“Following in a long line of acts of piracy by women writers (Kathy Acker’s Pussy, King of the Pirates), Kristi Maxwell proves herself a masterful ventriloquist. Slipping her hand into through a card game (Royalty), a children’s book, historical documents on sea pirates, and Treasure Island, Maxwell speaks, strikes, through double entendres, puns, homonyms, and jokes—all the devices scorned by the “original” pirates of linguistic, cultural and political power. Plan/k—not only Dickinson’s plank but also Maxwell’s (and Kafka’s) plan K (plans A-J always go awry)– engenders alternate subtexts , defrock priests and denude emperors: “[‘where are your manners’ ‘where are your manners’ ‘inflected’ ‘infected’ ‘affected’]) but reads as a He by her mother’s (Design / Deceit [by her knowing the Signs by which a Pete is Mister-ed and Sir-ed (Served vs. Serfed)]).]” Meaning radiates in all directions , refusing and submitting to the lure of narrative, the drive to annex: ““Frontier Thesis[:] […] Turner’s funda(men)tal orientation [turner] to the land.” Though Maxwell sets sail with the infamous pirate(ss) Mary Read, Plan/K is less a “whole lotion to cross” than perpetual Brownian motion in the Petri dish of culture, a nervous twitching of semantic, syntactical and grammatical categories. It is also a book sounding the bottoms: “’Gen-Hur on a cherry-it a char[ge]iot (c [as see]-h[e]r-riot!) Mary Read, the woman compelled by her mother to deceive in order to live: ‘[Mary Read has no Reed (read: Penis; read: Man-Oar).” Oar-less, Maxwell takes a leap–is pushed from the plan/k. And adventure begins.”
Anne Cecelia Holmes
There’s a beautiful epigraph that invites us into The Jitters: “… am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?” The jitters, the junk, the pain, the fortitude to remain here as “a new creature /… brave enough / to be wounded.” Anne Cecelia Holmes has the courage to say carefully, and measure shrewdly; to sing sadly, and sing boldly. To paraphrase her: hold your breath, read this book. Her poems don’t flinch or back away from our darkest thoughts. —Dara Wier
Anne Cecelia Holmes’ The Jitters constructs an “I” that wobbles between a dangerous and endangered outer world and an estrangement from its own interior, seeking to rebuild a past it can barely recall via maps it has forgotten how to read. In clean, ritualistic sentences that “travel by assembly line,” the speaker announces the security breach. This is an American “I” in the era of terror, breaking it down in a tone whose wit is born of trauma and whose metaphors, like lost children, seek signification. This collection is pitch-perfect, a sustained masterpiece of alienation and hunger. —Diane Seuss
In my father’s house are many mansions,” Jesus promised. In her deftly-aimed, disarmingly poised debut, Nikki Wallschlaeger leads us phrase by phrase through the many dim and brightly lit houses of our American psyche in this pitiless new century: “Hospitals. Lighted for end times. They run on glossy generators & backup generators, lights of all dreams.” Her long lines push the phrases into tight proximities which are sometimes painful, sometimes grate up a little spark: “Neighbor, our hearts pumped blood in the same room, looking onto lakes that teenagers drown in.” I admire the grave persistence of her vision, the precision of her eye and ear. Houses unflinchingly reports the extremity of contemporary existence and presents the “end times” as durational, as just something else to endure. “The bill, they say, is going through the house. Eventually we’ll have to get real. -Joyelle McSweeney
Nikki Wallschlaeger is not afraid to watch the furniture break down like a body and then come together against a brick wall, someone or something pounding on the other side. If origin is a myth, it is also endless practice: “There’s always a big knife in the kitchen.” “We’re using the past instead of letting it use us.” As white civilization drags its history of ruin and pillage into the 21st century, Houses rebuilds ancestry as force rather than simply loss, wielding the eye of vulnerability buried inside each scar through a face-off with the present: “They’re vague about what they want with their violence so I shot them.” This is not a book you will supervise. This is a book whose supervision pierces the mundane and extraordinary, transforming dispossession into wanderlust, mending the spell of ill inheritance. –Lucas de Lima
Here You Are
Sara Peck and Jared Joseph
I hear the old folk tune here, again and again, the lullaby Jack Spicer threaded throughout “Fifteen False Propositions Against God,” the mockingbird, diamond ring., the absent savior. In Here You Are, again, Mama’s objects endlessly threatening to disappoint, even as new, better objects appear to staunch baby’s tears. Like the phrases from the news that fall, like leaves, into the mulch of the poem, e.g the “binders full of women” of Mitt Romney ’12.
