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BrUSHES WITH by Kristina Marie Darling Reviewed in The Rumpus

 Brushes with



Kristina Marie Darling’s latest collection of writing —her tenth!—takes as its premise the notion that every love story is, to quote David Foster Wallace, a ghost story; what we know and understand about our lovers is inevitably comprised of wispy half-truths and sensations, ones not so much acknowledged as intuited, felt.

At its core Brushes With depicts a romantic unraveling; “Cartography,” the first poem in the collection, begins, “We were no longer in love. The sky, too, was beginning to show its wear. A silk lining could be seen through every slit in the dark green fabric ” (13). From that opening, then, the details and figurations of the speaker’s relationship with her former paramour slowly shape into focus, maneuver into place. What was once idyllic and ideal is now tarnished beyond repair; all that is left of the speaker’s relationship with her lover is a perplexing sense of foreboding. In the poem “Feminism” Darling asks, “What is love but a parade of memorable objects, a row of dead butterflies pinned under glass?” (20). Elsewhere, in “Martyrdom,” she writes, “I never imagined love as a cause for suicide. But there we were, surrounded by all of the tell-tale signs: a breadknife, a withered corsage, a white dress with some ruffles along the bottom (30). Simultaneously sorrowful and beatific, ponderings of the aforementioned nature pervade throughout the entire collection.

Read the whole Review HERE

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glowing review of Richard Owens's Delaware Memoranda

glowing review of Richard Owens's Delaware Memoranda

The new issue of Oyster Boy Review is full of stuff--and therein is a glowing review of Richard Owens's Delaware Memoranda (BlazeVOX, 2008), still making itself new after five years:



In, on, and about the River

Delaware Memoranda by Richard Owens

Jeff Davis

  Delaware Memoranda.
Richard Owens.
BlazeVOX Books, 2008.
93 pages, $16 (paperback).
ISBN: 1934289760 (Library of Congress).
Buy at Amazon.

Memorandum—"a note of things to be remembered"—combines memory and writing, two of the territories Richard Owens delves into in this remarkable book. On one level,Delaware Memoranda provides images from the history of the Delaware River that illumine its significance—create, in Owens' hands, its mythos:

There are rivers
we live along
to see them is
to see ourselves
to see them as (11)

and on another it recognizes the fathers of Owens' person and of his imagination—both his actual father (part VI quotes from his letters)—and the poet-fathers named or quoted in this rich text, some of whom, like Pound, are also implicated in the river's story.

Read the whole review

Buy it here 

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Kristina Marie Darling is the author of sixteen books, which include Melancholia (An Essay)Petrarchan, and a forthcoming hybrid genre collection calledFortress. Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, 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 is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Poetics at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo.

Jared Schickling is the author of several books, includingATBOALGFPOPASASBIFL: Irritations, Excrement & Wipes and The Pink, and the chapbook Prospectus for a Stage. A critical work, The Paranoid Reader: 2006-2012, is forthcoming. He is an editor at Delete Press, eccolinguistics, andReconfigurations: A Journal for Poetics and Poetry / Literature and Culture. He lives in Lockport, New York.

Darling: All too often, the reader comes to a poem and finds that all the work has been done for them. A linear narrative, clearly defined terms, and a lucid explanation of what things "mean" are already there on the page. What I enjoyed most about your new collection -- which consists of hybrid genre prose, footnotes, found text, and struck-through lines of verse -- is that the book's collage-like quality demands a more active role on the part of the reader. Rather than presenting the reader with a clear-cut explanation of things, you invite them to participate actively in the process of creating meaning from the text. In many ways, it is the reader who actualizes your poems. Do you envision your work as collaborative in nature? Does the collaborative element in your work extend beyond the reader, encompassing other literary and cultural texts as well?

Schickling: To start with, I should say how glad I am to be talking with you about your work. This is a very exacting question, and I promise to try and keep up...

