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All Beautiful And Useless by C. Kubasta Now Available!

C. Kubasta’s All Beautiful & Useless is a fearless book. With an amazing range of forms—including sonnets, erasures and a screenplay—these poems ask us to investigate “the sudden violence/done to childhood when you trust too much.” Poems about the Salem Witch Trials, Thumbelina, Cinderella, the victims of serial killer Ed Gein, as well as poems from the poet’s own experience explore the devastating violence that is so often inflicted on female bodies. These poems demand our attention. A remarkable debut collection.

—Nicole Cooley, author of Breach

From a fresh consideration of the Salem witch trials, C. Kubasta’s All Beautiful & Useless launches into autobiography rendered in a masterful array of forms, voices, and rhythms. Re-constructed delivery methods such as sonnets, personal lyrics, and a playlet blend with incorporations of Big Government’s strategic redactions, computer code, academic lingo, and Modernist explorations of the line to produce a book improbably personal and deeply moving. This book knocks me flat.

—Mike Smith, author of Multiverse and Byron in Baghdad

In this striking and incisive collection, Kubasta wants to “know what is used – what is wasted,” even though knowing can’t resurrect or heal. All Beautiful & Useless is built on such scars, but also on “old encyclopedias, hopelessly / out of date, yet true.” Bared and bearing it, Kubasta carries us through memory and erudition to a garage packed with what makes us human. She opens the boxes because she must. Inside is one honest song. It’s this book.

—Dan Rosenberg, author of cadabra

I have long admired Kubasta’s exploratory combination of citation, history, and autobiography in her texts. Her work is always exciting, sometimes even alarming. In her poems using the metaphor of the box, I’m reminded of Joseph Cornell, of course, but also of the great Serbian poet Vasko Popa. The reader doesn’t know whether he/she is outside looking in or inside looking out, but one certainly remembers that Yeats said that a good poem should snap shut – like a box -- and hopes for the best.

—John Matthias

C. Kubasta experiments with hybrid forms, excerpted text, and shifting voices –her work has been called claustrophobic and unflinching. Her favorite rejection (so far) noted that one editor loved her work, and the other hated it. A Lovely Box (Finishing Line Press, 2013) won the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook Prize. Her poetry has appeared in So To Speak, Stand, The Notre Dame Review, Tinderbox Poetry Review and Lemon Hound, among other places, and she writes a regular column for The Rain, Party & Disaster Society on teaching, writing and reading. All Beautiful & Useless (BlazeVOX, 2015) is her first book. She writes, teaches and lives in Wisconsin with her beloved John, geriatric cat Cliff and St. Bernard-mix Ursula.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 106 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-228-0



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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



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Three Plays by Deborah Meadows Now Available!


A Los Angeles-based play, Guide Dogs rejects the triad of smog, traffic, and earthquakes for an exploration of reading and interpretation through civic unrest at city hall, the texts of LA figures (literary critic Marjorie Perloff and social critic Mike Davis), and the “Lightning Field” by Walter de Maria. 

Some Cars, an embodiment, holds out against “the architecture of containment,” inflecting the hard surface of Kienholz’s art in a drive to uncover tragic action deferred through a small windshield, imperfectly.

Speech Acts with Trees is an inside-out Western that takes apart “narrow specializations with commanding views,” landscape tradition and conquest. Is a parable of sacrifice an obsolete railroad by the time conventional knowledge sets up shop in the “new” town? Are these Three Plays really one play along a topological fold?


“Meadows brings a rare musicality to her writing for the stage, and her eye for the telling discontinuities of contemporary life animates these plays with vivid and unsettling tensions.”

—Guy Zimmerman, artistic director, Padua Playwrights

“Wry and observant, Deborah Meadows' ambivalent oracles and philosopher-clowns seek "a nourishing shape that one could live in without tiring of its perimeter", but find just as readily an anthroposcenic welter, marked by false flags and the untidy promise of myriad revolutions – each adjacent, reluctant, and imperfectly contained.”

—Andrew Maxwell, Poetic Research Bureau director, Candor is the Brightest Shield author

“A philosophical autopsy performed on the event horizon of a perpetually collapsing world made language. Painstaking yet abandoned, Meadows teases language to spill its secrets, cracking a harrowing case: this.”

—Juli Crockett, playwright, lead singer of the Evangenitals



Deborah Meadows teaches as an Emeritus faculty member in the Liberal Studies department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles’ Arts District/Little Tokyo where she serves on the board of LARABA (Los Angeles River Artists’ and Business Association). She was nominated Los Angeles Poet Laureate in 2014.