Peck and Joseph use word and line as counters—colorful steps with which to raise the reader (the dreamer) a gorgeous house of cards. “God right here still nothing on top of everything/ to be in all this beauty.” Joseph and Peck’s personae start out strong and united, like siblings, but as the book wears on, propinquity seems to play on nerves, and out of sheer anxiety the poem begins to throw itself back onto its own beach, the waves like iterations of rain and sun,” “pink,” “home,” “garden”; the poets Hiromi Ito and Mark Zuckerberg each make an appearance—it’s a theophany, a book of rite, and all who come and linger here, even for a moment, shall experience the rhapsodomancy of the adept. –Kevin Killian
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EVERY LIVING ONE
Composed through the accumulation and solve of discrete interwoven series, EVERY LIVING ONE attends to presence rent by attachment and loss—creation entrusted to itself, further bewildered by text(s) and belief. It picks through the razor briar of “born-again” religious rhetoric and junks the abstraction of transcendentalism to embrace visionary experience, cleaving to practice grounded in relinquishment and acts of salvage that accompany the transformative threshold of edges.
“What if the secret heart of rural America were a still waiting, an all-but-silent psalm? These lyrics are delicate, involuted fossils of a trance-like attention that somehow does not exclude chronic underemployment, neighbors up on assault charges, and other vicissitudes of contemporary rural living. In the tradition of C.D. Wright, besmilr brigham, and perhaps Lorine Niedecker above all, these are poems ‘learning the mirror and field guide,’ becoming ‘a process of mapping’—not just of place, but also of being-in-place, an angled consciousness that pares itself away even as the lines all but dissolve on the reader’s sympathetic eye-tongue.” —G.C. Waldrep
“Sara is a lyrical spirit that is one part child, one part poet, and all visionary. Sara Woods’ concise, delightful prose moves quickly yet resonates, like a fire that catches fast and smolders for a long time. Like some kind of reincarnated American Henri Michaux, Woods manages to make these prose poems both hilariously absurd and devastatingly sincere.” – Nathan Hoks
“With these beautiful, small, heroic bites, we can ingest, if only for a little while, what makes us good, what makes us human.” -Gale Marie Thompson
“Sara’s father is a wolf. Her dog is a miracle. These little poem stories are feral in content but meticulous in construction. They are little miracles adding up to the sum of a beautiful storybook.” -Dena Rash Guzman
Sara Woods is a transgender poet and author of two books of poetry, Sara or the Existence of Fire (Horse Less Press, Fall 2014) and Wolf Doctors (Artifice Books, Spring 2014). She spends her time doing visual art, graphic design and singing “Landslide” at karaoke nights across Portland, OR, where she lives. She is also the co-author, with Carrie Lorig, of the chapbooks stonepoems (Solar Luxuriance, 2014) and rootpoems (Radioactive Moat, 2013) and co-edits the print literary magazine Skydeer Helpking with Jeannette Gomes. Her poetry and collaborations are published or forthcoming in Salt Hill, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Diagram, Denver Quarterly, Columbia Poetry Review and elsewhere. http://moonbears.biz
“every I / is one / ghost filmy / remembering / body / my border.”
Weaving together the half-lives of familial, personal, cultural and ecological histories, Sediment & Veilinvestigates landscape, memory and inheritance to trouble the power structures and violences that both mediate these relationships and inscribe themselves into our DNA in the process. Sediment & Veil is an incantation that moves through the debris of these institutions in order to be located by the generative reshuffling and reassembling of their narrative pieces.
Kirsten Jorgenson is from Salt Lake City, Utah, via Chicago, Illinois. She is the author of one full-length collection of poetry, Sediment & Veil, which is forthcoming from Horse Less Press. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Deseret (Horse Less Press, 2011) and Accidents of Distance (Dancing Girl Press, 2012), and coauthor of the poetics chapbook Country Music (DoubleCross Press, 2013). She lives in Western North Carolina with her son, dog, and partner, Nathan Hauke, with whom she coedits Ark Press and cocurates the Ark Press Summer Reading Series.
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Written in a seance of intuition and then extensively revised, Something in the way is an aboriginal blues, a gut map, where ecstatic clarity shares a bed with gall stone blindness. Proceeding by feints and jabs, deadpan misdirection undercutting stark confession, the pages share a core vulnerability, a magnetic bruise. These are loner’s poems, vying to connect. Sunk deep in the mud of childhood, dragged by an erotic comb with missing teeth, what passes through unexamined, re-emerges in adulthood, wearing masks. Surreal, streetwise, and draped in black humor, the method is magpie, the code collapsed romantic. Duvernoy’s piercing lyric rhythm, his art brut cologne, haunt a landscape poised between complicity and the drifter’s escape. For readers hungry for a sound of authentic risk and mystery, this electric debut will quicken the pulse.
John Duvernoy was raised in the hills of Central New York. He is the author of the chapbook Razor Love (Unlock the Clockcase).
