Posts Tagged ‘Tavern Books

07
Jul
12

On Michael McGriff’s Home Burial

A version (and a better edited version) of this review may appear in Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose issue 16, due out in early 2013.

Michael McGriff Home BurialWhen I read the epigraph to Michael McGriff’s Home Burial (Copper Canyon Press, 2012), “. . .  here comes midnight with the dead moon in its jaw . . . – Jason Molina,” I knew I was about to enter something I would enjoy. After the first four poems, my neck hurt because I had been jabbed so many times by the rich images. Each time I read an image, my head snapped back in awe and a quiet “wow” escaped my lips. After reading the fourth poem “Catfish,” I had to stop and reflect. This isn’t a book that you can read from beginning to end and then reread. No, this book is a book you have to read a little, stop, recover and reflect, and then go back in for some more rope-a-dope poems.

For instance, in the second stanza of “Catfish,” the speaker describes the river in his youth and at all times:

     The dare growing up:
     to swim down with pliers
     for the license plates,
     corpse bones, a little chrome . . .
     But even on the clearest days,
     even when the river runs low and clean,
     you can’t see it,
     though you can often nearly see
     the movement of hair.

After I read that, I felt like I was in the corner of an imagistic boxing ring and was about to receive a bunch of body-blow images. And then near the poem’s end came the blow that set up the knock-out punch. At this point in the poem, the speaker describes how the car may have ended up at the bottom of the river after an accident. In the description, the speaker compares the driver’s pocket watch to “the obvious moon / that bobs near the lip of the eddy.” Then the speaker describes the magic of the pocket watch:

     Wind the hands in one direction
     and see into the exact moment of your death.

     Wind them the other way
     and see all the tiny ways
     you’ve already died –

Oh, that was a body blow that lifted me off the canvas, and I was going to go down into two more short stanzas. After that, the bell rang because I put the book down to recover and reflect. When I picked it up again, I was sitting on a stool with the tone of the poems massaging my arms like a cutman limbering me up for the next round of poems. When I returned, I was again overwhelmed with more neck-snapping images. Soon I was again sitting in the corner, and the cutman was cutting open my eyes that were swollen with images of living and dying:

     It’s finally late enough
     that all sounds
     are the sounds of water

     If you die tonight
     I’ll wash your feet

     I’ll remove the batteries
     from the clocks

     And the two moths
     that drown in the lakes
     of your eyes
     will manage the rest.

                         (“Invocation,” ll 64-74)

I’m sure I’ve carried this boxing metaphor too far. It might, in fact, make this collection of poems seem violent or aggressive, when it’s not. It’s quite the opposite. Think of the caring, slow, and perceptive tones of Merwin, and you’ll be part way there. For how the book moves, think of the concluding stanza from “The Residence of the Night”:

     The tractor, of course,
     is filled with it.
     It won’t start
     until you summon
     the lampblack
     in the river of your blood,
     where the sturgeon
     are decimal points
     moving upstream
     zero by zero.

Think of the translations of some dead Spanish-writing poet who wasn’t afraid to use “soul” or “love” and you’ll get closer. (These poems often do feel like they are brilliant translations of non-English poems. Other than the language, they don’t feel American to me.) Think of someone who has died and been reborn writing poems about living and dying, and you’ll be almost all the way there. Think of McGriff as being:

     reborn as a bird
     who claws its way
     from the throat
     of a man

                         (“Against My Will,” l 2-5)

You’ll be so close. Think of reading Michael McGriff’s Home Burial to fill all the empty spaces of doubt and fear of death in you, and then you’ll be all the way there . . . and whole.

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NB
I just read McGriff’s bio in the back of the book. “His books include Dismantling the Hills; To Build My Shadow a Fire: The Poetry and Translations of David Wevill; and co-translation of Tomas Tranströmer’s The Sorrow Gondola. [. . .] He is the founding editor of Tavern Books, a publishing house devoted to poetry in translation and the reviving of out-of-print books.” No wonder his poems feel translated and feel to transcend language into something more, something cross-cultural, something human.

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NBB

I just remembered recently reading McGriff’s co-translation of Tomas Tranströmer’s The Sorrow Gondola. I didn’t realize they were the same person until I looked up the book, which was good, too. So now you have two books to read. //

16
Jun
12

Presses with Open Readings for Full-Length Poetry Manuscripts

In the past, I have created such lists as all the Small, Independent, and University Press Poetry Book Publishers (which was up-to-date as of 3-6-10 with 687 presses) and all the Journals with “Review” in Their Title, Who Accept Poetry, and Who Have a Website (which was up-to-date as of 2-29-12 with 344 journals.) The first lists I made were Poetry Book Contests with Spring & Summer DeadlinesPoetry Book Contests with Fall & Winter Deadlines (scroll down), and Poetry Chapbook Contests (scroll down).

Now, it’s time to start a new list, and I’ll keep it here and I’ll update it as I can. Currently, these are the only ones I remember or that other kind people have reminded me of. The list will grow, and if you know of any open readings, please note them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list. I’m trying to limit this list to free readings, but I’ve listed a few that charge a reading fee.

Presses with Open Readings for Full-Length Poetry Manuscripts

All the Time Open Readings (last checked and updated 7-16-17)

January Open Readings
February Open Readings
March Open Readings
April Open Readings (last checked and updated 4-2-18)
May Open Readings
June Open Readings (last checked and updated 6-5-18)
July Open Readings (last checked and updated 7-16-17)
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.”)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“The McSweeney’s Poetry Series is taking a temporary hiatus from accepting submissions. We hope to open things up again before too long.”) Checked 9-1-17.
  • 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 (2017. $25.)
October Open Readings (Last updated 10-2-18)
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
  • Mason Jar Press ($4 submission fee. Presently no calls.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“The McSweeney’s Poetry Series is taking a temporary hiatus from accepting submissions. We hope to open things up again before too long.”) Checked 6-1-17.
  • 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 – January 15.)
  • Future Poem Books (December 1 through January 15.)
  • H_NGM_N BKS (with $10 reading fee)
  • Mason Jar Press ($4 submission fee)
  • 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 8 – 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: 11-20-18: Added SurVision Books to January
Penultimate update: 11-14-18
  • Removed from November: H_NGM_N BKS (defunct press) and Jamii Press
  • Added to Open All the Readings: Get Fresh Books, HVTN, and Red Hen Press
Antepenultimate update: 10-2-18:
  • Removed Tarpaulin Sky from October.
  • Added Half Mystic Press to All the Time Open Readings.
  • Added Milk Press to All the Time Open Readings.
  • Added Apocalypse Party to October.
  • Added boost house to October.
  • Added co-im-press to October.
  • Added Counterpath to October.
  • Added El Balazo Press to October.
  • Added Get Fresh Books to October.
  • Added Inside the Castle to October.
  • Added The Operating System to October.
Preantepenultimate update: 7-23-18: Added Offord Road Books to All the Time Open Readings.
154 presses that print paperback and/or hardcover poetry books.//



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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