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Gently Read Literature Review Essay on Contemporary Poetry & Literary Fiction

ISSN 2161-2595

August 2011 Issue

Cover Art: Tommy Fitzpatrick www.tommyfitzpatrick.com


What’s New in this Issue: So many clickable things!!! Click on the book picture to be directed to a site that allows you to purchase the book. Click on the author‘s name for their website or biography. Click on the publisher to go to the publisher‘s website. Best, Your Gently Read Literature Designer

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Gently Read Literature August 2011

Contents 4 CAROLINE KLOCKSEIM ON NATHAN HAUKE’S IN THE LIVING ROOM

6 ANDREW C. GOTTLEIB ON

SIMMONS BUNTIN’S BLOOM

8 AMY HENRY ON

AARON DEITZ’S SUPER

9 JASON MASHAK ON

SEAN PATRICK HILL’S THE IMAGINED FIELD

11 RICK MARLATT ON

GARY MCDOWELL’S AMERICAN AMEN

13 DAVID ATKINSON ON

BRENT SPENCER’S RATTLESNAKE DADDY

15 GLENDA BURGESS ON

BONNIE BOLLING’S IN THE KINGDOM OF THE SONS

16 MICHAEL MCCARTHY ON

ANNA SWIR’S BUILDING THE BARRICADE

18 STEPEN PAGE ON

LOUIS GLÜCK’S OCTOBER

20 DIANE SIMMONS ON

MITCH LEVENBERG’S PRINCIPLES OF UNCERTAINTY AND OTHER CONSTANTS

23 AUGUST CONTRIBUTOR BIOGRAPHIES 25 ABOUT US 25 REVIEW COPIES

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Gently Read Literature August 2011

CAROLINE KLOCKSEIM ON NATHAN HAUKE’S IN THE LIVING ROOM

In The Living Room Nathan Hauke Lame House Press, 2009

In a recent writing group meeting, someone said about a poem that ―it‘s almost like the writer is embarrassed by his sincerity‖ and I immediately thought: 1) Yes. This strikes me as a new habit in many new or emerging American poets. It‘s not unusual to come across a Look at me! I’m clever! voice which masks, or in some cases obliterates sincerity altogether; and 2) Nathan Hauke‘s In the Living Room is the antithesis of this. I had read it the week before and kept arriving at this understanding: In the Living Room delivers an unapologetic earnestness which is refreshing and certain to prove enduring. ―These are the sheer facts of salvation‖ (―Deerfield‖) are the first words spoken in the living room. The facts, or more accurately, the correct interpretation of the facts of salvation, are present and they are living; they are a process, of ―learning the mirror and field guide, a/process of mapping.‖ We‘re ushered into this process past reflective surfaces like mirrors and ―the stones shine‖ (―Deerfield‖). The eponymous poem further complicates the matter of reflection: ―Who are we… look in the mirror…/The living room is all windows.‖ Windows are mirrors, and so are ―reflections,‖ ―river water,‖ ―camera‖ and the ―moment [like film, that] tears apart in strips.‖ In the Living Room does not open by pronouncing look at me!, rather it opens by gently asking the reader to look at herself, and so, this space becomes shared between writer and reader. That space is not always comfort-

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able, though, and in fact, the poem ―In the Living Room‖ may be seen as downright terrifying. To return to the book‘s opening words, ―The sheer facts of salvation,‖ as understood by many humans, are terrifying. The biblical epigraphs that open ―In the Living Room‖ read like warnings: ―I will come like a thief‖ (Rev. 3.3), ―The door to heaven is narrow‖ (Luke 13:24.). And here‘s where we get to what‘s at stake, or why we are ―learning the mirror and the field guide‖— There‘s one who sees reflections, fractions, fractals, a light that bounces, and then there are loved ones who are unidirectional, who can only see with a ―narrowing perspective.‖ For many of us, the tension that arises may be strikingly familiar: I can’t justify an afterlife that would forget anyone, leave anyone here… I can’t stop thinking that the promise of grace narrows into judgment… I can’t help thinking that choosing one version of God cancels another… And the tension is doubled. These are such firmly and solidly stated convictions, yet look how they open by confessing a lack of control (―I can‘t stop… I can‘t help…‖).


Gently Read Literature August 2011

If the first half of In the Living Room is expansive, fractured and reflected, then ―Home like I Never,‖ about halfway through, signifies a turn. It begins to collect and and reconfigure what the first several poems have left scattered in the air. If the opening to salvation is narrow, the poems more and more reject that opening in favor of one‘s own self-made entrance. Fractions and reflections get replaced by trajectories and creation. There‘s the sharp focus of ―an arrow on fire shot into the middle of this field‖ (My emphasis. Note the expansiveness of this one word, ―field‖: physical field, poetic field, ―Deerfield‖ with which the book opens and closes). This image of the arrow rockets us past ever-changing versions of home, past changing faces, shifting light over changing carpet, the procession of unique shadows like snowflakes… And then we‘re asked to look directly at the vehicle and to ―Ask the arrow that comes straight down into its shadow.‖

Again, this tension between choice and powerlessness—―I am constrained to acknowledge‖—reminds us of the sister‘s sense of duty to witness (―In the Living Room‖). This second ―Deerfield‖ is driven by things that connect. ―Crossed by branches....‖ there ―must have been a bridge‖ (arrow, trajectory) to lead, finally, to elemental and natural things like leaves, blood, and snow (―Deerfield Erasure‖). Visually, this last poem, ―Deerfield Erasure,‖ mirrors the image of the snowdrift it leaves us with. The last four lines: blood soaking into carpet. A stale drift of snow scuffs

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right up to the edge hang, right out over.

Is this what we can learn about arrival? That, rather than Luke‘s ready and waiting narrow door to heaven, we must create an opening, like an arrow, for ourselves to move through? And if ―everything is always on the way home already,‖ then who are we to talk about salvation as desert or belonging, anyway? We make, then pass through what we make. Like the arrow returning to the earth it was shot from, In the Living Room closes by returning to ―Deerfield,‖ as if to understand it again or to see it more clearly, to see how, like a home, it has changed.

It bridges competing space on the page, bridges seasons, bridges above and below. It moves, as does the book, by attempting to exist in more than one direction at once. In the Living Room exists to reconcile opposites, which is certainly the (often unsweetened) work of living. Read this for a voice that will earn your trust and resonate with frustrations and forthrightness.

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Gently Read Literature August 2011

ANDREW C. GOTTLEIB ON SIMMONS BUNTIN’S BLOOM

I first came across Simmons Buntin‘s poetry in early November 2008, when Verse Daily published online his poem, ―Flare‖. This is a short poem set in the evening, narrator aside a field of wild desert flowers as the night comes down, a poem that in a short five couplets addresses life, death, and rebirth throu gh the lens of man considering nature.

