Posts Tagged ‘publication’

Featured Poem, ‘Song,’ by Stephen Nelson (also, a review!)

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Banjo

Song

1.

Pu oot yer banjo, boy, n strum
at yon fu moon

till ye nip the prood violet’s
wheezy reek

fae teeth n nose n mooth.

2.

Pu oot yer banjo, boy, n pluck
the fucker

till ma hert strings snap n whip
the raw rank erse ae the wirld

wi memory like the putrid seas ae Jupiter.

3.

Pu oot yer banjo, boy —

lazy bam in yer lazy bed wi yer
sweetened songs n yer honey dream rhymes.

Ah wull dance, dammit! – n let the rollin waves
spill oan the frozen shore,
till midnight wirds
ir whisperin tendrils ae shivering
ecstasy nae mair.

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If you’ve been reading this blog for any decent amount of time, you’ll know I love the work of Stephen Nelson. One of the best and most prolific concrete/vispo poets working in Scotland today, Stephen’s been published in a wide variety of places, including the wonderful anthology The Last Vispo, which I’d highly recommend to anyone (especially if you’re not sure what all this vispo fuss is about, but you think you’d like to try it). Most recently, he’s brought out a collection with the wonderful Knives Forks and Spoons Press, who are soon to close their doors — sad times, indeed. But they’ve really gone out with a bang by publishing Lunar Poems for New Religions, a collection which, prior to publication, was shortlisted for the prestigious Crashaw Prize… and I can see why.

Lunar Poems for New Religions is a book inspired by the moon, in every sense. Its second section, Crescent, mimics the rhythm of the lunar cycle, beginning with a very simple concrete piece:

mo( )on

Thereafter, the poems wax and wane. Some are sparse, concrete pieces that use the white space of the page to great effect; interspersed among them are short, prose-style poems that seem lush and full alongside their neighbours. Stephen has arranged — I almost want to say timed — all of this to perfection, though, as it never feels jarring. Rather, it is smooth and organic. And the poems are filled with confident, powerful lines. In ‘Ask Tracey’, for example, I was struck by, “Whenever I touched you who felt the shock but us.”

The first section of the book, The Moon from my Windowless Heart, is a totally different beast. ‘Song’, the poem above, is the first to appear in the section, and it is followed by ‘LOOK UP!’, one long, two-part poem that in places is almost theatrical monologue. This section is in Scots, which I found surprising and wonderful. ‘LOOK UP!’ reminded me very much of poems from the Beat Generation — lines like:

Next mornin up tae tantric storms aboot ma heid,
dark mind clouds explodin brain sparks ae lightnin,
cartoon hero cut fae technicolour dream cloth,
rinsed oot & hung in the sky like a sinkin moon.

The whole collection pulses with a weird and brilliant energy, combining Stephen’s expert knowledge of the page’s potential as shape, as canvas, with strong, rhythmic phrasing and pin-sharp imagery. It’s only January, but I’ll be shocked if I find a more original, enjoyable collection to top it this year. I’m calling my Top Poetry Read of 2013, folks! And you can buy it right here!

(You can — and you really, really should — also visit Stephen’s great blog, afterlights, to see more of his work.)

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Featured poem, ‘Fun With Therapy’ by Heather Bell

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

self-ish

Fun With Therapy

The problem with poets is we like
to sound more interesting than we
are. The poet goes to therapy and says
she has been skinning herself

alive. How interesting! How probable and
dark! The poet writes long letters

to the therapist in which she says

her skills are in high demand, such as

tilting men, finger to head, toppling
them over. Poets like to take it too
far,

disease themselves. No one is ever truly

that lonely, the therapist tells
her. The poet

writes a list of possibilities: tomb
herself into

the house like a pharaoh, disappear. The
moon

is a supermarket, she says. The cat
refuses to come
home. How beautiful and weird! How
humble of

her to acknowledge she has gone off the
deep end,

so early in the game. Here she sees a
sky of clouds in the blot. There she
sees knuckles and a wad of flesh. The
therapist evaluates

the situation like it is a police report:
woman’s face is a tight shiny surface of
worry. Woman’s hands keep moving over
this disappointment. Woman

says she hasn’t told the truth for years
and we have to believe her.

