Posts Tagged ‘Dorianne Laux

10
Aug
11

in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day ninety-nine (Two Hands Angel’s Share Shiraz 2008)

I got this bottle of Two Hands Angel’s Share Shiraz 2008 back in April, which you can read about here, and tonight is the night I’m going to drink the Angel’s Share. What is the angel’s share, and why am I drinking it tonight? The angel’s share is the portion of wine that evaporates from the barrel during fermintation. It’s the portion of wine that goes straight to the angels. It’s for them and them only, but perhaps they save it for us, so they can drink it with us when we get to heaven.

What if the angels don’t drink
their shares at all,
but instead save them,
so that later,
when we check in,
or perhaps at judgement day,
we’ll find samples
of all the wines and all
the days, all the lost
friendships, everything
we thought had evaporated away,
lined up and displayed,
not as an appreciation
or a rebuke,
but simple a testament,
to what we tried to make
with our lives.

– Joseph Mills. “Some Questions about the Drinking Habits of Angels.” Angels, Thieves, and Winemakers. Winston-Salem, NC: Press 53, 2008.

(By the way, I’m plugging this book again. It’s fun. If you like poetry and wine, you’ll like this book. If you don’t like poetry and only like wine, you’ll like this book. If you don’t like wine, why are you here?!)

So why am I drinking it tonight? Because I wonder about these angels. I wonder about god. I wonder about the universe. But mainly because my newest collection of poems, Poems for an Empty Church (Palettes & Quills) is going to the printer in a day or two.

Poems for an Empty Church full cover

Click the cover to see it better and read some blurbs.

It’s my newest because it will the newest collection published, but my other collection, Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex has newer poems.

Poems for an Empty Church was completed in 2007ish, but it began in 1989ish, maybe 1988. There’s one poem in there, “The Three Voices of Creation,” that took 17 years to write, and if you count some edits I made to it the other day, then it took 22 or 23 years to write. (You can read it here: pages 40-42.) That also may have been the first poem I read aloud to a crowd. I read it at the Autumn Cafe, a wonderful little restaurant in Oneonta. I went to the restaurant by myself. (I didn’t really know any poets then. I didn’t even really know if I was one.) I signed up. I read it. I read it well. An older couple loved it. They said they hadn’t heard anything like that in years. I was too shy and nervous to respond well. Now that I think about it, I may have only read the first section. The other two sections may not have been written yet. One version of this poem was also turned into a play. Actually, I tried on two different occasions to make it play. The second time I did it I forgot about the first time I tried to make it a play. I’m just remembering this now.

So anyway, I do freelance work for Donna M. Marbach, who runs, edits, and owns Palettes & Quills. I helped market and advertise her poetry chapbook contest with judge Dorianne Laux. I did the layout and design for Michael Meyerhofer’s Pure Elysium. And I helped with the marketing and advertising for Pure Elysium. During this whole process, I half jokingly and 80 percent seriously suggested to Donna that she should publish my book. I told her all the poems had been published in journals and I had the perfect cover art for it, Brian Warner’s “The Kiss.” (From the About the Artist section in the book:

“The Kiss” was inspired by the Tom Holmes’ poem “Death Has His Say.” The poem “There are some places you can’t find God” is, in turn, a response to the “The Kiss.”

“There are some places you can’t find God” is the concluding poem to the book.) Anyway, Donna eventually, after releasing Michael’s book and reading my book, said she would like to publish my book but I had to do the layout and design. Cool by me. I can make the book perfect and exactly like I want it. Who’s going to respect how my poems should appear on a page more than me? No one. I think I’m awesome at laying out a book of poems. When you layout a book of poems, you need a poet to do it. No one else can get it. I love layout and design, and I’m happy I got to layout my book.

So after Donna finishes editing the book, it’s good to go. There’s hardly anything to find. I’ve been working on this for years, editors at other journals have seen the poems, my girlfriend gave it a good read, I gave it another good read. In fact, when I read it again, for the first time in about two or three years since I last looked at it, I realized how tight this book is. How poems from across the book talk to each other. How ideas travel through the book, and images, too. Objectively, it’s a pretty solid book. It surprised me. I was engaged. I think you’ll like it to. When it comes out in September, I’ll let you know. It will be on sale on Amazon, Lift Bridge Books, and other book stores.

Enough of that. I could go on for quite some time about this book. Needless to say, if you believe in God or don’t believe in god, if you have a religion or need a religion, if you’re empty or spiritually full, Poems for an Empty Church will speak to you and help you experience the Other.

Two Hands Shiraz Angel's Share Shiraz 2008To the wine. This is not the one that is number two on The Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2010, which I’ve had and is delicious. I suspect this won’t be as good, but that it will be good. However, the Wine Spectator gave this one 86 points, which doesn’t make this seem promising, but it better be since I spend $30 or so on it.

