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Wade Stevenson​ is interviewed on his latest book The Absence Of The Loved by Sandra Fluck.

 

Wade Stevenson and the poetry of love: A 21st century troubadour

Wade Stevenson was born in New York City in 1945 and his first book Beds (McCall Publishing Co., 1970) was a poetry best seller. Other books followed, including The Little Book of He and SheThe Color Symphonies, the award-winning Flutes and TomatoesMoon Talk, the memoir One Time in Paris, and the novel The Electric Affinities.
Wade Stevenson interviewed by Sandy Fluck
The Absence Of The Loved, your new collection of poetry, is being released by BlazeVOX in February, 2017. How would you describe this collection? What is the significance of the title?

There is a lot of meaning in the title. It’s not “one” absence, it’s The Absence. It’s a particular, well-defined, absolute “Absence.” It’s an “Absence” that everyone has experienced in their lives, because life and love always involve an absence, a sudden departure, a going away. In the same way, it’s not just any loved, it is “The Loved.” The “Loved” could be a woman or a man. It could even be a Goddess or God.

Departure, especially, an unanticipated one, always creates a terrible void, a space left behind, an absence that cries out to be filled. That’s how this book was born. That’s why poetry exists. The Absence Of The Loved ripened slowly over many years. I started it when I was living in Paris in 1969. It took all that time to find the exact words to fill up the space of a departure.

Dear You, A Memoir With PoemsThe Little Book of He and SheA Testament to Love and Other Losses; and Flutes and Tomatoes (A Memoir with Poems) are the titles of your previous books. They seem to be precedents for The Absence Of The Loved. How so? In what ways do they differ?

Of course they are linked. The common thread is love, loss, sex, absence/presence, death/life. These are universal themes but I’ve treated them differently in all my books. What changes is the language, the degree of intensity. The Little Book of He and She is more graphic in its representation of Eros. Flutes and Tomatoes is a haunting, simple story about how a young man uses the metaphor of a flute and a tomato to transcend a tragic loss. If you were to read them all, you would see they are all steps in a ladder leading up to the summit of The Absence Of The Loved.

Dear You is subtitled A Memoir With Poems. How does the memoir part of Dear You influence the poetry, or is it the other way around? Maybe it’s an interaction that is more equal? And is the writing process different when memoir is involved?

My first memoir One Time in Paris (IUniverse, 2008) was a straight literary memoir. There were no poems. It’s a great coming-of-age story that takes place in Paris in the turbulent 1960s. Dear You (BlazeVOX, 2015) is dramatic love letter addressed to one woman. I thought it might be helpful to the reader to have an accompanying text to “situate” it. The poems came first, the “memoir” later.

Which authors and books influenced the writing of The Absence Of The Loved? Your previous books?

A new book is a giving birth, it’s always a new adventure. My other books didn’t help at all. Or rather, they helped in the sense that they gave me the courage to take what was a difficult experience and to try to turn it into a transcendent one. I wanted the book to have a certain edgy tone to it so I used some popular language. I think the result is a very readable book, it has a nice progression, many gradations of thought, feeling, language, etc. It’s a different kind of poetry book.

When did you realize you wanted to write poetry? Was it a conscious decision, or did you just fall into it?

It was instinctive, like breathing in and out. It just happened. I was seven or eight years old. I taught myself to type on a Smith Corona. Writing and reading were my passions. I don’t control my writing, to a large degree it controls me. I let it happen. That also requires some courage. It requires precisely the courage to “let it happen.” The interesting question is: what is “it?” It’s interesting how I myself found out a lot about love in writing The Absence Of The Loved. And I’ve also learned new things from reader’s reactions to my book.

For example, could you share some of the things you’ve learned?

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of absence and presence, plenitude and the void, negative and positive space. My book taught me this: there is really no such thing as absence, because absence, to the degree you are conscious of it, is in a state of continually becoming presence. I learned that the absence of the loved does not mean the death of the loved — it is actually the rebirth of the loved, the continuity of a presence, on a higher, more spiritual, level. To bring the loved one back by an act of remembrance is ultimately a victory over solitude.

Read the whole interview here 

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UNRULY by Elysia Lucinda Smith reviewed in Maudlin House

 

 

This is a confessional collection of prose. Elysia Smith sits her younger self beneath a ghost light and pulls the most arcane questions out from her chest. She looks back on the origins of her own sexual identity, surfacing the candid ugliness that flickers in all instances of coming of age and sex itself. Gritty detail and exquisite retelling crash together to disrupt the orderliness of simplified femininity that comes from a small-town upbringing. Unruly challenges the norm and celebrates what it means to be imperfectly female and naturally sexual.

The mechanics of adolescent girl and boy intimacy turn like broken gears when the discovery of sex begin to spread across the page. Each move is an awkward one. Each encounter leaves a spark of desire behind as she tries to find her footing and fit into her own skin comfortably.

This was the half life

Of teenage desire, the point in which 

I didn’t go down but let boys

Finger me, but never sex, not sex

By a degree of experimentation, Smith grips an understanding that most humans are naturally sexual beings. Although this is a grounding fact, her rooted definition of femininity becomes tenuous during the thick of her personally sobering, sometimes painful experiences. Smith puts a certain urgency into her prose. But simultaneously, she runs her hands over the gritty reality of sexual coming to.

