Posts Tagged ‘Deerbrook Editions

22
Jun
14

On Stuart Kestenbaum’s Only Now

A version of this review (and a better edited version) may appear in a future issue of Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose. //

Stuart Kestenbaum – Only Now Many of the poems in Stuart Kestenbaum’s Only Now (Deerbrook Editions, 2014) feel like poems Gregory Orr would write if he wrote narrative poems (some of the meditative and lyrical poems also feel like Gregory Orr poems), a number of the poems have the mythical feel of a Merwin myth-like poem, and some have the intimacy of a Jack Gilbert poem. These styles, among others, are what one would need to successfully write a carpe diem book of poems, and neo-romantic book of poems, at that.

I don’t normally like drawing comparisons to other writers when a reviewing a book of poems, but this time it seems like a good idea to present a feel for the book. In addition, while the opening poem, “Prayer While Downshifting,” is a fine poem, it is acting more as a deliberate lense for the book. By placing this poem at the opening, Kestenbaum is attempting to focus the reader’s mood or reading in a deliberate direction. However, this poem would be better off if it appeared further on in the book, as it needs to built in to or up to. As an opening poem, it’s too heavy handed in its allegory and symbol building, and I want everyone who gets to this book to know that what follows the opening poem is very moving – emotionally and intellectually. In addition, I think (and wonder) if it is better for an author to let the reader discover meanings on their own instead of directing them down a certain path. Or better still, for the author and reader to discover together. More inclusiveness. More of a we-book, where meanings have “to happen because we’ve / made a framework for it. It’s the framework that gives the meaning” (“Big World”). Further, “because meaning is a wild animal that surprises you” (“Prayer for Real”), the reader will want to experience the surprise of discovering meaning, which is what this book does. It surprises. It’s inclusive. It’s a book for author and reader, for you and me, for we.

Maybe it would be better if the book opened with the second poem, “Rocky Coast,” which begins 350 million years in the past, and then in two words, flashes forward 350 million years to today. (Has there ever been a lengthier flash forward?) And this flash forward takes us into an everyday we are familiar with – it takes us into Dunkin’ Donuts. It delivers us into fantasies of hope, revenge, and escape while the “fallen world” is everywhere outside the Dunkin’ Donuts. The next poem, “Getting There,” turns inward even more. It balances the safety of Dunkin’ Donuts with the neo-romantic notion that “deep inside us” are the answers to:

     Where is the place we are always asking about.
     It’s the country we remember in our dreams.
     Where is where we’ll find what we need to know

     whatever that is, whatever we thought it was
     going to be.

Notice how these are shared questions (we all have them), but it’s the turning inward where we find our own answers and meanings. The slow accumulation of poems in Only Now is like a manual of examples and experiences we are all aware of, and the poems about them are in Only Now for us to meditate on, to turn inward on, to equip us with living in the only now we have, and to help us prepare for our eventual demise.

For instance, the conclusion of “Crows”:

         before we began to speak we could feel the world
     inside our bodies and it moved us as we moved with it.
     Perhaps this is our mother tongue, the language of our cells,
     the diction of our hearts and lungs. There, don’t say
     anything for a while, don’t even think in words,
     think in whatever is beyond the thought of words,
     the nameless world that you try so hard to forget
     by naming everything. Take away the caws from the sky,
     take away the rumble from the ice and while you’re at it
     take away the hiss of today’s headlines, like air leaking
     out of the world. See what’s left after that and listen to it.

Again, there is the turning inward for answers, meanings, and, perhaps more importantly, the turning to pure experience – the experience of events before the interference of language. In this wordless realm, we might even get closer to how a god lives and experiences time and the world, as we eventually will. In “Wild God,” we experience god in the Garden of Eden “when the earth was new and animals hadn’t been named yet.” We see god creating and rearranging the earth and then relaxing and admiring his work. Similar to “Rocky Coast,” there is a lengthy flash forward, but this time the experience is not imagistic – like being in a Dunkin’ Donuts – it’s in the experience of time as a god experiences time. When I read this poem the first time, I felt a shift in time, but I wasn’t sure how it happened. It was seamless and flowed naturally. After I paid closer attention to the tenses in the poem, I saw how in half a line the tense shifted from past to present, and the poem moved from millions of years ago to today almost instantaneously, in the blink of a god’s eye. Kestenbaum used syntax and not words to approximate the experience of time for a god. He didn’t explain or even show. He made an experience and made it feel real. In addition, this instantaneous passage of time also seems to suggest that the past resides in the present, or that the distance between past and present is not so far apart, such as for the 93-year old Dora on her deathbed in “The Passage,” who is dying in the present but living in the memories of her past.

