Here’s a poem from the new book Threshold by Joseph O. Legaspi.
Tina Kelley’s poetry has, along with the sacred, some pique, and a spit-in-the-eye-of-death- humor. Motherhood, sketched liberally in anecdotes, is never platitudinous. These poems are a mix of seriousness and wit you’ll want to read without interruption. What I like best is the natural speech quality to these well-made poems. It’s as if you’re across the kitchen table listening to someone who’s sharing her “well warming world” with personality and intelligence.
The notes sound sad and whole, a cream of tone.
The foghorn stops but the sun does not come out.
Everything’s always next, and nothing’s now.
“Did his heart fall asleep?” Kate asks about Grampa.
By: Joseph O. Legaspi –
When in love I melt into yellow,
blend in with every light to become
the most luminous apparition.
You’ve come disguised, hair
upswept, eyes two shades
murkier than petroleum,
a face I’ve never seen but know
in-the-gut-of-me, I seem born
from it, but in mirroring honesty
I often fancy you
are someone else, I prefer
this, realizing how lacking
you are, I can be happy
with a stranger moon.
“Sentimental Education” by Mary Ruefle was featured on Poets.org.
Read the poem below.
Mary Ruefle, 1952
loves Barry Soyers.
Please pray for Lucius Fenn
who suffers greatly whilst shaking hands.
loves a pug named Cowl.
Please pray for Olina Korsk
who holds the record for missing fingers.
Leon Bendrix loves Odelia Jonson
who loves Kurt who loves Carlos who loves Paul.
Please pray for Cortland Filby
who handles a dead wasp, a conceit for his mother.
Harold loves looking at Londa’s hair under the microscope.
Londa loves plaiting the mane of her pony.
Please pray for Fancy Dancer
who is troubled by the vibrissa in his nostrils.
Nadine St. Clair loves Ogden Smythe
who loves blowing his nose on postage stamps.
The Passive Parent
Note to Reader: As a licensed psychologist, I strictly adhere to the ethics of confidentiality; therefore, I do not use/make reference to any patient/client information in the pieces I write. The only data I use to explore these psychological issues is my own. The Roadblocks to Intimacy & Trust Series will include several pieces related to the effects of early relationships on the development of trust and intimacy.
As unpredictable as my mother was, my father was that predictable. He was a devoted father who worked hard and spent all his free time praying and helping neighbors with various plumbing and construction projects around their homes. (My parents emigrated from Ireland each at 18, just weeks before the Depression, then worked at odd jobs, went to school, met, married, and settled eventually in a small bungalow community in Throgs Neck, The Bronx.) None of the homes were winterized when we moved in, so all the dads gave their weekends to raise a house, add a cellar or bathroom, extend a living room, add sheetrock dividers to separate beds. Living as my parents called it ‘hand to mouth’ in the Bronx in 1954, neighbors were vital to the life of each family: all the mothers watched the kids and the fathers built our homes, their only payment, as many bottles of Ballantine or Rheingold as it took to beat the heat of a sweltering parade of Saturdays from April through November. We were one family and were happy in that life—all but Mom (She was content to stay inside the house rather than “gossiping with a bunch of women”.)
A loving father and husband, Dad seldom, if ever, raised his voice. Evenings after dinner and the family rosary, he’d play the harmonica for us, then carry us piggyback to the bathroom for that final pee before bed. We adored him and Mom knew it. She often complained that we never listened to her but one look from him and we were all in tears. She was right. And he was no disciplinarian. He left that to her and tried to keep out of our wars. But on occasion she caught him at the door when he came from work with a long list of our offenses.
His attempts to corral us were perfunctory—a simple reprimand in a slightly raised voice. But after a day or two, we’d be back to our old routine.
What’s the point in talking? she’d say, The only thing they understand is the strap. And she used that often.
One day, to satisfy her, he changed tactics ordering us into the Back Room — a clear sign we were getting a beating. But it was always Mom who beat us; Dad never did, so we were really scared.
“You’ll get the licking of your lives for not listening to your mother,” he roared as he pulled off his belt and slammed the bedroom door. “Lay down on the beds!” he ordered.