This is a dark, dark maroon colored wine. The nose is meaty, smoky, thick, and with mushrooms. I want to eat it. My girlfriend picks up the spices from Shake N Bake. I haven’t had Shake N Bake since the early 80s, so I don’t know what those spices are.

Wow that was weird. It was almost fizzy for a second.

It doesn’t taste as it smells or as good, but it’s big and tasty. It’s juicy on the front of the mouth and shortly after the finish. The finish is also of grapes. Like grape jam. It’s jammy.

I also pick up some chocolate and plums. And I also get hints of spice, especially on the finish.

My girlfriend picks up chicken and cranberry and says it is thick on the finish – it coats the back of the throat.

I asked my girlfriend how much she’d pay for a bottle of this, as she didn’t know the actual price, and she said, “$8. It’s not that extraordinary.” She’s right. It’s not extraordinary, but I’d pay $15 for this, but not $30 again.

This will go good with pasta, chicken, pizza, and steak and hamburgers and a peanut butter jelly sandwich.

So what do I say about this wine. I say it’s definitely an 88 or a B, but you can find better for half the cost, or hold it for a few years.//

06
Jun
11

Michael Meyerhofer’s Pure Elysium: Behind the Scenes

Lately, I’ve been working with Palettes & Quills in running their chapbook contest and putting together the winning chapbook – Michael Meyerhofer‘s Pure Elysium. I had so much fun doing the layout and the cover. My favorite part was . . . . Wait. Guess. . . . It was adding the colophon. I’ve always wanted to do that, and so I did.

Here’s what the colophon says:

Stencil Standard Bold, the typface appearing on the front cover, was designed in June 1937 by Robert Hunter Middleton for Ludlow Typography (a hot metal typesetting system used in letterpress printing) and one month later by Gerry Powell for the American Type Founders, which was the major type foundry in America from 1892 to the 1940s while maintaining influence into the 1960s.

Cardo is the typeface used for the text pages and the back cover. This typeface is David J. Perry’s version of a typeface cut for the Renaissance printer Aldus Manutius and first used to print Pietro Bembo’s book De Aetna. This typeface has been revived in modern times under several names, such as Bembo, Aetna, and Aldine 401.

Plus, I think I made a cool cover. The artwork is “The People Make Love” by Peter Davis. I actually  had to do some work on the cover art. The image I received was something closer to a square, but not really a square. The left, top, and bottom were mostly square, but the right side wasn’t at all. I actually had to do some Photoshop painting and cloning to the bottom right to make it square. And then I wondered what to do with a square image. I didn’t want it front and center. I wanted to do something better. Eventually, I elongated the whole image to what is here and the rest fell into place. Actually, there were quite a bunch of different color combinations. The yellow was originally red, like it is under the vase. Actually, the first cover looked like this:

Pure Elysium first cover

I think I did some cool things on the text pages, too. To find out what those things are, order a copy here.

Oh, and Michael was really cool to work with and he gave us a clean copy of his terrific manuscript. There were only two edits in the whole thing. And one was a good edit because I corrected a noun agreement and made the sounds in the correction pick up a number of more harmonies. It’s tight.

It’s a solid book of poems.

But enough about me. To the book!

//

The 2010 winner of the Palettes & Quills Second Biennial Poetry Chapbook Competition is:

Michael Meyerhofer’s Pure Elysium

Pure Elysium cover

It was selected as the winner by Dorianne Laux in December 2010. And now it has been released into the world.

It’s available at Amazon by clicking here, and it’s available for sale at Palettes & Quills by clicking here (just scroll down and click the Add to Cart button).

Here’s what they are saying about the book:

Michael Meyerhoffer’s Pure Elysium is a paradise, a sweet ride through imagination’s wide, un-mown fields. These compact and wildly various poems – funny, serious, personal, global – continually surprise and delight.     – Dorianne Laux

If this collection is Pure Elysium, then I never want to be impure again. Give me flappers with a flat tire, make my wallet turn up under a bed skirt, and let me listen to, “the sound of two hands clapping / in the vacuum between stars.” Michael Meyerhofer is the master of the twist, the patron saint of lines embodying equal parts comedy and poignancy. This collection is nothing like the knights who “woke in such a fuss / that they dressed themselves backwards,” and readers will want to wear the opposite of chainmail when reading these poems. In short, Meyerhofer has done it again. We’re lightning-struck, and it is the best kind of blessing.     – Mary Biddinger

Michael Meyerhofer’s poems reside mainly in narrative. But even though they typically begin and operate in story, they often end with an interesting lyric curl, and it is these endings that make me want to go back and reconsider their lineages. Pure Elysium’s final poem – a lyric, interestingly, which holds much to admire – declares that “we all carry the gene for greatness.” There may indeed be some of that destiny inviting us to peek at its evolution here.     – C. J. Sage