I emerged in a foam

Of PBR, backlit by a Shell sign, lifting

The two slick bodies

With each squishing step, “I am

Sparkly with want, with what

Is to be, with what is” soaked

In the toxic brine of the White River

Pulling trash from my teeth

Read the whole review here 

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Daniel Borzutzky wins the National Book Award

 

Congratulations to Daniel Borzutzky on winning the National Book award. Check out his BlazeVOX The Ecstasy of Capitulation Daniel Borzutzky here: http://www.blazevox.org/index.php/Shop/Poetry/the-ecstasy-of-capitulation-by-daniel-borzutzky-17/

"Daniel Borzutzky’s poems bespeak an amazing grasp of current nounage that the writer skillfully employs to achieve a piercing social and political critique. Little of current or recent history has immunity. Richard Milhous Nixon, Ronald Reagan, the matter of requisite allegiance to sexuality, linguistics, even leek soup, serve as springboards to a greater revelation brought about by the ruthlessly comic clarity of Borzutzky’s eyes and ears. The writer plants the spotlight on speakers of the poem who do not know that they can plead the Fifth. Yet even in his most successfully sardonic observations, Borzutzky never merely points the finger. In a virtuosic display of rhetoric, these speakers self-reveal, self-incriminate, and in so doing, take us down with them. For Borzutzky consistently brings to the poem the recognition that his subject is not restricted to these few isolated others, but, at root, to all of us. Joining its best-of-genre companions, The Ecstasy of Capitulation provides scathing critique of culture amid an underlying self-effacement that holds itself responsible and consistently depicts a sense of caring. Borzutzky’s is the honest intellect we have been waiting for, to show us what we are."

- Sheila E. Murphy


“After I first read Daniel Borzutzky’s poems in magazines, I became a hellhound on his trail, pursuing him over the oceans (he was in Turkey at the time) until I ran him to earth and shook more poems out of him. I wanted my students to read those poems and to write like Borzutzky, yeah, but, more importantly, to think like him. There’s a divine foolishness to these poems, a knuckleheaded clarity that allows the poet to ask “Are Nudists Nuts? (the question of our time, to my way of thinking) and to say “We approve of intersections but are opposed to streets in general” and “Out with mayors, in with majordomos” and “We have too many potholes. They should be filled with violets, or ideas.” The title of this book not only describes it but recommends it—far too many poetry books today are about the capitulation of ecstasy. I love these poems. Daniel Borzutzky for president.”

- David Kirby



The Ecstasy of Capitulation by Daniel Borzutzky Book Preview

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Museum Hours by Michael Kelleher Now Available!

Museum Hours, Michael Kelleher’s first published collection of poems since 2007, is comprised of four sections imagined as rooms in a museum with “bright white walls./Infinitely tall.” The museum is a kind of memory palace, where images impress themselves on the mind with indelible force. The reader of Museum Hours is asked not so much to read these poems as to “inhabit and wander through” them, “Endlessly. Endlessly.”

“The poems in Michael Kelleher’s new book, Museum Hours, are by turns clever, moving, haunting, artful, and always well constructed. Whether it is a witty list-poem ‘Nature Mort’, or a prose-poem ‘Weather Report’, or the wonderful seventeen-part heliotropic long-poem set up as tightly wrought quintets — the poetry always soars. To savour them, one must return to them again and again, gently soaking in the art.”

—Sudeep Sen, author of EroText (Penguin Random House) & the editor of The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry

“Attraction has its pulls,” writes Michael Kelleher. Museum Hours maps, in moving ways, the force of gravity that art has on our lives, our attentions. One trusts the secrets that Kelleher’s poems share. With their precision, their quietness, their frequently keen but subtle wit, these poems enter the ear and the mind as intimately as a sudden sense of wonder just before “the roof gives way to the stars.”

—Richard Deming, Yale University

Michael Kelleher is the director of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University. He formerly served as Artistic and Associate Director of Just Buffalo Literary Center in Buffalo, New York, where he founded Babel, an international lecture series in which he interviewed authors such as V. S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie and Zadie Smith.

His published collections of poetry include Museum Hours (BlazeVOX, 2016), Human Scale (BlazeVOX, 2007), and To Be Sung (BlazeVOX, 2004). His poems and essays have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Colorado Review, the Poetry Foundation Website, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, ecopoetics, The Poetry Project Newsletter, The Queen St. Quarterly, Slope, and others.

From 2008-13 he produced a blog project entitled “Aimless Reading,” in which he documented the more than 1,200 books in his personal library.


Book Information:

· Paperback: 102 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-243-3

$16

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Museum Hours by Michael Kelleher Book Preview

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GHOST / LANDSCAPE by by Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher is featured at Verse Daily

GHOST / LANDSCAPE by by Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher is featured at Verse Daily! Hurray and congrats!


®

Today's poem is by Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher

The Museum of the Occupation 
        

So, of course, you have to go in. And of course, each piece has
a card that reads "Give Me Back" beneath it, but, as you're
reading it, it's not clear if it's directed at you or if it's just a
subtle reminder that each brick of the city was forged in a
different world, by different workers, with their different
dreams and hopes who were later to be shot and lined in rows
to illustrate the garden plot, where the hedge will one day go.
It's April. There's a woodpecker letting loose somewhere
down the block. The museum windows are open, which
makes it seem the woodpecker is right next to you. But
instead, you've just this floorplan with the guard rotation
schedule and a cyanide pill in case you're captured, and the
questions get too complicated, where you forget to carry the
ten, and they implore you to take a light rest, maybe some
lemonade. "I Remember" is the title of the travelling
exhibition you came expressly to see, and it's still here, which
is surprising, as usually by the time you get to these things
they've gone on to Cincinnati. It's never really Cincinnati,
though. When we say Cincinnati we just mean we're going to
die soon, that the weather's looking bad.

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Extra Pages

Photos on flickr