Archive for November 2013

Pushcart Nominations from INCH

Inch magazine is proud to announce our 2013 Pushcart Prize nominations:

  • Carmen Maria Machado, “Dating Men with Biblical Names,” from Inch #20
  • Daniel Wallace, “Snow,” from Inch #21
  • Michael Schmeltzer, “Portrait of My Father, Shirtless,” from Inch #22
  • Emma Bolden, “We Find the Difference Between Having and Holding,” from Inch #23

We are so grateful for all of our contributors this year!  Congratulations to Carmen, Daniel, Michael, and Emma.

The Community Roundup: November 27, 2013

by Win Bassett

* Too many friends to name are in table of contents for The Best American Poetry 2013.

* Our Durham neighbor Sam Stephenson makes The Paris Review‘s blog with an essay on photojournalist W. Eugene Smith.

* Congratulations to Mary Szybist for winning the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry for her collection Incarnadine (Graywolf Press, 2013).

* Friend Liz Gray read in NYC last week from her collection IRAN Poems of Dissent to benefit The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC).

Helen Vitoria‘s book, Corn Exchange, is now available on Amazon!

* You can now pre-order Aaron Belz‘s Glitter Bomb!

* Watch Wendy Xu and BCP’s Rebecca Hazelton read from their collections last week in Cleveland!

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Win Bassett‘s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review, Guernica, and elsewhere. He’s a former assistant district attorney and serves on the PEN Prison Writing Program Fiction Committee. Follow him on Twitter: @winbassett

The Community Roundup: November 20, 2013

by Win Bassett

* Friend and prose editor of 32Poems, Emilia Phillips, featured in Verse Daily with “Ghost Sonnet

Utter Magazine issue #4 preview from our friend P.J. Williams

* Friend and acclaimed poet Oliver de la Paz has joined At Length as its music editor. We’re big fans of this publication, in part, because almost half of the masthead hails from our parts!

INCH contributor Emma Bolden has four prose poems in Kristina Marie Darling’s anthology, narrative (dis)continuities

INCH contributor Roxane Gay has new fiction in the latest Barrelhouse

* The cover for BCP Associate Editor Rebecca Hazelton‘s new chapbook, Bad Star, from Yes Yes Books is pretty rad.

INCH contributor Lee Sharkey reviews three books in the latest Beloit Poetry Journal

* New issue of The Collagist is out! (co-editor Matthew Olzmann is also a Grind co-editor).

INCH contributor Lee Sharkey‘s “In the wind” featured at Poetry Daily.

* Check out the #FC13 hashtag on Twitter for a recap of the 2013 North Carolina Writers’ Network Fall Conference this past weekend. BCP had a wonderful time attending in Wrightsville Beach.

storySouth‘s 2013 Million Writers Award Finalists

The Southern Poetry Anthology co-editor William Wright’s “Nightmare, Revised” in Rattle.

* Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Senior Poetry Editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books and Assistant Professor and Walker Percy Fellow in Poetry at UNC, has put a hold on her Sports Desk column at The Best American Poetry blog for something quite brave this week. Read the first two installments of “The Year I Didn’t Kill Myself” (here and here). Then, read them again.

* NCSU alum Matthew Wimberley‘s “Tabula Rasa” republished by Verse Daily

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Win Bassett‘s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review, Nieman Storyboard, and elsewhere. He’s a former assistant district attorney and serves on the PEN Prison Writing Program Fiction Committee. He serves as contributing editor to the Marginalia Review of Books, managing editor of Yale’s LETTERS journal, and assistant for Bull City Press. Follow him on Twitter: @winbassett

Emerging Writers We’ve Discovered This Week: November 15, 2013

by Win Bassett

We adore our INCH contributors and book authors, and we always have our eyes and ears open for emerging writers when we scan the latest issues of journals, check the most recent blog posts, catch the tweets flying by, or grab a cup of coffee at a local reading.

We’d like to celebrate some of the new and not-so-new artists we discover during the course of our weeks in the hopes that they’ll contribute to Bull City Press in the future and to advocate for the small, indie press writer and community we love.