Bloom Simmons B. Buntin Salmon Poetry, 2011

The poem starts ―South of Arizona 86...” and that’s a clue to Buntin’s work. It takes you down dusty footpaths, calling to mind other vagrant first lines like Hunter S. Thompson‘s famous opening: ―We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert...‖ Buntin‘s focus is remote, natural, reaching away from the overpopulated and chaotic world in which we live. Arizona 86 is a highway no more than 50 or 60 miles from the Mexico border, crossing the Tohono O‘odham Indian reservation. This is a desert land of sage, saguaro, ocotillo, and any other flora than can withstand drought, thriving in the rarer rains. In Buntins‘s nature, life comes from the briefest of pollinations, a bloom that will promise future generations, ―a single white lily drinking / the last brushstroke of sunlight...‖, a life he sees as parallel to a human existence: ―born of the mad summer storms, rain-soaked / and rooted...‖ Buntin‘s careful, lyrical word choice powers the poem, the echoes of sound, like so many petals in the same field: ―...gold poppies and dappled bladder pod. // Already their heads are closing— already the dark / cape of desert

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sky calls them home.‖ ―Flare‖ is a quintessential Buntin poem, and it can be found almost in the middle of Bloom, Buntin‘s second book, the title poem to the second section in this collection of free verse poems conscious of form and language but far from any particular rhyme or meter. What has prominance here is a careful eye for beauty in the natural world, an appreciation of the given moment, and the ability to communicate to the reader with a deft poesy: ―..the mourning // doves fled the battered roost, / the brood lost / early, shells weathered // to white dust.‖ Buntin is not a loner though, but a social, family-man as well, and the perch from which he views the natural world is often in a moment of distraction, a pause in a life to see something of utter importance that others might miss: ―…the ringtail swept over the ductwork // and steel, watched as we served / cake and chardonnay.‖ This on Buntin‘s 40th birthday, in the poem appropriately titled ―The Gift.‖ That may be why one feels some much joy from this work. Buntin conveys his sense of appreciation for being alive. His daughters and wife are featured in many of these poems, and while he highlights the beauty of the snow geese rising under a red sun at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge—―the cyclone / of tungsten wings beneath the dawn‘s red rise…‖—in the final lines, he spins us back to focus on his girls: ―…my daughters, / bundled in bright plumage…their own capped heads / and arms lifted skyward, and rising.‖


Gently Read Literature August 2011

This is a man happy not just for nature but for the people he‘s with, a shared love for the world and the luck to view it with family. It‘s a poetry that‘s perhaps a cross between the solitude and observation of Mary Oliver and the joy and cheer of Walt Whitman, revisiting themes of rebirth and ritual, gratitude and survival. There is mourning for parts of our world that have or are being destroyed: Hiroshima in the past, and today, albatross chicks choking on plastic on the Midway atoll. There is the guilt of a father taking his daughter hiking on a trail too difficult, getting lost, finally emerging to safety. Bloom is a book filled with scorpions and bees, cholla and mesquite, coral snakes and coyotes. It‘s got the expected section of notes on the poems, but it also adds a glossary of terms—plants names and other definitions—the sign of a true naturalist at work. Buntin knows his Paintbrush from his Palo verde. The book‘s third and final section is a single long poem broken into 8 sections exploring alternately the life and death of an agave plant with a serious accident one of Buntin‘s daughters survived after running through a glass door. We have a limited span in this natural world; what Buntin tells us is to take care, to go slowly as we tread the path, eyes open. Part four of the long poem, ―Inflorescence‖, closes: ―…the king is a beast: cruel trick / of the gods. They laugh as they fall / to the spiked desert floor.‖

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Gently Read Literature August 2011

AMY HENRY ON AARON DEITZ’S SUPER

As an experimental novel, you can‘t get more creative than Aaron Dietz‘ Super, a witty look at what it takes to become a superhero. Oh yeah, you‘re thinking. Superhero? We definitely could use a few more, but who knew the selection process was so difficult?

Super Aaron Dietz Emergency Press, 2010

Super combines literary elements, such as short stories, poems, and a stage play, with the most mundane types of paperwork, all part of the application process. Superheroes in our decade must, of course, sign liability waivers, undergo psychological testing, sign nondisclosure agreements, and have their costume approved by numerous agencies (an Extra-Sensitivity Committee will examine the costume to make sure no one could possibly be offended by it). It‘s all tongue-in-cheek yet completely earnest, as Dietz mocks our litigious society and the redundancy of bureaucracy. Clearly, strength and courage are not enough. The fill-in- the-blank forms and handwritten memos give it a spark of realism. Random diary entries and animation blocking mix with the Fictional Scenarios that a potential hero must correctly navigate. Equipment diagrams, coworker assessments, even the Word Find that is found in each issue of the fictional monthly Superhero Journal fill out the pages and remind us that even Superman would not likely be hired under the guidelines that most employers have to follow. Is Dietz making a dig at the corporate structure of big government and big business? Is he quietly advancing Adam Smith‘s ―Invisible Hand‖ economic theory? It's clear that for all the qualities and intentions a person may possess, society often ties the hands of those who want to help. Aid workers are prevented from

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entering ravaged war zones to help, restricted by political forces. Just last week in San Francisco, firefighters and the Coast Guard were unable to save a man, possibly suicidal or delusional, who waded into the chilly water of Alameda Bay, just a few feet deep, because of bureaucratic policies that didn't permit shallow-depth rescues. A 'regular' guy went in for him, but it was too late-the cold water killed him. Dietz hints at this discrepancy between right and "legal". Underneath the clever visual elements lie some startling observations about humanity today: in one scenario, the Superhero wannabe gains extra points by showing basic kindness to a homeless person or babysitting a highly allergic child. He seems to want to show us how occasionally we may perform some pretty neat superhero tricks on our own. In all, it‘s enjoyable to see the clever features and the complete randomness of much of the book. However, I‘m curious as to the intended audience for it. My assumption is that it could be considered a young-adult title, but would that reader necessarily catch the irony of all the paperwork? I ran it past two boys who, at 18 and 21, are fond of superhero movies, and both of them hated it. Perhaps it‘s meant for an older demographic that fuels the demand of nostalgic and novelty items from classic cartoon heroes. This was a sticking point for me, as I wasn‘t sure how to interpret it outside of my own opinion, which was that it was clever and cute but not something I‘d choose to read. The lack of a clear narrative made it feel more like a magazine (aka MAD magazine) than a novel. By the second half it was as if the punch line was already revealed, and while more experimental motifs were explored, the freshness had worn off.


Gently Read Literature August 2011

JASON MASHAK ON SEAN PATRICK HILL’S THE IMAGINED FIELD

The Imagined Field Sean Patrick Hill Paper Kite Press, 2010

I waited what seemed a long time for Sean Patrick Hill‘s first full-length book of poems, The Imagined Field (Paper Kite Press, 2010). In literary terms, we ‗grew up‘ together during our 20s in Portland, Oregon, learning to distinguish between prolificacy and poetry… to be discerning enough to reject trends in an attempt to join that timeless conversation of masters of the ages (something we learned in part from local curmudgeonly ex-lit-criticturned-troubadour Doug Marx). When my copy of the book arrived in Prague from Sean‘s new station in Kentucky, years after our initial explorations and discoveries in the Pacific Northwest, I beheld synchronicity, as my own first book was released the same year. I was nervous… but The Imagined Field promised everything I knew Sean capable of, and the initial reading experience was not unlike encountering the Tao Te Ching for the first time – the words fully grasped, mingled, and shared the simplicity of epiphany with the efficiency of poetry, applying all to the sufficiency of subject as a distinct snapshot of experiences and revelations encountered. I was both spellbound and proud of my old friend for sharing ‗the gift‘ while remaining grounded wholeheartedly in the gods‘ green earth.

both a Teacher and a Seeker (and a keen ear for music, apparent in his alliteration, internal rhymes, and songlike rhythms throughout the book). A couple major aspects stimulated my heart‘s frontal lobes, the first of these a refreshing method of anthropomorphizing found in ―Don‘t Bother Asking‖: See how the grass nods? It learned to be that patient Because the wind never seems able To finish its sentences.