Overall, Only Now creates the feeling that living and dying is a juggling act:

     Whether we spend our time
     fearing death or not, listening
     for its footsteps or plugging

     our ears, we all end up
     where we began, just dust
     combined with the weight
 
     of what we carried in the world. (“Scattered”)

It’s a juggling act of living in the now and with the past that made us into who we are now, while at the same time preparing for death, or even avoiding thinking about death like “young minds [who] can’t imagine not existing anymore” (“Back Then”). Stuart Kestenbaum through tight, interlocking poems gives experiences for how to live “As if the Tree of Life / is inside us” (“Breath”) within the precious time we have in our Only Now that is our only life. This is a book of poems I can’t recommend enough for the collective that is we.//

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Kestenbaum, Stuart. Only Now. Cumberland: Deerbrook Editions, 2014.//

16
Jun
12

Presses with Open Readings for Full-Length Poetry Manuscripts

Below is a list of presses with open readings for full-length poetry manuscripts. Most of the listings have free open readings, but I have included some that charge a Submittable fee or a reading fee, but I do try to limit it to just free open readings. Before the pandemic, I kept it up to day, but during the pandemic I did not. 😟 From now on, I will try to keep this list up to date.

Press with Open Reading for Full-Length Poetry Manuscripts

All the Time Open Readings (last updated 5-25-2022.)

