THE BITTER OLEANDER PRESS BOOKS
The Bitter Oleander: A Journal of Contemporary International Poetry and Short Fiction ISSN # 1087-8483.
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A bilingual edition translated from the French by Serge Gavronsky ($14.00)
ISBN # 0-9664358-0-1
Joyce Mansour (1928-1986) was born Joyce Patricia Adès, in Bowden, England to Jewish-Egyptian parents. She lived in Cairo where she first came in contact with Parisian surrealism and then moved to Paris in 1953 where she became the best known Surrealist woman poet, author of 16 books of poetry, as well as a number of important prose and theater pieces. Hubert Nyssen, her friend, collected all of her disparate texts and published them in his Joyce Mansour, Prose & Poésie (Arles: Actes Sud, 1992).
Torn Apart: (Déchirures) by Joyce Mansour was produced as a direct result of a Hemingway Translation Grant provided by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cultural Service of the French Embassy in the United States. Copyright © 1999
Translated from the French by Jane Barnard and Albert Frank Moritz ©1977
Péret sees that by man's decision to limit himself, and by man's institutionalization of smallness and dullness in society and tradition, the world has been narrowed and deformed. Man has created a thing he regards as nature which is unnatural, and a thing he calls reality which is unreal. He has deduced the laws of this artificial and perverse construction, and whatever does not obey them he scorns as magic or "miracle," the illusions of the backward. This attitude is equally arrogant to the miserable people who in their hunger for life create strange patchworks of truth and error, and to the genuine seer like Péret who stands in the light of actual nature and actual humanity, surreality and the marvelous, which somehow continue to exist elsewhere with a vitality which rebukes us.
-excerpted from Albert Frank Morritz's Introduction to Children of the Quadrilateral
ISBN # 978-0-9786335-9-2
Alan Britt's interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem (http://www.loc.gov/poetry/poetpoem.html#alan-britt) aired on Pacifica Radio in January 2013. His interview with Minnesota Review is up at http://minnesotareview.wordpress.com/. He read poems at the historic Maysles Cinema in Harlem/NYC, February 2013 and at the World Trade Center/Tribute WTC Visitor Center in Manhattan/NYC, April 2012. His latest books are Alone with the Terrible Universe (2011), Greatest Hits (2010), Hurricane (2010), Vegetable Love (2009), Vermilion (2006), Infinite Days (2003), Amnesia Tango (1998) and Bodies of Lightning (1995). He is Poetry Editor for the We Are You Project International (www.weareyouproject.org) and Book Review Editor for Ragazine (http://ragazine.cc/). Alan teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University and lives in Reisterstown, Maryland with his wife, daughter, two Bouviers des Flandres, one Bichon Frise and two formally feral cats.
Silvia Scheibli was born in Hamburg, Germany, and has lived in Ontario, Canada, as well as in Tampa, San Francisco, San Diego, the Mojave Desert, and currently resides near the US/Mexican border in Arizona. Her poems reflect her love of nature and wildlife as well as cosmopolitan habitats as felt in these lines from "Japanese Tea Ceremony - Golden Gate Park." She states, "The drinkers pour simplicity into a tiny cup/and are transformed/by a swallow's flight at their fingertips."
Silvia Scheibli's poems are translated internationally and included in numerous anthologies. She is a participant in the We Are You Project International (www.weareyouproject.org) and a January contributor to the online magazine, Truck. Her latest books are Under The Loquat Tree by Vida Publishing Inc., Maryland, 2002 and Parabola Dreams: Poems by Silvia Scheibli and Alan Britt published by The Bitter Oleander Press, New York, 2013.
According to the distinguished poet, Lilvia Soto, Silvia Scheibli writes with "an erotic brush" and some of her "word watercolors are true surrealist visions representing sensitive portraits of Mexican culture with a Zen aliveness and a lightning knowing." For example, in her poem "In the time of the Jaguar and the Sky Island Alliance," Ms. Scheibli states, "He watched jagged fruit bats/ slide out of the moon's silver sleeves/flutter to chrome-sapphire blossoms."
She is a regular contributor to the award-winning The Bitter Oleander, whose publisher and editor, Paul B. Roth, published her first book of poems, The Moon Rises in the Rattlesnake's Mouth in the early 1970's after she graduated from Tampa University, Tampa, Florida.