. Later, ―cow dung everywhere‖ is like ―huge drips of plaster‖ – like something humans (or their practices) put there. Rather than a typical humanizing of nature, the evoked images come full circle to show the nature-related aspects in humans, achieving yin-yang within the personification practice. One finds such technique throughout the book, as in the six-sketch ―Inland Among Stones,‖ written for Sean‘s father. As a contemplation of an ancient place, including a gathering spot for Vikings, Sean writes that after the Vikings have sharpened their swords upon it, ―the stone still bears scars.‖ This recognition of man‘s violence against nature accentuates the futility of ‗civilization‘, as in the opening stanza to ―The Undissolved Ghost‖:

The three sections of The Imagined Field – The Diving Bell, What Else Got Buried, and White River Junction – offer myriad potential interpretations, perhaps enhanced by Sean‘s path as 9


Gently Read Literature August 2011

What I’m trying to make sense of is this Shimmering city on the horizon, The architecture Of a thousand ivory rooms.

As a poignant reference to disillusionment with the ivory towers of intellectual ‗progress‘ or even ‗leadership‘ (and the spoils/ruins of colonialization), human are like caricatures of nature (although humans tend to fight their own nature). This overlaps into a second aspect of The Imagined Field worthy of attention: the eroticism of nature. In ―The Hours‖ Sean notes, ―I had slept alone for weeks,‖ and then the poem nears climax: ―The one clear day that year. / The sky torn open like lace.‖ But climax is not yet attained, as ―the sky just keeps walking / Where you can‘t follow,‖ which echoes a sort of universal, eternal desperation – or drive – that later in the book, notably in ―The Good Rain‖ (a poem to his wife, Erynn), culminates in a renewed persistence styled after the love poetry of ancient sacred texts: ―Show me your squash blossoms and berries / Hidden under leaves.‖ Those leaves are as distinct as the sky‘s torn lace, and Sean‘s timeless communication appears as well in the lines leading up to them. The poet here no longer just embodies nature but contains it: This inner weather is enough

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To drown the rattled trees I imagine being Full of frightened birds.

The Imagined Field, I‘m pleased to announce, is a book one can drop ashes upon and it will remain open long enough for them to cool and blow away on their own. The bigger question I had after reading it was not whether I would read it again (repeatedly) but whether I‘d have to wait very long for Sean‘s next one. I could continue this minor review of a major book for hundreds more words – and not lose any interest – but, for the sake of brevity for the reader, I‘ll instead close with a few other remarkable lines from the book:

“It’s only a little blood. // Why embellish / The authority of a thorn.” “Let the old tower remain rubble. / Forgive rebels for giving / The admiral his one explosive send-off.” “A petal of black snow.” “My student beat his mother to death / With champagne bottles.” “I want the [map] that says where to sit by Lake Champlain / and watch the sun / drag the sky into the Adirondacks.”


Gently Read Literature August 2011

RICK MARLATT ON GARY MCDOWELL’S AMERICAN AMEN

Traveling backward on the train from Kalamazoo to Chicago, I solve a quadratic equation, a crossword puzzle, my marriageMichigan, swollen between two lakes is slopeless, or cured like beef and leather: Romanticism will always have Her cynics. I’m young:

American Amen Gary McDowell Dream Horse Press, 2010

the trees outside the train window are bald as the man sitting in front of me, and yet it’s impossible to get this right.

So goes ―Back Home,‖ an exemplary poem from Gary McDowell‘s Orphic Prize-nabbing collection with Dream Horse Press. In this piece, we see a fusion of what the poet does so well throughout the book; that is, an earnest exploration of self, place, domestic love, and hopefulness of spirit. American Amen accomplishes something truly unique: a tasteful and lasting tribute to the quiet spaces and resounding rhythms of the Midwest that is indeed heartfelt, but without simplistic, subjective, or didactic linguistic tendencies. For example, in his conclusion to ―Weather, Weather,‖ McDowell combines this subtle appreciation for the land and its history with an unmistakable zest to inhabit it: The Midwest, with its heart in its fists, its shortgrass prairies and placid charm, inspires fear with its snowstorms, but I know not much has changed in millions of years, I know that my greatest moments will one day be clogged in glaciers and icedrifts the size of Wisconsin, and yet I still find a way to wish for initials in wet concrete, dead leaves in my garagestraight talk, as they say, has lost its pizzazz. So fiddle me this , why do I sometimes wish I had more to record?

By ending this rather personal examination with a question, the speaker demonstrates a terrific amount of humility. Not only does this maneuver make for a fitting conclusion to a selfexploration of identity and existence, but it invites the reader back onto equal footing with the speaker. That is, the poet has transported these personal reflections into a collaborative effort wherein the reader has just as much at stake as the speaker. More importantly, the poem strives to hold onto the past despite its clear acknowledgement that such an attainment isn‘t tenable, yet the speaker expresses a clear desire for permanence amidst the impermanence. Thematically, McDowell‘s poems achieve their success by using the landscape as a launching point into wonderful and moving investigations of family in poems about sons, daughters, wives, mothers, and most of all, fathers. In fact, the speaker‘s father dominates the lines in this book and holds his presence in the white space like a stubborn ghost, as in ―A Poem about My Father Will Always Begin My Father‖ and ―Father, There Are Poets.‖ In these pieces, the speaker explores the dynamics between son and father through key lines such as ―Under your skin, / the wrinkles in the crook / of your elbow. I‘ve been tucked away there / for years at a time.‖ Through objective and honest inquiry, McDowell illuminates this relationship time and again, cracking open the vault a little more with each pry, and always demonstrating grace. McDowell, himself, moves into the role of father in ―A Miscarriage Scare at Bronson Methodist‖ and ―Painting Houses.‖ His explorations of the world and its inhabitants consistently reveal a soft, sophisticated admiration. 11


Gently Read Literature August 2011

Moreover, in ―Earth‘s Otherwise Silence,‖ we see how the poet‘s description and focus on the landscape breathes life into the bodies and souls of its inhabitants. Seven ―Aubades‖ are interspersed throughout the book, giving the collection a song-like, spiritual symmetry. If the bulk of McDowell‘s poems hold the secrets, nuances, and legends of sons and fathers, then the aubades are their soundtrack. ――Blackbirds‖ is a sweeping, sectioned testament to a foundational concept for the collection that examines the three generation paternal bond between the speaker and his father and grandfather; the legacy of fathers that has brought the speaker to where he is now. The speaker follows the litany of tracks left behind by the spirits of his past, and he travels back through connected memories of childhood, hunting, campfires, and sage advice. Following the opening two sections in which the poet features glimpses of his father and grandfather, their quiet rifles, their stoic beards, the speaker centers his focus on the words and images that define a passion: Their iridescent wings, black beaks and feet like cowhide only blacker, and how they‘d mimic the cocking of our rifles, our laughs, and the nightly applause for Johnny Carson. My father: crows-too quick to shoo away, too illegal to shoot. It was at our cabin in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin where my father and grandfather would sit for hours watching blackbirds, where I‘d put my father‘s rifle to my shoulder, lean my head against the butt stock, and my father, the graceful way he‘d pull the rifle from my hands and tell me, blackbirds, son. Shoot only the blackbirds.

