a kiss to the land by Denizé Lauture

  poems selected and introduced by Antonino D’Ambrosio Invoking the dreams of his Haitian ancestors, who now haunt his memories, Denizé Lauture’s poetry is imbued with a sense of never forgetting, reminding us all that the story of enduring must continue to be written, spoken, and dreamt. Writing and performing in Creole, French, and English, it’s impossible to turn away from Lauture’s moving and delightful poetry, which reverberates with all that he has experienced. At once a meaningful protest through the medium of words and sounds as well as a celebration of bearing witness, Lauture’s poetry retains an indefatigable spirit. There is something in Lauture’s work that emanates a quiet insurgency. It may come from his country’s history. Haiti defeated not one but three European powers—Britain, France, and Spain—on its way to securing independence after a successful slaves revolt. Lauture’s life’s work ensures that history doesn’t evaporate into the mist sprayed by those who want to tell a different story, one made unreal by spectacle and corrupted by the complicity of silence. We should read, see, and listen to Lauture who knows it’s the poet that shows us that it’s not about if we can but that we must —and will—prevail.   Other Subpress books by Denizé Lauture: The Black Warrior and Other Poems ...

Wherewithal by Adam DeGraff

“In the eary 90’s hordes of gifted young experimental writers met and gathered in the San Francisco Bay Area to participate in a few years of making work that, were I more given to hyperbole, I would term a veritable galvanic, miraculous, reinvention of poetry! And Adam DeGraff, then a Berkeley grad student, was among the principal players. Hard to believe, but this volume of selected poems is his very first book. It’s been long in the making, yet will please fans old and new, overflowing as it does with linguistic and musical invention, and an elliptical, hard-earned wisdom. Reading the poems of Wherewithal one can’t help realizing that all those years ago DeGraff started writing for tomorrow, a moment that’s almost upon us now; he has prepared us for eventuality, for event, not for beauty alone, but for tears as well.”— Kevin Killian Adam DeGraff is a poet, musician, teacher and author of All This Will Become Dust In Just Three Minutes, from We Have A Fax Machine Press, and from Shark Books. Wherewithal is his first full-length book and collects work written between 1994 and...

Kingsize by Mette Moestrup

Complex, original, and hard-hitting poetry collection. . . . This is political poetry at the uppermost level. —Peter Stein Larsen Moestrup again distinguishes herself as our sharpest (post) feminist poet (are there any others?). . . . The attitude in Kingsize is raw and political; her poisonous, glittering, lyrical nail polish makes several fresh assaults on Danish immigration policies. . . . Her anger is classy. Verse as sheer sublime weapon. —Lars Bukdahl For some time now Mette Moestrup, one of Scandinavia’s most important contemporary writers, has been writing an edgy poetry about the body, about being a mother and a lover in Denmark. She is renowned for love verse as uninhibited as it is feminist, and her provocative, mischievous, sexy poetry also happens to be headily intellectual and full of references to anything and everything, from Batman to Rilke. Moestrup holds true to form with this wildly interwoven collection full of word play and formal avant-garde experiments, kitchensinkfuls of references, recurring themes of ethnicity and sexuality, war and violence, sustained motifs, mythical female figures on a sensation-seeking TV talk show. But all of this, and much more, with an unease, an edginess, a vulnerability as political controversies and racism repeatedly appear to question what at first seems playful. It is a work that delights then challenges the delight. Kingsize is Mette Moestrup’s third and most acclaimed book. It won the Danish Montana Literature Prize for innovative writing....