Both Alan Britt and Silvia Scheibli have, on their own, established their durability as poets for decades. The idea to put the two together, not just because they are good friends and poets of a similar aesthetic, is genius. Even though each's work shows greater differences than similarities to the other's, it is just this contrast which shows the pure individual way one can nurture the same perception by way of a uniquely different set of experiences. Both intrigue and delight; neither is whimsical unless on purpose. Both are concerned with the deterioration of the environment inclusive especially of the lack of civility among human beings on the planet. Reading either poet snaps you back from the brink of this non-reality we've all been brainwashed to believe is the only true reality. Experience is everything and both Britt and Scheibli's words develop it beautifully.
by Alan Britt &
This skull-covered book of Roth's earlier poems help set the foundation for so much of his later work with its highly stylized imagery, rhythms and deepening almost meditative tones. Originating from his travelings in Europe and the Middle East in the late sixties and early seventies, these poems begin a search for self through language when tested by experiences produced by immersion in so many kinds of cultures.
Paul B. Roth
ISBN # 0-9664358-1-8
What Seidman has recovered, and not by accident, is the tradition in poetry where language, its sound and most internalized meaning, has the ingenuity to render the once-feared emptiness of the page harmless and elevate the poet to a new height of consciousness. Where once the dictates of a highly rational poetry promulgated having the intent to write with purposeful meaning, purposeful phrasing, meter and rhyme as the rule rather than the exception, Seidman's work stands outside this limited approach to reality's thumbprint and instead demands attention be paid to the unexpected. At every turn, he coaxes and lures us with a music of words laid out in paths like precious stones.
-excerpted from Paul B. Roth's Introduction to On Carbon-Dating Hunger
When Steve Barfield's poetry is read, the reader should begin by cleansing his perception, as William Blake would have, of the entrenched and familiar approaches to poetry-exorcise the paraphernalia that the classroom has used to turn poetry into a trivial game, unlearn the impositions forced upon one by the advanced school system, run away from the axiologies of editors and critics, approach his poetry as a human being, a creature of emotive responses, depth perception, and a capacity for love, not as a cipher brainwashed and distorted by prior and preconceived poetic approaches and standards. Pre-established foundations must be discarded, eschewed, to find the radically singular foundation of Steve Barfield's poetic perceptions.
-excerpted from Duane Locke's introduction to Festival of Stone
the Rattlesnake's Mouth
Silvia Scheibli was born in 1946 in Hamburg, West Germany, and wrote these poems from her experience of living in the 1970's in California's Mojave Desert, whose jagged peaks, salt flats, dunes and washes seem the ultimate in desolation. Before her isolation, she studied literature at the University of Tampa, and was on the staff of Duane Locke's Poetry Review, along with Gerard Robinson, Alan Britt, Steve Barfield, Nicomedes Suárez-Araúz, and Paul B. Roth. Her early expression of the Immanentist vision can be seen in her first book, Silent Feet on Boarded Fountains; since then her poetic vision has ever more strongly been immersed in that subtle yet hypnotic nature of the Mojave Desert.
-from the back cover of The Moon Rises in the Rattlesnake's Mouth
The imagery in Britt's poems connects itself to an idea and is, therefore, deeper and more meaningful than embellishment or decoration. In this manner, a linguistic experience is born, one that is palpable to the five senses. No accent pieces needed-Britt does more than get close to the bone-he gets to the heart of the thing itself and makes it resonate with something deeper than exactitude. His images are painted as if vibrating, as if his letters were tuning forks. Britt's imagery, therefore, evokes a mood and meaning simultaneously.
--excerpted from Dr. Maura Gage's introduction to Infinite Days
ISBN # 0-9664358-5-0
These poems pay attention. In them breathes a fierce passion for the world that configures the body, the body that transfigures the world. Here is a voice capable of informing the landscape of the familiar - She dreams of flowers, like hundreds of crimson mouths, parting their lips among cactus thorns - and re-visioning the surreal - she's the blind bride / who describes my wedding night - all with deft and supple grace. This gifted translator of experience teaches us how to listen with our bones. Aware of the poet's duty to risk everything, she brings us to a place where Not one shivering thought / wears a life vest...
-Jeffrey Levine's remark after reading Teaching Bones to Fly.
