This week we welcome Peter Ferry as our guest author. Peter grew up in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and Chicago. He has a B.A. from Ohio University and an M.A. in English Literature from Northwestern University. He edited and wrote textbooks for Rand McNally and Company in the 1970’s and taught English at Lake Forest High School for twenty-seven years.
His first novel Travel Writing was published in English in The United States and The United Kingdom and in Portuguese in Brazil. It was recorded by Blackstone Audio, Inc. and movie rights were purchased by Castle Rock. Ferry is a frequent contributor to the travel pages of The Chicago Tribune and an occasional one to the travel blog WorldHum and Peter Greenberg’s nationally syndicated radio travel show. His short fiction has appeared many places including Fiction, StoryQuarterly, McSweeneys and The New Review of Literature. He is currently featured in OR and The Chicago Quarterly Review. He has been awarded an Illinois Arts Council Award for short fiction.
Ferry is married and has three children. He lives in Evanston, Illinois and Palisades Park, Michigan. You can find out more about Peter on his website here.
Beginning this week, Gregory O'Brien will be curating a weekly series featuring poets of New Zealand. Poet, essayist, artist and curator Gregory O'Brien was born in Matamata, New Zealand, in 1961. His most recent collections of poetry are 'Beauties of the Octagonal Pool' (Auckland University Press 2012) and a collaboration with photographer Bruce Foster, 'Citizen of Santiago' (Trapeze 2013). He is a regular contributor to the UK journal PN Review. Carcanet (Manchester) has published two of his books, 'Days Beside Water' (1994) and 'News of the Swimmer Reaches Shore' (2007). In 1996 he co-edited the Oxford University Press Anthology of New Zealand Poetry (in English). O'Brien is a full-time writer and artist based in Wellington. Find out more about Gregory here.
Alan Ziegler is the editor of Short: An International Anthology of 500 Years of Short-Short Stories, Prose Poems, Brief Essays, and Other Short Prose Forms (Persea Books); his other books include Love At First Sight: An Alan Ziegler Reader; The Swan Song of Vaudeville: Tales and Takes (with an introduction by Richard Howard); The Green Grass of Flatbush (winner of the Word Beat Fiction Book Award, selected by George Plimpton); So Much To Do (poems); The Writing Workshop, Volumes I and II; and The Writing Workshop Note Book. His work has appeared in such places as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Tin House. He is Professor of Writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he has received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching and was chair of the Writing Program. He is currently at work on Based on a True Life: A Memoir in Pieces.
In other news:
In 1968 I didn't really know you though
Dick Gallup, who sat next to me
in Kenneth Koch's Modern Poetry
class, invited me to a party and
there you were and I went to hear
you read and I went through old
copies of Columbia Review to read
your poems (including the one
signed "the sloth sloth") and why
am I telling you this? Because it's
your day of the year, and you're a gem
as well as a Gemini twin, and I
would tip my fedora to you if
I were wearing one as men used
to say when men wore fedoras.
-- David Lehman (June 17, 2013)
This week we welcome back John Foy as our guest author. John’s first book of poems is Techne's Clearinghouse (Zoo Press). He has been busy this year, with poems, reviews and essays published or forthcoming in The Hudson Review, Alabama Literary Review, The New Criterion, The Raintown Review, The Dark Horse, Contemporary Poetry Review, Ducts.org, 823 on High and The Poetry Porch. He also has work forthcoming in Rabbit Ears, the first anthology of poetry about TV (published by Poets Wear Prada, edited by Joel Allegretti). His poetry has been featured in the Swallow Anthology of New American Poets and has appeared widely in magazines, including The New Yorker, Poetry, Parnassus, American Arts Quarterly and Barrow Street. His work has also been published on line at Poetry Daily, Kin, The Nervous Breakdown and other sites. He has an MFA from Columbia and has taught writing at Harvard Business School, Columbia and Barnard. He lives in Manhattan with his Brazilian wife (the painter Majô L. Foy) and their two children, Catherine and Chris. Find out more about John here and follow him on Facebook. He has just returned from the West Chester Poetry Conference, where he gave a paper on “A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London,” by Dylan Thomas.
Welcome back, John.
In other news . . .