  • 8th House Publishing (Begin with sample and query letter)
  • 11:11 Press (January 1, 2022, to March 31, 2022 for “Nothing Exists Alone” submissions.)
  • A.B. Baird Publishing (Mail a query letter and first 30 pages)
  • Aldrich Press (Imprint of Kelsay Books. $20 reading fee)
  • All Things Matter Press (Spiritual, self growth/transformation. Poetry manuscript “should be at least 35k words minimum.”)
  • Anansi
  • Anaphora Literary Press (Email submissions only.)
  • Andrew McMeel Publishing (Use their online form. Requires proposal, bio, and sample of work.)
  • Another New Calligraphy
  • Anvil Press (Canadian poets only. Guidelines being updated.)
  • April Gloaming Publishing (Southern writing. Start by sending 10 poems.)
  • Arte Público Press (“Poetry … based on U.S. Hispanic (Cuban American, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and others) cultural issues and themes.”)
  • Baobab Press
  • Bat Cat Press (“We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.” . . . They plan to reopen “in the 2022/2023 school year.” )
  • Bauhan Publishing (“We are booked through 2022.” Verified 5-25-22.)
  • bd-studios (“Much of the work we publish is by queer creators.”)
  • Better Than Starbucks (“We prefer books of 90–110 pages, including front and back matter, such as TOC, a forward or introduction, credit pages, etc.”)
  • Biblioasis (“Please note that while the majority of our authors and translators are Canadian, we do selectively consider international submissions.”)
  • Black Centipede Press
  • Black Lawrence Press Immigrant Writing Series
  • Black Mountain Press (“a literary press for outstanding emerging writers.” $8 submission fee on Submittable.)
  • BlazeVox
  • Bloodaxe Books (British press. Mail “a sample of up to a dozen poems.”)
  • BOA (Open submissions to the American Poets Continuum Series closes September 30. Not known when submission period begins. Mail only.)
  • BookLand Press. (“We are particularly interested in submissions from culturally diverse Canadian authors, Indigenous authors, people with disabilities, and official language minority authors.”)
  • Bottom Dog Press (Begin with query.)
  • Bower House (Bower House is currently not accepting submissions. Verified 5-25-2022.)
  • Breakaway Books (Sport themes only.)
  • Broadstone Books (“We anticipate resuming open reading on September 1, 2022.”)
  • C & R Press ($25 reading fee.)
  • Caitlin Press Inc. (“Caitlin Press publishes books in all genres, but mainly on topics concerning or by writers from the BC Interior and stories about and by BC women.”)
  • Cephalo Press (“Send us 3-5 poems that best represent your collection.”)
  • Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library (You might have to be first published in their journal)
  • City Lights Books (“Regretfully, we are unable to accept manuscript submissions at this time.” Verified 5-25-2022.)
  • City Work Press (San Diego poets. Send “a sample poem” and an SASE to begin process.)
  • Clash Books
  • Coach House Books (“We publish primarily Canadian authors.”)
  • Cooper Dillon (for $10 or with purchase of one of their books)
  • Copper Canyon Press (“Our open reading periods, held at least twice per year,” but the open months seem to vary. The current open reading will begin in Fall 2023.)
  • Corrupt Press (I think they are open all year.)
  • Counterpath Press (“Please send a query with a sample of no more than about 10 pgs.” to begin process.)
  • Daffydownlilly Press (Imprint of Kelsay Books. Rhyming poetry for children written by adults. $20 reading fee.)
  • Damaged Goods Press (“books by queer and trans identified writers”)
  • Deep Vellum
  • Disorder Press
  • ECW Press (Canadian poets only. Send “approx. 10-15 pages” to begin process.)
  • Ekstasis Editions (Mail only.)
  • El Balazo Press (This may be defunct. Not sure.)
  • Elyssar Press
  • Encircle Publications (Use their “Author Query Form.” . . . “Our publishing slate is full for 2021-2022, so for now, we are not accepting any new manuscript submissions.”)
  • Etruscan Press (with $20 reading fee)
  • Fragmented Voices (Begin with ” 3 – 4 poems, with an outline of a concept for a book, and a structured CV (no more than 2 pages) with a focus on the author’s creative life.”)
  • Fremantle Press (“Fremantle Press welcomes unsolicited manuscripts from authors of Western Australian origin or whose main place of residence is Western Australia. Work by non–Western Australian authors will be considered when the subject matter has a strong Western Australian focus.”)
  • Gasher Journal and Press ($25 reading fee.)
  • Get Fresh Books (“Our chief concern is to provide opportunities for underrepresented voices in publishing.” “We are now closed for regular submissions until spring 2023.” Verified 5-25-2022.)
  • Giramondo Publishing (Reading periods seem to vary. Last checked on 5-25-2022.)
  • Golden Foothills Press (Will reopen sometime in 2023.)
  • Goose Lane Editions (Canadian poets only.)
  • Grayson Books (query with “a sample of 6-10 pages of the manuscript, along with a statement of your qualifications and publication credits, expected audience and promotion ideas.”)
  • Grey Borders Books (“Interested in works that confront and challenge contemporary social norms.” Use their submission form. . . . “Our reading period is currently closed and will reopen sometime in 2021.” They may be defunct.)
  • Half Mystic Press ($5, $10, and $15 reading fee. “At least three-quarters of the book should be previously unpublished in any form.”)
  • Harbor Mountain Press (Start with “letter or email inquiry.” “Response time is breaking some (long) records.” . . . “we are not reading manuscripts until further notice” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • High Plains Press (“Poetry of the American West. Old West history is what we can sell best.”)