Lately I have been thinking about "quantum entanglement." Basically (ha!), when the quantum elements of two subatomic particles, such as electrons, and it has also been observed in diamonds, become "entangled," then what you do to and observe in the one will absolutely predict what its entangled partner will subsequently exhibit: the inverse of that observation. This despite the unique existence each entangled particle may experience, and it can occur instantaneously -- faster than the speed of light, the Constant, which is a physical "impossibility" -- whereby observers conclude that quantum entanglement is not merely about some message being sent from one place to another. Instead, one can create or teleport the state of matter to elsewhere by purposefully manipulating the entangled counterpart here. Physicists speak of this as mere information transfer, feeding the dream of quantum computing, to bypass satellites. The phenomenon, though it sounds far out, was discovered by Einstein a century ago, who didn't like it and disbelieved his findings, calling it "spooky action at a distance" (ironically, the concept was the same desperate speculation Newton had given for gravity, what he couldn't explain, and which Einstein sought to debunk in his General Theory of Relativity). Edwin Schrödinger, who argued this aspect of quantum mechanics with Einstein in letters, wrote in an article: "I would not call it one but rather the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics, the one that enforces its entire departure from classical lines of thought." Quantum entanglement has been "easily" produced in laboratory and accidentally "harnessed" in manufacture for some time, while the instruments of entanglement in particles are photons -- light, essentially. The phenomenon was essential in the functioning of the first transistor-based computers and the creation of lasers. 


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Two fine reviews of BlazeVOX books in the current issue of Gently Read Literature


Hurray, the new issue of GRL is out and there are two fine reviews of BlazeVOX books in the current issue of Gently Read Literature, Reviews of Contemporary Poetry & Literary Fiction, Winter 2014. Hurray!  



David Appelbaum on Bill Yarrow’s Pointed Sentences


Sally Deskins on Kristina Marie Darling’s VOW


Happy New Year! 

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The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed on Rebecca Reads


The Electric Affinities
Wade Stevenson
BlazeVox Books (2013)
ISBN:  9781609641481
Webpage: Click here
Reviewed by F.T. Donereau for Rebecca’s Reads (12/13)
Wade Stevenson's new novel, “The Electric Affinities” is a gift of a trip back to a very certain time and place in America--- the great wild conflict filled world of Nineteen-Sixty Nine New York. The opening pages set the tone and atmosphere of this work. Affluent New Yorkers, artistic and varied and often complex, seeing and being seen at a Fourth of July gathering on Sag Harbor, Long Island. The cast are wonderfully obtuse, acerbic and full of gilded bohemian flash. It instantly brings you in and lets you know the world you are about to roam through. 
Mr. Stevenson has a gift for character study and descriptive writing that lands the reader directly in the work presented; you truly feel you know these people and their comforts, as well as the stones pressing the heels of their lives. The settings are rendered magnificently. Perhaps it is because all of what is put down is appealing in one way or another that “The Electric Affinities” is such a pleasure; I believe though it is more the talent of the author. 
Things are happening below the surface. These characters are alive and feeling, no matter how jaded some of the facades they present. It is a subjective opinion, especially for a book with a number of possible lead players, but the enigma that is Maya seems the perfect orb for this story to revolve around. I admit, after reading the novel, I wanted desperately to know her, to have her in my life. If there is a better compliment for a creation in a book, I don't know it. 
The true accomplishment achieved by Wade Stevenson is the world created, or perhaps re-created, within the novel. You come to know Nineteen Sixties New York as if you are living it. The rarified air of the denizens invoked breathes into you. Maybe it's nostalgia for a thing never known (and what's wrong with that, after all), but I wanted to be a part of the scene Stevenson has painted. 
Andre and Robert and Ben and Maya and Caroline and Louise, et al, live fully here, intermingling in desire and pain, questing for the answers to eternal questions: what is our purpose; who should we be; what are we; what is worth anything. The existential dread seems real and worth examining. Souls searching, no matter their flaws, are always better companions than those settled into contented states of blind acceptance, buried despair.
 “The Electric Affinities” pulses with a certain kind of depth. It is not all happiness and candy. Too much is wondered and searched for that to be the case. Tragedy strikes and it is wounding, but isn't that a large part of life? 
Realism screams here and it is welcome. The novel is not depressing, it is too full to allow a maudlin skin to cover it. We care for these people. We have empathy towards them. For me their talents override everything. The experience of their stories is worth careful consideration. 
I think anyone reading the book will learn more about themselves. At the same time, they will be thoroughly captivated by the tale told. It is all I want from a novel. Since I can't actually go back in time, “Electric Affinities” served as the next best thing.       


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