The theme of journeys dominates this lovely collection of poems, many of them image-filled and cryptic. Journeys across and between landscapes that are sometimes physical, sometimes metaphysical, but one that is always haunted and illuminated by a rich imagination and a questing intelligence. -Gregory Orr
You can't read these poems without feeling you've lost something that Ye Chun has found for you. You may not even realize you've lost anything, yet you can't deny that cell on fire in your brain is her having found it for you. -Paul B. Roth
ISBN # 0-9664358-7-7
Anthony Seidman is the creator of a poetic cosmos where guavas burn, where blood collects as powder and ignites. His is a carnivourous imagery, an imagery empowered by poetic solar friction, like a "sphere of blue air and smoking water." his poems seem to accrue in a psychic Juarez where wandering and drought, and tension, collect on a curious double level where the sigil intersects with revelation. Thus, the poems imprint the mind by means of ravenous suggestion. -Will Alexander
ISBN # 0-9664358-8-5
Vermilion, the new volume of poetry by Alan Britt, is a concise but very humane piece of poetry. Two moods flood this volume-a mystic mood, and then a contemplative mood. The first one is not canonic, because if one can talk about a mystic feeling, this suggests the construction of each poem as embodying a sort of mantra. Eagles, white pelicans and above all the snow leopard are savior-animals and symbols not only for the sacrifice, but also for the pilgrimage that all of us, as interior monks, must undertake in our lives.
-excerpted from Ruxandra Cesereanu's remarks on Vermilion's back cover
ISBN # 0-9664358-9-3
Translated from the Spanish by Judith Infante, Joan Lundgren, Elise Miller, Edgardo Moctezuma, Gustavo V. Segade, Anthony Seidman, John Oliver Simon, and Kathleen Snodgrass
This is a substantial volume, 140 some pages of poems presented in both Spanish and English. It's a selection of Blanco's work from nine books and booklets, done by eight translators. Transparency, "trans-parents," and questions (lyrics) of insubstantiality / reality / are spun out on the foundational line "The birthright of being is suffering." The first section is surreal prose poems, the rest are personal modern lyrics. It is all done with great sureness, making a surprising bridge from the inconclusive and mysterious to a dry and faintly whimsical patience. Somehow these poems help you get loose. --Gary Snyder
ISBN # 0-9786335-0-4
As a poet of the earth and the imagination, Christine Boyka Kluge returns these gifts of creation through poems that redefine what it means to be in the world. These poems involve a private sense of vision and exploration as they encompass the outer existence of human understanding. To read this book is to know that Christine Boyka Kluge is writing poetry that touches us all. -Ray Gonzalez from his take on Stirring the Mirror
ISBN # 0-9786335-1-2
The name Kalamaras means, as everyone knows, He Who Channels the Throat Songs of the Inflamed Detectives of Southern Surreality. He has more language at his command than Peter Mark Roget, but though we recognize the words, their electrifying combinations have never been heard before. Given Kalamaras's impressively penetrating knowledge of English literature, and his pendant for Asian poetry, Tantric Buddhist texts, and 20th century contemporary international poetry in translation, the delicious eclecticism of the poems and the velocity of their outrageously wide range of reference should be no surprise. But the alarming fact is: they are as surprising as they are addictive. -Forrest Gander
ISBN # 0-9786335-2-0
This book combines many of Van Gogh's notebook sketches near the end of his life with poems Carol Dine has written in praise and in unison with these sketches. The absolute brevity of each piece astonishes the reader and brings to life the vivid tones Van Gogh himself so painfully rendered across his canvases and his sketchbooks. The esteemed art critic and essayist, John Berger has remarked that "At least three big films have been made about the life of Vincent van Gogh.This book of sparse poems is, however, the best film so far made about him.The words seem to have been written with the same pen as he used to make the drawings and sketches chosen for the book. Carol Dine's observation of the drawings equals his observation of what he was drawing. Her words are strung on his life-line."
ISBN # 0-9786335-3-9
A steely eye and a tender heart. This poet has both and knows how to emply them to turn each poem into a poignant moment, into a charged time-out from the workaday world that a good poem always and finally is. There is a delicate grace to the language but also a pure tensile strength in the webbing, in how much Fawsom manages to braid together in the world of Giving Way. The loss of parents, a difficult childhood, and other hardships are lovingly counterpointed by the gorgeous embracings of art, neighbors, children, and lush or sometimes quite stark landscapes. These poems last beyond their "moments" and remind us of the amazing buoyancy of spirit. -Nance Van Winckel
ISBN # 0-9647754-1-7
Tending a small fire in winter to keep warm: what a magnificent definition of poetry, rising from the page of these equally beautiful poems by Paul B. Roth! Our winter, the present dark ages. Our fire, the words. Our warmth, the confidence these poems give us in the day as it breaks perhaps tomorrow upon the embers of tonight's fire. -Yves Bonnefoy
Paul B. Roth
ISBN # 0-9786335-5-5
In Afterglow, Alberto Blanco brings creation to the forefront of all possible inspirations; the creation of life, of art, of love and pain. This volume represents the fiurst full work of Blanco's Tras el Rayo in a bilingual edition. Previous books in translation have been selected from his more than numerous works, but this remains within the framework of one cover. Reading it, one is immediately taken with the simplicity by which his expression of his perception is full and abundant. It draws you in and it makes you feel at home in a world where only what happens is alive.
