All posts filed under: Features

Featured essays, interviews and multi-part series.

On The Book of Disquiet: Complete Edition

On August 29th, New Directions will publish the first complete, chronological English translation of Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet. In celebration of this event, we’re featuring three excerpts from Pessoa’s book, as well as an interview with translator Margaret Jull Costa and an essay on the book’s publication.

Spring and All: New Issue, New Editors, New Books

Poetry Northwest changes editors, and adds a publishing house SEATTLE, WA – Poetry Northwest (the region’s oldest literary magazine, established in 1959) has just published volume 10.2 in its New Series, marking the completion of a vibrant decade of the magazine in its expanded format. The Winter & Spring 2016 issue features new poems from Joan Swift, who first contributed to the magazine in 1959, and Tod Marshall, who was recently appointed the fourth Washington state Poet Laureate. It includes exceptional new work from a wide range of poets, such as Laura Da’, Rebecca Hoogs, Joan Naviyuk Kane, Keetje Kuipers, Richard Kenney, Claudia Castro Luna, J. W. Marshall, Katrina Roberts, Rich Smith, Nance van Winckel, and many more. The magazine also continues a long tradition of exploring the interconnectedness of poetry and the visual arts. The current issue features three unique series of images from prominent Northwest artists, each series interwoven with the text: David Hytone supplied the gorgeous cover; Emily Gherard works shadowy wonders with graphite; and Kelly Froh, light-hearted comic genius, riffs off poems by Hoogs and Smith. …

Adam Tavel: “Let Those Sparks Arise”

Firewood and Ashes: New and Selected Poems Ben Howard Salmon Poetry, 2015 A career-spanning collection, Ben Howard’s Firewood and Ashes: New and Selected Poems displays the poet’s lyrical sonorousness, formal mastery, and spiritual inquisitiveness. His most recent poems occupy the book’s opening section, where aging, memory, the beauty of the natural world, and the uncertainty of human endeavor are the poet’s chief subjects. One of the most compelling among these, the titular elegiac sequence “Firewood and Ashes,” grieves for a lost friend in crisp, tersely-composed lines and conjures the final metaphor in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73, where the dying body mirrors flame’s self-consumption. We hear echoes of the great bard’s “glowing of such fire / That on the ashes of his youth doth lie” most clearly in Howard’s fifth and final section: Forty years of friendship. One by one they rise, these memories, as if they might resume a story or fashion out of fire a single breathing person. So let those sparks arise, and let that smoke disperse, knowing as we do that even firewood …

Michelle Peñaloza: “Little Ghosts, Little Hidden Fires”

Post Subject: A Fable Oliver de la Paz University of Akron Press, 2014 Post Subject: A Fable, the latest collection of poems from Oliver de la Paz, is a highly controlled and obsessively organized collection. Each page contains an epistle-cum-prose-poem of three stanzas addressed to “Empire,” each beginning “Dear Empire, / These are your _______”.  These poems are cataloged in sections—titled Address, Atlas, Ledger, Zoo and Zygote—with each poem composed of near-abecedarian subjects. Epistle by epistle, Post Subject: A Fable demands that an Empire behold its ashes, boardwalks, canyons, devotees, engines, and so on. The book represents a fraught correspondence, a catalogue, noun for noun, of the consequences of empire. Two epigraphs introduce the collection. The first is from Edward Said: “…history is made by men and women, just as it can also be unmade and rewritten, always with various silence and elisions, always with shapes imposed and disfigurements tolerated.” De la Paz pairs this with a quote from Henry L. Stimson, “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.” De la Paz thus plays with the idea of what the reader …

Brandon Krieg: The Preserve of Poetry

The Phosphorescence of Thought Peter O’Leary The Cultural Society, 2013       Companion Grasses Brian Teare Omnidawn, 2013         In a 2012 group interview “Imagining Ecopoetics,” Brenda Hillman draws an apt metaphor between endangered species and endangered forms of thought: One of the things ecopoetics tries to do is reconfigure the poem so as to include some of the endangered thought species. Poets keep track of radical and intimate encounters with the nonhuman. These encounters … include the permission to record the unacceptable or dysfunctional perception, the excess of feeling, or the integration of mythic states with other states.

Andrew Douglas Johnson: “Return Service Requested”

Not Nothing: Selected Writings, 1954-1994 Ray Johnson Siglio Press, 2014 People don’t write letters anymore. People don’t even write emails. Ray Johnson wrote letters, an effusion of them, too many to collect. Siglio Press has made two Ray Johnson books. One is the art book and one is the words book and that distinction is hardly useful but Siglio has done its job well—the physical thing of book-making. The words one is called Not Nothing, edited by Elizabeth Zuba, and because of bad planning and itinerancy and profligacy, I own two copies of it. One copy is coffee stained all on one edge and coffee stained deep into the supple paperiness of the cover. The cover feels excellent and looks excellent: 4 stars. 8 stars because of the two copies. 7.5 stars if we take into account the coffee stains. Not Nothing is an archive, but no one writes an archive. One writes a poem or a novelbook or a thingy. Ray Johnson mostly wrote thingies—epistolary poetry squawks or squawking poetic epistles—that he sent through the …