Posts Tagged ‘Graywolf Press

18
Feb
19

On Katie Ford’s If You Have to Go

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

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Katie Ford’s fourth collection of poetry (and fourth with Graywolf Press), If You Have to Go, revolves around a break up with her partner of many years. The book consists of four sections, with section “II: The Addresses” comprising the bulk of the poems. In this section, there is a prefatory four-line poem that is followed by 39 sonnet-shaped poems that behave as a crown of sonnets. That is, each poem has three four-line stanzas and a couplet, which occasionally rhymes, and some aspect from the couplet is included in the following sonnet’s opening line. Sometimes the repeated aspect from the couplet is a line or phrase, an altered version of a line or a phrase, or a word from within the couplet. For example, the end of sonnet 34 ends, “Yet, lighting candles – / it’s how I went on,” and sonnet 35 begins, “By candlelight the house went down.” This type of linking not only aids in thematic flow of the section and book, but aids in the associative thinking of the speaker. The direction of thought shifts but with the same repeated aspect. For instance, while sonnets 34 and 35 share images of light and home, sonnet 34 is concerned with whether to burn the home down (where the “home” is also symbol for the writer’s body, as established in the book’s opening poem “In the Hearth”), and what to do with its ashes, but sonnet 35 turns the focus on how to deal with the ghost of the departed husband. This associative linking and thinking are vital as section II is a monologue, and to me, it appears to be an internal monologue of the writer sorting out her new life, or filling in the emptiness of lost love. This internal monologue also at times leads to abstract language, some contorted syntax, and multiple internal voices.

The opening lines of If You Have to Go are, “Of life’s abundant confusions / this does not partake” (“In the Hearth”). This is a perilous start, as the reader has nothing concrete to attach to and the “this” is ambiguous. However, it situates the reader with the abstractions we commonly use when thinking, especially during a break up with a lover. The reader, however, will later learn that “this” refers to all that surrounds her break up and the empty feeling that accompanies it. This abstract language also seemingly conjures past religious poets, like John Donne, who might use phrases like “abundant confusions” or use the word “partake.” The antiquated language of forlornness, however, is contrasted with images from the physical world.

Because of the contrasting languages of the internal and external, the images appear more evocative. Consider the opening of the first sonnet-shaped poem in section II:

     Empty with me, though here I am, I saw
     some soul set my meal with dream, then leave

It’s a challenge to visualize what it is happening at first because there is nothing really concrete. If the first line included “I am” before “Empty,” the reader gets a better sense of what is happening, but still the lines are a bit vague. Though the reader catches on to the fact that the narrator is talking to herself, and she represents herself with both the objective and subjective first-person pronouns, “me” and “I.” She is acted on and acts, to some extent. She “saw / some soul,” but is it a metaphysical soul or a person? And why “some” instead of someone more specific? Perhaps it’s because she’s in deep depression. But then this happens in lines 3-8:

     a gift for me: a ten-toothed comb to rake what’s dead
     from me until the comb’s carved medieval scene 

     where bend two horses, water-consoled,
     adds to me the hope of that number.
     My own comb’s a lime-shined prairie
     with the grass of plastic acres. 

The comb with all of its details brings her out of her internal despair and gives her a form of external hope. A hope she can physically hold on to, and a comb of hope that will accrue more meaning, as it is often referenced throughout section II. The image resolves what the abstract cannot portray.

The point I am trying to get at is risk. Ford risks using antiquated words and syntax, as well as abstraction. These uses are what every creative writing teacher (and composition teacher) tells his or her students not to do. Teachers stress writing in today’s language and with images to engage the reader. Ford’s risks, however, pay off as she fully renders one human’s broken-hearted condition by balancing the inexpressible internal with the sensual external, and as she tries to find stability through a resolvable regularity of abstraction and image. In addition, by bringing in the antiquated language, she speaks to the past and reminds the reader that writing of loss is timeless and universal. In If You Have to Go, Katie Ford creates a language and poetics for vulnerability. //

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Ford, Katie. If You Have to Go. Graywolf Press, 2018.//

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07
Feb
13

Jason Shinder’s Stupid Hope (2009)

Over the next few weeks or months, I will post all my reviews (“Tom’s Celebrations”) that appeared in Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose (formerly Redactions: Poetry & Poetics) up to and including issue 12. After that, my reviews appeared here (The Line Break) before appearing in the journal. This review first appeared in issue 12, which was published circa November 2009.

