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Articles by Clarice Waldman :

Congrats to David Trinidad, his new BlazeVOX book, has been reviewed in Bay Area Reporter!!

Congrats to David Trinidad, his new BlazeVOX book, has been reviewed in Bay Area Reporter!! 


Notes on a Past Life (BlazeVOX) by David Trinidad, as dishy and revealing as the best literary memoirs, picks at old scabs, slashes new wounds, spills the beans on contemporary poetry-world wars, ignites new feud fuses and drops names like F-bombs. This book is so hot, it should come with its own flame-retardant gloves and fire extinguisher.

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One of 100 by David Trinidad featured in Poem-of-the-Day by the Academy of American Poets



One of 100

David Trinidad

About This Poem


“This poem is based on a friend’s account of attending Out magazine’s ‘star-studded’ Out 100 party.  Hint: the Oscar winner won in 1973.”
—David Trinidad


David Trinidad is the author of Notes on a Past Life (BlazeVOX [books], 2016). He teaches at Columbia College Chicago.


Photo credit: Alyssa Lynee


Poetry by Trinidad


Notes on a Past Life

(BlazeVOX [books], 2016)

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Six Short Plays by John Matthias Now Available!

 The poetry, essays, and fiction of John Matthias are widely known. Less known are the plays and performance texts that he has been writing and adapting from his longer poems in the course of the last several years. This book contains six of these texts, only one of which has been performed. However, the success of staged versions of “Automystifstical Plaice” suggests that performances of the other texts would be equally exciting. Both by the reader and the hypothetical producer of these plays, this book will be warmly welcomed.

“The ironies [of “Automystifstical Plaice”] are multiple: an avant-gardism exploiting the distinctiveness of specific media and insisting on its antinomian freedom from representation becomes the technological basis for the primary form of electronic mass communication, and serves the militarized state. The sexual association of screen divas with missiles may be old hat, but the starlet as computer geek contriving systems of destruction and exchange might send Dr. Strangelove himself into unstoppable spasm.”

—John Wilkinson

“Well! I asked the girls and learned that this Mr. Matthias was no fly-by-night Johnny, no film flam man on the lam from the clink or the Studebaker plant at South Bend, Indiana, but the real thing, a prime mover and a shaker, too, top drawer, top dollar, the dropped banana, the silk drawers, the smoking jacket, the clinamen, the Paralete, the parakeet and the parachute.”

—Joyelle McSweeney

“Matthias is one of the great originals”

—John Kinsella

“One of the best poets in the USA.”

—Guy Davenport

“John Matthias is a kind of mid-Atlantic treasure.”

—Ian Pople, Manchester Review

“Matthias’s challenging poetry makes clear that what is needed today is a larger, more capacious conception of postmodern poetics, one that avoids the usual classifications so as to redraw the boundaries of the field”

—Marjorie Perloff

John Matthias is the author of some thirty-five books – poetry, fiction, memoir, literary essays, scholarly editions, translations, and drama. He taught literature and creative writing at Notre Dame for forty years, and he is a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge. His recent publications include three volumes of collected poems: Collected Shorter Poems, vol. 1; Collected Shorter Poems, vol. 2; and Collected Longer Poems, all published by Shearsman Books. Shearsman has also published Trigons, a long poem; Who Was Cousin Alice? And Other Questions, a volume of essays; and Different Kinds of Music, a novel. Matthias has also been active as a translator, working with Göran Printz-Påhlson on the anthology Contemporary Swedish Poetry (Swallow Press) and with Lars-Håkan Svensson on Three-toed Gull: Selected Poems of Jesper Svenbro (Northwestern). His own poetry has been translated into many languages. Editorially, his advocacy of the Anglo-Welsh modernist, David Jones, has been advanced in Introducing David Jones (Faber and Faber) and David Jones: Man and Poet (National Poetry Foundation). Two volumes of essays have been published on Matthias’s work: Word Play Place: Essays on the Poetry of John Matthias, ed. Robert Archambeau (Swallow Press) and The Salt Companion to John Matthias, ed. Joe Francis Doerr (Salt Publishing). For twenty years John Matthias was poetry editor of Notre Dame Review, and he is currently Editor at Large.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 144 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-210-5


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Women and Ghosts by Kristina Marie Darling is reviewed in The Lit Pub