****

My copy of King Me, the debut collection from Roger Reeves, arrived in the mail this week, and I have spent my days savoring his taut poems. Keening from Whitman to the Wu-Tang Clan, Reeves enthralls with lavish images and knockout revelations. Try a few of his poems, like “Romanticism (The Blue Keats)” from The Paris-American or “According to Scholars, Everything” from American Poetry Review. Or check the Nashville Review’s site for “Pledge,” which starts the collection and sets up a beautiful echo later in the book. Ross White

*

“I’ve been really impressed by everything I’ve read in The Paris-American lately, but I was really drawn to “Violin Playing Herself in a Mirror” by David Kurtz-Marks with its mixture of lyric and conversational sensibilities. And it’s replete with arresting images: “then you had to have a candelabrum for a head / with the flames blown in different directions.” Also try “Liberation Two,” a poem of his that appeared last year at Verse Daily—Brittany Cavallaro 

*

I made two remarkable discoveries this week. First up is J.M. Gamble and his poem “Sunrise” in the new issue of Sundog Lit. The heart as a cavern with trolls in it concerned me a bit, but I’m glad I kept moving. When I read, “And your heart remembers / the time its grandmother put it on her knee // and squeezed its sides like it was / a ketchup bottle,” I knew I was getting ready to go somewhere good. And I did:

after kissing people on the cheeks in bars all night—

your heart wishes it didn’t have to return before you
woke and place itself back into the heart-
shaped hole inside your chest and feel so god-

damned many of the things that other people—
that you—want it to feel.

Staying on the topic of body parts, also check out Gamble’s “Body Language” at PANK.

Justin Lawrence Daugherty, Managing and Founding Editor of Sundog Lit, pointed me to my second find of the week—Rebecca King‘s “Lot’s Wife” at SmokeLong Weekly. I’ve read her flash piece no fewer than five times. Experience her warming glimpses of mornings, with a hefty allusion to the woman who became a pillar of salt after she looked back. Win Bassett

The Community Roundup: November 13, 2013

by Win Bassett

* Friend Danniel Schoonebeek‘s chapbook, Family Album, is now available for pre-order from Poor Claudia:

I like when people ask what books of poetry are ABOUT because I get to say things like: a child taking over the throne then falling from power by his own hand and landing in capitalism when he crashes.

* BCP Associate Editor Rebecca Hazelton‘s poem at Ink Node had 461 readings in less than 24 hours. People like curse words…and Rebecca’s wonderful verse.

* Congrats to INCH contributor Justin Bigos! His chapbook Twenty Thousand Pigeons has been accepted for publication by iO Books. This will be his first published book, and it will be out in time for AWP Seattle. Check out the rest of the iO September open-reading period results.

Sundog Lit issue #4 came out on Monday, and it’s chocked full of good stuff.

Thrush Associate Editor Ocean Vuong is the 2013 winner of Beloit Poetry Journal ’s 21st annual Chad Walsh Poetry Prize.

* We want to wish Gabrielle Calvocoressi a happy birthday this week! We count our lucky stars that she’s now down the street from us in her new position as Assistant Professor and Walker Percy Fellow in Poetry at UNC. We can’t recommend her most recent book, Apocalyptic Swing (Persea, 2009), highly enough.

Tarfia Faizullah‘s first book, Seam, is available for pre-order from Southern Illinois University Press.

Fourteen Poets Recommend New and Recent Titles, and we have friends on both sides!

* The Academy of American Poets selected Roger Reeves’s “Black Laws” as its “Poem-A-Day” on Monday. Check out Roger’s latest book, King Me from Copper Canyon Press.

Grind co-editor Matthew Olzmann and friend Corey Van Landingham make Poetry magazine’s November 2013 Reading List.

INCH contributor Emma Bolden‘s “Circuit Theory” essay for Matter Press

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Win Bassett‘s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review, Nieman Storyboard, and elsewhere. He serves as contributing editor and interim fiction and poetry editor of the Marginalia Review of Books, managing editor of Yale’s LETTERS journal, and assistant for Bull City Press. He’s a former assistant district attorney and serves on the PEN Prison Writing Program Fiction Committee. He’s from southwestern Virginia and is a seminarian at Yale Divinity School. Follow him on Twitter: @winbassett

Emerging Writers We’ve Discovered This Week: November 8, 2013

by Win Bassett

We adore our INCH contributors and book authors, and we always have our eyes and ears open for emerging writers when we scan the latest issues of journals, check the most recent blog posts, catch the tweets flying by, or grab a cup of coffee at a local reading.

We’d like to celebrate some of the new and not-so-new artists we discover during the course of our weeks in the hope that they’ll contribute to Bull City Press in the future and to advocate for the small, indie press writer and community we love.

