Friday, October 20, 2017
Review of "dirty laundry: a memoir in poems" by Janet Buck
“dirty laundry: a memoir in poems”
by Janet Buck (Vine Leaves Press)
Writing is a personal act and poetry is even more so in that the poet either takes on another’s voice or speaks directly from one’s core. In dirty laundry: a memoir in poems Janet Buck does more than that in her latest book as she washes through her memories and hangs her thoughts and actions out to dry in the sultry sunlight for others to read and perhaps more so for a needed catharsis.
Reading Buck’s work is at times simultaneously warm and chilling, for she is speaking on a level that anyone can relate to if only we allow ourselves to shy away from our inner thoughts and denials and allow ourselves to lie stripped of our disguises and clutter. In the poem “The Firm Eclipse” she writes:
Every memory I have is siphoned
from a wishing well.
I’m guessing I was born with thirst.
I crack my knuckles just to corner certainty
about what carrots used to do
when they were fresh—
to get a sense that something
breaks the silences.
In an earlier section in the same poem, she foretells what the undercurrent is:
I begged for snapshots of a flower
just to fill a scrapbook with a sketch of lies,
where skeletons belonged instead.
My husband says, “Your face is pale.”
I know the shade, the color of a raw potato
ready for a boiling pot.
In this poem like many others, Buck allows us into her personal world to fathom the intricacies of normal life, which when examined carefully, reveals the onion skin layers of wants and needs, much like those we all long for but are too afraid to speak of privately, much less publicly.
Be warned, this is not an easy book to read but absorbing it creates the same catharsis Buck is laying out to air. In the poem “Tooth Decay,” she reminds us that we all are playing with the same deck of cards:
Can’t put everything that wrong
In crock pots just to stew for hours.
I’ll shake garlic from a jar—
all my dread will disappear.
In the end, we all play bridge
with tattered cards, aces fall
from baggy sleeves.
On more than one occasion, Buck lets us know she has hope, as in “Counterpointing Onyx Clouds”
I want to say “Hello” to spring,
yet I’m not certain it will stay.
I need those open irises, lemon poppies,
daisy wheels a child picked because she could.
While in “Goodbye to This & That & Him,” she writes about their late father:
Rays of light are fast sleep, but
suns of polished marigolds must lie ahead.
My dad will meet me at the plane—
the other end of incubus.
Where both will meet on that ethereal, celestial plane.
About Jane Buck
Buck is the author of four books of poetry, including Tickets for a Closing Play which won the Gival Press Poetry Award. Her poems, over 4,000, have appeared in print and online. She was honored by being included in the United Nation's Exhibit Hall in New York for her disability poetry.
Click here below for the link at Amazon:
dirlty laundry: a memoir in poems
Friday, August 18, 2017
C.M. Mayo Wins the 2016 Gival Press Poetry Award
Photo by Teresa Castrane.
“Meteor pierces the psyche with a dazzling presence and otherworldly light. Mayo delights in the pleasures of language and the possibilities of imagination. By leveling a playfully skeptical voice that is wholly her own, she transforms the quotidian into the outlandish while making the bizarre seem familiar and inviting. Through her inexorable wit and endless inventiveness, Mayo crafts the most unusual work—a book that is both challenging and fun to read.”
—Linwood D. Rumney, judge and author of Abandoned Earth
About the Author:
C.M. Mayo is the author of several books of literary fiction and nonfiction, including The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire (a Library Journal Best Book of 2009) and Sky Over El Nido: Stories, winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award. Her short fiction, essays, and poetry have been widely published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, among them, Beltway Quarterly, Creative Nonfiction, Gargoyle, Kenyon Review, Paris Review, Southwest Review, and the anthologies edited by Robert L. Giron, Poetic Voices Without Borders and Poetic Voices Without Borders 2. In 2017 Mayo was elected to the Texas Institute of Letters. A native of El Paso, Texas, raised in Palo Alto, California and educated at the University of Chicago, she lives in Mexico City. www.cmmayo.com
The finalists for the award include the following:
Kopy Kat by Ellen McNeal of Summerville, SC & Michael Sickler of Minoa, NY.
Divining Bones by Charles Bondhus of Bridgewater, New Jersey.
Man on Terrace with Wine by Miles David Moore of Alexandria, Virginia.
Hex by Jeff Walt of San Diego, California.