ISBN # 0-9786335-4-7
JACQUES DUPIN was born in 1927 in southern France (in the small town of Privas) and raised in northern France (in Saint-Quentin) as well, until he settled in Paris in 1944 where he continues to live. His first book, Cendrier du voyage (1950), was prefaced by René Char. By 1952, he had begun working for the magazine Cahiers d'Art. Soon the poet came into contact with numerous artists, including Constantin Brancusi, Pablo Picasso, Victor Brauner, Wilfredo Lam, Alexander Calder, Jean Hélion, Georges Braque, Nicolas De Staël, Joan Miró, and Alberto Giacometti. From the 1950s to the present day, Dupin has been a major figure not only in French poetry but also in the contemporary art world, as a critic, expert (notably of Miró's painting), catalogue editor, exhibition organizer, and publisher (at the Éditions de la Galerie Maeght). Along with André du Bouchet, Yves Bonnefoy, Michel Leiris, Gaëtan Picon, Louis-René des Forêts, and Paul Celan, Dupin founded and edited the important review L'Éphémère, beginning in 1966. His poetic oeuvre is one of the most profound and challenging in contemporary French literature. Besides recent volumes published by the Éditions P.O.L., such as Écart (2000) and especially Coudrier (2006), which is translated here, two comprehensive Gallimard paperback collections, Le Corps clairvoyant (1999) and Ballast (2009), gather much of his earlier work. He was awarded the French National Poetry Prize in 1988, and the Grand Prix de Poésie (attributed by the French Academy) in 2010.
ISBN # 0-9786335-6-3
As we read John Taylor's short poetic prose-these fragments about simple events we recognize as belonging to our own childhoods as well-, we also drift off in a gentle yet intense, unknown direction; we enter a current flowing along with a dreamy pace, with a rhythm corresponding to the strange logic of daydreams. This rhythm does not cease beating when it runs up against the mystery, but rather accepts it as something self-evident: "There will not be any playing outside again, after supper" (Cold Water)... "Hey, Johnny, come and help me find at least one four-leaf clover before we go to bed." (There were so many more)... "... a cooling shadow beneath flames that perhaps only I imagined burning above us, in the air." (Behind Ruth and Ernie's garage). - Veno Taufer
ISBN # 0-9786335-7-1
DUANE LOCKE was born in 1921 on a farm near Vienna, Georgia. His undergraduate work at the University of Florida led to his Masters studies on John Keats and set the foundation for his Doctoral thesis on the poetry of John Donne and Andrew Marvell. He received a Ph.D. in English Renaissance Literature in 1958 and was Professor of English and Poet in Residence at the University of Tampa for over twenty years. At the University of Tampa, he edited three critically acclaimed journals of poetry, Poetry Review (1964-1971), UT Review (1972-1982), and Abatis (1983-1986). He taught courses on every period of poetry ranging from Old English to contemporary, with a concentration in contemporary European and Latin American poetry.
Locke's poems have appeared in such journals as American Poetry Review, The Nation, The Literary Review, Kansas Quarterly, Black Moon, Ann Arbor Review and The Bitter Oleander to name but a few. At present count he has had over 6,000 poems published in both print and more currently e-zine formats. He is the author of fifteen books of poetry. In addition to those included in this collection, they are: Poems of Duane Locke (1986), Whoever Raises the Question of Representation in Our Time (1992), Watching Wisteria (1995), and Yang Chu's Poems (2009). He also has three e-books all published in 2002: The Squid's Dark Ink (Ze Books), From a Tiny Room (Otos Books, Spain), and The Death of Daphne (4*9*1). He has also been anthologized in Southern Writing in the Sixties (1968), The Living Underground (1969), This Generation (1970), I Am Talking About Revolution (1973), The Immanentist Anthology, Art of the Superconscious (1973), Mantras (1973), Contemporary Southern Poetry (1978) and Ghost Dance Anthology (1994). His honors include the Edna St. Vincent Millay Prize for best sonnet written in that year, the Charles Agnoff Award for best poem in a literary review, and the Walt Whitman Award bestowed upon him by the Poetry Society of America.