****

Why, Dear Reader, are you not reading the poetry of Joshua Robbins? I had the pleasure of hearing him read from his first book this summer, and it was everything you hope for in a reading—unaffected poems that wring you out. You should check out his book, Praise Nothing, from the The University of Arkansas Press. In the meantime, here’s some selections: the title poem, first published in 32poems and republished by Verse Daily; the punch-in-the-gut poem, “Collateral,” first published in Third Coast and reprinted by InkNode; and the wonderful poem “Exchange,” on Anti-Rebecca Hazelton

*

This summer, while reading through fiction submissions for INCH, I came across a story by Halina Duraj called “Reading The Odyssey at the Original Pancake House, Salt Lake City.” That title alone was a tough act to follow, but I knew within a few lines that I’d probably take the story—that happens sometimes. What I didn’t know then was how deeply Duraj’s work would move me. In the space of a few pages, Duraj’s characters face the terrifying fact that their lives have not and will not become the things they once imagined them to be, and in the end they emerge not disenchanted but full of pancakes, a little sad perhaps but mostly ebullient. Duraj’s work will be appearing in INCH soon, and I’m thrilled to bring such a talented and moving voice to our readers. Her previous work has been published in The Sun, The Harvard Review, The Cimarron Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Fiction, Witness, and other journals. Earlier this fall Augury Books announced it had selected Duraj’s The Family Cannon as its inaugural story collection. Greg Brown

*

Catch Up released issue #4 this past week, which was also the first time I’ve heard about the magazine. Thanks to a tweet from Hannah Gamble (one of the poetry editors with Jeff Hipsher and Gary Jackson), I discovered this relatively new online “journal of comics and literature.” I love the design and layout, and I’ve revisited several poems in the last few days—one of which is Anne Barngrover‘s “If that Isn’t a Sign, then God Knows What Is.” The narrator’s story that includes fried chicken in a cab, wondering how close someone is to the mountains, and reminiscing of good and not-so-good nights in hotels will seem familiar to the best of us. The South saturates Anne’s work (“Flashback,” “The Heroine ShamWows Her Way through a Hurricane,” “Coming Back to the Home I Made for the Woman I am Now,” “Driving down from Georgia and the Doors Are Painted Blue,” “Three Poems“) and provides a bit of comfort during my stint in New England when I often feel:

There are some
stories that cannot be told. And what does it matter?
Still you would call me impatient, still you’d call me
impossible-you who has made a life tapping out
all my secrets from sand dollars into birds into shards.

Discovering Phosphorescent Algae Six Months after You’d Gone,” PANK Win Bassett

The Community Roundup: November 6, 2013

by Win Bassett

* Amazon released Day One, “a weekly literary journal dedicated to short fiction from debut writers, English translations of stories from around the world, and poetry.” See HTMLGIANT‘s take on it:

It feels a little strange supporting Amazon this way, and having things I care about supported by Amazon. Strange reciprocity! Should it feel strange that suddenly Amazon—one of the biggest companies in the history of the world—finds something marketable about poetry?

Will Day One be as good as my favorite journals, like Hobart and PANK and Big Lucks? Will it be as edgy as the best online journals, like Robot Melon and NOÖ? Will it aspire to be more like VQR or New Yorker? Does Day One allude to Everyday Genius? Would you publish with Amazon?

* North Carolina native Wiley Cash has been killing it recently. He’s the winner of the first Maine Readers’ Choice Award. His fiction pieces have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Roanoke Review, and The Carolina Quarterly.

* A hearty congratulations to friend Luke Johnson for returning to the pages of The Southern Review soon with a new poem. See his Autumn 2012 contributions (available at Ink Node).

* New Waccamaw issue has contributions by friends Terry KennedyHannah Dela Cruz Abrams, and Christopher Martin!

* Congratulations to friend Christopher Martin for his Pushcart nomination from Thrush Poetry Journal! Read his nominated poem, “At the Periodic Table Display, Tellus Science Museum, Cartersville, Georgia.”

* Terry Kennedy, editor of storySouthinterviewed by Late Night Library about his latest poetry collection, New River Breakdown

* Emilia Phillips reviews Grind co-editor Matthew Olzmann’s Mezzanines for 32poems; reviewed again in Blackbird.

* BCP’s Ross White’s “Michelangelo’s David” posted at storySouth.

* Friend Evan Smith Rakoff will give the Keats and Elizabeth Sparrow Keynote Address on “Andy Griffith, America’s Surrogate Father” at the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association Annual Meeting on November 22, 2013.