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This middle section is indeed a strong example of McDowell‘s ability to not only describe tradition, but to illuminate and embody its power. Again, he does so with a strong use of the natural world that not only serves as the setting for human interaction, but also plays a vital role in that symbiosis. The blackbirds are not merely components or characters of the scene; they are active catalysts and receptors at work in the vision of the poet. In addition, the rifle works like the passing of a torch, moving from one set of hands to the next, accentuating the legacy that is being articulated. Finally, as in many of the book‘s poems, McDowell‘s spacing and line breaks add a physical quality that encourages the sensation of movement and travel through the bloodlines. These poems manage to be moving explorations of physical and emotional landscapes, while at the same time avoiding the pastoral, rustic, and predictable. They are fluid and fresh. They are translated legacies in action. Gary McDowell‘s full length debut demonstrates a poet whose work stands firm with a strong appreciation for who and what has come before, but at the same time bounces with youthful, addictive zeal. These poems keep calling the reader back, as McDowell concludes in ―Blackbird,‖ ―Their call from the stumps of dead oaks: / an inhaled whistle, / a breath not quite fulfilled / like a man casting and casting his bait into the lake.‖


Gently Read Literature August 2011

DAVID ATKINSON ON BRENT SPENCER’S RATTLESNAKE DADDY

Rattlesnake Daddy Brent Spencer The Backwaters Press, 2011

Men often seem to have conflicting relationships with their fathers. There seems to be a certain amount of battle, rebellion even, against the father and all he stands for. In more or less equal proportions, however, this battle is typically mixed with inescapable love and a desperate need to understand the father in order to come to terms with life. I suspect this might be the case for daughters and mothers (or perhaps daughters and fathers as well as sons and mothers in some cases), but I myself have more personal experience with this father/son conflict. Brent Spencer in Rattlesnake Daddy reveals himself to be no exception to the above. He describes his father as ―the kind…who did his talking with his hands, belts, straps, a razor strop, and with his diver‘s knife. The kind of father who beats you for an untucked shirt, a sign that you are unworthy in the eyes of the Lord.‖ However, when Brent is confronted with his father‘s death: ―[It] was the emotional equivalent of the Berlin Wall coming down. I don‘t quite mean that. There was no dancing in the streets. The sky wasn‘t filled with rocketing champagne corks. But even absent for so many years, my father still stood as a shadow, a force forever at my back. Without him in the world--the stories of his naval exploits, the memory of his madness---I wasn‘t sure I‘d know how to live.‖ Now, there are signs in the above quotes that Brent‘s relationship with his father was a trifle beyond ordinary. Sure, my father had rage. I‘ve been

beaten with belts and yard sticks and such for things as little as getting an ambiguous note sent home by a teacher and being unable to say whether I was in trouble or not. My own father received far worse at the hands of his father. However, neither my father nor I ever experienced anything like what Brent describes when he writes: ―[t]hat night, land for many nights to come, my father stood behind me for a long time. He‘d hold the blade over my eyes, my nose, my throat. PSYOPS. Special warfare. And I was the enemy.‖ And yet, even with the abuse, Brent cannot escape his bond to this man, cannot escape that this man is his father. The abuse, mixed in somehow with a strange understanding that this is how his father was trying to make Brent into who he righteously needed to be, is blended with his father‘s almost total absence. When he is there, he brutalizes Brent. However, by the time his father dies, he had ―been out of [Brent‘s life] for thirty years.‖ Even during his childhood, Brent only lived ―continuously, under the same roof, for only one year‖ with his father. So, when Brent‘s father dies, he doesn‘t ―quite know what to make of the news.‖ Emotionally unable to make himself identify the body or attend the funeral, Brent instead goes through his father‘s papers and retraces his father‘s travels around the Mexican border. In short, Brent goes to places his father has been and talks to people his father knew in an attempt to understand; who the hell this ghost was and why he was could be so terrorizing the rare times he was around?

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Gently Read Literature August 2011

The book alternates between Brent‘s searches for his father‘s trail and extremely vivid remembrances and excerpts of his father‘s notes, such as Brent‘s father‘s story of a terror-filled dark night (and extremely close escape) when his small Navy boat runs aground deep inside Viet Cong territory. This literary vehicle conveyed me, as a reader, along with Brent on his quest to come to terms with and understand his father. At times, Brent was the one revealing. At others, I discovered his father along with him. The result for me was extremely tension-filled for a biographical investigation. I kept wondering, just who was this man? What did he mean to Brent? What made him the way he was and why did he do the things he did? I even wondered whether these were the sort of questions that could be answered. And, in the end, other readers will have to go and quest with Brent to find out those things. They won‘t be sorry they did.

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Before there was money, there was debt

DEBT The First 5,000 Years

David Graeber If you owe the bank a hundred thousand dollars, the bank owns you. If you owe the bank a hundred million dollars, you own the bank. —American Proverb It is no accident that debt continues to fuel political debate, from the crippling debt crises that have gripped Greece and Ireland, to our own debate over whether to raise the debt ceiling. Debt, an incredibly captivating narrative spanning 5,000 years, puts these crises into their full context and illuminates one of the thorniest subjects in all of history. Beginning with a sharp critique of economics Graeber carefully shows that everything from the ancient work of law and religion to human notions like ―guilt,‖ ―sin,‖ and ―redemption,‖ are deeply influenced by ancients debates about credit and debt. "[A]n engaging book. Part anthropological history and part provocative political argument, it‘s a useful corrective to what passes for contemporary conversation about debt and the economy." —Boston Globe "Graeber's book has forced me to completely reevaluate my position on human economics, its history, and its branches of thought." —Charles Mudede

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Gently Read Literature August 2011

GLENDA BURGESS ON BONNIE BOLLING’S IN THE KINGDOM OF THE SONS

In the Kingdom of the Sons Bonnie Bolling Briery Creek Press, 2011

Winner of the 2011 Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry, In the Kingdom of the Sons by Bonnie Bolling, is described as ―subtle, deeply felt, and emotionally direct.‖ Bolling, poet and editor of Verdad, has had her work featured in literary journals such as The Southern Review, The Packinghouse Review, and Pearl.

crack the darkness‖ (Recovery), and explores the powerful, unpredictably destructive attraction of passion, ―but I enjoy putting risk in my pocket/ and tasting it, like salt on my tongue. /until stars stop shooting themselves over empty houses/ disconnecting the moment when.‖ (String Theory)

In the Kingdom of the Sons poems arc across an inner landscape of artistic struggle. Divided into three distinct sections, the poems in the first section speak to experiences of raw living that seed memories and thus art, ―where seed becomes some other thing./ Soon enough I will lie beneath it all./ But words draw closer, words spill into bright air/ and I wait in the shine between them.‖ (There is a Small Wind) Destructive primitive instincts collide with elegant, torturous ambitions of the soul. Moments of great angst and regret, threaded with hot impulses of sex, childbirth and mothering, seem to pull the poet apart at the core. ―I could have lived in some other place, in the/ ease of a body where beauty is thoughtless, / in the life of another woman I can imagine/ leaving this one for. /There is pleasure in this pain, in/ all this yearning.‖ (Make For Yourself a Light)

The third and final section encompasses our human need to make stories of our wounds. A barrack of soldiers watch quietly, ―letting the deer/breathe and graze and live.‖ (At Ease) In Human Shrapnel, a young soldier whom she calls ―the boy,‖ bears the body and objects of a suicide bomber within his own wounds. Life and death nest within one another. In Home Front, Bolling observes, ―They like to hold on to something, / but there‘s nothing there, except each other.‖

The poems of the second section explore the complexity of truth and the beauty in the contradictory. Words rollick with a zest for life and dreaming, for the mistakes of youth and their consequences, and depart into language that plays with patterns reminiscent of e.e. cummings and James Joyce, as though in surfing stream of consciousness, the poet channels greater myth. ―Molly Bloombreasts/dressed in lowcut cutoffs a red rose pinned in her hair struts off/ for drinks and winks and witty words and wet kisses/later laughing pantiless yes yes, a double please – sex on the beach is also a drink - / (Sex on the Beach Is Also a Drink) Bolling‘s language is earthy, full of unexpected shine. ―I know my body is a dark, secret kitchen/and my mind wants to wander, to leave it behind.‖ (Blue Willow Plate). The poet learns ―to look for anything/to 16

Bonnie Bolling‘s poems explore exquisite bittersweet truths of marriage and motherhood parsed against youthful extravagance. Themes of dissonance, passion, and regret form the taproot of her material. The kingdom of men, of husband and sons, unfolds counterpoint to her imperative to nurture and enfold. In The Game, Bolling writes of a husband hitting golf balls in the twilight of the yard, avoiding a house of noisy children - ―swinging into the dark, as if your place/ in the world was defined by flawless connections, / by the invisible arcing of dimpled globes, / sailing over and over into the deep sea of grass.‖ In the tender Her Husband, ―He hears his wife‘s voice/ talking, but he has eaten/mouthfuls of dirt today. / The souls of farmers, /it seems, get left behind, / become part of the soil.‖ But finally, it is only through her own body that the poet can translate the violence of injury and war. In the stark homecoming of a wounded soldier, Bolling writes, ―I think again of my shrunken ovary, / of being devoured by wild animal longing. (The Homecoming) Passion, the poet seems to suggest, carries life forward.