//

About Palettes and Quills:

Founded in 2002 by Donna Marbach, Palettes & Quills is devoted to the celebration and expansion of the literary and visual arts and offers both commissioned and consulting services. Palettes & Quills works to support beginning and emerging writers and artists to expand their knowledge, improve their skills, and connect to other resources in the community. Further, Palettes & Quills seeks to increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of these arts through education, advocacy, hands-on assistance, and by functioning as a literary press. For more about Palettes & Quills, visit their website: www.palettesnquills.com.//

26
Apr
11

in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day ninety-one (Signargues Côtes du Rhônes Villages Granacha 2007)

Man, the poetry world is busy lately. I’ve been running the Just Poets blog updating it with all the local poetry events and posting a poem day for National Poetry Month. I’ve been laying out and doing the cover for Michael Meyerhofer‘s Pure Elysium, which won the Palettes & Quills 2010 chapbook contest as judged by Dorianne Laux. (Her latest collection, The Book of Men, is wonderful. Look for a review here soon.) Here’s the Pure Elysium cover:

Pure Elysium full cover

I’m also just about to start editing issue 14 of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics – the I-90 Poetry Manifesto issue with guest editor Sean Thomas Dougherty. (There’s a good interview with him at Bookslut.) Then I have an anthology to layout and do the cover for. Plus, I gotta work my full-time job, too. Oh, and I’m planning the last reading of the season for the A Different Path Gallery Reading Series. You can read about the last reading of the season here.

Man, do I need a drink.

Tonight, I’m going to have Signargues Côtes du Rhônes Villages Granacha 2007. A Granacha from the Rhone valley. Robert Parker at the Wine Advocate gave it 91 points. So it will probably be a big, fruity wine with lots of alcohol. Bonus – It’s an old vine wine. Sweet.

I’ve been dying to drink this for about two weeks, so here it goes.

It shimmers in ruby like thick stained glass windows that have never been clean and the sun is setting so its low angles of sunlight barely light it and create the hint of a glow.

The nose is pleasant with some bright berries, dark raspberries, and flowers. And there’s a hint of duck.

My first sip is Yum and It will go good with cheese. I pictured a yellowy orange cheese. (Grammar rule: don’t hyphenate compound modifiers if the word ends with a y.)

When I taste the Granacha, I pick up the duck again. I also get some big, dark berries. The finish is a bit spicy, too. This wine is almost meaty, too. I feel like I can almost eat it. Or maybe I just want to. Oh, to eat a wine. That would be divine. (Or should I say, devine. Ha.)

The body doesn’t give much. It’s like it wants to let loose and be juicy, but it’s being anal about something. Maybe it needs more time to open, though it’s been over an hour. Maybe it needs a decanter. Maybe it needs tomorrow. Don’t we all need tomorrow. As long as tomorrow arrives with me, all is good.

I don’t have much else to say about this wine. I hope I didn’t pay more than $15 for it.

. . .

So I’ve been swirling the glass around for the last half hour, and it’s opening. The berries are definitely brighter. There’s less dank.

The DankMoe: Oh, everybody is going to family restaurants these days, tsk. Seems nobody wants to hang out in a dank pit no more.
Carl: You ain’t thinking of getting rid of the dank, are you, Moe?
Moe: Ehh, maybe I am.
Carl: Oh, but Moe: the dank. The dank!

I like less dank, and this wine is slowly getting better. It’s lively and almost jammy. A thin jammy.

It’s such a different wine in the last half hour.

I’m digging it.

I’m giving it an A-. I love it.//

16
Apr
10

chapbook contest

Donna Marbach of Palettes & Quills is running a poetry chapbook contest, and I’m helping out. I probably won’t be reading anything, except maybe at the very end before we hand off the finalist manuscripts to the judge, Dorianne Laux. I’m basically just doing layout and design and helping to spread the word.

The winner of the contest gets $200 and 50 copies. Free copies are awesome because that’s where you’ll really make your money, especially when it’s that many copies.

The complete guidelines are here: http://www.palettesnquills.com/palettes__quills_2nd_biennial_p.htm

About the judging: The final judge is Dorianne Laux, author of Facts About the Moon (W. W. Norton, 2005), which was the recipient of the Oregon Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other collections include Smoke (BOA Editions, 2000); What We Carry (BOA Editions, 1994), finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Awake (BOA Editions, 1990, and reissued by EWU Press, 2007), which was nominated for the San Francisco Bay AreaBook Critics Award for Poetry.

So please enter and tell your friends.//




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

The Cave

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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