* BCP’s Win Bassett interviewed Amy Woolard about her day job, and The Atlantic republished it.

Grind co-editor Matthew Olzmann has two poems on Hobart’s website.

* Next up in The New York Times‘s poetry press profiles: Graywolf Press.

The Dish rounds up the commentary on Amazon’s new Day One literary journal.

* The Fall 2013 issue of Blackbird came out Tuesday, and it has contributions from so many of our friends that we we can’t fit them all here. Check out the entire issue!

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Win Bassett‘s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review, Nieman Storyboard, and elsewhere. He serves as contributing editor and interim fiction editor of the Marginalia Review of Books, managing editor of Yale’s LETTERS journal, and assistant for Bull City Press. He’s a former assistant district attorney and is a seminarian at Yale Divinity School. He’s from southwestern Virginia. Follow him on Twitter: @winbassett

Writers who do “something, anything, else:” An Interview with Amy Woolard

By Win Bassett

A version of this post was republished by The Atlantic.

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Writers who have day jobs outside the literature industry aren’t a new thing. Oscar Wilde wrote, “The best work in literature is always done by those who do not depend on it for their daily bread and the highest form of literature, Poetry, brings no wealth to the singer.” Essays at The Millions, Ploughshares, and elsewhere feature stories of folks who have made the double life of writer and Joe or Jane Worker fruitful and rewarding. Short story writer Lorrie Moore wrote, “First, try to be something, anything, else,” in her essay “How to Be a Writer.”

Poet Amy Woolard, named one of the 50 Best News Poets of 2013 by Best New Poets editor Brenda Shaughnessy, has tried “something, anything, else”—including, most recently, working as a child-welfare lawyer. But she has also kept writing. I spoke with her about what it’s like to maintain a career in poetry while also maintaining a demanding, white-collar day job. A condensed, edited version of that email conversation follows.

BCP: When did you first consider yourself a “poet,” and what was your job at the time? 

This is one of those moments that kids face in a spelling bee when they’re unfamiliar with a word, right, and they furrow their brows and ask, “Poet. Can you use it in a sentence?” It’s a title I’ve never really taken on or have been comfortable with, but it has been used on me in different contexts. For example, at Iowa, we were often called poets but only really to distinguish us from the fiction writers, viz.—“The poets are going to the Foxhead for drinks, and I think some of the fiction writers will be there, too.”

Shorter story—I don’t think I’ve every really considered myself a poet, just someone who writes poems, I suppose.

One moment that stands out, though, as a moment when I thought the writing of poems would certainly come to define me in some significant way: as an undergrad at the University of Virginia, when I’d applied, via portfolio submission, for Charles Wright’s Advanced Poetry Workshop. Charles is someone who came to mean a great deal to me and still does. I’ve often called him my “poetry dad” because of the way he took an interest in me and supported my work early on. But in this moment, the first day of that workshop, nearly 30 or 40 students filled the room—we did not yet know if we’d been accepted into the class. And Charles came in, welcomed everyone briefly, and then without another word began writing names on a chalkboard: the 12 or 15 students he’d admitted. And when he wrote out my name, mid-list or so, it was one of those rare occasions when you know something will stay with you forever. That class was also the true beginning of a writing community that I’ve been tied to ever since—other students in the class included Mary Szybist, Heather Derr-Smith, Rebecca Dunham, John Casteen, Jen Scappettone, and I think Sam Witt might’ve been in there too. It was a great crew, many of whom went on to join the crew I was lucky to be among at Iowa.

BCP: Tell me about some of the jobs you’ve held while writing poems between that time and today.

Oh, lord. Well, I’ve always considered Shakespeare’s Henry IV to be one of my favorite plays—most specifically Hal’s dilemma between life at the Tavern and the Court. My own years have played out similarly (sometimes quasi-literally), with an overindulgence of grad school thrown in. During and since my undergrad years, I’ve bartended and managed restaurants a lot—probably a total of seven or eight years’ worth of that time. I love that life, but it definitely takes a physical and mental toll that just became unsustainable. I’m definitely drawn back to that scene again and again, though. I do love a good bourbon.

