Sunday, December 21, 2008

Poet and Poetry: Elizabeth Alexander Prepares for Inauguration of President Obama

Today's New York Times has a nice piece on Elizabeth Alexander and her preparation for writing the premier "occasional" poem of 2009: the one that she'll read at Barack Obama's Presidential inauguration. A professor at Yale University and author of four collection of poetry and one of essays, Alexander maintains a web page that's easy to explore:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Four Way Books and a Truly Free Gift of Literature

As Four Way Books celebrated its 15th anniversary this year, poetry events brought fresh attention to its authors. But in addition to single-author collections, mostly of poetry, Four Way has produced some great anthologies. Thanks to a generous gift of books from the press, Kingdom Books is making two of these available for FREE (really truly) with any order placed here between now and March 2009 (or until we run out of copies0. Just ask for one with your order, and tell us which one you'd like.

The first is Laure-Ann Bosselaar's entertaining collection NEVER BEFORE: POEMS ABOUT FIRST EXPERIENCE. The anthology includes poems from strongly established poets like Ellen Bass, Robin Becker, Kimiko Hahn, Edward Hirsch, Philip Levine, Thomas Lux, and Carol Moldaw; from New England poets whose work deserves more attention, like Joan Aleshire, Meg Kearney, Dzvinia Orlowsky, and Jim Schley; and from people who both write and teach the craft, like Anne-Marie Macari and Baron Wormser. There are 104 poets contributing, so ... the diversity is terrific and there's plenty of humor, as well as insight. A great book for a winter afternoon!

The second is the first volume in Four Way's series of Shade anthologies, SHADE 2004. This one includes both fiction and poetry. Here's the list of authors:

Claire Bateman
Michael Burkard
Tina Chang
Paula Cisewski
Kevin Clark
Cynie Cory
Jim Daniels
Nancy Eimers
Chad Faries
Judith Hall
Mark Halliday
Forrest Hamer
Terrance Hayes
Brian Henry
Bob Hicok
Christopher Kennedy
Ted Kooser
Jaimee Kuperman
Patrick Lawler
Louise Mathias
Gretchen Mattox
Pablo Medina
Lydia Melvin
Donna Munro
William Olsen
Dzvinia Orlowsky
Kevin Prufer
David Rivard
Dana Roeser
Mary Ruefle
Catherine Sasanov
Hugh Seidman
Elizabeth Skurnick
Maura Stanton
Thomas Swiss
J.C. Todd
Robert VanderMolen
Karen Whalley

Stephen Beachy
Lewis Buzbee
Kristy Eldredge
Amy Holman
Samantha Hunt
Jonathan Pugh
Ron Rash
Christine Schutt
Diane Williams
Edra Ziesk

How can you resist? Many thanks to Four Way for this exciting gift. Claim your copy now, please, so we can spread these around.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Countering Conspicuous Consumption: A Poetry Event Reminder from the CPS (Shelburne Falls, MA)


On Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 pm, we are hosting the amazing Dzvinia Orlowsky, prizewinning poet, translator, and author of four poetry collections including her most recent, Convertible Night, Flurry of Stones; the award winning poet, translator and author of four books of poems, most recently, Black Threads, the out-standing-in-his-field Jeff Friedman; and the terrific poet Alice B. Fogel whose most recent book of poetry is Be That Empty.

Free at Mocha Maya's, 47 Bridge Street, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370, 413-625-6292. Wheelchair accessible. See for additional biographical information about each poet~

Red and Gold Tinsel Thursday—a reprieve from Black Friday and a Way to Soothe Yourself before the Hordes of the Holidays Hit.

A little taste of what’s to come:

Be broken in bright light,/ a drain in your back, your body/ releasing its deepest red,/ a cardinal opening a wing/ within. —from “Nude Descending” by Dzvinia Orlowsky

I hope my daughter doesn’t grow up thinking her body’s/ childlike/ except for one obscene brushstroke,/ but that she’ll pull that first tongue that enters her/ deeper – her head falling slowly back,/ eyes closed, and will let stars be stars, unnamed,/ above their parked car. —from “I Hope My Daughter Doesn’t” by Dzvinia Orlowsky

Say a blessing for the/ body with its narrow caves,/ for the clattering cups, the noisy/ prayers, for the heat of the eyes,/ the wild burning, the sweet/ smell of flesh, the rain/ ripping up the rusty river. —from “Blessing for the Hats” by Jeff Friedman

Up here, it is a vibrant repose./ This room, that is not a room,/ never echoes the sound of living wood splitting./ Awash with wind, it blows open every door. —from “The Lightning Tree” by Alice B. Fogel