Catch up with the latest on the American Scholar's crowd-sourced sonnet. . .
It has been such a pleasure to guest-blog here at BAP and I’m a little sad to be hanging up my spurs when I hit “publish” on this entry. This last post is a bit more scattered than my previous ones--it’s a round up of poetry-related (or kissing cousins to poetry) projects I wanted to share with you.
First, I want to mention that our reading period is open at Augury Books. Do you have a poetry manuscript, a short story collection, or a nonfiction book (full-length or a collection of shorter pieces) that is looking for a home? Send it to us please--we’re really excited to read new work. Secondly (I’m going to keep everything connected to organizations that I represent here in this one paragraph), The Mayapple Center for Arts and Humanities, a nonprofit center located in Stamford, Connecticut, is offering two half-scholarships this summer for Vijay Seshadri’s (this year’s winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his book 3 Sections) workshop. The class is called Transitions and Transfigurations and runs from August 18th through August 22nd on Mayapple’s campus. If you want to study with an amazing teacher somewhere beautiful this summer, you should send an email inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org with your CV and writing sample by June 30th.
Are you familiar with cellpoems? It’s a poetry journal that sends out one weekly text message containing a beautiful short poem. It’s free to subscribe and they publish a great mix of emerging poets, as well as established names like Charles Simic and Sherman Alexie. This poem by Heather Cousins has run through my head since I first read it almost four years ago. You may also like Motionpoems, a nonprofit production company that makes short film adaptions of contemporary poems. I can’t get over how gorgeous their movie-poems are--watching each one is like being able to step into a snippet of someone else’s dream.
Girls in Trouble is another project that I love, although related to poetry more tangentially than directly; it’s an art-rock band helmed by poet Alicia Jo Rabins. Girls in Trouble’s music tells the stories of women in the Torah through songs that fuse American folk, indie rock, strings (violin and cello!), and gorgeous verse. Also, this is my new favorite tumblr--it isn’t poetry-specific, but poets (and everyone) should contribute. Cristina Henriquez’s newest novel, The Book of Unknown Americans, tells the story of immigrants whose voices aren’t often heard. She created a tumblr to accompany it that asks people to share their own and their families’ experiences moving to the United States. I’ve loved reading the stories that are posted and I hope some of you will want to add yours.
Finally, I want to leave you with a poem:
A Book of Music
Coming at an end, the lovers
Are exhausted like two swimmers. Where
Did it end? There is no telling. No love is
Like an ocean with the dizzy procession of the waves’ boundaries
From which two can emerge exhausted, nor long goodbye
Coming at an end. Rather, I would say, like a length
Of coiled rope
Which does not disguise in the final twists of its lengths
But, you will say, we loved
And some parts of us loved
And the rest of us will remain
Two persons. Yes,
Poetry ends like a rope.
There are many things to love Jack Spicer for, ranging from the Vancouver lectures where he described the poet as a radio receiving “transmissions” from the “invisible world” (“The poet is a radio. The poet is a liar. The poet is a counterpunching radio.” Sporting Life) to his apocryphal last words as he died at age forty in the poverty ward at San Francisco General Hospital (“my vocabulary did this to me”), but this poem is one of the things I love best. There is so much beauty inside the darkness here--we have come to the end of things, the lovers are exhausted, and yet the title reminds us this is “A Book of Music.” I also love the plaintiveness of the you saying, “But...we loved” and how it leads into the ambiguity of the three lines below: is the “you” still speaking or can we potentially read the “And some parts of us loved / And the rest of us will remain / Two persons” as the speaker briefly agreeing, acknowledging that there was love (“some parts of us loved”) there, but then asserting separation again. What moves me the most about the poem every time I read it is that sudden shift at the end from love into poetry, the implied conflation of these two things: how the last line (and the “Yes” above it) are simultaneously devastating--the rope and its gallows-connotations, that the rope ends--and yet also somehow strangely uplifting. Despite the actual stated meaning of that bleak last line, the word “rope” also includes within it a subliminal rhyme with “hope,’ as well as connotations of rescue, of salvation.
Thank you for listening to me this week.
Please join us June 12th for an inside peek into The Writers Room, the members-only institution that has saved writers from extinction in New York City. The $95 ticket includes hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and an intimate conversation with three award-winning members of The Writers Room.