In between and amongst those jobs, I went to grad school for advertising/copywriting, worked as a writer and editor for a San Francisco dot-com (during the boom and just before the bust), did a financial journalism gig, taught online English Composition courses, did some project-based freelance writing and editing for a few organizations (including a company in SF who gave me “naming gigs,” where I had to come up with names and URLs for new companies. There were all these rules to watch out for. You had to make sure a phrase-based URL didn’t end up unintentionally reading as unsavory—like, oh I don’t know, if you’re doing a site for a therapist named John Smith, you don’t want a URL that’s www.therapistJohnSmith.com, that kind of Arrested Development-type humor). This was years ago, however, when the internet was really starting to multiply, and quickly. People are much more savvy about those things now (I hope).

And of course, law school. I’ve been a lawyer/policy wonk for about five or six years now, and it seems like (especially given my financial investment in it) that this is the one that will stick.

BCP: Tell me about your current job.

Right now I’m a policy attorney for a statewide non-profit research and advocacy group called Voices for Virginia’s Children. I’ve been there for a few years, and before that was a legal aid attorney representing kids with education and school discipline issues. The subject areas I cover now include child welfare and foster care, juvenile justice, child homelessness and some general child poverty issues—most recently child hunger. Essentially, I write, research, analyze data, advocate, lobby, and attend a hell of a lot of meetings in order to bring to Virginia good laws/policies and fight bad laws/policies around children’s issues. I absolutely love it. It lets me tap into my journalism background to write articles and op-eds, use my legal background to actually write laws and regulations at times—and I totally thrive off of the lobbying part. A lot of people find lobbying for social justice issues, especially at the Virginia General Assembly, to be frustrating, annoying and painful—which it is—but it’s an amazing study in human behavior and the power of persuasion—my favorite part of the job, by far.

BCP: How does your current work affect your writing?

I’d like to say that it doesn’t, but I think whenever you have to perform a couple of different identities within your life, each is affected by the other in some way. My job provides a nice counter-balance to the anything-goes world of poems—it’s still a persuasion-based job, but definitely in a rational, intellectual, responsible, real-world sort of way. This may sound terrible, but in my day job, I have to be a good person—and don’t get me wrong: I want to be and like being a good person, but poems give me a path to wrestle with the terrifying, difficult, absurd, imperfect, uncontrollable parts of the world in a much different but incredibly important way. As an attorney and a policy advocate, I can focus on actual change for the better. In poems, I can kind of tear a hole in that continuum and play around more with the scaffolding of it all. In policy, “good” is always the desired outcome. In poems, “good” rarely has anything to do with my goals—and sometimes it’s just desire itself that I want.

BCP: What do your co-workers think about your writing?

They don’t. I mean, for whatever reason, I just don’t tend to share much about that side of my life at work. The two versions of me – work self and writing self – seem like such different entities that it almost feels too vulnerable to share that part of my life in an environment where I need to have a kind of commanding presence, you know? Or else, it plays into my superstition that the more you talk about something, the less likely it will go the way you want it to. I know—it’s the least rational thing about me, but I think I’ve always been that way. I remember not even telling any family that I’d applied to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop until I knew I’d gotten in. Ditto with law school (control issues much?) And aside from that, I just think that there’s something a little too incongruous between law and poetry. In the legal world, it tends to make sense to others that someone would be a fiction writer, but no one really knows what to do with a poet (although that’s probably true everywhere outside the writing community/academia).

BCP: When do you do most of your writing?

I’ve persistently had a terrible writing schedule. By which I mean, for the most part, I have no schedule. I’ve never been a “write every day, even if it’s crap” kind of writer, and I’m a slow producer—ridiculously slow. Part of this, I think, is because I used to think about writing the way you’re supposed to think about credit card debt: pick the highest interest rate card, and pay it down until it’s done. Then move on to the next. But in writing, that strategy was leading me to a kind of paralysis—getting hung up on the most challenging, wrenching piece was keeping me in a persistent stall mode. Finally finding a way to allow myself to move between projects was completely liberating—it was the best thing for my overall process to learn how to jump between work-writing, lighter poems, other essay ideas, and those heart-sucking poems that won’t ever leave you alone. Once I did that, it felt less excruciating to make time to sit down and write, and I stopped creating all the procrastination traps to keep me from the hard work of it.

I actually stopped writing altogether for about 10 years, for various reasons, beginning with the unexpected, sudden death of my closest friend, which led into the creative purgatory that is law school—a place that can kill both time and any adventure the mind might want to wander into. I’ve only picked it up again in the last two or three years—which, I think I knew I’d always come back to it, but needed to feel ready and able. Luckily, I think it’s been worth the wait—I feel much more confident in what I’m doing now than I ever have.