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Jason Shinder's – Stupid HopeTwo reviews of Jason Shinder’s Stupid Hope (Graywolf Press) follow.

Review one: written in a coffee shop.

Jason Shinder has passed away and so has the hope of more beautiful poems like the ones in Stupid Hope. Yes, these poems are beautiful, like Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.” Both have extraordinary melancholy and despair amid layers of pleasure, and this is what happens with strong poems.

Stupid Hope is two stories of sickness unto death. One story is about the author’s mother, and the second is about the author. Both have brutal honesties, such as in “The Good Son”:

   If God had come to me and said,
   if you are willing to forget your self

   you will find the cure for heart attacks and compose
   the greatest symphonies,

   I wouldn’t have been sure of my answer.
   Because there wouldn’t have been enough
   attention to my suffering. And that’s unforgivable

Later in the poem the mother dies

   after months in a hospital room full of silence
   that lodged itself like a stone in her throat

   And she thought I was wonderful

   and would do anything for her.

The author is not heartless, as you will see when you read this book. He is just bluntly honest. (Also notice the craft of the last two lines. Prior to this, the poem was in couplets. Then in the last two lines the couplets break to emphasize the distance.)

Also, at times, Shinder makes images that parallel the disturbing feeling of joy in your own suffering:

   wanting to be worth the horror
   he lavishes

   wanting to be good enough
   to join his suffering
   with a little of my own.

Review two: from my post on Graywolf ’s Facebook page.

[. . .] And for you poets, it seems to be written under the emotional, empathetic, and sentimental shadow of Allen Ginsberg’s “Kaddish” and “To Aunt Rose.” The poetry is not like Ginsberg’s, but it is sincere like those two poems and like Ginsberg . . . and then some.//

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Shinder, Jason. Stupid Hope. St. Paul, MN: Graywolf Press, 2009.//

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 (Updated 7-21-2022.)

  • 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.)
  • Apocalypse Party
  • Arteidolia Press
  • 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.”)
  • Blue Figure Press (Unsure if they are open all the time.)
  • 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.)
  • Brain Mill Press: Mineral Point Poetry Series (Open reading period varies.)
  • 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
  • co•im•press (Poetry translations.)
  • 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.)
  • Grieveland
  • 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
  • Moon Tide Press (Submit by mail. Unsure if they are open all the time.)
  • 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.)
  • Querencia Press (It appears it is always open for submissions.)
  • 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 Books ($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)
  • Wood & Water Press (“Publishes minimalist writing and art.” Begin with online query form.)
  • 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.)
  • Cherry Castle Publishing (February 5 to March 5.)
  • 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 and August 1 to August 31. $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.)
  • Cherry Castle Publishing (February 5 to March 5.)
  • 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 (April 30 to July 30. “Close-Up Books is currently on hiatus as of February 2021.”)
  • 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 (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 (April 30 to July 30. “Close-Up Books is currently on hiatus as of February 2021.”)
  • 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 (Checked and updated 6-1-2022)
  • Airlie Press (June 1 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
  • Close-Up Books (April 30 to July 30. “Close-Up Books is currently on hiatus as of February 2021.”)
  • 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 31. $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 (Checked and updated 7-1-2022 through 7-25-2022)
August Open Reading (Checked and updated 8-1-22)
  • Cavan Kerry Press (“‘Pay what you can’ structure, with $10, $18, and $25 options.”)
  • Deerbrook Editions (“Suspended until further notice. . . . The normal reading period is August 1 to October 1.”)
  • The Emma Press (July 18 through August 14)
  • FutureCycle Press (They read July through September.)
  • Gasher Press (Not sure when it opened, but it closes on August 31)
  • Kore Press (Currently closed.)
  • Lummox Press (July 1 to August 31. Begin with query.)
  • Mayapple Press (Currently closed to submissions.)
  • 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.)
  • Rose Metal Press (“We are not currently accepting manuscripts or manuscript queries. . . . and plan to have a submission period in 2023.”)
  • The Song Cave (“We are not taking submissions at this time.”)
  • Sundress Publications (June 1 – August 31. $13 reading fee.)
  • Terrapin Books (January 24 to February 28 and August 1 to August 31. $12.)
  • Tupelo Press (July 1 to August 31. $30 open reading fee.)
  • University of Pittsburgh Press (August 1 to September 20. Pitt Poetry Series. For poets who have previously published a poetry book.
September Open Readings (Checked and updated 9-11-2022)
  • Bat Cat Press (Anticipates reopening in 2022/23 school year.)
  • Deerbrook Editions (“Suspended until further notice. . . . The normal reading period is August 1 to October 1.”)
  • FutureCycle Press (They read July through September.)
  • Kore Press (Currently closed.)
  • 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 9-11-2022.)
  • Sidebrow Books (Currently closed. )
  • Tarpaulin Sky Press (“Will open soon. Please join out mailing list to be notified.”)
  • University of Pittsburgh Press (August 1 to September 20. Pitt Poetry Series. For poets who have previously published a poetry book.)
October Open Readings (Checked and updated 10-2-18)
  • 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.”)
  • El Balazo Press
  • 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.)
  • Inside the Castle
  • Jacar Press: The New Voices Series ($15)
  • Kore Press (Currently closed.)
  • 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 (Currently closed. )
  • 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.)
November Open Readings (Checked and updated 11-14-18)
  • 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.)
  • 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.)
  • Future Poem Books (December 1 through January 15.)
  • Green Lantern Press (December 1 through January 30.)
  • 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: September 11, 2022