Interstices by Rachel Blau DuPlessis

For those of us who fell in love with the putative end of DuPlessis’s lifework, Drafts—‘Volta! Volta!’—it’s a serious pleasure to discover that it has indeed taken a turn, the serial poem plumbing its manifold interstices for a way to ‘unbegin,’ and in so doing discovering new ‘ways of exceeding itself / and of losing itself / in strings of letters.’ INTERSTICES, however, also begins the work of turning back to look upon a life spent in letters, and what I love most about this brave, witty book is that it’s ultimately about being—in time, in language, in relation—a condition by nature contingent, partial, and mortal. ‘Not to so easy to answer what it’s like to be in time,’ it admits, ‘counting up / the little bits of self and / understanding.’ But what makes this book so miraculous and wise is that its ledgers and letters account for the thrill of the imagination and desire alive in language even while the writing mind knows how the ultimate sentence ends. ‘Let us meet it where we stand,’ these poems declare, and ‘enter the darkness mindfully.’ The great gift of this book is that it makes such high hopes seem possible. —Brian Teare   See Rachel Blau DuPlessis reading “Letter 8” from Interstices at the Kelly Writers House here.   In her first book since the conclusion of Drafts (Surge: 96-114), Rachel Blau DuPlessis has shaken language out, “dismantled it,” and then reconstructed it. Interstices is writing and reading between the lines but formally is epistolary (a series of letters to friends, real or imagined, alive or dead) and is also about “keeping books”...

Walking Among Them by Max Winter

“Max Winter’s poems are full of the permission of comedy and the precision of laughter. He is urbane, witty, and a New York poet, though that appellation doesn’t capture his eccentric grace, or his way of slipping to the center of another world by anaphora. He is one head of the perennially new generation of surrealists, infra-sub-realists, visceral as John Ashbery; what matters to both is drawing of the body, exploration of a mind. Such play is a foretaste of Heaven.” —David Shapiro   Read a poem from Walking Among Them that appeared here in Verse Daily.   Max Winter’s first book, The Pictures, was published by Tarpaulin Sky Press in 2007. He has published reviews in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere. He is one of the poetry editors of Fence Magazine, and he co-edits the press Solid Objects.   Follow Max Winter on Twitter: @maxwinter37...

Articulated Lair by Camille Guthrie

In her third collection of poetry, Camille Guthrie engages with Louise Bourgeois’s deeply personal sculptures, paintings, and drawings in her own taut, emotive abstractions, carving new meaning out of a body of work central to twentieth-century art. The poet converses with the artist’s preoccupations with love, alienation, sex, death, and identity. These poems offer a formally precise, playfully intense perspective—an essential vocabulary for monumental works. As Susan Wheeler observes, “Like Louise Bourgeois, Camille Guthrie makes great art from great discomfort. […] The rigor of Bourgeois’s inner life and studio practice supports these beautiful improvisations like an armature over which a billowing fabric drapes.”   Reviews and Other Links Camille T. Dungy @ The Rumpus Rumpus Poetry Book Club Chat Interview with Julianna Baggott Publisher’s Weekly Review   Camille Guthrie is the author of the poetry books Articulated Lair (2013), In Captivity (2006), and The Master Thief (2000) (all Subpress books), and the chapbooks Defending Oneself (Beard of Bees, 2004) and People Feel with Their Hearts in Another Instance: Three Chapbooks (Instance Press, 2011). Born in Seattle, she has lived in Pittsburgh and Brooklyn. She holds degrees from Vassar College and from the Graduate Creative Writing Program at Brown University. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and on web sites, including Arsenal, Art and Artists:Poems, Chicago Review, Conjunctions, No: A Journal of the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and The White Review. She raises two children with her husband in upstate New York and teaches literature at Bennington College. Follow Camille Guthrie on Twitter: @GuthrieCamille...

Raw War by Alan Davies

ISBN-10: 1930068611 ISBN-13: 978-1930068612 The Diogenes of the New York langpo scene. —Ron Silliman

