Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Recommended Summer Reading - PF Potvin

During May and June, No Tells is featuring "Recommended Summer Reading" selections by No Tell contributors.

PF Potvin's recommendations:

Poor Manners by Adam Halbur (Ahadada Books)

Got a sneak peek at this tragically lovely book, out shortly. Sucker's got fish and deer and guns and more natural dialogue than my Michigan summer deserves. Even found myself talking to the poems about swallowing stones. They're just that confident, wise beyond their age in letters.

Novlets - 67 Sonnets by Lee Warner Brooks (Legal Studies Forum)

Finally. Function beyond form. These poems are contemporary to the point of invention, categorized as Lovnets, Lossnets, Godnets, and Litnets. Pick up and discover "Guantanissimo," "Moon Wrecks," "Digitalica," and "How the Gods Get So High."

The Walking-Away World by Kenneth Patchen (New Directions)

Pumped a fist of hurrah for this newly released collection of Patchen's out of print poem/quote/riddle/painting books. No summer would be complete without the bizillion forms of bizarre beasts. And the pageful of Berfu's Ox reminds us to dally in the absurd as it "STANDS THERE / so the sky won't fall down / (you got some other reason?)

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Michigan-born ultramarathon runner and writer PF Potvin is the author of The Attention Lesson (No Tell Books). His poetry and fiction have appeared in Boston Review, Born Magazine, MiPOesias, No Tell Motel, Sleeping Fish, Sentence, and elsewhere. He serves on the staff of Drunken Boat and teaches writing at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Spy him at www.pfpotvin.com.

PF was recently interviewed at Orange Alert.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Recommended Summer Reading - Shane McCrae

During May and June, No Tells is featuring "Recommended Summer Reading" selections by No Tell contributors.

Shane McCrae's recommendations:

Internal West by Priscilla Becker (Zoo Press)

There’s a weightlessness to Becker’s music that is counter-balanced—often, perfectly—by the heaviness of so much of what is said in the poems. I am drawn to this book again and again by its many self-contradictions.

Paradise Lost by John Milton (The Project Gutenberg EBook)

Milton, to use (shudder) Harold Bloom’s phrase (of course, of course, he was talking about Shakespeare), is always ahead of us. Paradise Lost gets doper every time I read it. And hey: Summer’s hot. So is hell.

Dick of the Dead by Rachel Loden (Ahsahta)

Speaking of Milton, Loden’s Nixon has developed over the years into something of a Miltonic anti-hero, and is, for me, the most compelling character in contemporary poetry. Damn right.

Colosseum by Katie Ford (Graywolf)

Although—Katie Ford’s New Orleans is a beautifully realized character, and Colosseum is a beautifully living book.

Enter Morris Imposternak, Pursued by Ironies by Eugene Ostashevsky (Ugly Duckling Presse)

This chapbook is sold out, and so I feel like a jerk for even mentioning it. But, yo—buy it if you can find it: Straight-up heartbreak that reminds one of the impossibility of straight-up heartbreak. Because summer is for sad.

Trust by Liz Waldner (Cleveland State University)

Not only is the book itself beautiful as a physical object, but the poems move with an electric, erratic physical force. There is a pronounced friction here between the music of the words and the music of the movement of the mind. http://www.csuohio.edu/poetrycenter/AuthorBook/Waldner.html

Tuned Droves by Eric Baus (Octopus Books)

Y’all know me—Octopus is fam. But even if they wasn’t fam, I’d be all over this book: Again, it’s the music—it’s as clear as water. And again, it’s the mind—marbles in a riverbed. Baus blurs the line between poetry and prose more effectively than any other writer I’ve read.

My Soviet Union by Michael Dumanis (University of Massachusetts Press)

Even if this book were reduced to its first poem only—“The Woods Are Burning”—it would be awesome forever. However, as a bonus, the rest of the book is awesome forever.

A Pipe Dream and a Promise by Finale (Interdependent Media)

You know how every time you watch a dope skate video you wanna go out and skate?

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Shane McCrae went to school at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Harvard Law, and this fall will begin studying for a PhD in English at Iowa. He poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in The American Poetry Review, Effing Magazine, African American Review and others. His first chapbook, One Neither One, was recently published by Octopus Books, and his first full-length book, Mule, will be published by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center in the fall of 2010.

This Week at No Tell

Deborah Ager mashes to mini mountains with hugging this week No Tell Motel.

