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Published April 27, 2017

no dictionary of a living tongue duriel harrisNightboat Books publishes the winners of the annual Nightboat Poetry Prize, the 2015 winner to be released next month: No Dictionary of a Living Tongue by Duriel E. Harris. Judge Kazim Ali says of the poetry collection:

No Dictionary of a Living Tongue is formidable in its explorations of art, citizenship, and life as a body amid the social, political, and electronic networks that define us, hold us together, bind us. [ . . . ] An elegant use of sound couples with a keen and roving intelligence and a fierce commitment to social justice to create a unique and powerful collection of poems.

Paging through the poetry collection, I was struck by the variety in forms, visually arresting before even reading the content. I was especially drawn to the fold-out poem “Danger, Live Feed” on pages 69-70, which warrants tearing out and framing (if the idea of tearing apart a book doesn’t make you cringe, that is).

Check out the Nighboat Books website for more insight into Harris’s No Dictionary of a Living Tongue, where you will also find a PDF preview and a link to order from SPD.

Published April 26, 2017

inside my pencil peter markus blogRecently chosen as a NewPages Editor’s Pick, Inside My Pencil by Peter Markus (Dzanc Books, March 2017) recounts poetry lessons taught to children in Detroit public schools. Markus, an award-winning writer and a writer-in-residence with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project of Detroit, sees the magic children hold inside their pencils and shares it with readers in this nonfiction book.

We start with Markus on his first day in the schools and then continue on to read his lessons on similes, metaphor, on the verb to be, the power of imagination. In prose that is poetic in itself, he brings us into the classroom and feeds us lines his students came up with in response. The creativity and imagination of the kids is a joy to read. In one chapter they define what beauty is, and in another, they turn love into metaphors, each line a beautiful display of the magic inside their pencils.

Inside my Pencil is available from the Dzanc Books website where readers can learn more.

Published April 05, 2017
hyong li 100 love notesIn 2015, on the anniversary of his wife's death as a result ovarian cancer, Hyong Yi wrote 100 love notes and, along with his two children, handed them out to random passers by on the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina. The three-line poems were written as conversational love notes between Hyong and his wife, reading "Beloved, follow me to the top of the mountain. Hold my hand; I’m afraid of falling. Don’t let me go.” and “I don’t need a test to tell me who to love. I believe in you and me. I do until death do us part.”

Friends encouraged Hyong to create a website to commemorate his commitment to his wife, and now The #100 Love Notes Project: A Love Story book has been published by Lorimer Press. This beautifully crafted collection features the work of 17 artists commissioned by Hyong Li to illustrate his 100 three-line poems.
Published April 04, 2017
poetry projectThis historical tome edited by Anselm Berrigan has just been released from Wave Publishing: "The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church was founded in 1966 for the overlapping circles of poets in the Lower East Side of New York.These interviews from The Poetry Project Newsletter form a kind of conversation over time between some of the late 20th century's most influential poets and artists, who have come together in this legendary venue over the past 50 years." Poets/artists interviewed include: Akilah Oliver, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Barbara Henning, Bruce Andrews, Charles North, David Henderson, Eileen Myles, erica kaufman, Harryette Mullen, Judith Goldman, Larry Fagin, Magdalena Zurawski, Peter Bushyeager, Red Grooms, Sheila Alson, Tina Darragh, Victor Hernández Cruz, Will Alexander, and many more. The book can be ordered directly from the publisher for the discounted price of $17/shipping included.
Published March 21, 2017

louder than hearts zeina hashem beck blogBauhan Publishing LLC hosts the May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize each year, awarding their sixth annual prize to Zeina Hashem Beck for her collection Louder than Hearts. The collection was chosen by Betsy Sholl, former poet laureate of Maine, who says Louder than Hearts “has it all—compelling language and a sense of moral gravitas, personal urgency and the ability to address a larger world with passion and artfulness.”  She continues, calling the collection “timely in the way it provides a lens through which to see life in the Middle East, and hear the musical mix of English and Arabic.”

The collection will be released in April, but in the meantime, readers can read more about Zeina Hashem Beck, or they can try their hand at the May Sarton NH Poetry Prize themselves: submissions are open until the end of June.

