Sunday
Apr272014

NPM Day 27

Today's suggested reading is Bryan Borland's second collection Less Fortunate Pirates (Sibling Rivalry Press 2012).

 

These poems chronicle Borland's first year after his father's tragic death. 

On December 10, 2009, Jimmy Borland gave his son, Bryan, $1,000 so that Bryan could begin a small press. Ten days later, Jimmy was killed when his vehicle left a one-lane bridge and plunged into a lake. Sibling Rivalry Press - and all that we've published - grew from a last gift from father to son. Less Fortunate Pirates is a map to surviving the first year following a loss, but more than anything, it's Bryan's way of repaying his father for the gift that changed his life.

 

This book made me a huge fan of Bryan's poetry. The poems are incredibly moving and perceptive, avoiding what could easily have become overly sentimental poetry. That's never the case here, though, as each of these sharp and smart, difficult poems get to the heart of loss with devastating honesty and heart.

These are, simply put, some of the best elegies in contemporary poetry. It's such a privilege to know Bryan and work with him at SRP. Knowing what a talented poet he is, it's no surprise the great care Bryan takes with the poems he publishes.

Saturday
Apr262014

NPM Day 26

Today I'm recommending Julie R. Enszer's collection Sisterhood (Sibling Rivalry Press 2013).

 

Enszer'ssecond bok is anchored around the loss of her sister, but delves into many other losses as well: a sister, friends from AIDS, elder poets, innocence, exuberance, and idealism in middle age, yet always affirming life at the same time. These poems explore the politics of domesticity, and beautiful glimpses of lesbian life.

Enszer is a vital member of the poetry community, and her work as editor of Sinister Wisdom is invaluable. I've been so pleased to get to know her and learn from her. Check out all of Julie's work, and you'll be glad you did.

Friday
Apr252014

Reading at New Bo Books in Cedar Rapids

On April 23, I read for the first time in my hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the fantastic local booktore New Bo Books. It was a rainy night, but the shop was still full of friendly faces. I loved getting to talk about my work and the writing process and answer questions from a general audience. I was very pleased that New Bo Books had ordered not only many copies of my book, Mysterious Acts by My People, but also copies of the first issue of Adrienne! Appropriate because I began my reading with the poem "Telling" by Laura Hershey.

 

 

It was a great evening, and New Bo Books is an excellent and supportive venue! I look forward to reading there again when my second book debuts!

Friday
Apr252014

NPM Day 25

Today I'm recommending the anthology Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability edited by Sheila Black, Jennifer Bartlett & Michael Northen (Cinco Puntos Press 2011).

 

I discovered this anthology just as it was published, and at the perfect time, as I was preparing for my doctoral exams, which focused on disability poetics. It felt like a treat to be able to hold all together so many examples of the poetry I'd been studying alongside poetics essays. It is an essential anthology, and has been hugely inluential on my own work. 

 

Beauty is a Verb is a ground-breaking anthology of disability poetry, essays on disability, and writings on the poetics of both. Crip Poetry. Disability Poetry. Poems with Disabilities. This is where poetry and disability intersect, overlap, collide and make peace.

"[BEAUTY IS A VERB] is going to be one of the defining collections of the 21st century...the discourse between ability, identity & poetry will never be the same." -Ron Silliman, author of In The American Tree

"This powerful anthology succeeds at intimately showing...disability through the lenses of poetry. What emerges from the book as a whole is a stunningly diverse array of conceptions of self and other."-Publishers Weekly, starred review

Thursday
Apr242014

NPM Day 24

Today's suggested read is Domestication Handbook by Kristen Stone (Rogue Factorial Press 2012).

This book is very high on my poetry crush list. I remember first reading it and devouring it whole, wishing I had written it, saying Yes! Yes! Yes! at every page. I love Kristen's work, and will continue to publish her whenever given the opportunity (she appeared in Quarterly West and the inaugural issue of Adrienne). 

Domestication Handbook, writes Bhanu Kapil, meshes "gender theory...the philosophy of Donna Haraway, contemporary farming techniques, and suburban girlhood together, in a work that is both entertaining, slightly wild and incredibly brave." Kristen Stone's first book charts the diffusion of trauma in the suburbs, where "nothing ever happens." Little animals destroy dolls and learn language. They choose chatrooms over love, and scrawl on their friends with ballpoint pen. The girl/animal's lessons in geography, architecture, anatomy bewilder: learning is painful, filthy, slick with mucous and steeped in joy.

 

Kristen is a powerhouse of a  poet tackling ideas and tendernesses that I shy away from. She also contributes a great deal to the literary world by teaching and publishing beautfully handmade chapbooks through Unthinkable Creatures Chapbook Press. Full disclosure: Kristen published my third chapbook nostrums, but I fell in love with her work long before that.

Get yourself a copy of Domestication Handbook ASAP!