  • Holland Park Press (“Places special emphasis on bringing the work of Dutch authors to the English language market.” Email only.)
  • Holy Cow! Press (“There is a three step process for reviewing your work.”)
  • IF SF Publishing (Begin with cover letter, 10-pages, publication credits.)
  • Inside the Castle (“They are highly language and format driven, invested in hybrid approaches, prose mistaken for poetry, poetry mistaken for nonfiction. [. . .] We tend not to be enamored by poetry collections, preferring book-length works, but do try to tempt us.”)
  • Invisible Publishing
  • Kaya Publishing (“Publishing Asian diasporic literature.”)
  • Lady Lazarus-Press
  • Lapwing Publications (Belfast, Ireland.)
  • Literary Laundry (The Vitalist Series. “Submissions are due April 1 of each year.” No opening date given.)
  • Luath Press (Begin with query and sample text.)
  • Manic D Press (You must read one of their books and tell them which one you read. Query with 5-10 poems.)
  • Measure Press
  • Milk Press (The Poetry Society of New York) ($12. No simultaneous submissions.)
  • Moonrise Press
  • New Binary Press
  • New Meridian Arts (Uncertain of reading period. “Greetings Fellow Writers. Our submission page is closed for now. Please check back with us later in the year” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Northwestern University Press (Email proposal.)
  • Offord Road Books (“ORB is currently closed for submissions” as of 5-25-2022, and they have been closed since 1-3-2020.)
  • Oolichan Books. (“Oolichan Books is not accepting unsolicited manuscripts at this time” as of 5-25-2022, and they have been closed since 1-3-20.)
  • Oomph! Press (Poetry in translation.)
  • Open Letter
  • Paloma Press (Begin with query by email. . . . “We have books already scheduled for release through 2022 and are unable to accept submissions at this time.”)
  • Pank Books ($20. “PANK loves you. PANK is always open for your love.”)
  • Peepal Tree Press
  • Penteract Press
  • Persea Books (Begin with a query.)
  • Pinyon Publishing (“Queries welcome.” “Please no simultaneous submissions.”)
  • Platypus Press (England-based press. “We are currently closed for submissions” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Plough Books (Faith based??)
  • Poetic Matrix
  • Prolific Press
  • Propertius Press (“Submissions opened January 6, and there are dozens already in the queues. We are limiting each portal to a specified number of submissions so we don’t get overloaded. When that number is reached, the portal for that classification will close” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Rebel Mountain Press (“Canadian authors only.”)
  • Red Hen Press ($20.)
  • Red Squirrel Press (Scotland based, but open to all. “Red Squirrel Press currently have a full publication plan until the end of 2022 and almost full until the end of 2023.”)
  • Salò Press (“Currently closed to submissions” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Salmon Poetry (“Our list is full until the end of 2025.”)
  • Shabda Press (Unsure if they are open all the time. Current message, as of 6-1-2022, reads, “Submissions reading period: Poems from manuscripts received out of the submissions reading period will not be read or responded to. We are currently on hiatus and taking a break for self-care; no submissions can be taken until further notice. Thank you for your interest in us, and please check back with us in Summer 2023.)
  • Shanti Arts (“We expect to return to normal toward the end of 2022.”)
  • Shearsman Books
  • Signature Editions. (Canadian citizens only.)
  • Slant ($3 Duosama (Duotrope’s submission manager) fee.)
  • Skull + Wind Press (First, second, or third full-length manuscripts.)
  • Spuyten Duyvil (“[W]e ask you to support our press by purchasing our books whenever you are (financially able and) inspired by their contents.”)
  • SparkWheelPress (“Submissions are currently closed. Please check back in 2020.” Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Tavern Books (“Poetry Manuscripts in Translation” or “English-Language, Single-Author Poetry Reprints.”)
  • Threadsuns Press (Email only.)
  • Trembling Pillow Press (“Book Manuscripts should be at least 80 pages.” “$15.00 reading fee.”)
  • Ugly Duckling Presse (Begin with query and proposal. “We are not currently accepting submissions” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • University of Saint Katherine Press (Christian perspectives.)
  • University Professors Press
  • Unsolicited Press ($5 reading fee.)
  • Urban Farmhouse Press
  • Urtica Press (“On hiatus” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Vegetarian Alcoholic Press
  • Victoria University Press (“Most of our authors live in Aotearoa New Zealand and/or their work is suitable primarily for a local audience. Please note that we are not able to consider submissions from overseas writers whose work does not have a connection with Aotearoa New Zealand.”)
  • Wesleyan University Press (Currently closed to poetry submissions as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Whisk(e)y Tit
  • White Violet Press (Imprint of Kelsay Books. For formalist poets. $20 reading fee)
  • Word West (Currently closed to subsmissions as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Xi Draconis Books (Currently “Under Construction.”)
January Open Readings (Checked and updated 1-3-20.)
February Open Readings
  • Astrophil Press (University of South Dakota. Open reading period has changed. No known dates.)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Broken Sleep Books (“We particularly wish to encourage more working-class writers, LGBTQ+, and BAME writers to submit.” January 1 through February 28)
  • Canarium Books
  • CavanKerry Press (For Laurel Books, Emerging Voices, and Notable Voices imprint only. $20 reading fee.)