For more information and to buy tickets, go here.
This week we welcome Kate Angus as our guest author. Kate is an editor at Augury Books and the Creative Writing Advisory Board Member for The Mayapple Center for Arts and Humanities. Her work has appeared in Indiana Review, Subtropics, Best New Poets 2010, Court Green, Barrow Street, The Awl, and Verse Daily. She is the recipient of A Room of Her Own Foundation’s “Orlando” Prize, The Southeast Review’s Narrative Nonfiction prize, a New York Times “Teacher Who Made a Difference” award, and an artists residency on the Wildfjords trail in Iceland. She lives in New York and can occasionally be found on “The Twitter” at @collokate.
In other news . . .
Beginning this week, Sharon Dolin will join us from Barcelona, where she is running the Writing Writing About Art in Barcelona poetry workshop. Sharon is the author of five poetry books, most recently: Whirlwind and Burn and Dodge, winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. In 2013, Sharon was awarded the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, selected by Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. Sharon is at work on a memoir, Hitchcock Blonde, as well as a book of aphoristic sequences, The Book of Lost Aphorisms. Find out more about Sharon here.
Welcome Kate and Sharon.
This week we welcome Mindy Aloff as our guest author. Mindy's essays, reviews, and interviews on dancing, literature, film, and other cultural subjects have appeared in many periodicals in the U.S. and Europe, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Threepenny Review, and The Wall Street Journal. Her collection of poems, Night Lights, with drawings by Patt Wagoner, was published in 1979 by Vi Gale's Prescott Street Press. Other books include Hippo in a Tutu: Dancing in Disney Animation (Disney Editions) and Leaps in the Dark: Art and the World by Agnes de Mille (University Press of Florida). A former student of Nancy Willard, William Gifford, and Irving Feldman, she teaches dance criticism and history and the personal essay at Barnard College.
In other news . . .
For the month of October 2014, Coldfront Magazine will run a series of essays about the work and life of poet Paul Violi, whose last book, The Tame Magpie was released earlier this year. Steven Karl, Coldfront's features editor, is looking for work focused on Violi's poetry, poetics, and/or scholarship (this could encompass a single book/poem or multiple volumes). He's also hoping that those who knew Paul will submit personal narratives, antidotes, and pieces about Paul's influence as a writer, teacher, and human being. Send your work as a doc attachment to Steven directly at email@example.com with Celebrate Paul Violi as the subject line.
This week we welcome Sally Wen Mao as our guest author. Sally is the author of a poetry collection, Mad Honey Symposium, which is out this month from Alice James Books. The recipient of fellowships and scholarships from Kundiman, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, she holds an M.F.A. from Cornell University.
In other news . . .
Next Line, Please: Help the American Scholar Write a Sonnet
On Tuesday, May 6, The American Scholar launched a website experiment in writing crowd-sourced poetry—in this case, a sonnet. David Lehman wrote the first line and selects subsequent lines from among those submitted by you. Here's the sonnet to date:
How like a prison is my cubicle
And yet how far my mind can freely roam
From gaol to Jerusalem, Hell to home
For details on how to submit your line for consideration, go here.
On Tuesday, May 20, beginning at 6:00 pm (4:30 for those departing by special bus from Manhattan), the Poetry Society of America welcomes the season with its annual Spring Benefit Dinner. This year you can head up to the New York Botanical Garden for a private tour of the Garden's major spring/summer exhibition Groundbreakers: Great American Gardens and The Women Who Designed Them. With a stunning evocation of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Maine, and exhibits highlighting the rich and artful history of some of the gardening world's most significant innovators, the Garden celebrates the women who pioneered landscape and garden design, writing, and photography during the early 20th century.