Monday, June 22, 2009

This Week at No Tell

Peter Davis' need for approval is such that even normal approval is not good enough this week at No Tell Motel.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Recommended Summer Reading - Nathan Logan

During May and June, No Tells is featuring "Recommended Summer Reading" selections by No Tell contributors.

Nathan Logan's recommendations:

Yes, Master by Michael Earl Craig (Fence Books, 2006)

A professor of mine lent me Craig's first book, Can You Relax In My House, and I was hooked. This second book is full of animals and anvils. It is full of surprises and strange, compelling imagery. I wasn't "feeling like a turd washed up on the shore of a quiet lake" after I read it the first time. Or on any previous visit to the world of this book.

Warsaw Bikini by Sandra Simonds (Bloof Books, 2009)

I've wanted to dive into this book for a long time and am now finally getting the opportunity. Simonds imagination runs wild in this book and it's a delight to tag along with her in the wilderness.

Isa the Truck Named Isadore by Amanda Nadelberg (Slope Editions, 2006)

This is the perfect book for summer. These poems are full of color, playfulness, and humor. The names may be strange, but I think everyone knows a Zeb.

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Nathan Logan is the author of the chapbook Holly from Muncie (Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2008) and the ebook Dick (PANGUR BAN PARTY, 2009). His writing has appeared in a variety of online journals. He is a MFA candidate at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Monday, June 15, 2009

This Week at No Tell

Adriana Grant is with a pat melting: pepper-topped, slippery this week at No Tell Motel.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hugh Behm-Steinberg Reading on Saturday, June 27

with K. Lorraine Graham and Amaranth Borsuk
Saturday, June 27 2009 at 4:00pm

Location: The Poetic Research Bureau, 3702 San Fernando Blvd, Glendale, CA 91206

Doors open at 4:00pm
Reading starts at 4:30pm

$5 donation requested

Hugh Behm-Steinberg is the author of Shy Green Fields.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

This Week at No Tell

Nicole Steinberg goes into a deep nail-polishing trance this week at No Tell Motel.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Recommended Summer Reading - Adam Deutsch (Encore)

During May and June, No Tells is featuring "Recommended Summer Reading" selections by No Tell contributors.

Adam Deutsch's recommendations:

Odes to Common Things by Pablo Neruda, (Bulfinch Press)

This is a pretty quintessential title for those who are looking to be reminded of the magic of compressed language and the wonderfully simple WCW "no ideas but in things" lesson we might sometimes forget. This particular edition has the original spanish on the left, translation by Ken Krabbenhoft on the right, and even if you don't know spanish, reading it aloud simply for the sound is fantastic.

Search Party: Collected Poems by William Matthews (Mariner Books)

Some of his earlier titles are not easy to find, and this is a pretty solid selection--though the selected from his first book removes a pretty sad layer that changes everything. The best part of Matthews, for me, is his ability to surrender the attachment to his own identity, and dive into the fears: "Irony, self-accusation,/ someone else's suffering./ The search is that of art."

Sublimation Point by Jason Schneiderman (Four Way Books)

Masterfully one of the most inclusive books of poetry of recent years. The voice of the poems is honest, compassionate, unhidden. The poems are from study and intellect, but the allusions don't show-boat or bully the reader. It's a book I return to at least twice a year, and it feels new every time.

Funny by Jennifer Michael Hecht (University of Wisconsin Press)

This is great because it's not what you expect. It's not a book of joke-poems, cheap gag, or easy trick. The book is full of long, brave, confident poems with excellent timing and grace. It comes from a philosophy--which you'll get on the tail end because Hecht's Funny includes an essay at the back, which is a gift. It's a bonus track that enriches the whole album.

The Shout by Simon Armitage (Harcourt)

If nothing else, read the first poem, "The Shout." This book was the British poet's debut in the U.S.. I'll be reading it this summer because it's one of those books I've been trying to finish for years. Every time I try, I get caught in the lines of a piece, and have to linger a while to take it in. Some books just can't be done in one sitting--and they're usually magnificent.

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Adam Deutsch lives in San Diego, CA. Some poems have appeared with Juked, Caffeine Destiny, Slurve, Anti-, No Tell Motel, and Gander Press Review. He is an Editor at Cooper Dillon Books and can be found at adamdeutsch.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Recommended Summer Reading - Martha Silano

During May and June, No Tells is featuring "Recommended Summer Reading" selections by No Tell contributors.