  • ELJ Publications (February 1 to April 1. $5.)
  • Galileo Press (Ends 3-1-19. An imprint of Free State Review.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Milk and Cake Press (January 1, 2020, to April 30, 2020.)
  • Panhandler Books
  • Terrapin Books (January 24 to February 28, 2020. $12.)
March Open Readings
  • Astrophil Press (University of South Dakota. Open reading period has changed. No known dates.)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • CavanKerry Press (For Laurel Books, Emerging Voices, and Notable Voices imprint only. $20 reading fee.)
  • Cormorant Books. (“Publishes writers who are both Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.” March 1 – April 15, 2020.)
  • ELJ Publications (February 1 to April 1. $5.)
  • Galileo Press (Ends 3-1-19. An imprint of Free State Review.)
  • Glass Lyre Press (. March 15 to April 31. $15 reading fee. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Gold Wake Press (Open reading begins March 1. There is no specified end date. Next open reading begins October 1 with no specified end date. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Milk and Cake Press (January 1, 2020, to April 30, 2020.)
  • Panhandler Books
  • Sibling Rivalry Press (March 1 – June 1. . . . “After a decade of disturbance, we’re hitting pause on our annual open-submission period. Watch this space or follow our social media accounts, and we’ll let you know when we open for submissions again.” This message appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Unicorn Press
  • University Press of Kentucky: New Poetry and Prose Series. (Begin with query. March 15 – May 15. “There are presently no open calls for submissions.” Checked 5-25-2022.)
  • The Waywiser Press (“Authors who have published two or more previous collections of poems.” March 1 – July 1.)
April Open Readings (last checked and updated 4-2-18)
  • Astrophil Press (University of South Dakota. Open reading period has changed. No known dates.)
  • Barefoot Muse Press (April 1 – April 30. “Poems should demonstrate an allegiance to meter/form.”)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Close-Up Books (Submissions open April 30th. Added 6-2-2020.)
  • Cormorant Books. (“Publishes writers who are both Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.” March 1 – April 15, 2020.)
  • Glass Lyre Press (. March 15 to April 31. $15 reading fee. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Milk and Cake Press (January 1, 2020, to April 30, 2020.)
  • New Rivers Press
  • Nine Arches Press (April 1-30, 2018.)
  • Octopus Books
  • Panhandler Books
  • Sibling Rivalry Press (March 1 – June 1. . . . “After a decade of disturbance, we’re hitting pause on our annual open-submission period. Watch this space or follow our social media accounts, and we’ll let you know when we open for submissions again.” This message appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Unicorn Press (April 1 – June 30 and October 1-December 31.)
  • University Press of Kentucky: New Poetry and Prose Series. (Begin with query. March 15 – May 15. “There are presently no open calls for submissions.” Checked 5-25-2022.)
  • The Waywiser Press (“Authors who have published two or more previous collections of poems.” March 1 – July 1.)
  • Willow Books
  • Woodley Press (“Woodley Press strives to publish books by Kansans or books that focus on Kansas.”)
  • YesYes Books (April 1 – May 15. $22. “There are presently no open calls for submissions” as of 5-25-2022.)
May Open Readings (last checked and updated 5-25-2022)
  • Able Muse Press (May 1 to July 15.)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Close-Up Books (Submissions open April 30th. “Close-Up Books is currently on hiatus as of February 2021,” so it may be defunct. Checked 5-25-2022.)
  • The Elephants ($15. May 1 to June 30.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • New Rivers Press (“General Submissions are temporarily on hiatus” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Ninebark Press (“As of March 2020, Ninebark Press is on hiatus.” Checked on 5-25-2022.)
  • Sibling Rivalry Press (March 1 – June 1. . . . “After a decade of disturbance, we’re hitting pause on our annual open-submission period. Watch this space or follow our social media accounts, and we’ll let you know when we open for submissions again.” This message appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Sundress Publications ($13 reading fee.)
  • Unicorn Press (April 1 – June 30 and October 1-December 31.)
  • University Press of Kentucky: New Poetry and Prose Series. (Begin with query. March 15 – May 15. “There are presently no open calls for submissions.” Checked 5-25-2022.)
  • The Waywiser Press (“Authors who have published two or more previous collections of poems.” March 1 – July 1.)
  • Willow Books
  • YesYes Books (April 1 – May 15. $22. “There are presently no open calls for submissions” as of 5-25-2022.)
June Open Readings (last checked and updated 6-1-2022)
  • Airlie Press (June 3 to July 31. Pacific Northwest poets.)
  • Able Muse Press (May 1 to July 15.)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Black Lawrence Press
  • Four Way Books ($30 reading fee. June 1-30.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message is still there on 6-1-2022.)
  • Red Hen Press 
  • River River Press (June 1 – July 31. “Pay-what-you-can reading fee.”)
  • Sibling Rivalry Press (March 1 – June 1. . . . “After a decade of disturbance, we’re hitting pause on our annual open-submission period. Watch this space or follow our social media accounts, and we’ll let you know when we open for submissions again.” This message appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Sundress Publications (June 1 – August 15. $13 reading fee.)
  • Unicorn Press (April 1 – June 30 and October 1-December 31.)