Punk Faun: A Bar Rock Pastel by Redell Olsen

This work was commissioned by Isabella d’Este for the walls of her studiolo after she attended a daylong screening of Matthew Barney’s Creemaster at The Roxy in Brixton, London, and a few weeks later stumbled upon an artist’s talk by Raphael on Ed Rushca’s painting “They Called Her Styrene.” However, it was her experiences that same evening in a karaoke bar off Oxford Street that convinced her to go through with her planned idea and to approach a writer who could carry out her design for a bar rock pastel. At the time of the commission the patron was herself concerned with the plight of deer on the roads of Europe and North America and was an ardent campaigner for the introduction of sonic deer deterrents based on installations pioneered by Max Neuhaus. In a drawing, now unfortunately lost, and in this written description (for the first time available here within the text of a popular edition) she details her request for a masque of grotesque pastoral and mythic proportions, a cloven poetics that would feature commerical activity to be streamed live on the walls of her studiolo. She similarly required the inclusion of players as ordinary citizens—or often as ordinary citizens as artists—”got up in devious animal brocade,” to perform whatever forms of cultural consumption, display and collection they encountered over the duration of their everyday experience, all this for her personal entertainment and meditative consolation. D’Este paid for the work upfront safe in the knowledge that she had purchased a piece of poetic invention in which even the title was against itself.       Redell Olsen’s publications include Film Poems (Les Figues...

The Practice of Residue by Kimberly Lyons

“Kimberly Lyons wants to ‘stay with the poem in this uncomfortable singular place / Where the flies and moths co-exist.’ It is hard to listen when ‘The poems says: / You can’t have any lobster, you stupid, hungry poet.’ But that is exactly what the poet does. Instead of shutting the world out, she follows the sounds wherever they take her. ‘I abide / one who abets / a lady’s maid.’ It makes for an intricate music, a teasing out of possibilities. These are the poet’s ‘restorative analects.’ This is a book to read again and again.”—John Yau “Kimberly Lyons cracks open the primordial egg from which all creation originates. What issues from it: ‘glossy first milk / of time,’ an ‘aromatic hem,’ ‘the discharging thread,’ ‘a / kind of channel / a crystal / edge of the knife,’ ‘a stich of blue / for heating flame.’ Lyons’s absolutely magical reckoning with the world is as generative and hallucinatory as it is generous and honest. Thus The Practice of Residue pours out from its mythic eggshell the lost traces of amniotic fluid that every reader needs if she is to realize and be realized: divination becomes ‘a binding condensation.’ The only possible response to this poetry is gratitude and love.”—Elizabeth Robinson Kimberly Lyons is the author of several books of poetry including Rogue (Instance Press, 2012), The Practice of Residue (Subpress, 2012), Photothérapique (Katalanché Press/Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2008), Saline (Instance Press, 2005), and Abracadabra (Granary Books, 2000). Asterisk 12 (fewer and further Press, 2012) is an issue of her work in broadside form. She is the publisher of Lunar Chandelier Press and lives in Brooklyn, NY....

Material Girl by Laura Jaramillo

“The experience of MATERIAL GIRL begins in a field of distinct flowers—poems are ‘the flowers of associational thinking,’ as Charles Bernstein teaches—each composition held in its own light, which it produces. Can the experiment ‘express our peasant sufferings’? Can the beauty of the language be made to make things clear? ‘Material Girl’ and MATERIAL GIRL abide in and arise from these questions, inhabiting them, moving through them, to the point of noticing, transmitting, ‘the nation’s wild flowers bow gently // around our waists in the open.’ If the thing is that we have to learn how both to inhabit and escape, adore and destroy—well, now I feel sure that this is the thing, because this is what Laura Jaramillo teaches.”—Fred Moten   “Negative Ecstasy. She said it herself and it’s true. Laura Jaramillo’s poems are just short of too smart. Meaning they are too real to critique. Cascading (‘jism from the cock of a cartoon’) they (shake-shake) are it.”—Eileen Myles   “Before Madonna was Monroe, before Monroe, Mina Loy, before Mina Loy, was Laura Jaramillo, who crosscuts a multitude of materialities so that a girl will appear, abject, yet a star, a girl who lives in Italian movies and in Queens, who, knowing her Adorno, is as well a materialist girl, a dazzling embodiment of critical thought and purest longing, awakening to life in and away from the city. True, as she intimates, Manhattan may not exist, but the romance of it lives on in every lyrical, sharp-eyed, exhilarating, witty, and sad line of this marvelous book. Reader, beware: Laura Jaramillo will make you miss New York so much it...

