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Archive for November 2014

A Conversation Between Carrie Olivia Adams & Kristina Marie Darling on The The


The Poem as Archive:
A Conversation Between Carrie Olivia Adams & Kristina Marie Darling



Carrie Olivia Adams lives in Chicago, where she is a book publicist for the University of Chicago Press, the poetry editor for Black Ocean, and a biscuit maker and whiskey drinker. She is the author of Forty-One Jane Doe’s (book and companion DVD, Ahsahta 2013) and Intervening Absence (Ahsahta 2009) as well as the chapbooks Overture in the Key of F (above/ground press 2013) and A Useless Window (Black Ocean 2006).

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of nearly twenty books, which include Melancholia (An Essay) (Ravenna Press, 2012), Petrarchan (BlazeVOX Books, 2013), and Scorched Altar: Selected Poems and Stories 2007-2014 (BlazeVOX Books, forthcoming). Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, the Ucross Foundation, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, as well as grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation. She was recently selected as a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome.

Carrie Olivia Adams’ first book, Intervening Absence, played with ideas of form. Her second book, Forty-One Jane Doe’s, brought the ideas to praxis: she made films in the hopes of creating immersive companions to the cinematic language of the text.

Throughout, Adams’ work has drawn from the language of mathematics, architecture, medicine, and astrophysics in order to create a hybrid voice—one that troubles the line between observation, objective detail, and the intuition of inference. Her forthcoming book, Operating Theater, moves poems to the stage, creating a poem-cum-play in five acts. 


Kristina Marie Darling: 
I’ve always admired your work as a poet, particularly the ways your book projects engage archival material. Your most recent collection, Forty-One Jane Doe’s, draws from source material that ranges from the scientific to the sublime. As the book unfolds, treatises on mathematics, astronomical diagrams, and scientific discoveries inform the poems as much as the speakers’ emotional topographies. I’m fascinated by this tension between subjectivity and clinical language: rhetoric that strives for objectivity. Your work places seemingly impersonal discourses in conversation with emotion, affect, and sentiment. It’s often the archival material you’re working with that gives rise to this tension between registers, and between different types of language. With that in mind, I’d love to hear more about your process working with archival material. What role do non-poetic texts play in your creative process? What does this archival material, this presence of other voices and types of language, make possible within your work?

Carrie Olivia Adams:  I am one who has a whole list of things she would like to be other than a poet—detective, spy, physicist, astronomer, zoologist, forensic pathologist, diplomat. I have a whole list of things I wish I had studied: fewer books on books and more books on the making of the world around me. I am completely drawn to things I know very little about. Math feels almost exotic. And yet, equations, in their logic and language, are syntax, which is the most familiar. I love to diagram sentences. I’m also someone with a day job. I am not an academic or a professor, but working in university publishing allows me the chance to brush against ideas, to glean new knowledge in tiny pebbles that I stick in my pockets. Many years ago, when I was at the University of Chicago Press, my cubicle was near the offices of journals of astrophysics, and so when it was quiet I would read what I could, pocketing phrases and ideas. 

And so began some of the earliest poems that attempted to incorporate disciplines that were not my own. I wanted very much to get out of my head, out of my very solipsistic skin. And I have often, for reasons both good and very bad, not frequently read a lot of contemporary poetry. Instead, I’ve sunk myself into the very opposite of what I do—indulging in thick, intricate novels and attempting to understand visual perspective through the diction of film angles. I have wanted to write poems that could have dialogues with ideas or modes of expression other than just other poems.

Read the whole interview here

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Those Godawful Streets of Man by Stephen Bett Now Available!

 “This is an edgy, raw, harsh, gritty book about the contemporary cityscape—its block buildings; its loose, naked, spitting live wires; its plugged-in populace. A place where Borderliners, leeches, zombies, and drains fight it out over a man and a woman locked in a death grip.”

Praise for Track This by Stephen Bett

Bett’s poetry are offerings: they expose themselves like nude paintings, providing only the essentials and inviting the reader to extrapolate interpretation based on the subjective reading. This is authentic minimalist poetry. The words are so modestly beautiful in their arrangement upon the white page while showing an emotional intelligence within the micro-text. Poetic minimalism is notoriously difficult to master, especially on a topic as complex as human relationships. Yet [this work] manipulates the sparse format so aptly that the outcome is a poignant expression of the tensions that exist between two people. At times, the collection demonstrates the understated gentleness of the English language with a human voice that makes the poetry so accessible to the layperson (while it beckons multiple readings from the widely read). To satisfy both types of readers is an incredible accomplishment.