A bilingual edition translated from the Estonian by Ilmar Lehtpere
ISBN # 978-0-9786335-8-5
Kristiina Ehin is one of Estonia's leading poets and is known throughout Europe for her poetry and short stories. She has an MA in Comparative and Estonian Folklore from the University of Tartu, and folklore plays a significant role in her work. In her native Estonian she has to date published six volumes of poetry, three books of short stories and a retelling of South-Estonian fairy tales. She has also written two theatrical productions as well as poetic, imaginative radio broadcasts, one of which has also been released as a CD. She has won Estonia's most prestigious poetry prize for Kaitseala (Huma, 2005), a book of poems and journal entries written during a year spent as a nature reserve warden on an otherwise uninhabited island off Estonia's north coast.
Currently "short-listed" for the 2013 Corneliu M Popescu Prize for the best in European translation.
These works by Kristiina Ehin arose from a richness in the earth. An earth composted with the ever-changing and often stagnant regimes overseeing Estonia's long, proud and storied past. But an earth that also brought forth the very basic of song into words that tell and retell the geography, the history and the culture from Estonia's bottomless oral tradition. These pieces not only come from this tradition but create for the young people in a new Estonia, a proud sense of wonder, opportunity and above all, freedom. It is especially refreshing to read work that is so universal and never speaks over any one of us in its own very unique and compassionate way. One need not be Estonian to appreciate the wisdom these poems exude. One need only begin and be unable to stop.
ISBN # 978-0-9883525-0-6
Rob Cook lives in Manhattan's East Village. He is the author of five previous books, including Songs for the Extinction of Winter (Rain Mountain Press, 2007), Diary of Tadpole the Dirtbag (Rain Mountain Press, 2009), and Blackout Country (BlazeVox books, 2009). His work has appeared in, among others, Fence, Harvard Review, Sugar House Review, Aufgabe, Pleiades, The Bitter Oleander, Mudfish, Massachusetts Review, Mayday Magazine, Osiris, Ur Vox, Colorado Review, Salamander, Many Mountains Moving, and Parthenon West Review.
Eschewing neat closures, Cook creates poems that arguably compose one long gesture, the sections open to and echo each other, all held together by the pain of an unblinking awareness as well as by a ubiquitous freshness in the writing--if Cook sees a worn linguistic or perceptual path in front of him, he always veers off in a new direction that challenges both himself and his reader. Fueled by a deep dismay, the poetry goes beyond Surrealism, for Bréton's "astonish me" is no longer sufficient; the many contemporary outrages of Cook's "always lurking, indefinable country" require instead a poetic that can register the shock of "castrated hymns" and "the statues of sharks inside our mouths." Cook's world, where even the ground is capable of falling and wind is torn to plastic, is our own but atomized and reassembled in such a way that what we see through his lens is both strange and familiar. Thus the poet's vision of berries "ripening / on a noose" encapsulates a life-and-death drama between, as the book's title suggests, the imperial and the natural, a drama that gives an urgent quality to the verse and so invigorates the poet that the end result is a buoyant energy in and of itself a significant victory. Like Whitman in another perilous national period, Cook, by imagining the unimaginable and expressing the ineffable, offers us "good health"; Empire in the Shade of a Grass Blade is both an antidote for dispiritedness and a guidebook for living in the land of "commercially-harvested weeping." -- Philip Dacey
by Patty Dickson Pieczka ($16.00)
ISBN # 978-0-9883525-2-0
THE BITTER OLEANDER PRESS
LIBRARY OF POETRY
BOOK AWARD WINNER
Raised in Evanston, Illinois as a writer's daughter, Patty Dickson Pieczka found a strong appreciation of poetry. She graduated from the Creative Writing Program at Southern Illinois University in 2006 and, while there, spent two summers as an editorial intern at Crab Orchard Review. She fell in love with the area and moved to Carbondale, where she and her husband John own and manage a small rental business. They spend their free time exploring the lakes, trails, and bluffs of southern Illinois, from which Patty draws inspiration for her writing. She also enjoys music and played cello with the SIU symphony for more than ten years.
Her first book, Lacing Through Time, was published by Bellowing Ark Press in 2011, and her chapbook Word Paintings> (Snark Publishing) was published in 2002. One of her poems was nominated for an Illinois Arts Council Award, and she was the recipient of the 2010 Frances Locke Memorial Poetry Award. Additionally, her work may be found in such journals as: Apocalypse, Bellowing Ark, The Bitter Oleander, Bluestem, Blue Unicorn, Briar Cliff Review, California Quarterly, The Cape Rock, Chicagopoetry.com, Common Ground, Crab Orchard Review, Eureka Literary Magazine, Forge Journal, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Halogen, Karamu, The Listening Eye, Mad Swirl, Mid America Poetry Review, Midday Moon, Moon Reader, Poetry Depth Quarterly, 96 Inc., Northern Stars Magazine, Quantum Leap and their anthology, Editor's Cut, Poet's Post, Rambunctious Review, Red Owl, Red Rock Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Seedhouse, Skidrow Penthouse, Sidewalks, Sierra Nevada College Review, Springhouse Magazine, A Summer's Reading, Talking River Review, and Willow Review.