And now that I’m writing seriously again, with an eye toward a cohesive collection, I do some kind of writing work every day, whether it’s reading or dreaming or just chiseling away at a piece that’s in progress—I give myself more permission to see different kinds of work as writing. I usually write early in the morning, which is also kind of a revelation, because before my decade hiatus, I was mostly doing night shifts at restaurants, which meant I never really experienced mornings for the productive times they can be. I also write a lot on weekends, at all times of day, depending on my energy level and how close I am to finishing something.

BCP: Have you ever written at work? (We won’t tell anyone.)

Well, as long as it stays a secret just between us… Sure, I have, but only in the sense of jotting down a line or word or image I want to work on later. The paid job I do and the job of writing poems require me to be in two totally different brains, so it really only happens when my neurons slip a gear every now and then and something will stick with me enough that I just have to type it out so that I can get it out of my head for a while and get back to doing my job. And since I have an hour commute to work and back most days, sometimes I’ll turn on Siri on my iPhone and just talk some ideas out in the car as they happen. And sometimes it turns out Siri is a better writer than I am.

BCP: What would be your ideal job while writing poems?

I’m nearly there, I think—or else it doesn’t actually exist. Someone asked me this question recently, and I think my answer took the form of something like: having six months out of the year to just write, say April to September, with no other work obligations, and then the remaining six months to work on policy campaigns during the legislative session (which in Virginia runs from January through March). I’m not sure there’s a joint-advocacy/poetry foundation out there who would fund that, though. Is there? Call me.

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Win Bassett‘s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review, Nieman Storyboard, and elsewhere. He serves as contributing editor and interim fiction editor of the Marginalia Review of Books, managing editor of Yale’s LETTERS journal, and assistant for Bull City Press. He’s a former assistant district attorney and is a seminarian at Yale Divinity School. He’s from southwestern Virginia. Follow him on Twitter: @winbassett.

Emerging Writers We’ve Discovered This Week: November 1, 2013

by Win Bassett

We adore our INCH contributors and book authors, and we always have our eyes and ears open for emerging writers when we scan the latest issues of journals, check the most recent blog posts, catch the tweets flying by, or grab a cup of coffee at a local reading.

We’d like to celebrate some of the new and not-so-new artists we discover during the course of our weeks in the hope that they’ll contribute to Bull City Press in the future and to advocate for the small, indie press writer and community we love!

I’ll admit I “discover” a good number of the emerging writers I read in The Collagist, a magazine co-edited by my co-conspirator Matthew Olzmann. In April, I was basically obsessed with Aubrey Lenahan‘s “Broadcast.”  Check out these beautiful lines:

someone wrote
conviction ends in action
but not where it comes from     so
I’ve resolved to show my pleasure this way
and that     possibly we’ll forget
what love means when we’ve both grown
tired of saying it    I grew up
with cicadas machining      and I am scared
so scared now of everything

Lenahan’s debut chapbook, Note Pinned to the Back of a Dress, was published this year by H_NGM_N Books. It’s worth a look. Ross White

I just received word that Jamaal May‘s Hum is shipping from Amazon. It’s his first collection out with Alice James Books, and it’s playful, melancholic, and fierce by turns. Try “Hum for the Bolt” in Poetry magazine. it is nothing / compared to that moment when I eat the dark.” Brittany Cavallaro

This week I’m loving the associative work of Gregory Sherl, whose prose poems feel like intimate revelations. You can read some of his work at Pank and Sixth Finch. His “Notes on a Candy Cane Tree” is the kind of wild, loving, hurt and bordering-on-too-much love poem that makes me nod my head in recognition when I read it. Rebecca Hazelton

I stumbled upon Portia Elan‘s “A Simile Is a Suspension Bridge” in Ninth Letter a few weeks ago by way of a Minnesota Review blog interview. The first two lines sealed the deal for my liking: “God—loving you is like sleeping drunk on the roof please come get me / or at least give me a call & we can talk about having a party:” I gave it the Twitter and Facebook love I usually do for poems I find that manage to still my wandering mind; I probably Evernote’d it; and I went on with my business. A few weeks later, @portiaelan followed me on Twitter, and I had to look up who it was. A ha! The girl who wrote the wonderful poem about wanting God to pick her drunk self up from a party and just to give her and her cat a call sometime. I dug into her other work and found poems equal in doubt and the humor it requires to keep going. See “On the Altar I Would Lay” in elimae and its “Temple of Rats Calling Down The End-Coming Time of Gaping Souls.” Win Bassett