Another Look by Gary Lenhart

Opinions tend to be uninteresting, which is one of the reasons why I always like reading poet Gary Lenhart’s critical pieces: he gives us far more than thumbs up or thumbs down. In his clean, clear prose, Lenhart comes across as companionable, smart, well-read, alert, and sane. He has no terrible axes to grind and he never lords it over the work under scrutiny. Even on those rare occasions when I disagree with him, I trust his probity, I am delighted by his wit, and I applaud the fact that ultimately he is rooting for everyone to write well. —Ron Padgett Gary Lenhart is the author of five collections of poetry, including Compositions (2010), Father and Son Night (1999), and Light Heart (1991), from Hanging Loose Press. He also wrote The Stamp of Class: Reflections on Poetry and Social Class (University of Michigan Press, 2006). He has contributed poems, essays, and reviews to many magazines and anthologies, and was an editor of the magazines Mag City and Transfer. With Steve Levine, Gregory Masters, and Bob Rosenthal he edited Clinch: Selected Poems of Michael Scholnick (Coffee House Press, 1998) and with Christopher Edgar The Teachers & Writers Guide to Classic American Literarture (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2001). He also edited The Teachers & Writers Guide to William Carlos Williams (1998). He worked at Teachers & Writers Collaborative for 10 years and has taught at Mercy College, LIU-Brooklyn, Columbia University, Community College of Vermont, College for Lifelong Learning, and since 1996 at Dartmouth....

Permit by Rob Holloway

I’m standing in for a huge range of U.S. readers and writers for whom Rob Holloway’s work will be a delightful surprise—and a challenge, for we’re not used to a meditative, analytical poetry with this many moving parts. The first thing I notice about Permit is how verb-based it is; I get the sense of a swift creek scudding across stones, and the stones are the verbs making the whole thing happen. With his narrative continually shredding itself, dressing and undressing in a single motion, Holloway creates a society of underplayed males dominated by his incomparable heroine Pam, who, like Oedipa Maas in San Francisco, wanders through and activates a London tragic, gorgeous, and numinous as life itself. So I’m telling you, Rob Holloway’s poetry will open your eyes—and then some. —Kevin Killian Rob Holloway is a poet and teacher living in London, England. His first chapbook, American Heroines, was published by Writers Forum in 1999, followed by Permit: A Sampler (2000) and Permit IV (Spanner, 2002). Permit is his first book. His work has appeared in the magazines Mirage #4/Period(ical), Tongue to Boot, Kenning, Tolling Elves, and Axolotl and online in How 2, onedit, Pores, and past simple. From November 2002 to March 2004, he hosted the poetry radio show Up for Air on Resonance FM. In 2004, he launched the poetry CD label Stem, publishing CDs by Maggie O’Sullivan, Allen Fisher, Peter Manson, and Leslie Scalapino. A chapbook of new work, Mortmain, is forthcoming from Stem in 2009....

The Selected Poems of Steve Carey

Steve Carey had the loveliest poetry voice I’ve ever encountered. When Steve sat down to write, all negativity dropped away and there was nothing left but this awed, shaping, most musical voice, informed by the negative in life and in his own character, but flying gently above it. Read this selection of his poems and hear the sound of his impartial—outside school or faction (nowhere but the present)—love of the art. —Alice Notley   Steve Carey’s Selected Poems reminds you he’s been here all the time. Poems of oxymoronic elan, motility with inertia, the heartfelt and the facetious, the sweet and the defensively tart. He reserves the right, occasionally, to step in and out of role. His diction is exacting and his writerly stance is up to any date. A fellow-traveling Zen monk, he sees first his own world, and then the world, with intellect and irony. He’s on the map—you could look it up. —John Godfrey   Steve Carey was born in Washington, D.C., in 1945 and published seven collections of poetry before his death in 1989. “Steve,” an essay on his life and writing, can be found in Alice Notley’s Coming After: Essays on Poetry. The Selected Poems of Steve Carey is the first book in over twenty years to make Carey’s work widely available.   Edited by Edmund Berrigan....

