Posts Tagged ‘University of Pittsburgh Press


Jesse Lee Kercheval’s Dog Angel (2004)

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 4/5, which was published circa early 2005.


Jesse Lee Kercheval – Dog AngelJesse Lee Kercheval’s Dog Angel (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004) is a book of a lifetime. It inquires how to live a life, understand it, & overcome the fears in it, especially & importantly if god is dead. The book begins with “Enter Mecca” – a poem set in a sandwich shop where “In the far booth sat Dr. Rubenstein, / famous for a book declaring God was dead.” Dog Angel is existential by way of every day life, not through philosophical means. Consider a few lines later:

                                              How can a man
   study Auschwitz and Buchenwald and Treblinka
   every day with no God to pray to
   and still eat tuna on whole wheat for lunch?
   I had no answer.

And that’s the most deliberate the existentialism is. After this there are five more sections & each section has a theme(s) explored: Section II – disappearance, recovery, & transference. Consider “Once Upon a Time I Had a White Comb.” In this prose-poem, the speaker as a young teenage girl has a big “off-white comb” that she can’t lose no matter how hard she tries. “I left it behind just for the pleasure of having it come back, boomeranging – thunk – into the palm of my waiting hand.” Then the pivotal turn on the next paragraph & onward:

Then one day, it didn’t. [. . .] I had never lost anything important to me. What did I know? First the comb. Then my mother went to the hospital and came home without breasts. Then my father left one day for work and never did come back.

I did the only thing a girl with no comb could do. I let my hair grow, tangling down my neck, shoulders, eventually past my waist. [. . .]

So the white comb stayed gone, unless [. . . .] Those bumps along along my spine. The comb! Clearly this is the source of those sharp pains in my liver. [. . .] The white comb. Perhaps a little pink after causing so much bleeding. The white comb, my comb, in my palm again.

Worth any amount of pain, any number of stitches, to have the past again.

Section III – revival & pushing away the past & its pains;

   Why do we never ask out ghosts — 
   Just who are you, really?
   Why are you talking to me?

   In Hamlet, the dogs of day chase the king’s ghost away.

   If not day, perhaps a bright light would do. The noise of a radio.

   Shall we try it?
                          (Closing lines to “Notes from a Lecture on Rilke’s Requiems.”)

Section IV – creating, finding the eternal & concerns with the present & the eternal “But in the end, what cannot be extinguished? [. . .] In 1952, a Zippo was taken from the belly of a fish. // It lit on the first try. // Zippo Fact: Eternal flame.” (from section IV’s only poem, “16 hours in Bradford, Pennsylvania”); Section V – walking in the eternal that surrounds us & transcendence (“. . . to love / is to be a heart pushing / blood through the universe”), reflection, the big question; & Section VI – the big answer, overcoming fears, & life with god in the “sweet” ever after.

Dog Angel is then a book about Mother & children, which to me is generally not the type of content I enjoy when I read poems, but here in this book I am fully engaged & in awe. I’m driven forward to a well deserved, earned, & written “sugary” ending. By the time I finish reading the book, I felt I have experienced a life.

In addition, not one poem of Jesse Lee Kercheval’s Dog Angel is out of order – each poem is in its perfect place! The book flows smoothly.//




Kercheval, Jesse Lee. Dog Angel. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004.//


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 6-22-17)
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
November Open Readings
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.)
  • CavanKerry Press (For Laurel Books, Emerging Voices, and Notable Voices imprint only. $20 reading fee.)
  • Future Poem Books (November 15 through December 31.)
  • H_NGM_N BKS (with $10 reading fee)
  • Mason Jar Press ($4 submission fee)
  • Tavern Books: The Wrolstad Contemporary Series ($25 reading fee. “Open to any woman aged 40 years or younger who is a US citizen.”)
  • 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: 4-2-18:
  • Added Wordley Press to April.
  • Removed Coconut Books
Penultimate update: 9-18-17 added Sidebrow Books to September and October.
Antepenultimate update: 9-1-17:
  • Removed Sarabande Books from September.
  • Moved Steel Toe Books from September to January and February.
Preantepenultimate update: 8-3-17 Moved Brain Mill Press: Mineral Point Poetry Series from All the Time Open Readings to August.
140 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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