Published March 20, 2017

csu contests blog postEach year, the Cleveland State University Press holds the Open Book Poetry Competition, the Essay Collection Competition, and the First Book Poetry Competition (all three open until March 31, 2017). The three 2016 winners are set to be published at the beginning of April 2017.

In One Form to Find Another by Jane Lewty was chosen as the 2016 Open Book Poetry Competition winner, selected by Emily Kendal Frey, Siwar Masannat, and Jon Woodward. Advance praise refers to the collection as “an heroically unsettling and compelling textual reenactment of feminine embodiments’ lament, contemplation, and recalibration of disturbed histories . . . ”

daughterrarium by Sheila McMullin, selected by Daniel Borzutzky, won the 2016 First Book Poetry Competition. Borzutzky says of his selection, “I admire daughterrarium for pushing too far, for making me cringe with its representations of what one human can do to another, of what a body can do to itself.”

James Allen Hall’s I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well won the 2016 Essay Collection Competition, chosen by Chris Kraus. From Kraus: "In these essays, Hall lives alongside, and empathically lives through, his family’s meth addiction, and mental illnesses . . . and considers his own penchants for less than happy, equal sex with an agility, depth, and lightness that is blissfully inconclusive."

Check out the individual links to learn more about each prize-winning collection, and pre-order copies of all three.

Published March 16, 2017

hells gate laurent gaude blogIn mid-April, Gallic Books will be publishing Hell’s Gate by Laurent Gaudé. Gaudé’s The Scortas’ Sun is the winner of the Prix Gouncourt, the French literary award given to an author of the best imaginative work of prose each year. Hell’s Gate is a thrilling story following a father as he chases redemption for his murdered son. It explores “the effects of bereavement and grief on a family, and the relationship between the living and dead.”

Check out the Gallic Books website for more information about Hell’s Gate. Read advance praise, check out a downloadable PDF extract, and give yourself a chance to read work by one of France’s most highly respected playwrights and novelists. 

Published March 15, 2017

ghost child of atalanta bloom rebecca aronsonThe winner of the 2016 Orison Poetry Prize, Ghost Child of the Atalanta Bloom by Rebecca Aronson, will be published next month on April 4, 2017. Hadara Bar-Nadav, who selected the winner, calls the collection, “[e]xplosive, turbulent, haunting magnetic,” saying that “[m]ortality and death undergrid Aronson’s fantastical visions, where a child becomes a seagull, a woman turns tarantula, and a house threatens to fill with blood.”

Find sample poem “Wish” at the Orison Books website, where you can also find out more about Aronson and pre-order copies, which are currently on sale, a couple saved bucks you can set aside for even more poetry.

Published March 14, 2017

this history that just happened hannah craig blogParlor Press’s annual New Measure Poetry Prize (now open for 2017 submissions until the end of June) awards a poet a cash award of $1,000 and publication of an original manuscript.

The 2015 winner, This History That Just Happened, by Hannah Craig, selected by Yusef Komunyakaa, was published at the beginning of the year. Komunyakaa says of his selection, “This History That Just Happened places the reader at the nexus where rural and city life converge, bridging a world personal and political, natural and artful, in a voice always uniquely hers.”

Craig has also won the 2016 Mississippi Review Prize and her manuscript was a finalist for the Akron Poetry Prize, the Fineline Competition, and the Autumn House Poetry Prize. Stop by the Parlor Press website to learn more about Craig and purchase her debut poetry collection digitally or in print.

Published March 09, 2017

what was it for adrienne raphel blogEach June, Rescue Press accepts submissions for the Black Box Poetry Contest for full-length poetry collections open to poets at any stage in their writing careers. The latest Black Box Poetry winner will be released later this month (March 15): What Was It For by Adrienne Raphel. Judge Cathy Park Hong calls the debut full-length collection “feral and full of feverish delight.” She continues, “Raphel takes Victorian nonsense verse into the twenty-first century and transforms it to her own strange and genius song.”

Readers can learn more about What Was It For at the publisher’s website, where they can also find Raphel’s bio with more information about the writer and pre-order copies.

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