The poetry of Patty Dickson Pieczka never hesitates to introduce both a startling imagination and a sense of the natural world. Here is a poet who is no stranger to either. With fast-paced literature more and more the norm, we're more than fortunate to have a place such as this book of poems to go and settle ourselves down. Poems in Painting the Egret's Echo are sanctuaries for all those moments in life that elude us. Pieczka's poems see, hear, experience and uncover for us so many terrestrial experiences occurring unseen at all times around us. In universes we have yet to fully explore for their ingenuity and beauty, she is the perfect guide for us. Her knowledge and those precious maps of perception earned through life-changing experiences help the reader flow into their rhythm and wash out the other side a more vitalized person. Giving someone a new pair of eyes is not always easy, but if only for a few precious moments, it can make all the difference.
by Patty Dickson Pieczka
Perros de tabaco
by Ana Minga ($18.00)
ISBN # 978-0-9883525-1-3
translated from the Spanish
by Alexis Levitin
Ana Minga's work has appeared in many anthologies in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, Spain, as well as in two Ecuadorian anthologies published in Cuenca and Quito. One of her short stories was awarded first prize in a literary competition in Villa Pedraza, Spain. Her book A Espaldas de Dios (which provided the entire text for this volume in English) was nominated for the biennial Hispanic-American Golden Lyric competition in Cuenca, Ecuador. Her work has appeared in many journals across the US and she was the featured poet in the Autumn 2010 issue of The Bitter Oleander. In 2012, she was an honored guest at the Second International Conference of "A Woman's Cry" in Trujillo, Peru. Her poems have been published in English translation by Alexis Levitin in such journals as: Ashville Poetry Review, Blue Lyra, Boulevard, Ezra, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Metamorphosis, Per Contra, PLume, and Rosebud
Goya's Perro Semihundido, found on the cover of this book, is the most poignant depiction of the human condition I have ever encountered. The universe is reduced to mounting dark earth seemingly on the verge of engulfing a small, half-hidden creature, while the background offers nothing but a curtain of greenish-grey hopelessness. This is not just one small dog. It is each of us waiting to be swallowed by the earth, surrounded by a universe that says nothing.
Ana Minga is always on the side of the beaten, the down-trodden, the marginalized, all beings threatened by dissolution and death, whether mongrel dogs or incarcerated lunatics. Her last published book Pajaros huérfanos (Orphaned Birds) is set in an insane asylum, where she spent time doing research as both journalist and poet. Many of those painfully inventive, at times fantasmagoric poems, appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Vol.16; No. 2. But that is another book. For the moment, let us be content with this grim vision, originally titled Behind God's Back. Let us think of Hieronymus Bosch. Let us think of Francis Bacon. Let us think of Goya. These, to my mind, are her anguished compatriots.
by Patrick Lawler ($18.00)
ISBN # 978-0-9883525-3-7
Patrick Lawler is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including a National Endowment for the Arts, two New York State Foundation for the Arts grants, a Saltonstall Artist's grant, and the CNY Book Award for Fiction. At SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, he teaches Literature of Nature and Environmental Writing courses, and at LeMoyne College he is Writer in Residence where, besides poetry and fiction, he teaches scriptwriting and playwriting. He has published five collections of poetry: A Drowning Man is Never Tall Enough (University of Georgia Press), reading a burning book (Basfal Books), Feeding the Fear of the Earth (Many Mountains Moving Press), Trade World Center (Ravenna Press), and Underground (Notes Toward an Autobiography) -- combining an interview with poetry and memoir (Many Mountains Moving Press). His novel Rescuers of Skydivers Search Among the Clouds is the winner of the Ronald Sukenick American Book Review Innovative Fiction Prize--Fiction Collective 2 (University of Alabama Press). Four Way Books will be publishing a collection of short stories The Meaning of If in 2014.