Theogony by Douglas Rothschild

One might argue that Rothschild s thesis in Theogony could be reduced to That which is not there is all that is the case. Although the book collects poems from as far back as 1997, it is a volume profoundly about the events of September 11, 2001 from the perspective of someone who lived in close proximity to the fallen towers. —Ron Silliman, Silliman’s blog My favorite book of poems for 2009 so far. And a long time a-coming. But finally here it is: as close as possible to a Douglas Rothschild Collected. The pleasure of Theogony starts in the hand: the square format, perfectly suited to the work, and the pleasant, solid, yet casual heft of its 210 pages. —Pierre Joris, Nomadics About the Author Douglas Rothschild’s life has been one long miasma of failure, disappointment, coffee & overarching desire. Though he has not yet accomplished anything of note, Mr. Rothschild intends to continue on for some time yet. Some of this life, such as it is, has been chronicled in Bill Luoma’s WORKS & DAYS & Jennifer Moxley’s THE MIDDLE ROOM....

The Missing Occasion of Saying Yes by Benjamin Friedlander

Benjamin Friedlander speaks with ungainsayable clarity of what we had thought to forget —Robert Creeley Is melancholy good? I think Ben Friedlander has the moodiest ear for it in the field, and wit to match. Where he takes this immodest gift is to a tangled interstice where idiom intersects with the body’s fault lines. Uncannily the reader has almost had these thoughts. The attraction feels sideways, vertiginous. We receive, with these poems, the shapeliness of tact. Then suddenly he shows us the tax we pay to Rome —Lisa Robertson As a poet, scholar, editor, and translator, Benjamin Friedlander has dedicated more than half a lifetime to rigorously engaging with the concepts and practices of contemporary poetry, and this much-wished-for book provides a beginning survey of that commitment. Gathered here are poems from the first ten years of his wide-ranging, critically probing, and intellectually ambitious poetic project. This book will amaze, defy, and remind again how not to be made complacent by what poetry offers —Alan Gilbert In his earliest books of poetry, collected here from 1984-1994, Ben Friedlander constructed an argument–not simply an argument for postwar lyric poetry, but an argument for the relevance, even survival, of a poetic urge that casts its long shadow into all corners of art. —Rob Fitterman...

The Middle Room by Jennifer Moxley

Moxley’s detailed and lushly-written memoir is set largely in San Diego and follows her life thus far from childhood to marriage. Consistently focused on poetry and poets, it dwells on the curious ways Americans now find their way into the literary life. “There was a secret force deep in my psyche which, like a Cold War double agent, worked in tandem with my insecurity, a sort of wicked interior spy that emerged at the most inopportune moments to make sport of all my fears and fill me with crippling self-doubt as regards my natural fitness to live the life of the mind”–from the text. Jennifer Moxley teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Maine. Her books of poetry include Imagination Verses, Often Capital, The Sense Record and The...

Os by Roberto Harrison

Harrison’s practice in Os is coherent both in modulation and argument—not a modest achievement given certain habits of our radically inclined. Out of the dense corners his poems inhabit or perform—indeed, as “red horses / drink their fields in finished sentences”—the poems travel a familiar defiance, to the degree that their particular instance of manufacture remains largely difficult to ascertain. However, the mood is as immersive as it is prepared to situate and make links in definition of larger claims to reverse or bifurcate the assumptions of our social identities and the rhetorical representations that make them a liability. —Roberto Tejada   Roberto Harrison was born in Oregon to Panamanian parents; he and his family moved to Panama when he was a year old, and then to Delaware in 1969. Harrison pursued studies in mathematics and computer science as an undergraduate; after a year of graduate work in mathematics at Indiana University, Bloomington, he traveled in the United States, Europe, and North Africa. His collections of poetry include Counter Daemons (2006), Os (2006), elemental song (2006), reflector (2008), and Urracá (2009)....

