Category Archives: literary news

Poetry in the News

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Egyptian poet Abnoudi dies at 76

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/legendary-egyptian-poet-abdel-rahman-al-abnoudi-dies-76-1077039163

Interview with The Poet

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-malik/interview-with-the-poet_b_7096066.html

BOA poet wins Israel ‘Nobel’ Prize

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/lifestyle/art/blogs/

community/2015/04/21/boa-poet-wins-israel-nobel-prize/26122187/

At 84, Poet Gary Snyder Lives In ‘This Present Moment’

http://www.npr.org/2015/04/18/400573636/at-84-poet-gary-snyder-lives-in-this-present-moment

Poet laureate Natasha Trethewey signals start of Sandburg Festival

http://www.galesburg.com/article/20150422/NEWS/150429917

The 50 Best American Poetry Books of the Decade so Far

http://flavorwire.com/515268/the-50-best-american-poetry-books-of-the-decade-so-far

Willingboro native wins Pulitzer for poetry

http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/news/local/willingboro-native-wins-pulitzer-for-poetry/article_96205a5d-1a2d-5dcb-a216-e716eb3cab28.html

It’s National Poetry Month and You Haven’t Read a Single Poem Yet, Have You?

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121543/its-national-poetry-month-and-you-havent-read-single-poem-yet

The Fox Chase Review – 2008-2013 Archives now available

FCClockTallFlat Our archives for 2008 thru 2013 are now live and on line. You can find them here: http://www.thefoxchasereview.org/archives.html

Thanks to Sandra Davidson for taking care of this.

Love Highway by Stephanie Dickinson

lovehighwayPaperback: 230 pages

Publisher: Spuyten Duyvil Publishing (September 5, 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1941550169

ISBN-13: 978-1941550168

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Review by Lillian Ann Slugocki

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This is Feminist Noir

Love Highway by Stephanie Dickinson is a duet for two voices. It is a Rashomon-like narrative; two voices, two points of view, one story. A girl, Nylah, disappears after a night of clubbing in Manhattan. She is found in a trash heap, in New Jersey, strangled. A slight wisp of a girl, and a true story.  The first voice we hear is hers –the girl who is dead.  We walk with her on the last night of her life. The second voice we hear is Trinity, the girl who was there, who saw the whole story unfold, right before her eyes, and did nothing to stop it.

Dickinson has mastered the art of character; each voice is chillingly authentic. I recognized my 18 year old self, and the stupid choices I made. Hitchhiking on a highway at four in the morning comes to mind. A  miracle I made it home alive, and inevitable that Nylah does not. Interspersed in her narrative is a back story, a love story– one that reveals her naivete and her innocence, her privileged background which is a counterpoint or perhaps counter weight to the second voice– Trinity, a prostitute, paralyzed by love, bound to her pimp.

Dickinson is at her best when the story turns on the tiniest of details– how something smells, how something feels, what is sounds like, what it tastes like. I will forever see the overturned carton of Chinese noodles on the floor of the Weehawken Motel, and I will always know how hot it was the day the pimp and prostitute hauled her body to a dumpster in an abandoned lot. I will always know the color of the sky, and the weight of the gym bag that cradled her body, and the geography of the empty Manhattan apartment where Trinity hid out after the murder, the shower she took hoping to wash away the stain of her life.

Pacing and dramatic tension work best in the second half of the book. Without knowing this was based on a true story, I still understood Nylah wasn’t going to get out of this alive.  I knew that a girl walking alone on the West Side Highway, in a white mini-skirt, would come to no good. However, the fate of  Trinity was always in question. Her pimp could kill her, too.  Her foster parents could rescue her. Or, she could jump on a Greyhound bus and disappear. I wanted to see what happened to her. The epilogue is especially graceful  as Dickinson circles back to Nylah in the morgue; confused, but not especially afraid of the cold room and the smell of formaldehyde.

The book is dark, but this is redeemed by the humanity, and again, the authenticity of each voice. We might be frustrated and even angry by Nylah’s choice to strike off on her own at the impound lot, or Epiphany’s stubborn refusal to leave her boyfriend/pimp, but we do understand them. They are human, they are flawed, they are real to us, and Dickison renders each of them with language and imagery that is both lyrical and damned:

“When they reached Cooper Union the club girls were clustered in bunches. The fish girls in their slippery hair and mini skirts stood smoking cigarettes, their shoulders draped by fringed shawls. Like silken fins. Silken was the word for them.”

This was not an easy book to read, I had to put it down several times; especially when Nylah’s narrative takes us to the trash heap where her body comes to rest, or when Trinity smokes crack to ease the horror show of the hotel room, just as the sun is coming up. But Love Highway grabbed me, hooked me, and wouldn’t let go.  As a woman and as a writer, I recognize the need to tell these stories. I am happy that, in the hands of Stephanie Dickinson, they are authentic, even though as a reader, I am uneasy, discomfitted. This is not happily ever after. This is feminist noir, a real cold light shining on a real, cold story.