—REM magazine, New Zealand

You are on what first nations call a vision quest. Track the process and trust the signs. Look for totems. All decisions must come from the biggest part of yourself...in the epic form… of books you are living.

―Michael Kenyon (poet, novelist, editor)

Stephen Bett has had fifteen previous books of poetry published: Breathing Arizona: A Journal (Ekstasis Editions, 2014); Penny-Ante Poems (Ekstasis Editions, 2013); Sound Off: a book of jazz (Thistledown Press, 2013); Re-Positioning (Ekstasis Editions, 2011); Track This: a book of relationship (BlazeVOX Books, 2010); S PLIT (Ekstasis Editions, 2009); Extreme Positions: the soft-porn industry Exposed (Spuyten Duyvil Books, 2009); Sass ’n Pass (Ekstasis Editions, 2008); Three Women (Ekstasis Editions, 2006); Nota Bene Poems: A Journey (Ekstasis Editions, 2005); Trader Poets (Frog Hollow Press, 2003); High-Maintenance (Ekstasis Editions, 2003); High Design Refit (Greenboathouse Books, 2002); Cruise Control (Ekstasis Editions, 1996); Lucy Kent and other poems (Longspoon Press, 1983).

His work has also appeared in over 100 literary journals in Canada, the U.S., England, Australia, New Zealand, and Finland, as well as in three anthologies, and on radio.

His “personal papers” have been purchased by the Simon Fraser University Library, and are, on an ongoing basis, being archived in their “Contemporary Literature Collection” for current and future scholarly interest.

He lives in Vancouver.

For reviews of his books, please see stephenbett.com

Book Information:

· Paperback: 112 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-200-6



Those Godawful Streets of Man by Stephen Bett Book Preview

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An Argument of Roots by Cornelia Veenendaal Now Available!

 In An Argument of Roots, Veenendaal takes up the character of urban life, juxtaposing natural and built environments and the historical changes that re-make cities. At the “Registry of Deeds,” a speaker declares, “Here is the volume and page,/ the street plan, 1897,// handwritten where I/ fit into the scheme of things/ enough to plant a border garden/ and kneel to cultivate it.” Staring at a “Vietnamese shop window,” the narrator recalls, “How we stood in our thousands/ out on the Common/ while the war went on with its own/ momentum.” One speaker studies a bronze statue in Boston's financial district, another hears of the suicide of a recent veteran. The city teems with stories, as Veenendaal meditates—with compassionate wisdom—on the individual in community with others and “the voice of a mockingbird/ floats out of the trees.”

—Robin Becker, author of Tiger Heron

This extra-ordinary poet is at once companionable with the natural world and wonderfully awake to the daily surprises of the city; a poet who is almost painfully attuned to the beauty that sustains us and mindful of the terrors that threaten to fell us. Over and over, Veenendaal's poems cause us to stumble upon the quotidian the way we might catch a toe on a forest snag or trip on a loose brick in the sidewalk or lurch with the sudden braking of a T car. Once we've stumbled, each poem says, Wait a moment Look. And when we pause, we discover between the lines all manner of connections with painters and sculptors, poets from many cultures and centuries, woodland creatures, urban denizens...I am quietly amazed and grateful that, like the emperor's cricket, Veenendaal is here still,/ scraping [her] colors on the hours.

—Marie Harris; NH Poet Laureate, 1999-2004

Cornelia Veenendaal is one of the founding members of Alice James Books, a cooperative press in which she published two collections of poems: The Trans-Siberian Railway, and Green Shaded Lamps. A third volume, What Seas What Shores was published by the Rowan Tree Press. She taught literature and writing at the University of Massachusetts Boston for 25 years. She has been working on poems and essays of personal history in Dorchester, a neighborhood of Boston, until recently, when she moved to New Hampshire.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 78 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-184-9



An Argument of Roots by Cornelia Veenendaal Book Preview

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Two Books on the Gas by Jared Schickling Now Available!

Two Books on the Gas splits us in two: Above the Shale is ‘Diving into the Wreck’ for a credible earth, both aboveground and below. The topics are fracking and love and political violence and ashes in known states of fractured experience. The words, phrases, and ventured pages are so alive and differentiated you can sense your emplacement in the physical world. Achieved by Kissing is a demotic abecedarian, the exhalation of intense writing, an open human mirror of the attentive civic witness. Jared Schickling both kicks and tickles in this poetry that is both piece by piece and a whole art. Responsibility was never so gently insisted.

