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Heisenberg’s Salon by Susan Lewis is reviewed in Tweetspeak

 

POETIC VOICES: SUSAN LEWIS AND SHANNA POWLUS WHEELER

Frosty leaves Poetic Voices Lewis Wheeler

In Heisenberg’s Salon, poet Susan Lewis draws inspiration from a principle of quantum mechanics. In 1925, physicist Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976) published what is known as his uncertainty principle—that in any system, you can’t know a particle’s exact location and exact velocity simultaneously. You can exactly know one or the other, but not both at the same time.

This idea of uncertainty is what Lewis develops in 54 prose poems—but not applied to quantum mechanics. Instead, she considers uncertainty in relationships, in human actions, in human thought, in our perceptions, and in how we understand the world. Here’s one example:

Indeterminacy

heisenbergs-salonIt was time for something, although she could not for the life of
her imagine what. So she assumed her post on the stoop & waited
for the future to declare itself. A tattered bird of dubious
provenance landed on the banister & inspected her with his
ancient gaze. She exhaled with emphasis, but otherwise managed
to keep her preconceptions to herself. The old fellow cocked his
head & screeched. Terrific, she said. How am I supposed to know if
you’re the one I’m waiting for? Terrific, he squawked. How am I supposed
to know if you’re the one I’m waiting for? I get it, she said, bravely
extending her arm. I get it, he echoed, latching on with admirable
decision. It was the last conversation they ever had.

The use of the prose poem form is intriguing. Visually, a paragraph looks more definitive, and more substantive, than a series of lines arranged in the familiar verse form. It implies solidity, definition, fact. Yet Lewis turns the form on its head by the substance of each poem, taking us not to answers but to questions.

Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis

In the poem above, the speaker knows it’s time for something, and the arrival of a “tattered bird of dubious provenance” might have the answer, or might be the answer. The bird merely repeats what the speaker says, and “it was the last conversation they ever had.” It was also the first conversation they ever had. The conversation doesn’t come to a point—and that, perhaps, is the point. The uncertainty of the speaker is never defined or identified.

Lewis is the editor of the literary journal Posit. She received her MFA degree in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence University, and her BA and JD degrees from University of California-Berkeley. In addition to her several published books of poetry, she writes flash fiction, which has been performed on stage in Denver, and compositions with other artists performed at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. She lives in New York City.

Heisenberg’s Salon is one of the most innovative collections I’ve read.

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The Absence Of The Loved by Wade Stevenson Now Available!

These 103 poems explore grief, loneliness, thoughts and memories arising from lost love. As he’s done in previous collections, Stevenson (Moon Talk, 2016) pays close attention to the particularities of losing a beloved, finding a range of images to portray each gradation of feeling. “The most beautiful body is the absent one / The most beautiful night is the absent sun.” Stevenson offers some striking and effective images for romantic love… These poems effectively convey heartbreak’s anguish.”

—- Kirkus Reviews


Left. There is the absence There is the wound the shock, the rage, the disbelief and the grief and more for the sinking, suffering heart. In these poems, Wade Stevenson realistically surrounds the departed love with his private raw emotions and with the most wonderful metaphors, fantastic in fact, and with them the poet in his craft knits his hurt into poetry.

— Michael Basinski


Many poems and poetry collections focus on the presence of love, but “The Absence Of The Loved” is about that aftermath where love is gone, poetically describing the void left behind, and what happens when transformation and change confront a relationship: “This morning we were born for something else.” However, this book is not just about loss. In the end, the poet transfigures his loss into a vibrant, radiant presence. The young woman that he loved becomes a symbol for “the loved.” In the gorgeous final poem, “You and You Again,” the circle is closed, there is no more absence — what remains is Amor.

— D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review


“Stevenson’s poems, sometimes tender, sometimes an unnerving evisceration of the heart, explore the cost of loving too deeply, the things one loses to love, and the parts that are left to him when that love has vanished. “The Absence Of The Loved” is both love lost and love redeemed. Tissue required.”

—P.J. Lazos, author of Oil and Water


Book Information:

· Paperback: 118 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-274-7

$16

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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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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Dead Ringer by Charles Borkhuis Now Available!

 


There are no illusions in the world of Charles Borkhuis. This is life without eyelids, and what we see is too disquieting for our own good, yet we can't look away. It's like film noir, whose frisson is a bad dream. Borkhuis’ work, though, is the zero hour. Sure, we can hit the bullseye at the amusement park, ring the bell. But we're just saps. Let’s face it, the real is not for sissies, or tough guys either. As for Borkhuis, his aim is dead on. Dead Ringer beckons us even when we'd better beg off, until we realize we’ve been living in his world without our knowing. Borkhuis’ poems exude their strange beauty.