Her recent collections of poetry are Translation, the bass accompaniment – Selected Poems (Shearsman Press, 2013), Saccade Patterns (BlazeVOX books, 2011), How, the means (Mindmade Books, 2010), Depleted Burden Down (Factory School, 2009), Goodbye Tissues (Shearsman Press, 2009). Other works of poetry include: involutia (Shearsman Press, UK, 2007), The Draped Universe (Belladonna Books, 2007), Thin Gloves (Green Integer, 2006), Representing Absence (Green Integer, 2004), Itinerant Men (Krupskaya, 2004), and two chapbooks, Growing Still (Tinfish Press, 2005) and “The 60’s and 70’s: from The Theory of Subjectivity in Moby-Dick” (Tinfish Press, 2003). Her Electronic Poetry Center author page is located:  http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/meadows/

Poetry Foundation site:  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/deborah-meadows


Book Information:

· Paperback: 122 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-199-3



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The Landfill Dancers by Mary Kasimor reviewed on Altered Scale


Mary Kasimor's THE LANDFILL DANCERS (BlazeVox)

by Jefferson Hansen

Mary Kasimor’s difficult, but rewarding, poems often create buried narratives, where a story is hinted at but never fully fleshed out. The poems track the perchings and turns of attention on top of these narratives, in forms that emphasize visual process. She uses a variety of poetic techniques—from in-line spacing, to surprising line breaks, to idiosyncratic capitalization—to goad words and phrases into a meaning only poetry could grant them. What’s more, a spirit of experimentalism leaps off the page. Kasimor plays with and in language, moving it into unique and specific witticisms and quiet surprises, all with an eye to visual enactment.
            In the poem “found on page 78” Kasimor explicitly mentions story:
                      found on          page 78
          the story has
                               a toothache when
          they looked           at the corners
          finding bruises
                        escapes a name          wandering
          skeleton covered           with skin  
The story is “found” on a seemingly random page in a magazine or book, probably in regard to a photograph. This is one of the few places where Kasimor addresses what she’s up to, and even here it is elliptical. For her, stories happen everywhere, are tied together with loose, but exact, strings in the complexity of experience. We don’t know precisely what is going on; bits of insight and guess are as far as we can go. These poems hover in the moments before provisional discernment, before a pattern can be identified or an insight had. They hover in ambiguity, but not ambivalence. They are sure footed, well crafted, even exacting. They have a sheen. So Kasimor writes of the unfinished, the raw, the prior to in, paradoxically, careful and fully formed language.
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The Hunger in Our Eyes by Jared Demick Now Available!


 “In The Hunger in Our Eyes, Jared Demick presents poetry that traverses a rugged terrain of memory, history, agriculture, race, and culture to unearth narratives long or recently forgotten. The speakers in these poems listen intently with open ears; have tongues that have no hairs, and are witnesses ready to offer testimony to truths, desires, and thoughts that are often unspoken. Lines of verse stay with the reader with poignant poetic reality: ‘But ghosts still stay, they hang in the air thicker than humidity.’ A marvelous debut collection!”

—Sean Frederick Forbes, author of Providencia: a book of poems

Jared Demick's The Hunger in Our Eyes is a little bit country and a whole lot of cross-country(ies). The shape-shifting Americana here scores a playfully re-visionist choreography that brings into focus what imperial eyes typically miss: the accidents of landscape, the histories of food, the body's crossings. With extended meditations on cassava and honky-tonk (!), this book seeks out its own uneasy roots in a prickly and code-twitching vernacular, in an alternative We somewhere between solidarity and irony, between selfing the other and othering the self. (See Williams's In the American Grain: “We are, too, the others.”). From Dust Bowl to diaspora and dance floor to truck stop, the re-making of Americans here is all about movement: all jittery lines and portmanteau puns (as in Oliverio Girondo's moremarrow) and a careening, class-conscious stridentity politics (“swallow these miniwage peeon blooze”). Still, this is a poetics limber enough to find meaning in strategic silences, in the “awhereness” of “our undelved / selves.” “We’re / osmotin’ / peoples,” sings the poet (a.k.a Demick); the rest is academic.

—Urayoán Noel, author of Hi-Density Politics and In Visible Movement: Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam

“Between mornas & blues, between masato & bathtub gin, The Hunger in Our Eyes is a book of in-betweens that sets in motion an intercontinental vernacular, as funky as it is folksy & as ludic as it is informative, without resorting to any formula or formulating another ars poetica. Driven by historical, agricultural, musical, & gastronomical findings, Demick’s poetry discovers & multiplies, it digests, reverberates, & recasts. The thematic breadth of this collection—from the tapioca/manioc/yuca permutations to the “question everyone’s hurting to ask, but don’t want answered”—is deftly balanced by the poet’s tonal agility, reminding us of the rare qualities poetry can have when it’s written without a platform.”

—Joseph Mulligan, translator of Gustavo Faverón Patriau’s The Antiquarian and César Vallejo’s Against Professional Secrets

Jared Demick is 6’3”. He works at the University of Connecticut as a PhD student & the Assistant Director of the Creative Writing Program. He also edits The Jivin’ Ladybug: A Skewered Journal of the Arts. He has published poems in BlazeVOX, Sugar Mule, Long River Review, OMEGA, & Gastronomica. If stuck on a desert island, he hopes there would a case of Yuengling & Simpsons reruns.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 102 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-183-2



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