—Lisa Samuels

Schickling’s materiel-driven poetics mashes up a pre-ethicalized consciousness of the raw human reach for Life with the divination-pose of Fuel Speculation’s futurity e pluribus Unum. The “rational” to “irrational” spectrum of our present’s “present”, betrays an unspoken truth: the Republic of Fuel has, in fact, no sensate feel for time—at all.

In these Two Books on The Gas, Schickling engages us with a scintillating exploration of how the affective waste need not be merely contained and managed, but how it can be projected out—away towards a new Human Chronos of Possibility. This passionate, devoted tourney of recalc, brooks no compromises with either political brink pragmatists nor with apocalypticisms of any brand, threading instead a fully realized Eros of poetic illumination borne of the same materiality from which this Republic of Fuel is, for all to see, falling. People (and thus poetics) are rising.

—Rodrigo Toscano

Jared Schickling is the author of several BlazeVOX books, including ATBOALGFPOPASASBIFL (2013) and The Pink (2012), as well as the chapbook Prospectus for a Stage (LRL Textile Series, 2013) and The Paranoid Reader: Essays, 2006-2012 (Furniture Press, 2014). He co-edits Delete Press, eccolinguistics, and Reconfigurations: A Journal for Poetics and Poetry / Literature and Culture. He lives in Western New York.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 174 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-196-2



Two Books on the Gas- Above the Shale and Achieved by Kissing by Jared Schickling Book Preview


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Susan Lewis Interviews Kristina Marie Darling

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of twenty books, which include Melancholia (An Essay) (Ravenna Press, 2012), Petrarchan (BlazeVOX Books, 2013), and Scorched Altar: Selected Poems and Stories 2007-2014 (BlazeVOX Books, 2014). Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, the Ucross Foundation, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, as well as grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation. She was recently selected as a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome.



SL: Reading The Sun and the Moon is a bit like dreaming to a beautiful and haunting soundtrack. The book makes use of incantation, repetition, iteration and reiteration to create a mysterious and ceremonial solemnity. And then there’s the celestial bodies which inhabit the narrative, not to mention the astronomical clocks looming over everything. Can you talk about the etymology of this book, and how it might relate to astronomy, dreams, music, or the supernatural?



KMD: That’s a great question. I’m very interested in relationships that are haunted: by the past, by landscapes, and by one’s own imagination. The Sun & the Moon is essentially a love story, one that’s haunted by celestial bodies. The book takes the astronomical clock as its central metaphor, depicting astral bodies that are forever orbiting one another, and forever distant from one another. Their union is haunted by a sky filled with debris and dead stars, the remnants of what once was a burst of light.


In its own strange way, the book is very autobiographical. I believe that poetry can be autobiographical, and deeply personal, yet still imaginative, unruly, and strange. For me, creating an imaginary world like the one found in The Sun & the Moon is almost more personal than writing down what actually “happened,” since the reader sees and experiences what (for me) was the emotional truth. After all, there is no objective truth to be had, not even for scientists.


SL: I very much agree – the notion of the “personal” is so much roomier than that of the “confessional.” I’m fascinated by the poems from The Other City, which I am pleased to be publishing in a future issue of Posit. They seem to address an ‘other’ version of what might be considered ‘ordinary’ reality: weddings, elementary school, daily civic life, etc. I also love the prose poems which you recently published in The Tupelo Quarterly, from The Arctic Circle. Can you tell us a bit about those collections, and when and where we might get the chance to read them?


KMD: Thank you for the kind words about my new poems! The Other City is still a work in progress. The poems are a bit different from my previous work, since they use sound to forge connections between ideas and images within the text, and essentially to create narrative continuity. I think of them as an engagement with Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons, as well as the work of more contemporary writers: Hanna Andrews, Thalia Field, and Inger Christensen. A couple of the poems are forthcoming in Laurel Review, and I’m thrilled to have several pieces in Posit. I hope to have the manuscript ready to send out by the end of the year.

And The Arctic Circle was just released by BlazeVOX Books. In this collection, you’ll find a newly minted wife, the ghost of another wife, and a man whose true love was found frozen inside his house. I hope you’ll check it out! It’s perfect for Halloween, after all.


Read the whole interview here

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