Gently Read Literature August 2011

MICHAEL MCCARTHY ON ANNA SWIR’S BUILDING THE BARRICADE

In the literature of war nurses, the aching runs deep. In prose and poetry, Whitman brought to life the viscera and amputations of the Civil War. Hemingway‘s carrying the wounded of World War I informed and inspired A Farewell to Arms. The war-writing tradition has plumbed with eye-witness clarity how cruelty and romance intertwine within the urgency of battle, and Anna Swir explores the same odd coupling throughout Building the Barricade and Other Poems of Anna Swir (Calypso Editions 2011). This is a Building the Barricade new translation from the Polish, by Piotr and Other Poems Florczyk, who is the editor and translator Anna Swir of Been and Gone: Poems of Julian Trans., Piotr Florczyk Kornhauser (Marick Press, 2009). Born Calypso Editions, in 1909 in Warsaw, Poland, Swir is 2011 widely considered one of Poland‘s great poets. The Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz knew her and translated some of her other work. Swir volunteered as a nurse during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 and the sights and sounds from the front permeate Building the Barricade. The fresh translation of these couple dozen short Swir poems offers an important memorial to her work, which feels fresh on the page even now, 27 years after her death in Krakow, at the age of 75. Swir wrote the poems a full generation after she lived them, and yet the images and tremendously stark language ring true, immediate, and haunting. Consider ―Talking with Corpses:‖ I slept with corpses under one blanket. I apologized to these corpses for being alive.

The same voice that speaks of horror, in words precise and unadorned, is consistent in romance, as well. ―Waiting Thirty Years‖ opens: He must have been six feet five, that young beanpole,

cheerful laborer from Powisle… When I was re-bandaging his torn-up leg, he winced and smiled. He promises to come back when the war ends and take her dancing, adding ―I‘m buying.‖ She never forgot him after that brief encounter. Swir, reflecting back to that long young man, prone before her, vacillating between flirting and bleeding, closes her poem: I‘ve been waiting for him for thirty years. From the ashes of a burning museum, a symbol for Poland undoubtedly, Swir sculpts a compelling monument to loss and beauty. One line reads, ―…Like hay/ the beauty worshipped by generations of men / is burning.‖ The poem introduces a man ―who‘s lived only to guard the museum.‖ Tragically, he shows up for work on time, putting him into the path of destruction. The poem closes: If he survives, he‘ll confirm for future generations how beauty was dying like beauty in flames.

What a gaffe. They forgave me. What carelessness. They were surprised. Life after all was so dangerous back then.

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Gently Read Literature August 2011

Swir‘s power is in concision. She strikes surgically. In ―I Wash the Shirt,‖ she tells of washing her deceased father‘s shirt for a final time, knowing that she is about to destroy the last physical trace of the man. She notices the scent of sweat. ―I remember this smell from childhood,‖ the poem notes in the opening stanza, and in the second one she writes, ―I inhale it for the last time.‖

This new translation ought to generate more interest in this exceptional Polish poet, who encountered some of the worst the twentieth century offered and yet still managed to provide an eloquent and graceful coda to the mass suffering. In ―Poetry Reading,‖ the narrator ponders why so many people showed up in the audience, to hear what? What is the poet doing, after all? Swir‘s answer:

In ―Second Madrigal,‖ she writes of a searing love for a man, the final stanza of which offers a saucy summary:

I‘m to tell them why they were born, why this monstrosity called life exists.

A night of love with you— a big baroque battle and two victories. In another poem, only 11 lines long, she introduces a boy, 15, who‘s ―the best student of Polish.‖ He is enlisted and faces the enemy eye-to-eye with a pistol. And the poem ends: He hesitated. He‘s lying on the pavement. They didn‘t teach him in Polish class to shoot into the eyes of a man.

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Gently Read Literature August 2011

STEPEN PAGE ON LOUIS GLÜCK’S OCTOBER

October Lousie Gluck Sarabande, 2004

When I read Louise Glück‘ chapbook October, I noted a certain theme that threads throughout the poem, a feeling of aftermath. October has always been a special month for me. A time of change. A time of clarity. Now that I live in South America, it is different. It‘s spring, and that means flowers, honey bees buzzing about, rain, grass springing up, winter wheat shooting from ankle high to waist high. Newly born calves and ponies leaping about the pastures. In the northern United States, October begins with the autumnal colors in full show and ends with the trees bare and sometimes even a first snow fall. I remember October well as I was growing up. It was a month of mental crystallization. The air smelled of damp earth and drying leaves. Each breath I took cleared my mind and brought to focus my sense of being with the world. I felt good. But, there was also a lurking feeling of finality. Another year had passed. I often asked myself, had I done what I wanted to do this past year, or was I in the same place is was last year? Had I accomplished what I needed to accomplish? When this happened I was overcome by sweet melancholy. Sad that the year was over but happy that another year was about to begin. Yes, the new year was in October for me, not in January. An end and a beginning. Winter was on the way and, yes, it would be cold. There would be snow. But, snow to me meant snowball fights, snowmen, snow angels, igloos in the banks on the side of the road that the snowplows piled up, and of course, snow days—the break from school. Winter represents death to many people, but it meant fun and rest for me. Trees, plants, grass, they weren‘t dead, they were just resting, sleeping late, waiting to wake up in spring and flourish in summer. Spring and summer meant vacations, baseball, girls.

Life on earth is measured in seasons and renews itself yearly. For Glück too I think, as for most North–Hemispherians, October is a sad month, but one that also has hope. Part I of October goes like this: It is winter again, is it cold again, didn‘t frank just slip on the ice, didn‘t he heal, weren‘t the spring seeds planted didn‘t the nether end, didn‘t the melting ice flood the narrow gutters wasn‘t my body rescued wasn‘t it safe didn‘t the scar form, invisible above the injury terror and cold, didn‘t they just end, wasn‘t the back garden harrowed and planted— I remember how the earth felt, red and dense, in stiff rows, weren‘t the seeds planted, didn‘t the vines climb down the south wall I can‘t hear your voice for the wind‘s cries, whistling over the bare ground I can no longer care what sounds it makes when I was silenced, when did it first seem pointless to describe that sound what it sounds like can‘ change what it is— didn‘t the night end, wasn‘t the earth safe when it was planted didn‘t we plant the seeds, weren‘t we necessary to the earth, the vines, were they harvested?