Heather Bell’s work has been published in Rattle, Grasslimb, Barnwood, Poets/Artists, Third Wednesday and many others. She was nominated for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Pushcart Prize from Rattle and also won the New Letters 2009 Poetry Prize. Heather has also published four books. Any more details can be found here: http://hrbell.wordpress.com

Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured poem, ‘Embroidering Chinese Pin Cushions’ by Jennifer Wong

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

103/365 (Explored!) Chinese Pin Cushion

Embroidering Chinese Pin Cushions

We start with a satin circle,
fill it with wood shaving or cotton,
steady the centre, cut out

six square cloths to make
six little dolls whose hands
are almost touching.

Grandma lets me draw their beady eyes,
their meek smiles. You fix them in the right places.
Grandma teaches me how to plait their hair.

From early evening until midnight
We’d sit, talking as we work,
the kerosene lamp glowing in the dark.

We’d make enough to fill
the red-and-blue tarpaulin bag:
three dollars for a cushion. A fortune.

Next day we’d bring our satin needlework
to the missionary church
where the sisters would teach us a song,

Admiring the stained glass windows
and the brass eagle on the altar,
we’d hide our blistered fingers in jingling pockets.

Originally from Hong Kong, Jennifer’s poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies such as Lung Jazz: Young British Poets by Cinnamon Press, Frogmore Papers, Iota, Orbis and others. Her poetry collection, Summer Cicadas, was published by Chameleon Press and her second collection is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. In 2012, she was writer-in-residence at Lingnan University of Hong Kong, and took part in the Poetry Parnassus hosted by the Southbank Centre. She is based in London and works for Magma Poetry.

Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured poem, ‘Most Fateful Day: A Ghazal’, by Susan Chast

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Autumn Apples

Most Fateful Day: A Ghazal

A hiss echoed from its spiked tongue and you thought
That the snake had not lied to you in word and in thought?

Watch it slide away and take the apple along too
Neither giving it to you nor to God as we thought

Your tell-tale teeth marks are in it too, along with my own—
Seeing our DNA together, the snake will know that you thought

We’d be together in Eden or in jail and– no matter how much
We pay for it–happiness follows this ability to have thought.

But doubt is quite difficult. I liked it much better
When fate was determined and we need not have thought

About all of the options, the leaves of the trees, whether
To beat you or to love you. I wish I had thought

This before, dear Lady, I opened my mouth to your pleases
And caresses and most seductive scatterings of thought.

Susan Chast’s work has been workshopped at dVersePoets and Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads. One of her poems was recently published in the first issue of Nain Rouge Magazine. She blogs at Susan’s Poetry, and you can find out a bit more about her in this interview at Poets United.

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured poem, ‘Pre-Genesis’ by Daniel Dowe

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Secret Garden

Pre-Genesis

Seven grey and rainy days
And no one to say It is good.
The backyard smells swampy
The mosquitoes are forming posses
And sunlight sends postcards saying
Wish you were here.
Meanwhile we wait for a change
For brighter and clearer and knowing.
These days, though, do fit my waiting mood.
For waiting is neither light nor dark
But somewhere in between
A dim room before the switch
The refrigerator as the door unsticks
The filled mailbox while the hinge squeaks.
Answers and arrivals have strong color—are vivid and loud
But waiting is like these seven grey and rainy days
And now I invite the sunshine and the changes in,
So God and I can say, Let there be light.
And my mud is like Adam’s, ready for a bite of knowledge.

Daniel Dowe is a high school English teacher with a Ph.D. in English and American Literature. He is from a big family. He likes old movies and red wine and talking.