Pattie McCarthy is the author of four previous books— Marybones, Table Alphabetical of Hard Words, Verso, and bk of (h)rs— and several chapbooks, most recently scenes from the lives of my parents and x y z &&. A former Pew Fellow in the Arts, she teaches at Temple University.
In Pattie McCarthy’s wonderful new collection, Nulls, we are compelled to consider a collage of possible meetings which ultimately lead to birth— the birth of the poem, the birth of assumption, the birth of identity, and the birth of expectations and restraints which press upon any person with the aspiration to decode domestic entropy and to deftly shepherd living form. With urgency you will be asked, WHO SAYS THAT WOLVES ARE BAD MOTHERS?” and “DO YOU HAVE YOUR EXHAUSTION LETTER?” McCarthy’s asking is hypnotic, acute and probes discrete categories of collapse. Nulls beautifully demonstrates how iteration can become palimpsest, how “invisible ink” may “make your mouth noun” and how interrogation can cause fracture. Nulls provides proof that texts can change the dimensions of mental space and transmute or reveal the inaudible which exists alongside any transcription. –Laynie Browne
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Tim Earley is the author of two previous full-length collections, Boondoggle (Main Street Rag, 2005) and The Spooking of Mavens (Cracked Slab Books, 2010), along with a limited edition chapbook, Catfish Poems (Delete Press, 2013). His work has appeared in The Ecopoetry Anthology, Chicago Review, Colorado Review, jubilat, Cannibal, Bestoned: The New Metaphysick, Conduit, and many other publications. He teaches for the University of Mississippi and the Fine Arts Work Center’s Online Writing Program, 24PearlStreet, and lives in Glenville, West Virginia.
About Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery:
Stephanie Anderson is also the author of four chapbooks. She lives in Chicago, where she edits the micropress Projective Industries.
About In the Key:
Who hasn’t had a spell during which toil is the only end in sight?
— Isadora Oakes
“I have a Canadian citizenship (see picture),” it begins. “We go up to Saskatchewan every other summer to visit my grandmother.” So you see how the archive is excavated, an imaginary Herculaneum. And later: “I enjoy creative writing. […] I have also made many crafts over the years.” There is a curious curatorial strain – while not altogether unique, it is not altogether unworthy of investment. One must consider the conditions that make such a juxtaposition compelling.
— Enes Elliot
She dreamt she was telling you about her dreams. The dinosaur-calls of loons; the hum of a canoe. I tried to tell her about frontier, but she was too far gone in collection. Besides, everyone has a stolen country stowed away. It is a moth pressed to a screen.
— Georgia M. Talbot
I cannot guarantee that such material merits rumination. It might be a matter of temperament, as hoarding is a manifestation of OCD.
— Garett Thomas Petty
Kristin Abraham was born and raised in Michigan. She currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her husband, three dogs, and two cats. She teaches English at a community college in Wyoming and serves as editor-in-chief and poetry editor for the literary journal Spittoon (www.spittoonmag.com).
Heavenly and dangerous at the speculative edge of the West, “up to and including the time of the
fire,” between carnival and fairy tale, diorama and shoot-out, these deep matter tableaus tell us a
thousand things about ourselves we haven’t usually time or heart to examine. What origami spirit
animal did I fold in my head? Did I hear my fate coming like the hero who “heard the sound of his
own boots on the boards moments before he fell like a beef?” And there’s no end to the territory in
which heroes, wolves, and Little Red take a risk. Abraham leads us out of the forest onto the high
plains. She charts pain and wonder, which are sometimes indistinguishable one from the other, from
us, “two cahoots, caught in a swivet.”
–Danielle Pafunda, author of Manhater and Pretty Young Thing
The theatrical and the mythical in Abraham’s work, the remotely vivid yet searing honesty of her sets make us feel safe, we are not alone. Impassioned we, after definition and clarity through the banality, urgencies and dreams we live through, are heroes. How deeply sophisticated one can get with the everyday is but for the vastly gifted. That is where we find Abraham. Her form is improvisation, the energy of her lines are dancing with the energy of her words, varied shapes and levels of energy that they are, and one hears the many voices, they include that of the reader as well. Her creations are our friends and us. Here are conversations, incidents, collages, stories, refreshingly nuanced yet courageously tackling the acidic. She creates moments from the contradictory to the mannerly, intensional and extensional stretches. The reflexive and the reflective are one and the same, as if.
–Arpine Konyalian Grenier, author of The Concession Stand: Exaptation at the Margins
Hack through these poems and the white space that surrounds them, but do not whistle in the
dark. They will follow you home.