Safely in the beds though, he’d cover us with my brothers’ thick comforters to protect us, whispering, “Cry out like you’re hurting,” then raising his voice, “This will teach you!” he beat the blankets and we screamed. Mom, in the kitchen, I imagined, satisfied and victorious making herself a cup of tea.
This seemed to us a clever resolution (and a welcome relief!) since any attempt on his part to stand up for us resulted in such rancor over his siding with us. The prior week was the last of his attempts to stand up for us.
You’re supposed to be disciplining them, not siding with them against me, she cried bitterly.
“I’m not siding with them. I just meant that what they did didn’t seem so bad.”
How can you say you love me if you take their part against me?
A man who seldom cried, Dad cried that day, “Why would you ask that?”
Eventually, Dad, stayed out of these confrontations completely. As we grew older and were too old to spank, his earlier “tricks” were outdated. He was powerless to help us anyway. He kept quiet, I rationalized, not only to save himself but also us–in a sense short–circuiting the rage that surely followed his defense of us. The result was that we never expected protection from him. We didn’t expect it from anyone. We were on our own. I don’t even remember being angry with him (I’d repressed it if I was). Rather we felt sorry for him; if anything, we saw him on a par with us when it came to Mom. He was as crippled as we were.
(In retrospect, I feel sorry for my mother, handling all the discipline of four kids (in 6 years) with no help from him. Like most kids, we listened less to Mom—probably because she was always there, mornings, after school, at dinner, bedtime, checking up: did we do our chores, our homework, what friends we hung out with, what comic books we read, smelling Sonny’s breath to see if he’d been smoking, did we take our cod liver oil…it was endless. Mom was the warden and Dad was the Pied Piper).
And we hung on his every word. Nothing was worse than the thought of his disappointment. Each of us turned ourselves inside out trying to please him and the way to do that was to pray. So each of us prayed a lot. Even my rebellious older brother became an altar boy and joined the Holy Name and Nocturnal Adoration Societies to pray beside Dad and make him proud. My sister and I often went with him to dawn Mass in The Poor Clare Monastery. Besides the pleasure it obviously gave Dad, I loved the feeling of holiness and purity that came with it. There were scores of saints I could call on to intercede for me, along with The Blessed Mother, Jesus, God the Father, the Holy Ghost, and of course, the Poor Souls in Purgatory. I loved having such a huge loving family always listening and understanding. I finally had what I’d always dreamed of. No matter how sad I was or how bad things seemed, I never really felt alone.
It took until I was well into adulthood to be angry with my father. And that’s not uncommon. Children of passive parents have a very difficult time getting in touch with the anger associated with emotional abandonment. In the eyes of the child, the parent is helpless, often the victim themselves (particularly mothers). They’re certainly not at fault for the discord or abuse that exists in the house—in fact, their silence may be said to minimize that by not introducing another variable into the hellish mix. The child/adult tells him/herself that he/she should feel sorry for the downtrodden parent. This protection/pity of the passive parent often lasts a lifetime. It’s less painful to see the parent as a victim and to feel compassion than to see the parent as inadequate. The truth invites guilt for blaming the helpless parent (we expect ourselves to be better than that) and great loss at the admission that the one parent the child identifies with is flawed. It takes considerable work and time (usually in therapy) for an individual to face his/her unconscious anger toward this parent—he/she is very reluctant to view the self as aggressive like the abusive parent.
Though I didn’t expect my father to protect me from my mother while I was growing up, as an adult, I did expect him to confront her when she invented stories about us. In her effort to keep us embattled with each other and exclusively hers, she’d often color the truth or out and out lie about one of us to the other. Often in front of him. But regrettably, he wouldn’t correct her; he’d just stand by silently as she recounted her fictions of abuse at our hands. One particular time, I arrived for a visit to my brother and his family in England, and there was a scarcity of beds, so my friend and I were set to sleep on the floor. That was fine with us, but not with Mom. She insisted that we were tired from the long flight and needed a good night’s sleep, so she and Dad would sleep on the floor and we’d take their beds. We refused, multiple times, but she kept insisting. Exhausted from the trip and touched by her generosity, I agreed. When I got home however, I heard from my younger brother that she’d told the story in reverse. We had just ‘taken’ her bed and left her and Dad to sleep on the floor. Remarkably, Dad, who was there both times, for the incident and when she relayed it, never refuted her account. He just kept silent while she maligned us. My brother was incensed that I would be so selfish and treat my parents so shabbily. That kind of thing happened more often than I’d like to admit. I finally got so angry with my father (I had by this time begun to get in touch with much of the rage that I’d repressed for so long) that I actually slapped his face for his refusal to stand up for me. That slap carried rage for a lifetime of his emotional abandonment. That’s a hard word to associate with my father—he was so present in so many ways, but it’s accurate. It’s also a terrible memory—one I wish never happened and for a long time didn’t remember until it revealed itself when I was writing my last book, Orphans, which tells the stories of my parents, individually and together, and my relationship with them.
Besides the lack of protection that the child of the passive parent experiences, such parenting can reap damaging results later in childhood and adulthood. For one, the child may conclude that protection doesn’t exist in any relationship. So the child is determined to count on no one. The world is not a safe place; one is out there on his/her own. Bonding is difficult because it requires trust and this child/adult has little reason to trust. Perhaps most critical, the child does not have a model for standing up and speaking for oneself, for fighting for what he/she believes. Children need positive role models, and they learn from their parents (particularly the parent of the same sex), how to be a woman, a man, a substantive human being. The parent, through his/her behavior teaches the child not to speak, not to have opinions, or if they do, to keep them to themselves, to not strive for uniqueness, to be compliant rather than independent. The child learns to remain on the outside of any vital conversation or dialogue where he/she might be blamed or judged. So the child mimics the parent and becomes a shadow of the self he/she could be. There’s great sadness in that.
Though we had found the formula for pleasing Dad, his holiness presented another variable in our struggling sense of ourselves. We were a deeply religious Catholic family with Dad in charge of our spiritual life as Mom was of all else. Truly Christlike, Dad was as close to perfect as anyone we knew (except perhaps for the nuns and priests), and as hard as we tried, we were aware we could never measure up. We could never be as good as he was–or the saints were. I for one was aware that as much as I prayed and went to Mass when I didn’t have to, there were also times I wished I didn’t have to. On the contrary, I was sure Dad never felt that way; he seemed to love every movement he made toward God. What made me particularly sad and guilty was that I knew he desperately wanted one of us to become a priest or nun, and I was terrified that I’d be called by God to do so. I didn’t want to –any more than I could imagine giving up my life to defend God as I knew the martyrs did and surely Dad would.
Sadly, we came up short once again; for Mom, we could never love her enough; for Dad we could never love God enough. We were a disappointment to our parents, to God and to ourselves.
The Bryant Park Reading Room hosts emerging and established poets through the summer with evening readings.
On Sept 5th, 2017, a crowd gathered to sit under the park’s trees and listen to CavanKerry Press authors read their work.
The Reading Room featured the following poets: Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Kevin Carey, and Tina Kelley and Joseph Legaspi.
Photos from Bryant Park Reading Room (Sept 5th):
Many of you know me as a psychologist, others as publisher, still others as poet & memoirist—all roles that I love. Particularly satisfying is having the opportunity to write about psychology for the general public rather than only the scientific community.
I’m pleased to announce publication on the Psychology Today website of a series I’m writing entitled “Roadblocks to Intimacy and Trust”.
The third, upcoming next week is “Roadblocks…III: The Passive Father” *
I’d be honored if you’re inclined to view them, perhaps even comment.
In any case, I wish you all good things & hope your summer is joyful.
* Additional pieces will appear weekly
Open until Saturday, August 26
25th Annual Poets House Showcase: Pop-Up Show
Poets House, 10 River Terrace, New York, NY
To commemorate the Showcase’s 25th anniversary, Poets House has selected a sampling of the special, limited-edition items that have been shown over the years. This pop-up show, complementing the Showcase, features handmade books created by micropresses, fine editions, and other distinctive items displaying unique formats or unusual bindings. Together, these materials illustrate the on-going relevance of the printed format and the handmade book, where text, image, and format can come together to be more than the sum of their parts.
“Rose of Jericho” by Cindy Veach was the Poem-a-Day feature on The Academy of American Poets.
I’m not sure about this gift. This tangle
of dried roots curled into a fist. This gnarl
I’ve let sit for weeks beside the toaster
and cookbooks on a bed of speckled granite.
What am I waiting for? Online I find
Rose of Jericho prayers and rituals for safe birth,
well-being, warding off the evil eye.
At first I thought I’d buy some white stones,
a porcelain bowl. But I didn’t and I didn’t.
I don’t believe in omens. This still fist
of possibility all wrapped up in itself.
There it sat through the holidays, into the New Year.
Through all the days I’ve been gone. Dormant.
But today, in an inch of water,
out of curiosity, I awakened…
Head over to poets.org to read Cindy’s featured poem in its entirety.
Author Tina Kelley interviewed Pattiann Rogers. She discusses her 13th collection and celebrating science in poetry. The interview was posted on the Poetry Foundation blog. Read an excerpt from the interview below.
Do you have an audience in mind when you’re writing a poem?
I do. Sometimes it’s very specific. When writing, I’m aiming for a specific communication to take place, and if I don’t imagine a communication taking place, then it’s not likely to happen. The audience can be yourself or the person you would like to be. I have four or five different audiences I imagine receiving my poem, and the audience I imagine influences the voice of my poem, the stance and the tone. If I’m writing something to please a creator, God or some being or essence that has an overall understanding of what’s happening here, like we don’t, then the voice may be prayerful or beseeching, sometimes angry, questing. It’s a prayer—“Do I understand this right?” It’s questioning, but it’s questioning a being or an entity that I imagine can answer—whether I receive an answer or not. The stance, the tone, the vocabulary shifts slightly depending on the audience I imagine. Imagining a perfect audience might produce a perfect poem!
Or if I’m writing to a lover, of course it’s a different voice altogether, maybe enticing or praising the body, erotic. Often the audience I imagine when I’m writing a description of the physical world is all those who are moved with me to celebrate the physical world. The voice is celebratory, unrestrained—“I’m happy, look at those seven large magpies all perched in that spindly little tree, this makes me happy”—just a joyful voice, and in that joy is a thank you too.
Whoever you have in mind as an audience is either going to limit that poem or have the possibility to strengthen it. For instance, people who’ve been in a workshop for a very long time begin to understand what kind of poem the workshop participants want to hear. Then a poet might unconsciously let them shape the poem with their desires. It isn’t a bad thing all the time.
What do you find to be the poetic power of lists?
I love lists. They energize me. Look at anything—wildflowers, birds, bugs, beetles, the seashore—and there are so many words, beautiful words, lyrical words describing the Earth and universe, a great resource for poets.
Read the full interview here.
In my mind I see Gil Simmons the same as I seen him that first day. Seeing
him was like looking into a mirror. Like the feeling of running a comb
through your hair after a storm, and nothing snags
Poets House will be celebrating 25 years of its annual Poets House Showcase beginning on June 22, 2017.
Poets House celebrates a quarter-century of history-making with its annual Poets House Showcase. The only event of its kind, the Showcase is a free exhibit featuring over 3,500 books of poetry published in the preceding 18 months. For 25 years, more than 7500 commercial, university, and independent presses and individuals have contributed poetic texts and ephemera annually, stitching together the diverse and inclusive tapestry of today’s contemporary poetry. Join us for a seven-week celebration including Showcase readings with acclaimed poets.
View the schedule of events for the 25th Annual Poets House Showcase below:
Thursday, June 22
OPENING RECEPTION & READING
Reception 6-7PM, Reading 7-8PM
Marie Howe, Ishion Hutchinson & Hoa Nguyen
All readings begin at 7pm at Poets House
Free and open to the public
Tuesday, June 27
David Ferry & Gerald Stern
Co-sponsored with the Poetry Society of America
Thursday, July 13
Elizabeth Arnold, Alan Felsenthal, Christine Shan Shan Hou & Wendy Xu
Thursday, July 20
Jen Hyde, Cynthia Manick, Tommy Pico & Martha Rhodes
Thursday, July 27
t’ai freedom ford, Debora Kuan, Lauren Hunter & Airea D. Matthews
Thursday, August 3
Aziza Barnes, Ching-In Chen, Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib & DéLana R. A. Dameron
For more information, visit Poets House.
CavanKerry Press attended the publication party for Identif-I in Hoboken, New Jersey. The event was held Saturday, May 20 at the Hoboken Historical Museum.
View footage from the Identif-I publication party below.
The 22nd Annual Poetry Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is taking place on Monday, June 12, 2017 at 6:00PM.
Guest in attendance includes poets Billy Collins – Sharon Olds, Gregory Pardlo – Claudia Rankine and actor & poetry lover Bill Murray.
More details on the 22nd Annual Poetry Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge below.
Join us for this beloved Poets House tradition that celebrates the poetry of New York City, featuring readings by Billy Collins, Sharon Olds, Gregory Pardlo, Claudia Rankine, and special guest Bill Murray, followed by a celebratory dinner in DUMBO. This year, we honor Frank Platt and Bill Murray with the Elizabeth Kray Award for their help in building the organization, and Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen, for her service to poetry. A reading of Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” read by Sharon Olds will take place place in front of sweeping views of the city. Afterwards, we’ll have wine, dinner and dessert inside a beautiful, historic foundry in DUMBO. All proceeds benefit Poets House’s library, public programs, and class trips for children and teens. The 2017 Poetry Walk launches the 30th Anniversary of Poets House.
6:00pm: Check-in begins near One Centre Street
6:30 pm: Walk begins in Manhattan, near One Centre Street
8:00 pm: Seated dinner at 26 Bridge Street in DUMBO
*Tickets start at $250
For more information, visit Poets House.
CavanKerry Press Authors in the Community: Paola Corso Interview with Baron Wormser
Since its inception, CavanKerry Press has been committed to community. It’s outreach programs include Giftbooks, Waiting Room Reader, Bookshare, New Jersey Poetry Out Loud, and The Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching. And in return for CavanKerry Press authors getting their books published, they offer free talks and workshops to under-served readers in their communities and free books to those who can’t afford them. They are also committed to sharing information with fellow writers to build a supportive and nurturing literary environment.
In a new series of interviews on community outreach, CavanKerry Press author Paola Corso will speak with other press authors about these projects and how they turn words into acts of community.
In this interview, Paola speaks with Baron Wormser, author and co-author of 14 books, most recently, the poetry collection, Unidentified Sighing Objects with CavanKerry Press. He teaches in the Fairfield University MFA Program and at his home in Montpelier, Vermont. One of his offerings is a generative poetry workshop he calls, “Open the Doors.”
Paola Corso: The title of your workshop, “Open the Doors,” sounds like a workshop for creating new possibilities. Tell me about the kinds of doors that participants have walked through.
Baron Wormser: Participants write new work on the spot. I use poems as prompts to get them engaged. We talk about the poem for a while and then they leap from the poem into their own imagination. I have found that a poem-prompt offers enough structure to lessen anxiety—what do I write about and how?–while avoiding being prescriptive. The discussion beforehand also helps participants to situate themselves in the realm of the actual—the poem in front of them—and the possible—the poem they may write. There is no predicting, of course, what will come out. What’s especially interesting is that often poems arise that speak to very intense, personal situations that the participant has either not written about or tried to write about but not succeeded. Writing to a prompt often opens the door to material that previously has been suppressed or repressed.
Paola Corso: How about an example of a poem-prompt?
Today for National Poetry Month, I selected a poem from Sandra M. Castillo’s Eating Moors And Christians.
Please share your thoughts on this poem below.
The bus driver speeds around
primitive streets, curves, circles, spheres,
the geometry of life.
He turns, swerves without looking,
without thinking about the blue below
our yellow, rectangular world speeding
towards the unknown.
I am thinking about Peruvian hieroglyphics,
abstract shapes, visions in an earth
I fail to recognize for she is the stranger
she might have seemed across time,
unidentified bodies of water.
This is an ancient city.
This is a mind map,
and I am the hydrometer
of the round, blue circle inside me
that wants to learn to measure water
without falling in.
I look at the palm of my hand:
You are here. You are here.
The driver falters on a turn, a stone,
and we spin, yellow into blue,
and I go fishing for familiar faces
who traveled with me
to foreign countries
above the sea level of our lives
and float across waters I have never known
to save something in me
that has never learned to swim.
Today for National Poetry Month, Joan Cusack Handler, Publisher and Senior Editor of CavanKerry Press, shares a poem from Nin Andrews’ Miss August.
Read the poem Mr. Simmons and share your thoughts with us below.
Gil’s father was as mean as a stepped-on snake, especially when he been
drinking. Don’t mind Mr. Simmons, Sarah Jane, May Dee used to say. He’s
just talk. But I did mind him. How he leaned up against the doorjamb in the
room where Gil and me was playing cards and watched us like a hunter
in a stand. He said things like Gil, are you running your mouth again, Boy?
You know what I’d like to do one day? Cut that tongue clear out of your head.
Make you quiet as sleep. Then he laughed, shook his head and said, I’m just
joshing, Sarah Jane. Don’t look at me like that. I looked at Gil instead, his
skin blue-tinged like something living underwater. I never knew how he
got any air in them days.
Watch the official video of Tina Kelley’s book reading this past Saturday at Words Bookstore in New Jersey!
Check out photos from the event below.
Our celebration of National Poetry Month continues with Joan Cusack Handler, Publisher and Senior Editor of CavanKerry Press, selecting a poem from Tina Kelley’s Abloom & Awry.
Read “Liking Drew” by author Tina Kelley below.
If you haven’t done so, make sure you get your copy of Letters from Limbo here.
Check out photos from the event below.
April 19th, 2017
Former CavanKerry Press Associate Publisher, Teresa Carson with author Jeanne Marie Beaumont at her book reading last night in NYC!
Today for National Poetry Month, our Managing editor, Starr Troup selects a poem from Nin Andrews’ Miss August.
I was a born nobody—my days so dull, I lay in my bed and watched dust rise. I listened to insect songs. And kept things to myself. I remember two silver dollars in my bedside table. A snow globe I wanted to climb inside. My pony, Annabel, that I didn’t ride. And more whippings than I can count. After a while I didn’t feel a sting. I learned there is a reason to lie. Not to ask. Not to tell. Not to flinch. Anybody asked, I said, Nothing happened. And nothing did. My friend, Sarah Jane Lee, she disagrees. She says I suffered. She says she did, too. And I thought she was the happy one. Nuh-uh, she shakes her head. She blames the South for everything wrong in our lives; everything bad, everything rotten or bitter as turnip greens. Come on up to New York, I say. Leave that place.
Nah, she says. I can’t live any place else. She gets a way-off look in her eyes. Besides, she says, folks up North don’t talk right.
Did you enjoy reading this poem? Comment below.
Joan Cusack Handler, Publisher and Senior Editor of CavanKerry Press says, “This is a great distinction for a great book! We are very proud to have published Jesus was a Homeboy and to see it receive this affirmation from the greater poetry community.”
If you don’t have a copy of this remarkable book, you’re missing out. Get your copy today by clicking here.
Author Tina Kelley discusses her joy of writing poetry, motherhood, her latest book “Abloom & Awry“, and takes aim at President Trump.
Read Tina Kelley’s full interview with Nin Andrews below.
Nin Andrews (NA): I love what I sensed as your joie de vivre, or your joy of writing, expressed to beautifully in this collection, and in your opening poem, “The Possible Utility of Poets.”
I especially loved the lines in which you quote your son: “The earth blooms a full inch when my son/explains, ‘A noun is basically everything. We can’t go anywhere without nouns.// They’re always next to us,’”
I wondered if you could say a few words about that poem, about your love of language and of poetry in particular.
Tina Kelley (TK): Thank you! I’m glad you sensed that! I am basically a cheerful, optimistic person, though I have a morbid streak, and I hope this book captures both angles. I love obscure words, and read through lists of them as a way to get inspired to write. I also steal shamelessly from real life, particularly from my experiences writing news and nonfiction, and especially from my kids. My son actually said that line, and I wrote it down. He’s gotten to the point where he will say something poetic and immediately urge me to write it down. He’s 12 now, and he still comes up with beautiful turns of phrases. The other day he told me I had “heathered eyes,” which I immediately stole and put in the file of “phrases that want to be in poems someday.”
RELATED: Abloom & Awry by Tina Kelley available now!
Today for National Poetry Month, our Managing editor, Starr Troup selects a poem which comes from Christopher Bursk’s A Car Stops And A Door Opens.
Read “The Key” by author Christopher Bursk below.
Here, the man says, stopping you on the street,
is the key to my heart,
and he closes your fingers
around a real key and then vanishes so quickly
you aren’t sure he’d stood next to you
and when you unclench your fist,
the sun chooses that exact moment
Ross Gay, author of Against Which, stops by Rachel Zucker’s podcast for an exclusive interview.
Ross Gay talks about how poems can help you look at difficult emotions and much more!
Rachel Zucker speaks with poet, teacher, gardner and community organizer Ross Gay. Gay is the author of Bringing Down the Shovel, Against Which, River, and Catlog of Unabashed Gratitude which won the Kinglsey Tufts Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Zucker and Gay talk about gardens, seasonal changes, teenage boys, anger, sorrow, stress reduction, and how poems can help you look at difficult emotions. Gay reads from his book Catlog and one of his new, unpublished “delights”.
Listen to the Commonplace episode with Ross Gay at the link below.
Happy National Poetry Month!
To celebrate, our Managing editor, Starr Troup selected a poem from Tina Kelley’s Abloom & Awry.
We are proud to present this poem to celebrate National Poetry Month.
Read “Tuesday Afternoon Metaphysics Lesson” by author Tina Kelley below.
Today Kate said she was drawing an angry ghost.
I asked what’s he mad at?
“Me,” she said.
“Cause I’m drawing him.”
How Heisenberg-y, as if
a spirit had hovered in the molecules
of her blue crayon tip who could’ve emerged
in any old emotional state, if that dimpled
fist had not borne down so hard.
And I know if I ask why she’s drawing him
she will holler, “yer buggin’ me!” so I just answer
what comes after G, why H, and how to draw the S.
And we place the labeled picture on the fridge,
that altar to preschool power, to delineation itself.
Did you enjoy reading this poem? Comment below.
We are proud to present another poem to celebrate National Poetry Month. Here’s “Things I’ve Lost” from Kevin Carey’s Jesus Was a Homeboy.
Things I’ve Lost
My father’s wedding ring
my tax returns
my bronze baby shoes
my orange high-cut sneakers
my first Christmas ornament
my ability to play defense
on a basketball court
some of my friends (living and dead)
some of the wonder
some of the grace
some of the time I spent
looking for love
or something to fix me
April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate an entire month dedicated to poetry, we start with “Post Mortem” from Jeanne Marie Beaumont’s Letters from Limbo.
Who killed Anna K.?
Not I, said Belladonna of the nightshade family.
I supply atropine to dilate pupils, anesthetize.
It’s true I can produce rapid heart rate,
but I’m an antidote to poisoning with morphine.
Only overdose will cause coma, convulsions,
delirium. Look, I prevent cardiac slowing—
it surely was not me!
CavanKerry Press is pleased to have been nominated as a finalist by Association of Writers & Writing Programs for the 2017 AWP Small Press Publisher Award!
AWP’s Small Press Publisher Award is an annual prize for nonprofit presses and literary journals that recognizes the important role such organizations play in publishing creative works and introducing new authors to the reading public. The award acknowledges the hard work, creativity, and innovation of these presses and journals, and honors their contributions to the literary landscape through their publication of consistently excellent work.
Congrats to Coffee House Press, winner of the 2017 AWP Small Press Publisher Award and the other small press finalist Belladonna.
We hope for another opportunity to be nominated for this prestigious award next year with the support of our fans. Letters of nomination are accepted each year between August 1 – September 15 and submitted through AWP’s Submittable portal.
Get the full details about our nomination on awpwriter.org.
Author Christoper Bursk discusses writing, poetry, and his latest book ‘A Car Stops and A Door Opens‘.
Read Christopher Bursk’s full interview with Nin Andrews below.
Nin Andrews (NA): I so enjoyed reading A Car Stops and a Door Opens. How long did it take you to write this collection? Can you talk a little about the evolution of the book?
Chris Bursk (CB): I have been working on this book for a number of years. Some poems – the ekphrastic ones – date back several decades. The poems about parents go back at least a decade. The book decided it wanted the poem “A Car Stops And a Door Opens” to be the opening into the book – there are a number of doors in the book – doors in the body, doors in the mind, trapdoors too.