This is Patrick Lawler at his usual best. Whether taking us from a universe he unscrambles through the eyes of a newborn or sharing philosophical intimacy in his letter exchange between Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, the reader can do nothing but tag along, literally willing each page to turn on this seemingly endless journey through a time only Lawler seems capable of creating and controlling so masterfully with his always open-ended creativity exploring and gently excavating the past as it unfolds into the everpresent future.
by José-Flore Tappy ($21.00)
ISBN # 978-0-9883525-4-4
translated from the French
by John Taylor
Special thanks to the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia for their support in making this translation project possible
José-Flore Tappy was born in Lausanne in 1954. She is the author of six volumes of poetry, all of which are translated in this volume. She has won two prestigious Swiss literary awards: the Ramuz Prize for Errer mortelle and the Schiller Prize for Hangars and for her entire oeuvre. Tappy has also written an essay about the artist Loul Schopfer. She has translated Spanish poetry and, with Marion Graf, the poems of Anna Akhmatova. She works as an editor and scholar at the Centre de Recherches sur les Lettres Romandes at the University of Lausanne. This book represents the first appearance of her poetry in English translation.
Tappy by no means abandons the deceptively simple, vivid, arresting imagery that has always characterized her poetry: here, the front of the house that becomes a gash in the darkness, the wall of nails, the keyboard of heads, the black-petal eiderdown, and the ladder of waves. Because of the suggestiveness of such symbols and word-pictures, one senses between the lines or behind the words something much deeper than that which can be summarily designated or described: the mystery of death itself, of course, but also certain aspects of this obviously intimate yet otherwise undefined relationship, which ever remains "before" words and yet becomes palpable, imaginable because of the poems.
---John Taylor, in his introduction
by Karl Krolow ($21.00)
ISBN # 978-0-9883525-7-5
translated from the German
by Stuart Friebert
Karl Krolow (1915-1999) was the author of more than twenty-one volumes of poetry in his lifetime, each with a physiognomy of its own. A noted critical essayist, he always furnished an exacting commentary on four decades of international poetry. Every German prize for literature honored his name and work, yet in translation his work is barely known. Scattered over the last forty plus years, only six books of his work in translation have appeared. Michael Bullock's Foreign Bodies and Invisible Hands, two wonderful renderings, along with Herman Salinger's Poems Against Death (all in 1969), and now this third selected edition of poems, Puppets in the Wind translated by Stuart Friebert.
Karl Krolow was a giant of twentieth century German letters, and made his mark early and often with poems, translations from Spanish, French and English, and criticism. Later, he added prose to his staggering output, which includes a number of volumes of Selected Poems (decade by decade), each with a life and mind of its own. Reminding of Virginia Woolf's dictum that a writer must be able to distinguish one day's light from another's, Krolow famously said he didn't write just for readers, but also for "so-called dead objects, landscapes, cities, gardens, streetcorners, animals, the air itself, for stones and their pores, for sadness, and bodily pain." Ranging across many subjects and themes, in a plethora of voices at once abstract and detached, Krolow's language is so concentrated that what is observed becomes intimate, even voyeuristic at times, illuminating basic human wants, needs, and values. Fond of quoting Flaubert, Krolow was intent on eventually "writing a book about nothing," which at the same time would be about everything.
by Tom Holmes ($12.00)
ISBN # 978-0-9883525-6-8
THE BITTER OLEANDER PRESS
LIBRARY OF POETRY AWARD WINNER
Tom Holmes is the editor of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics. He is also author of Poems for an Empty Church (Palettes & Quills Press, 2011), The Oldest Stone in the World (Amsterdam Press, 2011), Henri, Sophie, & the Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex (BlazeVOX Books, 2009), Pre-Dew Poems (FootHills Publishing, 2008), Negative Time (Pudding House, 2007), After Malagueña (FootHills Publishing, 2005), and Poetry Assignments: The Book (Sage Hill Press, forthcoming). He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize seven times, and his work has appeared a number of times on Verse Daily, as well as numerous journals. His current prose writing efforts about wine, poetry book reviews, and poetry can be found at his blog, The Line Break: http://thelinebreak.wordpress.com/.
Hand art on Paleolithic cave walls is the artery, but observations like cut gemstones are woven into Tom Holmes' exciting tapestry of The Cave with its hunger for mystery to balance you along the edge: "When the wall opens, / I am lightning in the antelope's antlers / and the stripe along its jaw." These poems wrestle with the concept of time. They want to capture time, yet realize that time is elusive. So, they attempt to understand time through concrete experience, which poses its own dilemma. Even "The Needle," a vehicle which hopes to stitch the fabric designed to apprehend time, is ephemeral: "Let me tell you about the needle. / It is and it is not. It points / to what will be, and what it isn't..." Undeterred, the poet continues his quest. Enjoy this exciting journey through the primordial future.