Compiled by the American Booksellers Association, and based on sales at hundreds of independent bookstores across the United States, for the twelve-week sales period ending April 27, 2014. For information on more titles, please visit IndieBound.org
1. Dog Songs Mary Oliver, Penguin Press, $26.95, 9781594204784
2. Aimless Love Billy Collins, Random House, $26, 9780679644057
3. A Thousand Mornings Mary Oliver, Penguin, $16, 9780143124054
4. Love Poems Pablo Neruda, New Directions, $11.95, 9780811217293
5. Poems to Learn by Heart Caroline Kennedy, Jon J Muth (Illus.), Hyperion, $19.99, 9781423108054
6. The Prophet Kahlil Gibran, Knopf, $15, 9780394404288
7. New and Selected Poems, Volume One Mary Oliver, Beacon Press, $18, 9780807068779
8. I Carry Your Heart with Me E.E. Cummings, Mati Rose McDonough (Illus.), Cameron & Company, $16.95, 9781937359522
9. The Essential Rumi Jalal al-Din Rumi, Coleman Barks (Trans.), HarperSF, $15.99, 9780062509598
10. Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems Paul B. Janeczko, Melissa Sweet (Illus.), Candlewick Press, $16.99, 9780763648428
11. The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems Emily Dickinson, New Directions, $39.95, 9780811221757
12. Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford William Stafford, Graywolf Press, $16, 9781555976644
13. The Conference of the Birds Peter Sis, Penguin, $18, 9780143124245
14. Poems That Make Grown Men Cry Anthony Holden, Ben Holden, Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781476712772
15. Sailing Alone Around the Room Billy Collins, Random House, $14.95, 9780375755194
Support your independent book seller. Visit IndieBound.org for more information.
Augury Books is delighted to announce that our spring/summer 2014 reading period opens for submissions on May 1st. This year, we will be accepting poetry manuscripts, as well as short fiction collections and creative nonfiction manuscripts. All books selected will be published in 2015. Augury Books is an independent press based in New York City and a proud member of CLMP. Committed to publishing innovative work from emerging and established writers, Augury Books seeks to reaffirm the diversity of the reading public. The editorial board is dedicated to fairness and quality of work.
Augury’s reading period be open from May 1st through July 31st and we will notify writers of our decision by December of 2014.
As always, we seek books that will surprise us--books that we will fall in love with. For us, that often means associative leaps and strong imagery, a compelling voice, and--above everything--work by writers who take risks, emotional as much as aesthetic. We are not afraid of sincerity, although with the caveat that there is nothing inherently interesting about confession unless rendered interesting through craft.
Poetry manuscripts should be 45-80 pages, not including front or back matter, and prose manuscripts should be 150-220 pages, double-spaced and not including front or back matter, as well as clearly marked as either short fiction or creative nonfiction. We welcome multiple submissions either within or across categories. All submissions will be accepted via Submittable only. If writers have questions about submissions that are not addressed on the submissions page, they should email the editors. Full guidelines and a link to our submittable page can be found here.
Founded in 1966, Brooklyn-based Hanging Loose Press is one of the oldest independent presses in the US. This reading will showcase the latest work from three of their award-winning authors: Meghan O'Rourke, Michael Lally, Terence Winch.
Meghan O’Rourke’s books of poetry include Halflife, which was a finalist for Britain's Forward First Book Prize, and most recently Once. She is also the author of the memoir The Long Goodbye, a chronicle of mourning written after the death of her mother. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Terence Winch's most recent book of poems is This Way Out (Hanging Loose, 2014), which was preceded by Lit from Below (Salmon, 2013) and Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor (Hanging Loose, 2011). Boy Drinkers, a series of mostly narrative poems that center around religion and Winch's New York brand of Irish-Catholicism, came out in 2007. His collection of non-fiction stories, called That Special Place: New World Irish Stories, grows out of his experiences playing traditional Irish music with Celtic Thunder, a band he startedwith his brother Jesse in 1977. Terence Winch lives in Washington, D.C.
Michael Lally is the author of twenty-seven books, including two collections of poetry and prose from Black Sparrow Press — one an American Book Award winner for 2000, It’s Not Nostalgia — and the long poem March 18, 2001, jointly published by Libellum and Charta, with artwork by Alex Katz. He is also the author of Cant Be Wrong from Coffee House Press, which won the Oakland PEN Josephine Miles Award for “excellence in literature.” He has appeared in many films and TV shows and worked as a scriptwriter, or “doctor,” from the late 1970s to the early 2000s.
For directions to the library, go here.
I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman
THE RULE OF THUMB
Ringfinger was nervous
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.