Concerto for the Left Hand by John Isbell of Edinburg, Texas.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Dan Vera Wins the 2017 Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award
Gival Press is pleased to announce that Dan Vera of Washington, DC has won the 2017 Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award for his poem titled Lingering Fraction which was chosen by last year's winner Kevin McLellan.
“Some homosexuals claim infallibility in identifying others of their kind ‘by the eyes -- there's a look that lingers a fraction of a second too long.’” “Growth of Overt Homosexuality in City Provokes Wide Concern” The New York Times, December 17, 1963
Hail the lingering fraction that secured us,
the inborn longing that led us to one another,
one by one on the street corners,
under the glowing lamps of the inviting city.
Praise the strength of a spirit that attempted to believe,
that ventured forth from body to body,
when the law and word was to condemn,
to revile, to electrocute a mind so wedded to love.
Holy the glimmer of recognition
in the eyes of those we sought,
who reflected back that fraction of belonging,
who spoke without words
what the heart would dare admit.
Copyright © 2017 by Dan Vera.
About the Author:
Dan Vera is a writer, editor, and literary historian. He's co-editor of Imaniman: Poets Writing In The Anzaldúan Borderlands (Aunt Lute); author of Speaking Wiri Wiri (Red Hen Press), the inaugural winner of the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize; and author of The Space Between Our Danger and Delight (Beothuk Books). His work is featured on the Poetry Foundation website; included in college and university curricula; published in various journals including Notre Dame Review, Poet Lore, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly; and appears in The Travelers Vade Mecum, Queer South, and other anthologies. The recipient of awards from the DC Commission of the Arts & Humanities, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Vera publishes other poets through Poetry Mutual Press and Souvenir Spoon Books, co-curates DC Writers’ Homes, and chairs the board of Split This Rock Poetry. For more, visit www.danvera.com.
The History of My Kisses by Tom Daley of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
space between by Deb Jannerson of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Gender Identity in Time of Watergate by John Smelcer of Kirksville, Missouri.
A Teenage High School Locker Room Attendant Speaks to the Man He Ogled by Tom Daley of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Thursday, July 13, 2017
"Dream of Another America" Coming This Fall
Tyler McMahon's Dream of Another America which won the 2016 Gival Press Novel Award will be released this fall.
“The ‘dream’ in Dream of Another America is both a noun and an imperative verb of hope: Tyler McMahon has written a Grapes of Wrath for contemporary America. Like Steinbeck’s classic, Dream of Another America urges readers to confront the costs and sacrifices of the American Dream. Beautifully written, emotionally gripping, narratively propulsive, and morally important, this book should be necessary reading for every American.” —Shawna Yang Ryan, author of Green Island and Water Ghosts
Photo by Dabney Gough.
Friday, January 27, 2017
"Guess and Check" by Thaddeus Rutkowski Is Released
Gival Press is pleased to announce that Thaddeus Rutkowski's latest book Guess and Check, creative nonfiction, has been released.
The book, a collection of stories, which is a Giron/Valdez Series for Unique Voices in Literature Book has work praised by John Barth as “ . . . tough and funny and touching and harrowing.” And most recently the review by Kirkus Reviews states: "A stark, engrossing, Hemingway-esque portrait of a life spent in the margins."
“Story by story, Thaddeus Rutkowski snaps into place the puzzle of a mixed-race kid playing dumb in Guess and Check’s Appalachia. Much more than the postmodern sum of its parts, Guess and Check is spare, subtle and deadpan, Charles Simic married to Joyce Carol Oates. A beautifully constructed delicate narrative, a near dream of a book, a place ‘vulnerable to anyone who wants to break through the glass.’”—Terese Svoboda, author of Bohemian Girl
About the Author:
Thaddeus Rutkowski grew up in central Pennsylvania. He is the author of the book Violent Outbursts (Spuyten Duyvil Publishing), Haywire (Starcherone Books / forthcoming from Blue Streak Press), Tetched (Behler Publications) and Roughhouse (Kaya Press). Haywire won the Members’ Choice Award, given by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in New York. He teaches literature at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and fiction writing at the Writer’s Voice of the West Side YMCA in Manhattan, where he lives with his wife, Randi Hoffman, and their daughter, Shay. He received a fiction fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Visit him at www.thaddeusrutkowski.com.
Photo by Buck Ennis.
To purchase a copy, please visit:
Guess and Check