--Alan Britt, judge for the 2013 Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award.
by Philippe Rahmy ($18.00)
ISBN # 978-0-9883525-5-1
translated from the French
by Rosemary Lloyd
Philippe Rahmy (1965) is a Franco-Egyptian writer based in Switzerland. He studied the History of Arts and Egyptology at the École du Louvre in Paris, and graduated from the University of Lausanne in Literature and Philosophy. He is a founding member of the prominent French literary site remue.net, which is focused on promoting contemporary literature over the Internet and through live events. He is a published author in France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and China as well as an accomplished photographer and director of independent short films. An active member of several handicap related associations, Rahmy is also writing songs for the rock band 'Gasoline'.
His published books include: Mouvement par la fin, Un portrait de la douleur, postface by Jacques Dupin, Prix des Charmettes - Jean-Jacques Rousseau 2006, Cheyne Editeur (2005), Demeure le corps, chant d'exécration, Cheyne Editeur (2007), SMS de la cloison, publie.net (2008), Architecture nuit, texte expérimental, publie.net (2008), Movimento dalla fine, a cura di Monica Pavani, Mobydick (2009), Cellules souches, avec Stéphane Dussel, Mots tessons (2009), Cheyne, 30 ans, 30 voix, Livres hors collection, Cheyne (2010), Néant saccage, avec Mathieu Brosseau, Hors-Sol (2011). His forthcoming books include: Shanghai pour horizon, journal du coin des rues, peintures Bobi & Bobi, préface Jean-Christophe Rufin, publie.net/HachetteLivre (2012), Corps au miroir, peintures Sabine Oppliger, Encre et lumière (2012), La ville en soi, publie.net/HachetteLivre (2013).
He was awarded the Prix Charmettes-Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 2006, the prize Lettre frontière 2008 and a Pro Helvetia literary grant in 2010. In 2011 he was a writer-in-residence at the Shanghai Writers Association in Shanghai. He was awarded the Prix Wepler 2013 Mention spéciale du jury and the Prix Pittard de l'Andelyn 2014. Currently he's writing a novel about the topic of migration and migrants, and a new book of poetry in prose about identity and amnesia.
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How best to approach this short book, a book that burns and freezes, and whose title is abruptly completed, as if torn apart, beaten to a pulp, by the words: "a portrait of pain"? From that point, beyond that point, here, pain is a gaze. A gaze that recognizes itself, growing deeper and lighter when the words that traverse it scrape on the paper. The first word, the point of origin, leaps up from the instant of death and fades away in torpor.
Notes from an anachronistic diary, splinters torn from the suffering body, sparks scattered in the air. Far removed from any narcissistic complaisance, this portrait of pain is a constant transcribed day after day from what the body and the mind endure in the ordeal. The realistic notation, impeccably close and precise, opens to the outer world, exalts in the contemplation of the sea or the night, a tree, a cloud, the flight of a sparrow hawk above the walls. The linked chain of crises, of testing treatment, of injections constantly renewed as they project a dim light, provoking the exorable climb toward the light. A decantation that suddenly crystalizes and loosens the oppression. The tortured body reinvents, in order to stay alert, the escape route through an open window and the reconciliation with space.
--Jacques Dupin from his preface L'Epure / The Diagram
Small Brown Bird
by Rich Ives ($14.00)
ISBN # 978-0-9883525-8-2
Rich Ives has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Virginia Quarterly Review, Mississippi Review, Fiction Daily and many more. He is a winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. He has been nominated twice for The Best of the Web, three times for The Best of the Net, and five times for the Pushcart Prize. He is a winner of the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Thin Air magazine. His writing has appeared from eleven different countries. A fiction chapbook, Sharpen, is available from The Newer York Press, and a "book of days" with a work for each day of the year from Silenced Press. He lives on Camano Island in Puget Sound, north of Seattle, and is also an artist and musician who is currently concentrating on dobro and fiddle among the many instruments he plays.
by Katherine Sánchez Espano ($12.00)
ISBN # 978-0-9883525-9-9
THE BITTER OLEANDER PRESS
LIBRARY OF POETRY AWARD WINNER
Katherine Sánchez Espano lives in Saint Johns, Florida where she owns a portrait photography business and teaches writing. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. In addition to publishing in numerous journals, she has received a Florida Artist Enhancement Grant, was a semi-finalist in the Discovery/The Nation poetry contest, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry has been shaped by a variety of cultural influences from a young age, and she comes from a family with a long lineage of painters and storytellers. She and her husband Allan have two children.
Katherine Sánchez Espano