Sunday, October 18, 2009

I shouldn't but I am: In the Vein of Free Poetry

Here's a list of places where you can read poetry from lit journals for free. If you are too poor to buy a subscription, or if you want to shop around before you buy a big name and then realize it has a different aesthetic, here you go. I think there's easily enough content here as zines come out, and as magazines update their samples, to fill ease poetry hunger pains!

But lit mags you like if you have cash! You don't want them to go all Quarterly West on you :(


Kenyon Review Online
Pebble Lake Review
Diane Lockward's Picks
Samples from Current Issues:

Missouri Review
Beloit Poetry Journal also features a poem of the day from the BPJ archives.
Black Warrior Review also has online content.
Field has sample poems from current and past issues.
The Gettysburg Review
The Greensboro Review
Gulf Coast
The Laurel Review

and more later!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Good News For Me: Two Chapboooks Forthcoming

I have two great pieces of news. My chapbook Fragrant Inferno, poems appearing on Thirty First Bird Review, won the Anabiosis Press Chapbook Competition!

And my chapbook Broken Plums on the Sidewalk, poems appearing in Puerto del Sol, Gulf Coast,Cider Press Review, Locuspoint:Phoenix , Pebble Lake Review, and Bone Bouquet won the Mississippi Valley Chapbook Competition!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Poetry Give-Away VII: The True Names of Birds by Susan Goyette

First collection of poems by Canadian writer Susan Goyette, The True Names of Birds, from Brick Press, 1998. Pristine copy available for price of shipping, $2. Otherwise, you can purchase the book here.

The poems of this collection about a recent widow turn daily domesticity into prayers to keep a family safe, or to bring it back. Moments of heartbreak circumvented, but made obvious by their outline. Moments of grace carefully and lovingly detailed and cherished in the face of loss. Goyette's poems tend toward shapeliness, often displaying very even stanzas of free verse. Sweeping statements pop up in inverted narratives and series of surreal logic. Well within the tradition of women's poetry that invokes witchiness and examines family dynamics, The True Names of Birds is at times fairy tale-ish, and involves a good deal of garden and herb imagery.

From "On the Road Crossing the Island,"

"...This road

has filled my shoes with birthstones
and turned my mother into a full
length mirror. There's no point

in trying to cover the flaws."

From "The moon on Friday night"

"...It coaxed buttons
to the lips of buttonholes and whispered, 'you're beautiful,
so beautiful' to women who speak the vernacular

of loneliness."

My favorite poems are "The Mythology of Cures," and "Again to Be a Daughter." The memories of the family built together, and the thought of the children who are grown and gone, and female contemporaries who remain close sustain the widowed speaker in her ability to go forward after loss. As a new mother/poet, The True Name of Birds reminds me to relish my time in the face of what can, and eventually will happen. Carpe diem, I guess. I'm going to hug my husband and call my mom.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Poetry Give-Away VI: Try by Cole Swenson

First person to comment or email me gets a brand new copy of 1999 The Iowa Poetry Prize winner Try by Cole Swenson, for the price of shipping, $2.

Try comes in a square format which accomodates the long line that many of her poems play with. Looking at poems like "Prologue," you might describe Swenson's work as multi-genre, verse mixed with prose that I would not call prose poetry. It is like a nonfiction essay with bursts of lyric poetry at intervals. Try is a great collection for anyone who enjoys ekphrasis. There are a number of different approaches to writing about/in conversation with artwork, and Try illustrates, at my count about four, each reflecting something of the nature of the artwork in a nice organic way: complex and layered, streamlined and focused, ironic and casual, metaphysical and earnest.

The main themes of the collection are religion, hagiography, art, the experience of art. Long sequences, short lyrics, prosey bits.

My favorite poems in this collection are in the section "Triune: After Three Paintings by Olivier Debre." The lines are short, the meaning clear and strange. Here's three stanzas from "Liberty to C."

"The pale green makes the woman
seem freer than the rest of us.

Inside her is a blue egg.
She lives with it,
which is why she looks like that:

No one has wings.
No one lies."

I also really enjoyed the prose poems inspired by Hieronymous Bosch, although I will admit to not knowing who that is or looking it up.

To purchase, go here.