  • The Waywiser Press (“We regret we cannot consider submissions from authors who have published two or more previous collections of poems.” March 1 – July 1.)
  • Willow Books
July Open Readings (last checked and updated 7-4-19)
August Open Reading (last checked and updated 8-1-17)
September Open Readings (Last checked 9-1-17)
  • Arktoi Books (lesbian poets) (At the moment, Arktoi is not accepting submissions.)
  • Bat Cat Press (“We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.”)
  • Cherry Castle Publishing (“Our submission period is currently closed.”)
  • Deerbrook Editions (“Suspended until further notice. . . . The normal reading period is August 1 to October 1.” Checked 1-3-20.)
  • FutureCycle Press (They read July through December. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Harpoon Books (For 2019. $10.)
  • Kore Press (July 9 through October 31. “Open to any women, gender queer, and transgendered artist writing in the English language, whether living in the United States or abroad, and regardless of prior publication history.” Updated 1-3-20.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Sidebrow Books (Through October 31, 2017. “In lieu of a reading fee, we are asking each of you to kindly support our press and authors by buying the book of your choice from our catalog in conjunction with this reading period.”)
  • Tarpaulin Sky Press (“Will we open for unsolicited submissions again, anytime soon? Most likely. But we’re not sure when.”)
  • University of Pittsburgh Press (Pitt Poetry Series. For poets who have previously published a poetry book.)
  • Willow Books
October Open Readings (Last updated 10-2-18)
  • Arktori Books (lesbian poets) (“At the moment, Arktoi is not accepting submissions. Check back for changes.”)
  • Apocalypse Party
  • boost house
  • Bat Cat Press (“We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.”)
  • Black Ocean (“We are currently accepting submissions *for first poetry books* only from October 1 through October 31, 2017.”)
  • Carnegie Mellon University Press (Not open to previous Carnegie Mellon University Press Poets. $15 reading fee.)
  • co-im-press (“Likes works in translation that are strange, transgressive, visceral-mystical, or “unpublishable” through traditional means.”)
  • Counterpath (Begin with a query and a short sample.)
  • Deerbrook Editions (“Suspended until further notice. . . . The normal reading period is August 1 to October 1.” Checked 1-3-20.)
  • El Balazo Press
  • FutureCycle Press (They read July through December. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Gold Wake Press (Open reading begins March 1. There is no specified end date. Next open reading begins October 1 with no specified end date. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Harpoon Books (For 2019. $10.)
  • Inside the Castle
  • Kore Press (July 9 through October 31. “Open to any women, gender queer, and transgendered artist writing in the English language, whether living in the United States or abroad, and regardless of prior publication history.” Updated 1-3-20.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Milkweed Editions (“Milkweed Editions does not anticipate holding open submissions periods in 2018.”)
  • Orison Books (Poetry in translation.)
  • Nine Arches Press (October 1-31, 2018.)
  • Sidebrow Books (“We are currently closed for book-length submissions.”)
  • Tavern Books: The Wrolstad Contemporary Series ($15 reading fee. “The Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series is only open to female poets aged 40 years or younger. Entrants must be US citizens..”)
  • Unicorn Press (April 1 – June 30 and October 1-December 31.)
  • University of Pittsburgh Press (Pitt Poetry Series. For poets who have previously published a poetry book.)
November Open Readings (Last updated 11-14-18)
  • Arktori Books (Lesbian poets. At the moment, Arktoi is not accepting submissions. Check back for changes.”)
  • Bat Cat Press (“We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.”)
  • Black Lawrence Press
  • Copper Canyon Press (Our open reading period is currently closed. We will reopen for submissions in Fall 2023.)
  • FutureCycle Press (They read July through December. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Harpoon Books (For 2019. $10.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Tavern Books: The Wrolstad Contemporary Series ($15 reading fee. “The Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series is only open to female poets aged 40 years or younger. Entrants must be US citizens.”)
  • Unicorn Press (April 1 – June 30 and October 1-December 31.)
  • WordTech Communications (Includes the following imprints Cherry Grove Collections, CW Books, David Robert Books, Turning Point, Word Press, and WordTech Editions.)
December Open Readings
  • Bat Cat Press (“We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.”)
  • Brick Road Poetry Press (75-100 pages. December 1, 2019 – January 31, 2020.)
  • FutureCycle Press (They read July through December. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Future Poem Books (December 1 through January 15.)
  • Green Lantern Press (December 1 through January 30.)
  • Harpoon Books (For 2019. $10.)
  • Tavern Books: The Wrolstad Contemporary Series ($25 reading fee. “The Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series is only open to female poets aged 40 years or younger. Entrants must be US citizens.”)
  • Tinderbox Editions (December 1-7 fee-free open reading period. December 1 – January 30 $22 donation period.)
  • Unicorn Press (April 1 – June 30 and October 1-December 31.)
  • WordTech Communications (Includes the following imprints Cherry Grove Collections, CW Books, David Robert Books, Turning Point, Word Press, and WordTech Editions. Closes December 15.)

