Wednesday
Apr232014

NPM 23

Today I'm recommending Éireann Lorsung's second book Her Book (Milkweed Editions 2013).

 

I've been a fan of Éireann's since I read her first book, Music for Landing Planes By. I remember writing her an email fan letter, because the book moved me and changed my ideas of what a poem could allow. Éireann responded so graciously, and we have been internet friends ever since. I was lucky enough to meet her in person in the summer of 2013 when she came to the US to promote Her Book and we got to read together in Minneapolis. Éireann is incredibly kind and who I think of when I think of good literary citizenship. She is generous and supportive of other writers, helpful and an astute reader of others' work. I'm so happy to know her and her poems. 

Éireann is also the publisher of MIEL and editor of 111O. 

MIEL was established in 2011 to promote and publish difficult, innovative, intelligent, and deeply felt writing and visual art. We publish poetry, short prose, photographs, and prints in forms that bridge the trade edition and artist's book.

They are invested in books as objects and are interested in contributing to a tactile reading experience, whether paper or electronic.

Everything they've published has been stunning and beautiful as an object. 

111O is a literary journal I'm so lucky to have been published in twice. Their interest lies in making an object that is both attractive and approachable, and in showcasing the work of writers and artists we admire with grace, simplicity, and dignity. That’s why the format of the magazine is small and will stay small. They figure a story, a photograph, and ten poems don’t impinge on your reading time–but they’re enough to show you something new.They’re interested in tinges of surrealism, magic tricks, the 20th century, the prose poem, natural histories, museums, theory, photography, list-making. 

Lorsung's own books live up to these ideals. If you haven't already bought her first book, pick up a copy when you are buying Her Book.

From the poet who brought us Music For Landing Planes By, Éireann Lorsung’s luminous voice is distilled through multiple unnamed female speakers in this, her second collection. Full of youth, wonder, and imagination, Her book crosses distances and generations to celebrate the lives of women, their individual and shared experiences, and the bonds that bring them together. This is also a book about translation — of experience into art, of knowledge across time and space — and conversation — with, for instance, work by Kiki Smith, widely known as a feminist artist. Lorsung writes additionally about her time spent in England and friendships she formed with women there.

Tuesday
Apr222014

NPM Day 22

Today's suggested reading is The Circus of Forgetting by Barbara Duffey, a beautiful chapbook published by dancing girl press.

 

I was fortunate enough to become friends with Barbara during our doctoral program at Utah, and I'm so excited her first full-length collection will be published next year. This chapbook is a great taste of her smart and moving verse. Barbara writes perfect poems. I've workshopped poems with her, so I know the hard work that goes into making them perfect, but on the page, oh, I swoon. 

From an inteview with the author:

 

“The poems consider the deaths of loved ones, as well as the threat of loss that injury and illness make apparent,” Duffey said. “I also discuss loss rather literally, as in ‘weight loss’ and, in one poem, in the form of bulimia.”
The title of the chapbook has a circular meaning for her.
“I take the metaphor of the ‘circus’ to mean that I am parading these losses as a way to expunge them; also, that I am making a farce of forgetting by forcing myself to remember.”  
This is also why she chose the elephant to represent the poems as the chapbook’s cover art. The circus creature, after all, never forgets.

I love this chapbook, and you will too!

 

Monday
Apr212014

NPM Day 21

Today's suggested reading is Shira Dentz's book door of thin skins.

I won't say too much, because there is a stunning review of this book, Shira's second, in the latest issue of The Georgia Review you by Danielle Deulan, which you should all go read, but I will say this: Shira is one of my favorite contemporary poets. Her work stuns me every time, and I feel really lucky to know her and to have gotten the chance to work with her at Utah. Every time I read one of Shira's poems, I want to be a better writer, and for me that is the highest compliment. I am challenged and enthralled by her poems, and I always learn something new about poetry. 

door of thin skins, a hybrid collection of poetry and prose, deconstructs the nature of psychological power through the deconstruction of traditional narrative and language. The book, narrated by a woman in psychotherapy, does not unfold in chronological sequence, but uses recurring phrases, images, and events to unify and deepen the narrative as well as mirror the process of psychotherapy. As the relationship between patient and therapist becomes dependent and sexual, resulting in a precarious blurring of both patient and therapist’s boundaries, the book alternates between the straightforward and syntactically disjunctive. Visual poems comprise another nonlinear layer in this book, depicting one of its recurring themes, a fracturing of the narrator’s sight and simultaneous and conflicting perceptions of reality.

 

Sunday
Apr202014

NPM Day 20

Today the book I'm recommending is winner of the 2013 Lammy for lesbian poetry, Love Cake by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. 

 

I read this book eagerly when it first came out, as I've enjoyed Leah's writing for quite some time. I was thrilled when she won the Lambda award and I'm especially excited to announce that Leah's work will be featured in the third issue of Adrienne!

These poems are truly wonderful and definitely worth your time!

 

In Love Cake, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores how queer people of colour resist and transform violence through love and desire. Refusing to forget the traumas of post 9/11 Islamophobia, and Sri Lanka's civil war, Love Cake documents the persistence of survival and beauty—especially the dangerous beauty found in queer people of colour's lives. Piepzna-Samarasinha maps the complicated, luscious joy of reclaiming the body and sexuality after abuse, examines a family history of violence with compassion, and celebrates the beautiful resistance of queer people of colour in love and home-making. 


Saturday
Apr192014

NPM Day 19

Today's suggested title is River Legs by Jen McClanaghan (Kore Press 2014)

I intended to buy this book at AWP, and was lucky enough to see Jen there, who told me the book was delayed. Jen is a classmate from Florida State (talented and prolific bunch that we are!) and she was always so kind to me. She was getting her PhD while I got my MFA there, and she was one of the people they sent me to talk to when I was trying to decide whether or not to go to FSU. Obviously Jen was convincing, since I ended up there!

Jen is such a talented poet whose work has been published widely, including The New Yorker and Best American Poetry 2013, so I have been waiting impatiently for her debut collection. And now it is here! (In fact it just arrived in the mail yesterday!) I've only just begun it, but I am loving it already.