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Eavan Boland on inspiration, the writing process, and failure

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Cathedral Quarry, Langdale

“I have never been sympathetic to the idea of inspiration. […] I always think of myself as working at a rock face. Ninety days out of ninety five, it’s just a rock face. The other five days, there’s a bit of silver, a bit of base metal in it. I’m reasonably consistent and the consistency is a help to me. It helps me stay in contact with my failure rate, and unless you have a failure rate that vastly exceeds your success rate, you’re not really in touch with what you are doing as a poet. The danger of inspiration is that it is a theory that redirects itself towards the idea of success rather than to the idea of consistent failure. And all poets need to have a sane and normalised relationship with their failure rate.”

— Eavan Boland, from Sleeping with Monsters: Conversations with Scottish and Irish women poets, Polygon, 1990.

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured poem, ‘King Water’ by Kevin Cadwallender

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

River Clyde in New Lanark

King Water

King Water opens himself
Tips his transparency into the day
Doodles a river on the landscape
Blots lakes and spills oceans.

Apologising for his absence
In desert and in drought,
Offers no explanations
His smile dangerous,
Tidal, sweeps us away.

Greeted like a god
He takes our worship,
Our need, and ignores it.

Moving off ,
Head in a cloud.
His memory only
Returning when he is gone.

He takes us for granted
And we take him if we can.

Kevin Cadwallender is an enigma wrapped up in a mystery except on the days when he is a puzzle shrouded by questions. He lives and writes in Edinburgh often at the same time. Google him!

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!
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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Adrienne Rich on how poetry is taught.

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

No Dark Sarcasm in the Classroom

You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it. That is not generally taught in school. At most, as if your livelihood depended on it: the next step, the next job, grant, scholarship, professional advacement, face; no questions asked as to further meanings. And, let’s face it, the lesson of the schools for a vast number of children — hence, of readers — is This is not for you.
[…]
To read as if your life depended on it — but what writing can be believed? isn’t all language just manipulation? Maybe the poet has a hidden program — to recruit you to a cause, send you into the streets, to destabilize, through the sensual powers of language, your tested and tried priorities? Rather than succumb, you can learn to inspect the poem at arm’s length, through a long and protective viewing tube, as an interesting object, an example of this style or that period. You can take refuge in the idea of “irony”. Or you can demand that artists demonstrate loyalty to that or this moral or political or religious or sexual norm, on pain of having books burned, banned, on pain of censorship or prison, on pain of lost public funding.
Or, you can say: “I don’t understand poetry.”

— Adrienne Rich

from As if your life depended on it, What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics, WW Norton & Co, 2003.

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured Poem, ‘Breadth’ by Michael Conley

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Ocean Sky

Breadth

After the air miles
have all unravelled
behind you
and you have settled
into your new country,
visit the coast.

Crouch barefoot
at the shoreline
and lower both hands
into the water
until your fingertips
are eight small sea stacks.

Imagine me
doing the same
until the ocean
that separates us
has become an object
that we are both holding:

a new blue bedsheet
that we are unfolding
together in your room.
Watch the waves
bunching dutifully
about your ankles:

each one is an echo
of my beckoning
arms

Michael Conley is a 27 year old teacher from Manchester. He is currently in the final year of an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has been published in a variety of magazines, including Cadaverine, Sentinel, Bewilderbliss and Words Dance. Favourite writers and influences include Kurt Vonnegut, Selima Hill, Elizabeth Bishop and John Berryman.

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured poem, “Casebook” by Roddy Shippin

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

red carpet

Casebook

The last king, by the entrails of the last priest, in the conservatory.

The speaking clock, by the candlestick, in the director’s cut.

The bull, by the horns, in the china shop.

My honey, by the light of the silvery moon, in June.

The mourner, by the waters of Babylon, in high tide.

The hospital, by the Conservative, in the bill.

The author, by the post-structuralist, in the library.

Roddy Shippin is a young (though greying) Edinburgh-based writer/call centre lackey. He’s had poems on the Poetry Scotland Open Mouse and a handful of stones, as well as various incarnations of the St Andrews student writing society (Inklight) journal. He probably spends more time thinking about snooker than is technically necessary.

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)