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Gently Read Literature August 2011

Something obviously traumatic has passed here. A scar formed, terror happened, something was planted but is no longer there (and I think it is more than just plants in the garden) for the ―wind whistled over the bare ground.‖ The narrator was devastated by the occurrence, so much so she was ―silenced.‖ Most notable is the poem‘s form—short lines, long sentences— making the poem appear tall. The entire poem continues like that, short lines and a tall appearance. And the there is an after-violation feeling strung down the poem: Violence has changed me… everything that was taken away… you can‘t touch my body now. It has changed once, it has hardened… My body has grown cold… balm after violence… Tell me I am living, I won‘t believe you. Death cannot harm me more than you have harmed me… the light has changed… you will not be spared… the unspeakable//has entered them… I strained, I suffered… So much has changed… Something has happened, and I don‘t just think it is the harvest. Because of the form of the poem, and some for Glück‘s references, something very tall has come down, or collapsed. Something that was once there no longer is: They eye gets used to disappearances… Above the fields, above the roofs of the village houses, the brilliance that made all life possible becomes the cold stars. Glück might be talking about an object, a tall structure, or she might be talking about ideals (as she refers to often in

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part IV). She might be talking about both. Whatever the case, she uses the barren-field association of the month of October as representation of something monumental that no longer exists inside of her or no longer exists on the landscape. She does spy a kind of hope though, as she leaves the poem on a positive note: my friend the moon rises:

she is beautiful tonight, but when is she not beautiful?


Gently Read Literature August 2011

DIANE SIMMONS ON MITCH LEVENBERG’S PRINCIPLES OF UNCERTAINTY AND OTHER CONSTANTS

Principles of Uncertainty and Other Constants Mitch Levenberg iUniverse Inc, 2005

The strangely hilarious stories in Mitch Levenberg‘s Principles of Uncertainty and Other Constants aren‘t really surreal. They just feel surreal because they recognize the things most of us manage to ignore except when felled by our dreams. As Levenberg‘s dramas unfold, we realize that we always create the world we see, and that this world in turn tells us who we are. The difference between most of us and Levenberg‘s protagonists is that unlike us, they can see it happening. In the story, ―The Hotel Clerk,‖ for example, an American Jew is a tourist in modern day Germany where, at the advice—indeed upon the insistence of a desk clerk he would love to screw— he finds himself on a visit to Dachau. Not sure that he‘s on the right train, he doesn‘t want to offend fellow German passengers by mentioning the World War II concentration camp. Of course he ends up offending them anyway, screaming ―‘Dachau, Dachau!‘ to an uncomprehending Chinese man, the one non-German in the car as the others ―stare coldly.‖ Now he is certain that he is on the wrong train and considers his position: ―There was a time that people would have given their right arms to be in his shoes, moving away from Dachau rather than toward it. But not him. He was, after all, on vacation.‖ He arrives at the ―picturesque‖ little city and takes a bus to the camp. In the grip of a terrible thirst and needing to pee, he stumbles past the tourists ―snapping pictures of each other in front of the crematoriaum, the oven, the bunks,‖ etc. Still on his liquids-oriented search, he sees something that does stop him: passing a

tool shed he sees a man and a woman locked ―feverish lovemaking,‖ a bottle of mineral water by their side. Immediately, he thinks of the hotel clerk; not only does he need water and to pee, he needs sex. He knows he‘s wrong to have these thoughts: in a place like this where you remember that ―naked flesh can burn, disintegrate more quickly than it might take two people to achieve orgasm‖ you should not be thinking about sex. Here he had hoped to ―deal more with the question of universal suffering than his own inability to get laid.‖ Is it an exhibit, he wonders, making some kind of point? Is he somehow being taunted by the German couple—they turn out to be his tour guides-- who sense his obvious craving for sex? (And who have finished all the water by the time he manages to ask for a drink.) Could it be that he is hallucinating, tortured by thirst as so many here have been tortured by the loss of those things large and small that make life possible? It is a horrible experience; of this he is aware. Still, it is also true that the display of the death all around has been unable to stop him from being his own living, pumping, thirsting, horny self. And when he returns to the hotel he views the desk clerk differently. He imagines her lying naked behind the tool shed. It is vision that proves useful. In ―The Crueller,‖ the still-horny firstperson protagonist endures another kind of agony. He has arrived too early for a date—he seems like the type of guy who always arrives early and anxious-- and is waiting across the street in New York City coffee shop.

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Gently Read Literature August 2011

There is of, course, a bossy waitress who tries to make him eat a ―stale and filthy‖ crueller, the last one under a glass cover. It‘s fresh, she insists. Despite its appearance. The narrator doesn‘t want the awful cruller but does want the waitress. She ―looks quite good in her blue uniform.‖ Perhaps if he went to her place they‘d have ―great sex, simple, honest, pure, multi-faceted, frequent and disgusting to the cold observer‘s eye.‖ These thoughts are interrupted by the cashier; he is cursing a customer who dared to complain about the food. The narrator is stunned to hear the cashier predict with the panache of one born to make just such predictions that if the customer doesn‘t watch his mouth, his balls could end up in the soup. At this the waitress laughs as one ―transported temporarily into a world of pure joy‖ and the cashier gives her a wink. ―‘Charlie, you‘re a panic,‘‖ she cries, in the perfect rhythms of a New York diner. ―How in the world do you think of such things. How do you do it? You‘re a genius, a poet! Damn, I love you Charlie. How the hell would I ever get along without you?‖ The narrator feels it is time for him to go. He promises he will eat the cruller next time. He better, the cashier says. Or he might end up with the soup. On the way out, the narrator has a realization; they‘ll never sell that cruller. They don‘t want to sell it but want it to remain under the dingy glass so that the waitress could try to make people eat it and Charlie could insult those who refuse. Thus they could live forever ―godlike,‖ in a world power and confidence. Joy, it seems, is possible. And now the narrator, himself ―full of joy and confidence‖ heads across the street where, he feels sure, his date will be waiting. 22


Gently Read Literature August 2011

Book Feature:

Apocryphal Road Code, Jared Randall December 2010 $15.95 Paperback, 112 pp Hobos, tramps and their codes of living—all figure prominently in this debut book of poetry by Jared Randall. Obsessed with the Depression-era stories told among his family, a wanderer traces the tumultuous roads of his own and society’s past, the troubled space between old memories and new recollections. www.saltpublishing.com

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Gently Read Literature August 2011

August Contributors

Caroline Klocksiem is poetry co-editor for 42opus and assistant poetry editor for Black Warrior Review. Her first poetry chapbook, "Circumstances of the House and Moon," is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press.

Andrew C. Gottlieb lives and writes in Irvine, California. His writing has appeared in many journals including the American Literary Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Ecotone, DIAGRAM, ISLE, Provincetown Arts, Poets & Writers, Tampa Review, & Terrain.org. His chapbook of poems, Halflives, was published in 2005 by New Michigan Press.

Amy Henry is a freelance writer and reviewer who is obsessed with Eastern European fiction and global poetry. She reviews both at her website,www.theblacksheepdances.com. She spends her time reading, writing, and wrangling an octopus. When that wears her out, she watches the BBC and acquires an accent.

Jason Mashak's first book of poems, Salty as a Lip, was published (and sold out) in 2010, by Haggard & Halloo (Austin, TX). While holding degrees from Portland State University, he attributes his education to gurus, shamans, nymphs... and Vietnam-vet truck drivers. After stints in Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, and Oregon, he moved in 2006 to Prague, Czech Republic. His two young daughters are his only good reason for having two dogs and five cats. More about his work can be found at: http://www.goodreads.com/jasonmashak

Rick Marlatt holds two degrees from the University of Nebraska, as well as a MFA from the University of California, Riverside, where he served as poetry editor of the Coachella Review. Marlatt's first book, How We Fall Apart, was the winner of the 2010 Seven Circle Press poetry chapbook award. His most recent work appears in New York Quarterly, Rattle, and Anti; and has been been nominated four times for a Pushcart prize. Marlatt writes poetry reviews for Coldfront Magazine, and he teaches English in Nebraska, where he lives with his wife and two sons.