The Erasure and Self-erasure of Women's Voices


The multiple modes of the erasure and self-erasure of women’s voices sit heavy with me this morning. I’ve read a beautiful and daring text entitled Women and Ghosts, by Kristina Marie Darling, which is part essay and part prose-poem, all experimental, where line-throughs, footnotes, multiple narrative lines, and alternating gradients of text are used to tell stories of female negations with silences and near silences—those that speak to the horror one can feel to realize that the acceptance of internalized conditioning to be less, to take up less space, is actually the most dangerous act a woman can commit or condone on a path to empowerment—and these have a long history. Kristina Marie Darling’s Women and Ghosts is a terrifying read, one well worth the time. For me, it felt like a beautiful funeral shroud, a gossamer wrap of a book I was reminded to cut myself free from in order to survive.

In this book, death, denial, self-sacrifice, and romance are inexorably linked. Gender and gender privilege are examined. The author is subversive in her inclusions and omissions, and the lines are meant to be catalysts toward appropriate rage. “In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia drowns under the weight of her own dress,” Women and Ghosts begins. “I had never imagined before that plain white silk could kill.”

But plain white silk didn’t kill, the reader may argue, jarred already by muted color of the words and the obvious falsehood they champion. Since when was a dress capable of killing? Enter now Darling’s world of realigning the reader’s reality by engaging in disruptive discourse. As the author expects the reader to remember, Ophelia, after losing her lover to palace intrigues, drowns herself in Hamlet. Surely her dress is not to blame, and neither is the water in which Ophelia, off-stage, drowns. At a deeper level, all readers familiar with Shakespeare’s play are aware that the lead character Hamlet’s rejection causes Ophelia’s complete self-immolation. And yet, in line one, Darling adjusts the narrative to hide the crime, makes excuses for it, blames a party blameless as a starry night or a sparkling lake, as written history often does, blurring the lines of blame in order to appropriately question them, where the dress in a virginal hue, ode to female innocence or purity, a highly gendered garment, takes betrayal’s place as villain.

Welcome to the nightmare gender labyrinth of refutation and disavowal. Not to read too much into this single line, but I already felt a chill travel my spine to see the exchange of correctly placed blame for self-defeating symbology and experienced a simultaneous awareness that this chill was intentionally created by the skillful author to highlight the contrast text the reader proceeds with as a paralleled modern “I” woman examines Ophelia’s plight and concurrently exists in a terrifying room where lovers spar and the ambient temperature grows colder and colder, as a modern man serves her joint bouts of gaslighting and liquor, tantamount to emotional abuse. Between doses of his cruelty and lack of returned care, in a sort of willful thought departure, the narrator muses on the aspects of Hamlet’s Ophelia plot most difficult and “unsayable,” at one point asking, “But what does it mean to give one’s consent? We are led and misled by those we love…” where a similar facility of displacement puts the reader right into the ghosted narrative of being two places at once, both interred in a historical play with a dead female victim of self-slaughter and standing in the midst of a new tragic history played out, where the “I” protagonist, already muted by pale ink, lives through a similar sort of identity reduction.

It is telling enough that this modern narrator says, “When he smiled, I felt my whole body grow colder,” where it seems as if a man’s cold judgment, masked by the false mirth of a smile, is on deliberate parallel with a lake in which to drown. Darling’s use of white space here, of incomplete interactions, of dissonance in the said/unsaid, is masterful.

Enter Shakespeare’s own words, often, as foil. Boldly on the pages that follow this opening line, interlacing at strategic intervals, the font periodically darkens, and the reader finds lined-through quotes from the bard, carefully excerpted to highlight the age old dilemma of inadequate self-valuation, of lost agency, of roles, one of such line-through excerpts reading, for example, “And I, of ladies most deject and wretched…

Here we see the duality of the work’s intent. On the one hand, this text receiving line-through, seems an empowering strategy where Ophelia’s self-negation is defeated by being struck from the record by a female author. However, it is also a female author’s inclusion of a man’s depiction of a woman’s defeat in darker text than the narrative of the modern fictive woman beside it. As in a painting, a color is best read in context, beside another color—so, surrounded by the pale gray text of the I narrator, the stronger hue of a man’s words, lined out or not, seem to extend the struck sentiment well beyond the century in which it was crafted.

Read The Whole Review Here 

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Photos on flickr