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Articles by Clarice Waldman :

Kristina Marie Darling interviewed at The Collagist


An Interview-in-Excerpts with Kristina Marie Darling

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of over 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.

An excerpt from her book, "The Arctic Circle," appeared in Issue Sixty-Five of The Collagist. 

Here, she answers questions in the form of excerpts from The Artic Circle. 

What is writing like?

I hold out the smallest parcel, show him its frozen worlds.  

What isn’t writing like?

His last wife.

When you do it, why?

I did it because he told me not to.

When you don’t, why?

I have trouble controlling the shaking in both my hands.    

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Dangerous Things To Please a Girl by Travis Cebula Now Available!

Reading Travis Cebula’s engaging, dynamic new collection of poems Dangerous Things To Please a Girl, I am reminded of Michelle Naka Pierce speaking of intimacy across vast distances, the way language connects or longs, as here Travis Cebula’s travelogue poems stretch their tender tendrils out towards their listener, at once Angel, the addressee, and the reader, seeking a home, a location, a connection. As the book concludes, as we turn to the last page, we too keep on “turning. closer and closer” like the boy in this final poem—thus, in reading this book, we edge towards one another, and away, passengers in a life, a city. Cebula’s Paris is highly reminiscent of Frank O’Hara’s New York—a lively space to roam and reflect, to observe and to touch. Punctuated, like days, by grocery lists (often of the French clichés—picking up croissants or cheese and wine—) the original experiences of the speaker stand in stark contrast to the generic items purchased, accentuating a universal location of individuality in a world that often appears to have absorbed all our uniqueness in errand running, getting by or even global cosmopolitanism. The history of the city—literary and otherwise—serves as backdrop to this contemporary struggle to define and write the self, that self asking why it goes on going on, into the city, society, the weft and wane of existence, as the narrator—observing a pedestrian—asks of that other as much as of himself: “is it divine purpose or a madness older than trees, Angel, that prods this lone human to stride into traffic again”. A charming, delightful read, this collection of poems allows us to stroll with Cebula, to see his Paris while it invites us to reflect on the world through his eyes.

—Jennifer K. Dick, author of Circuits (2013)

A man wanders through Paris. A man wanders through Eliot. Eliot wanders through Paris. Paris wanders through the man. And, not surprisingly, it all comes out as a love letter. Though addressed to a missing person, these poems have no absence about them at all. Instead, built of the fine detail of daily life, they exude a vivid presence that coalesces into a richly nuanced sense of place, of place-as-lived. And it’s a good life. And an utterly delightful book.

—Cole Swensen, author of Stele (2012)

Travis Cebula’s collection Dangerous Things to Please a Girl contains intimate epistolary poems in which the speaker addresses his beloved during a stay in Paris. Reaching across and beyond this marvelous city, the collection reflects on a tourist’s solitude. Lines from TS Eliot’s oeuvre serve as titles for all the poems, reminding us that as readers we are part of a meditative experience—one intensified by the senses. Sensory snapshots—the smells, tastes, sounds, sights, and textures of Paris—create a feeling of familiarity that echoes the devotion of the speaker to his “Angel.” Choose a place at “cast iron tables / in the sun or in the shade.” Slide past Pigalle’s sex shops. Linger with global citizens from Armenia and Albania under Le Tour Eifel. Lunch with jeunes filles, backs pressed against the tombstones of Père Lachaise. Run vicariously through children on the wet granite slabs of the Pompidou to the sound of Edith Piaf’s voice. With Cebula, we move through Paris like Stein, Apollinaire, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway did before us—threading our way through the city of love and lights—“given lines / of poetry about bliss in alleys. / about how we kiss. the swift turns /up top. the swift turns, and drops.”

—Deborah Poe, author of the last will be stone, too (2013)

Here one reads about lowering the blinds and eating three peaches over a sink in the dark, on a hot summer afternoon. You will find such a treat, if you open this book: it is both excessive and essential, polite yet feral, a commanding, casual feast. What a tasty guide to Paris. I admire the closely observed interactions, weird ecosystems, shopping lists, moments of aching beauty, clashes of earthbound and aerial intelligences, and the light yet sure step of the lines. There is also much food for the soul.

—Jonathan Skinner, author of Birds of Tifft (2011)

TRAVIS CEBULA lives in Colorado with his lovely wife and trusty dogs, where he writes, edits, and teaches creative writing. He is the author of five full-length collections of poetry, four of which have been released by BlazeVOX Books—including Dangerous Things to Please a Girl. As such, he is most grateful for Geoffrey Gatza and the tremendous things Geoffrey does for the world of poetry.

In June you can find Travis teaching with the Left Bank Writers Retreat in Paris, France.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 164 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-186-3



Dangerous Things to Please a Girl by Travis Cebula Book Preview

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Dolphin Aria/Limited Hours: A Love Song by Luke McMullan Now Available!