In Captivity by Camille Guthrie

Camille Guthrie transposes the pastoral themes of the medieval Unicorn Tapestries with those of modern, urban life in an ingenious reimagining of both. Amidst her flora and fauna we encounter a lookout, a boyfriend, informants, hunters, poets, and a rock star—all fresh translations of familiar figures. Here the unicorn becomes a blank figure for the beloved, knowledge, and vision. The allegory of the hunt becomes the pursuit of the elusive prey of meaning. As in The Master Thief (Subpress, 2000), Guthrie agilely uses traditional and modern poetic forms. These fearless poems invite the reader to be startled by ideas and ambushed by beauty. Camille Guthrie’s sharp eye for lyric detail, her use of shifting connections, narrative fragments, quotations, and demarcations have produced a haunting and powerful collection of meditations. This sequence is the work of an impressive new voice in American poetry. —Susan Howe A captivating composition. A loving trap. —C. D. Wright Camille Guthrie is the author of the poetry books Articulated Lair (2013), In Captivity (2006), and The Master Thief (2000) (all Subpress books), and the chapbooks Defending Oneself (Beard of Bees, 2004) and People Feel with Their Hearts in Another Instance: Three Chapbooks (Instance Press, 2011). Born in Seattle, she has lived in Pittsburgh and Brooklyn. She holds degrees from Vassar College and from the Graduate Creative Writing Program at Brown University. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and on web sites, including Arsenal, Art and Artists:Poems, Chicago Review, Conjunctions, No: A Journal of the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and The White Review. She raises two children with her husband in upstate New...

War, the Musical by Robert Fitterman and Dirk Rowntree

War, the Musical condenses the written, visual, musical and interpretational aspects of the musical form into a small well-compiled book. Robert Fitterman and Dirk Rowntree have produced an ingenious collection of images, blank pages text and sheet music that can be examined in many ways. War, the Musical reads as a flipbook, allowing the carefully selected images to pass by you like a lively drama. Upon careful examination this collection has a plot and a score to accompany it. It is a wonderful, multi-faceted innovation in the written word.   From Publishers Weekly Combining the cut-and-paste graphic art and radical typesetting of artist Rowntree with texts that poet Fitterman (Metropolis) has found, altered and composed, this hybrid work orchestrates a multiplicity of voices singing out against an ever changing backdrop. The result is a book that harmonizes the contradictions between lines like “all you can/ think about is there’s/ someone out there// trying to kill you or/ your buddy” and “Hunter satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us.” Rowntree offers up a profusion of incongruous yet moving scenes and figures. The text reads like spliced Internet chatter presented with strategic orthographic alterations. As elements repeat, they produce the disorienting sense of a business-as-usual homefront (“1 made the cheerleading squad 6ecause 1 yelled the cheer as loud as 1 could”) obliterating a real war with a mouse click. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved....

Opposable Thumb by Joe Elliot

This is Joe Elliot’s second collection of pitch-perfect poems.   Opposable Thumb is essential reading. In these poems, Joe Elliot brings a whopping arsenal of technique to the table to create a sumptuous feast of meaning without equal signs or slashes…Here, song is thought. It all rings true. Essential the way mindfulness is essential. Enjoy the view —Mitch Highfill How has the world limped along for so long without Joe Elliot’s new book? If you want to relearn language, please read these poems, which release the kinetic potential of the page like toasters dropped into bathtubs —Marcella Durand   A fixture on the New York poetry scene for more than 20 years, Elliot’s massively summative debut is as rigorous as it is loose, and casual as it is elegant. Each of these nearly 50 poems, grouped into four sections, progresses not so much by telling stories as describing several events, on a tiny scale, at once: “A Godzilla statuette steps/ crushing grey offices at the far// end of a bar. Next to it in a 3-piece/ suit a gratuitously rude// drunk sways, points his palm/ corder at a man who// is paid to expertly slice/ a variety of fish and smile// evenly.” Over the course of the book, Elliot’s speaker takes “a slow roll through Baltimore,” chooses a fork “In Orlando when the day of the dead finally arrived” and finds that “Super-model-dom is to dungarees as attitude is to thought.” But one-liners are not the point. As Elliot’s observations accrue, a portrait emerges of a singular consciousness driven by a wry, subtle, detective-like love for its time and...