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You can find the book here:  http://www.spuytenduyvil.net/love-highway.html

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Lillian Ann SlugockiLillian Ann Slugocki  has been published by Seal Press, Cleis Press, Heinemann Press, Newtown Press, Spuyten Duyvil Press, as well as Bloom/The Millions, Salon, Beatrice, THE FEM Literary Magazine, HerKind/Vida, Deep Water Literary Journal, The Nervous Breakdown,  The Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, Blue Fifth Review, and Non Binary Review. Her novella How to Travel with Your Demons will be published by Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2015. She has an MA from NYU in literary theory, and has produced and written for Off-Broadway and National Public Radio. Follow her on twitter https://twitter.com/laslugocki

LitLife Poetry Festival – April 25th @ Rosemont College

rosemont

 

The LitLife Poetry Festival will be held on April 25th at Rosemont College. The college is located at 1400 Montgomery Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

For the complete schedule of events for the LitLife Poetry Festival visit: https://squareup.com/market/philadelphia-stories/litlife-poetry-festival

 

Poets and Poetry in the News

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Local poet receives 2015 Langston Hughes Society Award

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/article/20150413/NEWS/150419718/101193

Steve Kowit dies at 76; San Diego poet championed numerous causes

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-steve-kowit-20150413-story.html

Editor’s Choice: The brilliant poetry of Wislawa Szymbourska

http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/editors-choice-the-brilliant-poetry-of-wislawa-szymbourska-20150412

A tale of two poets, Thom Gunn and Elizabeth Bishop

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/apr/11/poets-thom-gunn-elizabeth-bishop-colm-toibin

Local Poet Carolyn Forché on Why American Poetry Still Matters and How 9/11 Changed it 

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/artsdesk/books/2015/04/13/local-poet-carolyn-forche-on-why-american-poetry-still-matters-and-how-911-changed-it/

A Craftsman of Russian Verse Helps Ukraine Find Its New Voice

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/11/world/europe/a-russian-poet-helps-ukraine-navigate-its-new-identity.html?_r=0

Maverick freedom fighter and poet of romance

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/books/Maverick-freedom-fighter-and-poet-of-romance/articleshow/46904536.cms

Russia opens 1st museum for Jewish Nobel-winning poet

http://www.timesofisrael.com/russia-opens-1st-museum-for-jewish-nobel-winning-poet/

Recommended Reading for National Poetry Month 5

This is the fifth in a series of recommended books to read for National Poetry Month by the editors of The Fox Chase Review and hosts of The Fox Chase Reading Series

TelanbyCristinOKeefeAptowicz (1)

From F. Omar Telan 

 Bill Knott by Bill Knott

First and foremost, Bill Knott… his whole catalog… which is all free here http://www.billknottarchive.com/pdfbooks/

American Poetry The Next Generation

My favorite Poetry anthology of all time is American Poetry: The Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series) edited by Gerald Costanzo and Jim Daniels

http://www.amazon.com/American-Poetry-Generation-Carnegie-Mellon/dp/0887483437/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1428835855&sr=8-2&keywords=American+Poetry%3A+The+Next+Generation


The Collected Poems of Ai

In general, I prefer digesting poems in shorter collections, you cannot beat the experience of delving into The Collected Poems of Ai

http://www.amazon.com/Collected-Poems-Ai/dp/0393074900/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428835644&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Collected+Poems+of+Ai

satan says

The first volume of contemporary Poetry I read was Satan Says by Sharon Olds

http://www.amazon.com/Satan-Says-Pitt-Poetry-Sharon/dp/0822953145/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428835760&sr=8-1&keywords=Satan+Says+by+Sharon+Olds

The Prose Poem

 I haven’t read The Prose Poem: An International Anthology edited by Michael Benedikt. I can’t even find it. So I recommend finding it, reading it, and then giving it to me.

http://www.amazon.com/Prose-Poem-International-Anthology/dp/044037099X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428835520&sr=8-1&keywords=Michael+Benedikt++%2B+The+Prose+Poem%3A+An+

International+Anthology

– F Omar Telan is a poet and artist. He will co-host Poets on the Porch 2015 on July 11th. He can be found here: http://www.telan.org/

The Butterfly’s Choice by Joanna Kurowska

butterfly Publisher: Broadstone Books
PubDate: 3/15/2015
ISBN: 9781937968151
Binding: Paperback
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Review by Sunil Sharma
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The Butterfly’s Choice is a thrilling voyage across shifting sands of time. In this third book of her poetry, you become aware of the power of an international language harnessed creatively by a bilingual user and its dexterous employment in the hands of an accomplished writer. Here, the reader keeps on moving in different realms and contexts, guided by a medley of strange metaphors, images; twists and turns of a language mastered.
The poem,  On Talking,  leaves an immediate impact through the pithiness and implied message of creating values and meanings through human interactions by cutting down on the inanities of daily conversations in deadening societies by using words that are sincere and heart-felt:
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Each person has one word to carve
but we don’t know it until
it’s almost too late
 