—Burt Kimmelman

I’m often reminded, while reading Borkhuis’ work, of Derrida’s portmanteau word 
hauntology, a term which embodies the disjunction within being between presence
and absence.

you can’t unfriend us the voices said
we’re already your next thought

it’s true the present
was already a memory

In this darkly introspective poetry, inner and outer, self and other, past and present
bleed together. Dead Ringer is an unforgettable volume of indelible palimpsests.

—Tom Beckett

Charles Borkhuis is a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and essayist. His seven previous collections of poems include: Disappearing Acts [Chax Press 2014], Afterimage [Chax Press 2006], Savoir-fear [Spuyten Duyvil Press 2003], Alpha Ruins [Bucknell University Press 2000], selected by Fanny Howe as a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Book Award. Finely Tuned Static, his book of poems with paintings by John McCluskey is forthcoming from Lunar Chandelier Press. His poems have appeared in 6 anthologies including: Dia Anthology: Readings in Contemporary Poetry 2010-2016 [Dia Art Foundation 2016], An Avec Sampler #2 [Avec Press 1998], Primary Trouble [Talisman House 1996], Writing From The New Coast: Presentation and Technique [o.blek Press 12, 1993]. His essays on contemporary poetics have appeared in two books published by the University of Alabama Press: Telling it Slant [2000] and We Who Love to Be Astonished [2002]. His work has appeared in numerous journals including: American Letters and Commentary, Avec, Big Bridge, Eoagh, First Intensity, Five Fingers, Jacket, New American Writing, o.blek, Ribot, Second Avenue Poetry, Skanky Possum, Talisman, Van Gogh’s Ear, Verse, and The World. He curated poetry readings for the Segue Foundation in NYC for 15 years. He translated New Exercises by Franck André Jamme [Wave Press 2008]. His plays have been presented in NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hartford, and Paris and have been published in Mouth of Shadows [Spuyten Duyvil 2000], The Sound of Fear Clapping [Obscure Press 2003], and Present Tense [Stage This 3, 2009]. His two radio plays The Sound of Fear Clapping and Foreign Bodies were produced for NPR [www.pennsound]. He is the recipient of a Drama-logue Award and the former editor of Theater:Ex [1986-1988], an experimental theater publication. His recent NY Productions include: Present Tense [Alchemical Theater Lab 2013], Barely There, Flipper [Harvest Works 2013], and Foreign Bodies [Center for Performance Research 2014]. He is the author of three feature-length screenplays: Irreparable Damage, Deep Divide, and Phase Change. He lives in New York City and has taught at Touro College and Hofstra University. 


Book Information:

· Paperback: 102 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-235-8

$16

Pre-Orders Welcome

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dead Ringer by Charles Borkhuis Book Preview

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Inside the Walls of My Own House: The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood) Book 2 by Tony Trigilio reviewed!!

 

Watching in the Dark: Puncture Wounds Left by DARK SHADOWS

trigilio2-cov-lg

Inside the Walls of My Own House: The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood), Book 2, by Tony Trigilio. Buffalo, New York: BlazeVOX books, October 2016. 152 pages. $16.00, paper.

 

Inside the Walls of My Own House

Every shadowy story should invoke the uncanny. Tony Trigilio keeps dreaming (and writing) of his uncanny space, at home with his mother in front of the television screen. Space and time billow and unfold as he remembers watching Dark Shadowsand being transported to gothic Maine:

an electronic portal opened unto
the spirit world, a supernatural

transmitter documenting the undead
life of the 208-year-old creature who

lived inside the walls of my own house;
I took for granted that our TV functioned

as a conduit for a “two-directional exchange
between occultism and technology,” as media

scholar Stefan Andriopoulos describes
the earliest precursors of the television:

19th-century optical devices designed
for remote viewing and clairvoyance,

leading many early 20th-century viewers to
believe that to watch TV was to experience

“the uncanny occurrence of the supernatural
or marvelous in one’s own living room”—

This is a hybrid, vampire text. A hallucination. A story told through the red haze of a fantastical curse. It grows more complex as time stretches, changes, and is infused with information about the show, the past, and the present-day state of the world.

Collinwood becomes an extension of Trigilio’s childhood home. The characters appear like family members with terrible secrets watched from afar. Every detail of the house and the characters is remembered, re-viewed, and obsessed over.

The book begins midway through the show’s run. Previous episodes are sometimes mentioned, but it is not necessary to have read the first book or seen the first episodes of Dark Shadows to immediately become hooked on the story of the Collins family, by way of Trigilio’s childhood fascination.

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Photos on flickr