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Gently Read Literature August 2011

David S. Atkinson is a Nebraska-born writer currently living in Denver. He holds an MFA from the University of Nebraska. His stories and book reviews have appeared in (and/or will soon be appearing in) "Gray Sparrow Press," ―Children Churches and Daddies,‖ ―C4: The Chamber Four Lit Mag,‖ ―Split Quarterly,‖ ―Cannoli Pie,‖ "Fine Lines," "Gently Read Literature," and "The Rumpus." The web site dedicated to his writing can be found at http:// davidsatkinsonwriting.com/. He currently serves as a reader for "Gray Sparrow Press" and in his non-literary time he works as a patent attorney in Denver.

Glenda Burgess is a winner of The Rupert Hughes Fiction Award, and a short story finalist for the New Century Writer Award. She has published two novels, an academic reference work, and most recently a memoir, The Geography of Love, Broadway Books, August 2008, named a Top Ten Books of 2008 by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and a finalist for the Books for a Better Life Award. She lives in Spokane, Washington.

Michael McCarthy, who had his first poems published recently in Poetry East, will soon complete an MFA in poetry at Seattle Pacific University. A former feature writer for the Wall Street Journal, he is also the author of the nonfiction book The Sun Farmer (Ivan R. Dee 2007).

Stephen is the author of The Timbre of Sand and Still Dandelions. He holds a BA from Columbia University and an MFA from Bennington College. He is the recipient of The Jess Cloud Memorial Prize for Poetry, a Writer-inResidence with stipend from the Montana Artists Refuge, a full Writer Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, an Imagination Grant from Cleveland State University, and an Arvon Foundation Ltd. Grant.

Diane Simmons is the author of numerous stories, articles and books. Her short story collection, Little America, won the Ohio State University Award for Short Fiction and was published by OSU Press, June 2011.

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Gently Read Literature August 2011

About Us Gently Read Literature Gently Read Literature publishes monthly in-depth reviews of contemporary poetry and literary fiction as well as the occasional original essay pertaining to aesthetics, writing, or culture. Gently Read Literature is always looking for reviews, criticism, and essays on contemporary poetry and literary fiction. Although we are open to examining all styles of poetry and fiction (and, therefore, all poets and novelists) we prefer those authors/presses that do not typically get the attention they deserve. Our guidelines are simple: 500 words minimum with no maximum, with as much direct textual analysis as possible. Contributions should be emailed to Daniel Casey, editor, (gentlyreadlit@gmail.com). "GRL submission" should be in the title of email, and must be in the body of the email or attached as a MS Word document. All contributions should be plainly formatted—12 point font, Times New Roman or the equivalent, single spaced. Because GRL publishes monthly, contributions are considered on a rolling basis. Gently Read Literature is edited and maintained by Daniel Casey, all comments or questions can be directed to him at gentlyreadlit@gmail.com.

Available Review Copies Contact Daniel Casey at ―gentlyreadlit@gmail.com.

POETRY What Have You Done to Our Ears to Make Us Hear Echoes?, Arlene Kim, Milkweed Editions The Spite House, Elizabeth Knapp, C&R Press Concertos, No Collective, Ugly Duckling Presse Cursivism, WIll Hubbard, Ugly Duckling Presse The Hermit, Laura Solomon, Ugly Duckling Presse Journal of American Foreign Policy, Jeff Hoffman, New Issues Press Underdog, Katrina Roberts, University of Washington Press Hough & Helix & Where & Here & You, You, You, Lea Graham, No Tell Books Curses and Wishes, Carl Adamshick, Louisiana State University Press Flies, Michael Dickman, Copper Canyon Press No Father Can Save Her, Julene Tripp Weaver, Plain View Press Remains to be Used, Jessica Baran, Apostrophe Books The Disinformation Phase, Chris Toll, Publishing Genius A Fast Life: Collected Poems of Time Dlugos, ed. David Trinidad, Nightboat Books Memory Future, Heather Aimee O'Neill, Gold Line Press Rust Fish, Maya Jewell Zeller, Lost Horse Press Ethics of Sleep, Bernadette Mayer, Trembling Pillow Press Downtown, Lee Meitzen Grue, Trembling Pillow Press Flower Chart, Lisa Fishman, Ahsahta Press Homage to Homage to Homage to Creeley, Joshua Ware, Furniture Press Books Here and Now, Stephen Dunn, WW Norton The Crows Were Laughing In Their Trees, Peter Conners, White Pine Press The Open Light: Poets from Notre Dame, 1991-2008, edited by Orlando Menes, University of Notre Dame Press Pinko, Jen Benka, Hanging Loose Press This Strange Land, Shara McCallum, Alice James Books What's This, Bombardier?, Ryan Flaherty, PleiadesPress Inspiration 2 Smile, Nate Spears, Unbound Content This is How Honey Runs, Cassie Premo Steele, Unbound Content 26


Gently Read Literature August 2011

POETRY (cont.) In New Jersey, Julie Ellinger Hunt, Unbound Content Before the Great Troubling, Corey Mesler, Unbound Content Kingdom Come, John Estes, C&R Press The Illustrated Edge, Marsha Pomerantz, Biblioasis The Cold War, Kathleen Ossip, Sarabande Books As Much As, Allan Peterson, Salmon Poetry Naked Woman Listening at the Keyhole, Sophia Rivkin, Mayapple Press Suspended Somewhere Between, Akbar Ahmed, PM Press Wisdom Teeth, Derrick Weston Brown, PM Press Left Glove, Mac Wellman, Solid Objects Rage & Bone, Kathryn Nuernberger, Elixir Press Fully Into Ashes, Sofia M. Starnes, Wings Press About the Author, Larry O. Dean, Mindmade Books (chpbk) The Yellow House, Robin Behn, Spuytend Duyvil Stranger Air, Stacie Leatherman, Mayapple Press Tropicalia, Emma Trelles, University of Notre Dame Press Pretend the World, Kathryn Kysar, Holy Cow! Press Young of the Year, Sydney Lea, Four Way Books On The Other Side, Blue, Collier Nogues, Four Way Books Torn, C.Dale Young, Four Way Books Blinking Ephemeral Valentine, Joni Wallace, Four Way Books Track This: A Book of Relationship, Stephen Bett, BlazeVox Books The Goodbye Town, Timothy O'Keefe, Oberlin College Press The Afterlives of Trees, Wyatt Townley, Woodley Press Dreamlife of a Philanthropist, Janet Kaplan, University of Notre Dame Press Undone, Maxine Scates, New Issues Poetry and Prose Rhapsody for Lessons Learned or Remembered, Georgia Ann Banks-Martin, Plain View Press The Relenting: A Play of Sorts, Lisa Gill, New Rivers Press Kinesthesia, Stephanie N. Johnson, New Rivers Press Fishing for Myth, Heid E. Erdrich, New Rivers Press Birds of Wisconsin, B.J. Best, New Rivers Press In the Common Dream of George Oppen, Joseph Bradshaw, Shearsman Books Either Way I'm Celebrating, Sommer Browning, Birds LLC Kings of the Fucking Sea, Dan Boehl, images by Jonathan Marshall, Birds LLC Rust or Go Missing, Lily Brown, Cleveland State University Poetry Center The Great Performance, Emily Kendal Frey, Cleveland State University Poetry Center Say So, Dora Malech, Cleveland State University Poetry Center The Firestorm, Zach Savich, Cleveland State University Poetry Center The Girl Without Arms, Brandon Shimoda, Black Ocean A Fire-Proof Box, Gleb Shulpyakov, translated from the Russian by Christopher Mattison, Canarium Books Ennui Prophet, Christopher Kennedy, BOA Editions Remnants of Another Age, Nikola Madzirov, translated by Peggy & Graham Reid, Magdalena Horvat, Adam Reed, BOA Editions At the Bureau of Divine Music, Michale Heffernan, Wayne State University Press Grief Suite, Bobbi Lurie, CW Books The Body, The Rooms, Andy Frazee, Subito Press Becoming Weather, Chris Martin, Coffee House Press Easy Marks, Gail White, David Roberts Books How Long, Ron Padgett, Coffee House Press Laughing Butcher Berlin Blues, Mark Terrill, Poetry Salzburg (chpbk) Bear in Mind, Anne Whitehouse, Finishing Line Press Historic Diary, Tony Trigilio, BlazeVox Books Born Palestinian Born Black & The Gaza Suite, Suheir Hammad, UpSet Press Strata, Ewa Chrusciel, Emergency Press 27