//

More to come.

//

Ultimate Update: 5-25-2022 and 6-1-2022

  • Added to All the Time Open Readings:
    • Black Lawrence Press Immigrant Writing Series
    • Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library
    • Elyssar Press
    • Gasher Journal & Press
    • Golden Foothills Press
    • Moonrise Press
    • Oomph! Press
    • Shabda Press
  • Removed from All the Time Open Readings:
    • A15 Publishing
    • Coteau Press
    • Inlandia Books
    • Mother Tongue Publishing Limited
    • Red Dirt Press
    • Snake Nation Press
  • Removed from May Open Readings:
    • Ahsahta Press
    • Mason Jar Press (Removed from November, December, January, February, March, and April too.)
  • Added to June and July Open Readings: River River Books

Penltimate Update: 6-7-20:

  • Added to All the Time Open Readings:
    • Deep Vellum
    • Milk Press
    • Snake Nation Press
    • Ugly Duckling Presse
  • Added The Elephants to May and June
Antepenultimate update: 6-2-20:
  • Added to All the Time Open Readings:
    • 8th House Publishing
    • 11:11 Press
    • A.B. Baird Publishing
    • A15 Publishing
    • All Things Matter Press
    • Andrew McMeel Publishing
    • April Gloaming Publishing
    • bd-studios
    • Better Than Starbucks
    • Biblioasis
    • Black Mountain Press
    • Caitlin Press Inc.
    • Cephalo Press
    • City Lights Books
    • Clash Books
    • Coach House Books
    • Coteau Books
    • Encircle Publications
    • Fragmented Voices
    • Fremantle Press
    • Giramondo Publishing
    • Grey Borders Books
    • Holland Park Press
    • Invisible Publishing
    • IF SF Publishing
    • Luath Press
    • New Meridian Arts
    • Peepal Tree Press
    • Penteract Press
    • Plough Books
    • Propertius Press
    • Rebel Mountain Press
    • Red Dirt Press
    • Shanti Arts
    • Shearsman Books
    • Slant
    • Threadsuns Press
    • University of Saint Katherine Press
    • University Professors Press
    • Unsolicited Press
    • Urtica Press
    • Victoria University Press
    • Wesleyan University Press
    • Whiskey Tit
    • Word West
    • Xi Draconis Books
  • Added Close-Up Books to April, May, July, and August
preantepenultimate update: 5-31-20: Removed Short Flight/Long Drive Books from May and June
// 
195 presses that print paperback and/or hardcover poetry books.//
22
Nov
10

Djelloul Marbrook’s Brushstrokes and glances

A version of this may appear in Redactions: Poetry & Poetics issue 14.


Giorgio Morandi Still Life with Bread and Fruit 1919The other day I was in an art gallery where I was going to host True and Untrue Stories – a reading with Anne Panning and Sarah Cedeno. While I was waiting for the readers and audience to arrive, a man came into the gallery with a bag of freshly baked, homemade loaves of bread. He told me the story of how over the last 30 years he had given away over 16,000 loaves of bread that he had made, and I was the 16,001st person to receive a loaf. This is an incredible, sustained act of generosity. The next morning I enjoyed the cinnamon swirl loaf of bread he gave me. It was delicious toasted and needed no butter.

Brushstrokes and glancesDjelloul Marbrook’s Brushstrokes and glances (Deerbrook Editions, 2010) is like that man with his bag of freshly made bread. And each poem in the collection is like each loaf of bread – a gift.

In fact, Brushstrokes and glances is like an art museum, especially in the first half of the book, “A jar of marsala.” Each poem in the first half is about a specific piece of art or artist and his mother, who was also an artist. I would like to see each of these poems in the museum hanging next to the artwork it is referencing. The poems, while ekphrastic poems, aren’t explications of the artwork, fortunately, but rather the poem is the artwork’s dance partner.

S

What Cézanne leaves unsaid
gives his colors voice –
you cannot spell this danse
of reticence and sense
with the letter c because
it shuts a door in English
the French would leave ajar.

The poems tend to be much more visual than this, but this shows Marbrook’s wit, which often comes through.

BasquiatThe poems in the first part are a reflection or a response to the artwork, or sometimes the artwork is just a trigger for the poem. Sometimes I become so involved in the poem, especially the longer poems like “Basquiat” and “Manhattan reef,” that I enter a type of dream world where there is no text and only images. In fact, while reading, my girlfriend asked me a question. I was so far gone in the book that I responded to her, “What reality am I in?” I was gone in a good way. In fact, that experience was exactly what his poem “Picasso’s bull” asks for.

Picasso’s bull
(Museum of Modern Art, Christmas 2005)

We need a museum to show us
we can unbind our captive lives
as Pablo makes a bull’s cock a loop,

the unbroken line of a steady hand
whispering to the self-important din,
Must your lives be knots and daubs?

Picasso's Bull

The second half of the book, “Accordion of worlds,” is a bit different. The tone and style of the poems are similar enough to the poems in “A jar of marsala,” but the direction of the poems’ perceptions are outward instead of inward to an artwork or an artist. Sometimes the poem even looks outward to time, like this gem:

Among broken statues

When the future started I must have missed it.
Just as well, it has never been as urgent
as the past, which I have no desire to undo
but a grand compulsion to understand.

I know the point at which the future starts.
I drown it every moment of the day
in the torrent of my intuitions, drown it
with ritual satisfaction, perhaps even glee.

I have no business venturing into it
and I can tell it doesn’t particularly want me.
Why would it, half-baked and ignorant
as I am? I leave it to the criminally insane.

The first stanza’s idea turned everything around for me. I thought the future was filled with urgency, but Marbrook is right. It’s the past that’s urgent. The past that’s always slipping away and that we look back on trying to quickly understand what the hell just happened, and often we are quickly trying to undo it. We are trying to quickly repair the broken statues. Plus, it’s only the criminally insane who are plotting, tapping their fingers, mulling, and trying to gain some control over something, and they can’t wait for that moment to arrive. Only they impose an urgency, like a usurer waiting for the next uptick in a stock price or an interest rate (the usurer part is mine and not Marbrook’s).