 Luke McMullan is prising the nails out of the lyric and holding it ethically accountable for any passivity that might lurk in its corridors. This is a call to occupy, to resist the feasting and destruction. As 'we all dance the liberty frogmarch', he reprocesses the responsibilities of speculating and creating the spectacle of consumer lives. What stuns in this sequence is the performative quality of the work as it negotiates subtle moments of utterance and gesture. There's New York and 'Memphis', but even the oral inheritance/subtext of The Iliad with its ordnance and war dead. It's about adding up the costs. The angel investors are falling around us and the planet aches with opportunism. Capitalist adaptations come unstuck, thwarted by their own expense accounts. At once jagged and smooth, there's delicacy in this confrontation with personal and collective responsibility that can take one's breath away. One of the most intelligent poets writing anywhere, McMullan also has great technical facility and can keep us poised on the edge of the disaster he carefully articulates, and in which we are all culpable — he does this in the hope that we might see and act. This poet will change things for the better.

— John Kinsella


Luke McMullan is a PhD student at New York University, writing on language and dialect strata in modernist long poems. Before that, he worked at a software company that crawled webpages for linguistic and lexical context, on which much of this poem is based. He studied English at Cambridge for three years, and hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

This is his second book. His first chapbook, n, was put out by Wide Range (Cambridge, 2012). With Sophie Seita and Ian Heames, he runs the unAmerican Activities series, a live reading event in London and New York, and the New York Stock small press.


Book Information:

· Paperback: 36 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-188-7



Dolphin Aria:Limited Hours- A Love Song by Luke McMullan Book Preview

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Requited by Kristina Marie Darling reviewed on Drunken Boat


Leaving Their Roses Behind 

Reviewed by Carlo Matos 

When a pair of doomed lovers wanders a garden, as they do in the very
first prose poem of Kristina Marie Darling’s Requited, it’s hard not to cast
them in the roles of Adam and Eve, the original doomed pair of the
Christian tradition. “We walk to a rose garden in the dead of winter,”
says our heroine, which suggests the garden may have already gone
through its postlapsarian transformation, trapped as it is in “a season
[that] never changes.” They stroll in a garden where the ivy is dead and
the only cherubs about are made of ice-cracked stone. Right from the
start, we sense the relationship, like the statues, is fracturing. “There
are always so many things that can go wrong in a conversation,” says
our speaker, which on the surface of things is a wonderfully simple way
of describing how relationships often miss the mark, but it also has to be
the most understated way of describing the ultimate failure of logos in
the first paradise—a series of catastrophic conversations between
YHWH, the couple, and the pesky serpent.

And like their Biblical counterparts, they too must eventually leave
the garden: “The way out of the garden is simple. I let go of your hand
and climb over a chain link fence.” The way out, of course, is always
simple; it’s the way back in that is challenging like the walled garden
of Milton’s paradise protected by warlike archangels with flaming
swords. Milton’s couple walks hand-in-hand east of Eden, but for
Darling’s couple to find their way out, they must simply break their grip
and make the climb alone.

Read the whole review here 

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Pointed Sentences by Bill Yarrow Reviewed on Prick of the Spindle

Pointed Sentences by Bill Yarrow

BlazeVOX [books], 2012
ISBN: 978-1-60964-082-8
Paperback, 146 pp., $16
Review by Marie Loeffler

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
—from “Song of Myself” (1892 version) by Walt Whitman

A celebration of humanity seems to circumscribe Bill Yarrow’s poetic style, his artistic curiosity drawn out in phrases that take common experiences, elevating them into all-encompassing—possibly best described as worldly—perspectives on existence. Yarrow is bold as he juxtaposes complex images and ideas, delving deeper than surface thinking on any given topic, while he explores a rich collection of diverse word meanings and themes. He utilizes a variety of poetic forms, as well, fusing the intricate human mind’s multifarious inner workings with humor, personality, and humility.

Yarrow most poignantly sings of the self in past reflections of personal journeys, describing such events with intense imagery and words that paint a poetic tableau of colors, scents, and tastes. Yarrow vividly recounts a vacation he took at a northern resort where

He was drawn to water…
Water of dangerous
hues of blue. More violet than the pale-faced palette
of the sky.

He follows this solid setting of his scene with a more serious philosophical reflection:

Water, the glue of contingent necessity.
Water, the stippled foundation of all foundational
philosophy. He looked into the watery eyes of the old
woman sitting next to him.

This excerpt is striking for many reasons: Yarrow’s play on the word “foundation,” the rhythm of the section with syllables that dance lightly on the tongue when spoken aloud, the repetition of “Water.” Due to all of these minute yet hardly insignificant nuances, the piece has not only a strong visual quality, but also a musical feel that is a pleasure to read. But this pleasure does not in any way make the poem trivial; the work is enhanced by the seriousness of Yarrow’s connection to the place and to the old woman he notices, who readers are invited to observe with the author in tandem—a prompt that randomly and miraculously connects everyone who participates in viewing this particular work. The entire vignette draws to a similarly mellifluous and soothing close with alliteration in syllables as smooth as the images Yarrow employs to give life to his thoughts:

The sun was disappearing over
Traverse City. There was nothing on the lake but a
faint sailboat and a shadowy gull…
The soft sounds of sunset had subsided into silence.
The black water infinitely resonant spoke a lasting vastness.

Read the whole review here
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Photos on flickr