–Don Cellini, author of Translate into English
Earlier versions of poems from this manuscript have appeared in the following journals/anthologies: Alice Blue, Barn Owl Review, Barrelhouse, Bone Bouquet, Concert at Chopin’s Opera House II, Drupe Fruits, Everyday Genius, Featherproof Books’ Storigami Project,GlitterPony, Humble Humdrum Cotton Frock, jubilat, Night Train, PANK Magazine, PANK Magazine’s 2011 Queer Issue, Sixth Finch, Small Fire Press’s Matchbook Vol. 3, We Are So Happy to Know Something, and Zero Ducats.
Daniela Olszewska is the author of three collections of poetry: cloudfang : : cakedirt (horse less press, 2012), Citizen J (Artifice Books, forthcoming), and How to Feel Confident with Your Special Talents (co-written with Carol Guess) (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming). She sits on Switchback Books’ Board of Directors and serves as Associate Poetry Editor of H_NGM_N. Daniela teaches creative writing in conjunction with The Alabama Prison Arts & Education Project.
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“In my mind, The Soft Place makes traces around what works to keep us together or keep us going: kindness, stitches (‘this inner thing is mine’), seeds, family lines, and the symmetries and asymptotes therein. With intimacy and intelligence, Schapira reminds us of those mirrors (between us and us, us and others or lovers, us and the wound or the world) that sometimes hold together, sometimes shatter: ‘Nature doesn’t mirror us, but it senses us.’ She holds the shards between pictures up to each other in reciprocity, responsiveness; that is to say, she holds it together.”—Eleni Sikelianos
Kate Schapira is the author of The Soft Place (horse less press, 2012), How We Saved the City (Stockport Flats, 2012), The Bounty: Four Addresses (Noemi Press, 2011), TOWN (Factory School, 2010) and several chapbooks from Flying Guillotine Press, Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, Cy Gist Press, Rope- A-Dope Press and horse less press. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where she co- curates the Publicly Complex Reading Series and writes, teaches, and works as a Writer in the Schools.
“Susan Scarlata is on message, and she is not letting go. She is trying to tell us “no other planet meets our needs.” She turns her screen to let us see what she sees. Not, as they say, a pretty sight. She lays it out with great precision in her beautiful vitrine of words. It Might Turn Out We Are Real is a complete set of 21ST century eclogues delivered to your door with brainy clarity, with vinegary humor, with ergonomic economy and red-behind-the-ribs feeling. A positively extraordinary collection.”
Susan Scarlata’s essays, poetry and reviews have appeared in Conduit, The Denver Quarterly, Fence, The Horse Less Review, Typo and are forthcoming in 1913. Scarlata is the author of the chapbook, Lit Instant published by Parcel Press. She has designed and taught courses at Universities, held residencies, and led writing workshops for students of all ages as well as teachers. Scarlata received her PhD from The University of Denver where she also taught and developed writing courses that integrated service into the writing curriculum.
Susan taught at and holds an MFA from Brown University. She is the Executive Editor of Lost Roads Publishers, an independent literary press, and is currently an Associate Professor of English at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s newest campus in Hong Kong.
“I love Richard Froude’s declarative, incandescently plain sentences, which at first seem like high-stakes non-sequiturs, then a study in perfect, surprising aphorism, then a deftly woven web of profundity. The formal distillation and intellectual range of this book are impressive enough; even more so is Froude’s gentle but insistent touching on questions of God, mortality, war, memory, family, intimacy, and history. Froude sets up poetic shop in the fraught space between ‘terror and fertility,’ and wrests from it this exceptionally beautiful, intelligent book.”
Richard Froude was born in London in 1979, grew up in Bristol and came to the US in 2002. New writing can be found in Witness, Birkensnake, and Slacklust. With Anne Waldman and Erik Anderson, he compiles and edits the mail-art journal Thuggery & Grace. An associate of the Arts & Humanities in Healthcare Program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, he works with palliative care patients at UC hospital. He lives in Denver with his wife, Rohini.
New Pony: A Horse Less Anthology
edited by Erika Howsare & Jen Tynes
including work by Erik Anderson, Cynthia Arrieu-King & Kristi Maxwell, Sarah Bartlett & Emily Kendal Frey, Eric Baus & Seth Perlow, Sommer Browning & Brandon Shimoda, Adam Clay, Gary L. McDowell, and Brandon Shimoda, Julia Cohen & Mathias Svalina, Thomas Cook & Nate Slawson, Bruce Covey & Terita Heath-Wlaz, MTC Cronin & Peter Boyle, Mark DeCarteret, DZ Delgado & Sandy Florian, Jennifer K. Dick, Camille Dungy & Ravi Shankar, Annie Finch & Erika Howsare, Shawn Huelle & Jess Wigent, Kirk Keen, The Pines, Seth Perlow & Catherine Theis, Dani Rado, Andrea Rexilius & Susan Scarlata, Kate Schapira, Paul Siegell, Justin Taylor & Bill Hayward, and William Walsh.