Gently Read Literature August 2011

POETRY (cont.) Helsinki, Peter Richards, Action Books Le Spleen De Poughkeepsie, Joshua Harmon, University of Akron Press Campeche, Joshua Edwards, photographs by Van Edwards, Noemi Press Song for His Disappeared Love, Raul Zurita, translated by Daniel Borzutzky, Action Books Breathing in the Dark, Howard Schwartz, Mayapple Press Faulkner's Rosary, Sarah Vap, Saturnalia Books Prodigal: Variations, Ed Madden, Lethe Press You and Three Others are Approaching A Lake, Anna Moschovakis, Coffee House Press Mapmaking, Megan Harlan, BkMk Press The Paris Poems, Suzanne Burns, BlazeVox Books I & We, Joseph P. Wood, CW Books Chinese Notebook, Demosthenes Agrafiotis, translated from Greek by John Sakkis & Angelos Sakkis, Ugly Duckling Press No Eden, Sally Rosen Kindred, Mayapple Press Annulments, Zach Savich, Center for Literary Publishing/Colorado State University Expedition: New & Selected Poems, Arthur Vogelsang, Ashland Poetry Press The Homelessness of Self, Susan Terris, Arctos Press Chapter & Verse: Poems of Jewish Identity, Conflux Press Circular Migrations, Brenda Bufalino, Codhill Press Hereafter Landscapes, Jody Azzouni, The Poet's Press While I Was Dancing, Steve Clorfeine, Codhill Press Climate Reply, Trey Moody, New Michigan Press I-Formation Book 1, Anne Gorrick, Shearsman Books Cargo, Kristin Kelly, Elixir Press The Other Place You Live, Jane O. Wayne, Mayapple Press Glass is Really a Liquid, Bruce Covery, No Tell Books Incarnality: The Collect Poems (with audio cd), Rod Jellema, Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Four of a Kind, Mark Neely, Concrete Wolf Poetry Chapbook Series Sleepers' Republic, David Gruber, Astrophil Press Death Obscura, Rick Bursky, Sarabande Books Variation, Sudie Nostrand, March Street Press In Canaan, Shane McCrae, Rescue Press Outtakes, Charles Wright, Sarabande Books Why We Make Gardens, Jeanne Larsen, Mayapple Press Logorrhea Dementia, Kyle Dargan, University of Georgia Press The Mystery of the Hidden Driveway, Jennifer L. Knox, Bloof Books Love in the City of Grudges, Will Nixon, Foothills Publishing The New Make Believe, Denise Newman, The Post-Apollo Press The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom, Leslie Scalapino, The Post-Apollo Press Beyond the Fire, Mary Leader, Shearsman Books Naked Beauty, John C. Goodman, Blue and Yellow Dog Press Rude Girl, John Sakkis, BlazeVox Books Your Mouth is Everywhere, Nick Twemlow, Racquetball Chapbook Tournament (chpbk) God, Seed, Rebecca Foust & Lorna Stevens, Tebot Bach Press The Ache of Appetite, Rachel Hadas, Copper Beech Press FICTION To Assume a Pleasing Shape, Joseph Salvatore, BOA Editions Janet Planet, Elanor Lerman, Mayapple Press Memory Sickness and Other Stories, Phong Nguyen, Elixir Press They Could No Longer Contain Themselves: A Collection of Five Flash Chapbooks, Elizabeth Colen; John Jodzio; Tim Jones-Yelvington; Jean Lovelace; Mary Miller, Rose Metal Press Ambient Parking Lot, Pamela Lu, Kenning Editions Insomnia and the Aunt, Tan Lin, Kenning Editions 28


Gently Read Literature August 2011

FICTION (cont.) A Marriage of Convenience, Andrew Plattner, BkMk Press Green Gospel, L.C. Fiore, Livingston Press 30 Under 30, editors Blake Butler & Lily Hoang, Starcherone Books Trigger Man, Jim Ray Daniels, Michigan State University Press Instructions for Living, Laurie Blauner, Mint Hill Books/Main Street Rag Another Burning Kingdom, Robert Vivian, University of Nebraska Press/Bison Books Sensation, Nick Mamatas, PM Press The Wild Girls, Ursula Le Guin, PM Press Funeral for a Dog, Thomas Pletzinger, WW Norton Events Film Cannot Withstand, Zach Savich, Rescue Press At Home Anywhere, Mary Hoffman, New Rivers Press American Fiction: The Best Previously Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Authors, Volume 11, Kristen J. Tsetsi, editor, New Rivers Press This New and Poisonous Air: Stories, Adam McOmber, BOA Editions Death-in-a-Box, Alta Ifland, Subito Press Master of Miniatures, Jim Shepard, Solid Objects Halal Pork and Other Stories, Cihan Kaan, UpSet Press The Cosmopolitans, Nadia Kalman, Livingston Press/University of West Alabama Please Don't Shoot Anyone Tonight, Dave Newman, World Parade Books The Cannibal of Guadalajara, David Winner, Gival Press The Wonderful Room, Bryan Woolley, Wings Press Giraffes in Hiding: The Mythical Memoirs of Carol Novack, Carol Novack, Spuyten Duyvil Color Plates, Adam Golaski, Rose Metal Press Ventriloquism, Prathna Lor, Future Tense Books (chpbk) Neo Phobe, Jim Feast with Ron Kolm, Unbearable Books They Had Goat Heads, D. Harlan Wilson, Atlatl Press The Wind Came Running, Marianne Gage, Plain View Press 3/03, Chuck Wachtel, Hanging Loose Press The Underbelly, Gary Phillips, PM Press Pike, Benjamin Whitmer, PM Press The Shame of What We Are, Sam Gridley, New Door Books We Know What We Are, Mary Hamilton, Rose Metal Press How We Move the Air, Garnett Kilberg-Cohen, Mayapple Press Felicity & Barbara Pym, Harrison Solow, Cinnamon Press Dream Fishing: Stories, Scott Ely, Livingston Press Under the Small Lights, John Cotter, Miami University Press In the Time of the Girls, Anne Germanacos, BOA Editions Attention Please Now: Stories, Matthew Pitt, Autumn House The Kasahara School of Nihilism, Ben Brooks, Fugue State Press The Rat Veda, James Chapman, Fugue State Press Floats Horse-Floats or Horse-Flows, Leslie Scalapino, Starcherone Books Bartleby, the Sportscaster, Ted Pelton, Subito Press

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Gently Read Literature August Issue  

Review Essay on Contemporary Poetry and Literary Fiction

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