectar and venom" Birds haunt this text, the wise owl, the symbolic feather that wraps the speaker and even the crow who has lost its voice; often the subject is tempered by the natural world as the speaker grasps to wrestle with complex emotions by returning to contemplate nature's quiet response: "What/ is most needed you have often seen: a field/ a single tree at center, a question/ that even leafless does not shrink from answer"

Check out all the chapbooks from Dancing Girl Press here:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Five from Dancing Girl Press (Part One)

Dancing Girl Press, edited by Kristy Bowen, has been publishing chapbooks since 2004 in handmade editions of about 100; each chapbook features a female poet. Every summer, you can stock up on some of these well-made chaps during their summer sale.

This summer I got Danielle Vogel's Lit (2008), [picture above]. The deep brown cover with the simple line drawing belies the dense language and music hidden between the pages of this slim chap. The author notes that this is part one of an "exploration in dislocation." And yet, from the first page, the poems begin to pile up in images and inquiries; the "i" of the poem searching and redefining that which should be familiar. Within this extended meditation, the speaker examines stillness and back of that, all the movements within that stillness, every day words takes on new shapes: "where the edges are not sharp yhell o mm hoon sspire hull and as the sounds touch the shape i can see the image of these things for the first time" These prose poems have an inner intensity as they push and pull their way through understanding and assembling what it means to be conscious, what it means to be bodied, what it means to be rounded and formed by sound and letters. Lit is a beautiful jumping off into a discovery that I want to see more of from this author.

Claire Hero's Cabinet begins with a curious poem called "A Note on the Collection." It provides an interesting subtext for the following poems in that it neither reveals the author's intent per say nor does it fall short in its exotic array of images thrown together to elicit a catalogue of mystery and surprise. All of Hero's poems do this; they mystify and they surprise as they try on words and craft juxtapositions with the light handed tone of one laying out patterns for some grand scheme. We've been invited to the fitting, but the pieces are in process, being assembled before our eyes: "a hoard of doorknobs from each emptied room,/ a skin rough-cut by every last touch. Later,/a city turning to sand, a mouldering eagle gorgeous with prey." In this collection, items emerge in numbered titles, doors open to reveal the smallest bones of the ear or a fairy tale swerves: "But O!/ the voyage, the voyager" Hero's poems never let you down; they marvel in the fantastic, the fetish, the furious conjunctions that tempt and torment us.

Emma Bolden's The Sad Epistles has a striking cover image also by the author. This chapbook consists of ten epistles between an unknown sender and receiver. The epistles establish an intimate dialogue as they attempt to explain and defend precarious emotions such as "Epistle III An Answer to the Question Why Are You Shaking": "Because I'll search to destroy, spider slicing its web, duck peeking its warm nest of eggs/ I would weave nests for you. I would hatch myself whole." "Epistle VIII" begins more objective, reading as an equation but it quickly dissolves into a searing confession. Promises to adhere to a certain standard are thrown out and in all these epistles, there is the sense of fleeing a burning building. The metaphoric heart is caught chest-deep, a cage of its own making perhaps or a stopping place before the bird flies through the bones.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Two New Chapbooks from Horseless Press

Horseless Press has released two new chapbooks Deseret by Kirsten Jorgensen and SEWN by Nathan Hauke, and they are beautifully done. They both have cover art by Michael Sikkema, which involves these strange juxtapositions and collisions. The chaps themselves are made on thick paper with a nice font, stapled and bound with a thick cover. Jorgensen's poems are grounded in some cases with these ethereal shapes hovering just at the edges of the words. The effect mimics the subject of these poems, mostly inspired by the landscape (Utah), but one of the images also reminded me of hurricane shapes out in the Gulf. I guess in some ways rock and water collide and speak in similar tones. The text too recalls that dismal McCarthy post-apocalyptic story, but I couldn't even watch the movie version while I greedily devoured Jorgensen's text: "I'd dig a tunnel/ through my bones to yours/ wide kind palms pressing into the floor"

Where Deseret is shaped by land, SEWN is shaped by psychological distances. Lines are displayed and then crossed out, Rowlandson's captivity narrative echoes her unyielding faith, and the grain of the table thrums. Nature is relayed as both trapped and alive with activity, a nice metaphorical parallel to the nod to Rowlandson: snow catches, leaves shake on the edge of dropping and the sparrow is mute. It's the moment before movement caught in these lines recorded and caught on the "tape," forever stilled in their momentum: "It's thirty degrees near the maple tree/ While I concentrate on a brown leaf shaking on its branch/ With a little terror in my throat- some kind of hesitation" The text also draws from Stanley Cavell's The Senses of Walden, a book I am not familiar with, but nature is easily the pivotal point upon which this text turns.

Get both chapbooks here:

Sunday, August 07, 2011

New Online Edition of Summer Stock

Check out the premier issue of Summer Stock available online now for your reading pleasure.

There is a beautiful introductory tribute to Akilah Oliver by Jai Arun Ravine.

I particularly love a series of collages by Kathrin Schaeppi.

There is a plethora of amazing writers collected in this edition including the haunting tones of Danielle Vogel, lyrical rearrangements of Elizabeth Guthrie, erasures and letters of Abbey Pleviak and the illegible translated tales of Ella Longpre. I'm thrilled to be included with this stunning group of writers, and I hope everyone savors their opportunity to dive into this delicious collection so wonderfully weaved together by the summer stock editors.

Check it out here: