CavanKerry Press author, Shira Dentz’s prose poems, “Upstate New York Gray (No. 1)” and “Upstate New York Gray (No.2),” are featured in Entropy Magazine’s Sunday “On Weather” Series.
Head over to entropymag.org to read Shira’s featured poems.
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.
Bill Murray is a lifelong lover of verse who’s been a supporter of New York City’s Poets House for more than 20 years.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, O Magazine asked Murray to share a few of his favorite poems.
The first poem Bill Murray selected was Famous by Naomi Shihab Nye.
Watch the video below of Amos Koffa performing at this year’s NJ Poetry Out Loud.
The State Champion of New Jersey Poetry Out Loud 2017 is Amos Koffa of Burlington County Institute of Technology – Medford Campus. Here he is with “Let the Light Enter” by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper.
Amos Koffa will head to the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., to compete at the National Finals of Poetry Out Loud in April 2017.