  • Added University of Pittsburgh Press to August
  • Removed from September, October, and November: Arktori Books

Penultimate Update: August 1 2022:

  • Added to All the Open Readings: co•im•press
  • Removed from August:
    • Arktori Books
    • Spork Press
    • Spring Gun Press
    • Willow Books

Antepenultimate update: 7-1-2022 through 7-25-2022:

  • Added to All the Time Open Readings:
    • Arteidolia Press
    • Blue Figure Press
    • Grieveland
    • Moon Tide Press
    • Wood & Water Press
    • Querencia Press
  • Added to July:
    • Bad Betty Press
    • Belle Point Press
    • The Emma Press
    • Gasher Press
  • Added to August:
    • Sundress Publications
    • Tupelo Press
    • The Emma Press
    • Gasher Press
  • Added to October Open Readings:
    • Jacar Press: The New Voices series
    • Terrapin Books
  • Removed
    • Harpoon Books from July, August, September, October, November, and December
    • Lynx House Press from July
    • Short Flight/Long Drive Books from July

Preantepenultimate 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
  • Added to June and July Open Readings: River River Books
  • 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.
// 
201 presses that print paperback and/or hardcover poetry books.
//
09
Jun
10

Thomas Sayers Ellis’ Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems

A version of the following review will appear in the next issue of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics.

Skin Inc.: Identity Repair PoemsI love when I stumble onto a poet that I’ve never heard of before and who is good. Even better, when they are doing something new, at least new to me. You all probably know of Thomas Sayers Ellis, but I didn’t. But now I know something you don’t know. His newest collection, Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems (Graywolf P, 2010) is good. Oh, I am digging this book. I’m not sure if I know how to talk about it and explain why I like it because this style, this poetry is so new to me, but give me the chance.

The first thing I hear are a strong tone and voice. It’s so distinct and it comes off the page. This poetry is clearly meant to be read aloud. So much poetry wants to be read aloud, but it rarely is except in the quiet whispers to ourselves or in the typically reserved voice of a poetry reading. But that’s obvious. That’s not what is new.

Good poems do, and Ellis’ poems do. These poems leap. There are jumping-with-sensation poems, or as Ellis says:

The line lives life and life lives the line,
many unbreakable,
broken lifelines.

(“The Judges of Craft”)

That stanza is abstract, but that’s okay. It’s one of the many ars poeticas in this book. Besides, there is that haiku leap from line two to three. Let’s listen to some other stanzas from “Godzilla’s Avocado”:

From a lumpy russet, swirling
in a cosmos of miso,
colors mash into casserole.

Kids love kitchens, the sushi chef
re-ending monsters
with embassy-precision.

Life’s raw rolls, ready
to unravel the difficult answers
we wrap in seaweed.

“Love is when two people
like the same food
and the same toys […]”

There’s a lot of leaping here. Leaping from line to line, like “in a cosmos of miso, / colors mash into casserole” (And how do you not love the sounds of “cosmos” and “miso” in the same line? and the rest of the harmonies in that stanza. I love harmony and there are plenty of harmonies in this collection.), leaping within a line, like “Kids love kitchens, the sushi chef,” leaping from stanza to stanza, as every above stanza  does, and leaping from concrete to abstract, as those first two stanzas leap into those last two stanzas and then back again at “seaweed” and back again. In fact, the leaping between abstract and concrete happens throughout. But leaping is not new, but this leaping is refreshing.

What is new is the poet who is fighting on both sides of the Page vs. Stage poetry battle. What is new is that he bridges the gap, and he helps the stage poets understand the page poets and the page poets understand the stage poets. What’s new is that he teaches us how to read poetry. His poetry.

That’s kinda vague. Let me give some examples.

When we get to the “Mr. Dynamite Splits” section, Ellis gives us footnotes. What I like about these footnotes are that they tell us how to read the poems. “Why is that important?” you might ask. Well, because poems are meant to be read aloud. Too often, as I mentioned, they aren’t read loud enough. What happened to the “barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world”? In fact, I just went to the roof of my apartment, the highest point in Brockport, NY, and read my favorite section, “My Dynamite Splits,” over the rooftops of Brockport and to Lake Ontario to the north, and to Rochester to the east, and to the churches to the south, and to the sun setting in the west.

But there’s more. Those are just my reasons. Ellis’ reasons are different.

A big concern of his is the level of respect given to the spoken-word, or Perform-a-Formist, poet. I’ve heard this often. The spoken-word poet wants the respect of the printed-page poet. I’ve also heard the page poet wants the attention and the celebrityhood the spoken-word poet receives. Ellis teaches us how both can be had. For instance, “A perform-a-form line breaks many times, verbally, before it breaks the last time visually. If written, it is written more like blood than bone. If spoken, it is spoken more like stutter than song” (“Two Manifestos: The New Perfom-A-Form: Two,” p 72).

James Brown Apollo

Ellis has a photograph from a similar scene in his book. Ellis is also a fine photographer.

I drifted. The footnotes. In the “Mr. Dynamite Splits” section, an elegy to James Brown, Ellis tells us how to read the poems. The instructions are for the Perform-A-Form poet and for the page, or academic, poet. My favorite footnote, man I like them all, is from the one on page 53, especially the last sentence. I’ll quote the two stanzas on the page and then the footnote.

“These nuts,” that’s what all the Camel Walks,
splits, spins, and Popcorns
told those early closed doors.
Get up offa that thang.

Long live you plea, please, pleases,
Byrd’s brotherly loyalty,
and calling-on Maceo’s licking-stick.
Live at the Apollo laid legend to myth.

Grown ass male physical solo with real references to animal behavior, and the freedom-hesitation to lean back, scream and jump. Fists up to the face, body tightening – a prep for flow, like a brother getting some no matter who is looking. Sweet life I do. Get the “long” and the “loyalty” and the “licking” and the “live” and the “laid” and the “legend” all on the same time and they’ll remember your shine. Eyes will catch the hits before they syllable the ground.

That last line is all about scansion, and it’s one of the most accurate scansion definitions I’ve ever read. At least that’s what happens to me.

Or consider this from page 45 of the same section:

and a bewildered next-time fire
of choked chords and percussive horns
Papa lit the behinds
of new bags with.

To quote Sweet Charles, “Yes it’s you”
the warm globe mourns . . .
for passing mashed potatoes and peas.
Gimme some more.

Call to mind the “be” from “be f-o-r-e” from the preface to the poem and make the “be” in “bewildered” an echo and extension. Do this in the mind near the remembrance of Papa, southern-styling your young “be”hind. Your voice, when reading, must not rest in any one bag. Passing is not rest. Like you, the gesture and line must “unit of gimme” some “unit of more.” A poem is just some.

That’s stage directions on how to read the poem. That’s also prosody. That’s Ellis telling the stage poet the academic significance of the poem, and Ellis telling the academic how to read the poem aloud.

As a result, Ellis has it doubly tough because he has to prove his poetry to the academics and to the spoken-word poets. He’s caught in the middle of the Page vs. Stage battle. In other words, as Ellis says, “I am weary of working / to prove myself equal.” That comes from the “Colored” section of “The Identity Repairman,” which is a wonderful poem that gives the history of African-Americans through the epithets of the times: “African,” “Slave,” “Negro,” “Colored,” “Black,” and “African-American.” (Who invented those words?)

There’s so much more to say about this collection, this voice, what the poems do, and what the poems say, but page space is limited. So I’ll end like this. Even though Thomas Sayers Ellis read and performed “The New Perfom-A-Form” at the “Futurism and the New Manifesto: Celebrating 100 Years of the Founding and Manifesto of Futurism” event at the MoMA in 2009, this Vorticist forgives Ellis his Futurist leanings, because that’s a helluva manifesto and Skin, Inc. is a helluva collection of poems.//




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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