Martha Silano's recommendations:

What Sound Does It Make by Erin Malone (Concrete Wolf Poetry Chapbook Series)

Malone does motherhood like no one else. These are poems you don’t read just once. Even if you finish this book and put it on your shelf, Malone’s words will stay in your head: “He was thirteen moons. Beetles’ shells cracked / under his feet”; “We left Rome burning/ Paris buried in the snow”; “I’m not a traitor. / I want you there/ & here . . . I made you. Go.” Musical, with daring images, Malone presents, word by crafted word, all the complexity and nuance of what it means to be a mother in the 21st century.

Memory and Heaven by Christopher Howell (Eastern Washington University Press)

If you don’t know Howell’s work, no time like right now. Ghosts float in and out of these poems—not to mention werewolves and Jesus. Here, Howell is at his water spider, long-division-bride best—asking questions seven lines long, rooting around in the world like some alien scientist . His poems are weird/surreal, yet his down-to-earth exclamations of terror and hopelessness keep these poems firmly rooted in human experience. His voice is humble, unassuming, and miraculous. It’s no surprise that when Jesus shows up, he won’t say how he parted water. Instead, he just sits there at the bar sipping “wine then water then wine.”

The Tunnel: Selected Poems by Russell Edson (Field Poetry Series)

Every poet worth his or her pet ape should know Edson’s poems. Why? Because he is the father of James Tate. If you’re not acquainted with Edson’s “test tube full of sheep,” in which the speaker “wonders if they could be used as a substitute for rice, sort of wooly rice . . .” you are in for a treat. I thought I’d grow tired of his absurdity and wackiness, his subtle profundities, but I haven’t yet.

Lip by Kathy Fagan (Eastern Washington University Press)

Fagan’s got a finely tuned ear and a nose for images. At a recent reading, she told her audience she thinks of herself as the most formal of free verse poets. She started writing pantoums, she said, because she liked the word pantoum and all the words it rhymes with. She’s got pantoum fever, this woman. Between the two covers of this book you’ll find “Pantoon Pantoum,” “Go to Your Room Pantoum,” and “Womb to Tomb Pantoum.” She finishes the book with a stunning homage to the roadside crucifix, reminding “The highway is a public place and we, // a people dying for a sign . . . This crap from Wal-Mart could outlast us all, / which in our grief is no small com- / fort, since death lasts so much longer, and has no form.”

Big American Trip by Christian Peet (Shearsman Books)

Having tried and failed to write a postcard poem a day last August, I especially admire Peet’s ability to not only fill a book with them, but to take the postcard epistolary form to a refreshing incantatory level. One of my favorites, is addressed (literally, of course, as is each poem is handwritten, stamped, and written on a printed postcard) to the Recreation Vehicle Association in Fairfax, Virginia: “The drive is steel & tar & oil & gas & coffee / The drive is under the weather as under the law / The drive is beyond me / The drive is heartland into stone.” I envy you, Christian.

teahouse of the almighty by Patricia Smith (Coffee House Press) National Poetry Series Winner

I know most of you probably already are familiar with Smith’s work, know why Tom Lux calls her “a buzz saw of a poet,” but in case you haven’t come across her poems, let me share my reaction to the first poem of this book, “Building Nicole’s Mama.” I was at the hairdresser’s, and while my salon-ist went to “mix color,” I starting crying and couldn’t stop. Funny, now that I look back at the poem to find the words “Angry, jubilant, weeping poets—we are all / saviors, reluctant hosannas in the limelight.” It was as if Smith had given me permission to cry for the last twenty years—for every drive-by shooting, every crack-mom or dad who succumbed a little too much, for every kid left without a mom or dad. And to cry, too, for the dogged spirit of those like Smith, who keep on keeping, helping little Nicole, who has asked the speaker “for the words to build her mother again.”

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Martha Silano is the author of Blue Positive and What the Truth Tastes Like. Her as-yet unpublished collection, The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, was a 2008 finalist for the New Issues Poetry Prize. Her work is just out (or soon to be out) in AGNI, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, and The Best American Poetry 2009. Martha has been published in over a dozen anthologies, including Not for Mother’s Only (Fence Books), American Poetry: the Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon) and The Working Poet: Seventy-Five Exercises in Poetry Writing, forthcoming from Autumn House Press. She teaches at Bellevue College, near her home in Seattle, WA. She blogs at http://bluepositive.blogspot.com.

Monday, June 1, 2009

This Week at No Tell

Dora Malech razes the last of the orchard this week at No Tell Motel.