The Frick

The Frick

Back to the second half of the book, which also takes on a new trajectory – Marbrook being freer. He’s not confined to the artwork anymore. The artwork was a tether on Marbrook’s imagination, though a very long tether, indeed. But in the second-half poems, the poems in “”Accordion of worlds,” his wandering abilities fully emerge. I think these lines from “By the pool of The Frick” best explain:

the finest of our imaginings
is that what we imagine is possible.

Manhattan ReefThe poems in the first half, “A jar of marsala,” are Marbrook’s responses to others imaginings. The poems in the second half, “Accordion of worlds,” are his own imaginings. And now, all of the sudden, I fully comprehend his long poem “Manhattan reef.” It begins with a museum curator speaking, which is like Marbrook’s poems in “A jar of marsala.” ShabtisThis speaker speaks for about a page, and then the critic has a turn for another page. I feel like the critic, and maybe you as a reader will, too. The third speaker is the paintings, and this is like Marbrook’s poems in “Accordion of worlds.” Finally, the last speaker in “Manhattan reef” is mortality. Mortality is the segue from the first section’s poems to the second section’s poems. And mortality underscores every word in this collection, and in the second half there may be a double underscore with the extra underscore coming from his deceased mother.

In this collection, you will learn to “see between a blink and a sob,” between artist and art, and between Brushstrokes and glances.

.

.

.

.

.

And now a word about the book. This book is well put together. It feels good in the hands. I like its heft and texture. I like the how the typeface for the poems’ titles are Futura, a sans-serif typeface, and how the typeface for the poems is Fairfield (or a reasonable facsimile), a serif typeface. I think that little design lends to the dichotomy of the book. I would say the Futura relates to the poems in the first section, sans Marbrook (more about the paintings and less of him), and the Fairfield relates to the poems of the second section with Marbrook actively involved. The layout of the pages is also classic in style: “The ideal of the combined inner margins or gutters equal to the outer margin for instance is similar to the head margin being half of the foot margin.” That’s from the publisher’s blog entry about layout and design, which you can read here: Notes on book design, sacred geometry; good sources.

This is a good book inside and out.

.

.

.

.

.

Just for fun, here are some links to some other artists and artwork mentioned in the first section, “A jar of marsala.”

“We are all Van Gogh” (page 8):

http://www.vangoghgallery.com/

“Earthworks magus (Robert Smithson, 1938-1973)” (page 9):

http://www.robertsmithson.com/earthworks/ew.htm

“Garden in Sochi, 1943” (page 10):

http://i12bent.tumblr.com/post/523837320/arshile-gorky-garden-in-sochi-1943-oil-on

“Giorgio Morandi (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)” (page 11):

http://www.metmuseum.org/special/se_event.asp?OccurrenceId={5D5AFA86-A086-4E14-A54B-E0FD91607074}

“A government like Caravaggio” (page 12):

http://caravaggio.com/#

“Jeanne Hébuterne” (page 13):

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibitions/modigliani/jeanne-hbuterne-sitting-1918,16,AR.html

“Adeline Compton” (page 14):

http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com/2010/11/22/may-i-introduce-you-to-adeline-compton/

“Artemisia Cavelli” (pages 15-16):

http://takte-online.de/index.php?id=547&L=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=221&tx_ttnews[backPid]=517&cHash=8d36c08416

“Goya in iPodia” (pages 17-18):

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/goya/hd_goya.htm

http://www.apple.com/ipod/

“Underside of leaves” (page 19):

http://www.jean-baptiste-camille-corot.org/

“Cézanne” (page 20):

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pcez/hd_pcez.htm

“Basquiat” (pages 21-23):

http://basquiat.com/

“Georges Seurat (Studies for A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte)” (page 24):

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/51.112.6

“Francisco de Zurbarán (The Metropolitan Museum, 2008)” (page 25)

http://www.francisco-de-zubaran.com/

“Lucian Freud and my mother (Etchings, Museum of Modern Art, February 2008)” (page 26):

http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/29

“Pallas Athena” (page 30):

http://www.arthistory.sbc.edu/imageswomen/papers/stebbinsathena/athena2.html

“I saw Mona Lisa once” (page 32):

http://tinyurl.com/64wt6u

“Picasso’s bull” (page 33):

http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=63062

“Pierre Bonnard’s late interiors” (page 34):

http://www.pierrebonnard.com/

“Manhattan reef” (pages 35-40):

http://www.manhattanreefs.com/

“Never is (Han van Meegeren, 1889-1947, art forger)” (page 41):

http://www.meegeren.net/

//




The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Material Matters

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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