Until, too weak to say anything,
we see only dust
in a mirror
 
Then, knowing we have talked
too much, we hold
our breaths
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The words and their implications need to be sensitively recovered in a consumerist age where language has lost its basic authenticity and got debased by the adspeak and overall duplicity involved in the public discourse. Dust in a mirror is a sensory image that conveys a lot—the inability to see fully and correctly the reflected self. Only distortions or the phantoms stare back at the hapless viewer! Such verbal shifts in emphasis, tones and articulation; quick movements in tenor, from one to another idea; such fast intellectual and imagist diversions constitute the core of her poetry. In the poem Vibrations, the same theme gets echoed but slightly differently:
 
Vibrations
 
Shards of words bounce
against my skin; some,
like seed, penetrate me
entering my bloodstream.
Long before my brain can
grasp the meaning, it crawls
up my veins and tells me
exactly who I am.
If I could trace that first word
like Helen Keller’s water.
Was mine, too, soft—or cold?
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The grappling with words, textuality, surfaces, linguistic resources and their varied functions in social and interpersonal communication contexts fascinate and engage the poet’s attention. She seems to be exploring the formalistic features of poetic artifacts and poses the question: Is her style/language mellow or harsh on the auditory faculty? In fact, it is a universal probe by every creative mind: Does the style imitate the artist? Is there proper balance between thought/idea and its verbal expression? The potential of words to create or destroy meaning/s is stated in the poem cited above. The most interesting observation comes in a mini poem that deals with the primary role of language as a communicative medium and rendering reality in a new manner, especially for a bilingual artist, experiencing objects differently due to the acquisition of the changed langue-position in the Saussarian sense of the term:
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Coming Here
 
Coming here was a plunge in language
Words join houses and streets into a city
Like a film, they cover hands and faces
Fleeting dreams, they spawn the reality
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History and memory get intertwined in the following poem that alters POV:
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An Inkling
For Stephan A. Hoeller
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A western autumn in Eastern Europe;
the sky’s deep blue, white knit-clouds;
a narrow street—maybe a back alley;
some grass, concrete, a garbage can.
The wind carries an ochre-colored leaf;
it whirls between the walls that separate
our compartments filled with dust.
The air is a mask. I have to stop.
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Tackling her relocation in America, Joanna writes about existence becoming as some kind of a riddle and thus speaks for every re-located person:
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On Familiarity—A Riddle
 
In foreign lands, we grow nearer to our friends
who begin to see we are not so very different
but the strangers grow uncomfortable when we
open our mouths and speak in accented tones
 
At home, we grow more distant from our kin
who perceive us increasingly strange and aloof
but the strangers feel comfortable since we
know how to greet the day in familiar tones
 
The whole book of poems is a collage of memories, experiences, past and present, of old streets and parental home left behind and current one found, and commentary on things philosophical or mundane, with an Alice-like tribute to a pet cat. In My Grandfather’s Suitcase or A House That Says Nothing, the personal histories intersect with national histories and references are made to the Nazi occupation and then fading away of the living into the dead and finally the eloquence of silence with its implied threat of erasure and amnesia. The poet is concerned with capturing such critical junctures, thresholds, intersections where individual and collective meet and collide and wish to record such individual encounters with history through acts of literary commemoration. In brief, The Butterfly’s Choice is a delicate tapestry of emotions, moods and contexts caught in broad and/or minimalist verbal strokes, thus creating a deeply enriching and satisfying totality. For Joanna, butterfly represents both profound beauty and fragility—and life-force and vitality. The lines describing the winged and tiny, pretty creature are equally valid for people as well:
 
Knowledge about ways of being eaten
is implied—if not conceived—
in a butterfly’s design,
time of death depending on which part a beak
captures first—a wing or a leg,
the head or the trunk.
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Does the butterfly have a choice? a life
yielding half-beauty to the world it fans
with a half-wing?
Death, life, satiation, hunger—for an insect
things can only be black or white,
even in shades
(A Butterfly Caught In The Frame Of A Harley Motorcycle)
 
It is book that lingers on, post-reading, like some beautiful sunset recalled on solitary evenings in a cramped Mumbai home…
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s-sharmaMumbai-based, Sunil Sharma, a college principal, is also widely-published Indian critic, poet, literary interviewer, editor, translator, essayist and fiction writerHe has already published three collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction, one novel and co-edited six books so far. His six short stories and the novel Minotaur were recently prescribed for the undergraduate classes under the Post-colonial Studies, Clayton University, Georgia, USA. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012. Recently his poems were published in the UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree.
 
He edits online journal Episteme: