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Hailey Higdon’s 2018 recommended reading

We’ve asked our authors to submit highlights from their reading this year— anything outstanding they read during the year and want to share, whether published this year or not. As a countermeasure/contrast to the typical year-end Best Of lists compiled by various mainstream media outlets (which are often linked to ad buys, or shared parent companies, o did you not know that!?), expect these personal lists to point in less expected directions. We’ll be posting our poets’ picks as the come in over the next week or two. Enjoy. —Bloof

Hailey Higdon writes poems, letters, essays, stories, novels, children’s books, and not-too-bad greeting cards. She creates sound poem experiences about once a decade. Hailey is the author of several poetry chapbooks including: A Wild Permanence (Dancing Girl Press), Rural (Drop Leaf Press), The State In Which (above/ground), Packing (Bloof Books)and How to Grow Almost Everything (Agnes Fox). Her first full-length collection, Hard Some, is available from Spuyten Duyvil Press. She is originally from Nashville, but currently lives and works in Seattle. Website: www.haileyhaileyhailey.com

Haileys’s sold out Bloof chapbook, Packing, is available as a free PDF.


Cedar Sigo’s collection of Joanne Kyger’s interviews, journals, and ephemera was fantastic:

There You Are: Interviews, Journals & Ephemera
Joanne Kyger, edited by Cedar Sigo
(Wave Books)

Bonus link: Hailey interviewed Joanne Kyger here.

There You Are, Joanne Kyger, edited by Cedar Sigo

Also these:

The Fluency of Light: Coming of Age in a Theater of Black and White
Aisha Sabatini Sloan
(University of Iowa Press)

Fluency of Light

Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others
Laura van Dernoot Lipsky & Connie Burk
(Berrett-Koehler Publishers)

Trauma Stewardship

Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot
Peter Crane
(Yale University Press)

Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot
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Frank Sherlock’s 2018 recommended reading

We’ve asked our authors to submit highlights from their reading this year— anything outstanding they read during the year and want to share, whether published this year or not. As a countermeasure/contrast to the typical year-end Best Of lists compiled by various mainstream media outlets (which are often linked to ad buys, or shared parent companies, o did you not know that!?), expect these personal lists to point in less expected directions. We’ll be posting our poets’ picks as the come in over the next week or two. Enjoy. —Bloof

Frank Sherlock is the author of Space Between These Lines Not DedicatedOver Here, and a collaboration with Brett Evans entitled Ready-to-Eat Individual. Poems beyond the page have found their forms in installations, performances, and exhibitions, including Organize Your Own: The Politics & Poetics of Self-Determination. He is a 2013 Pew Fellow and 2014–15 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia.

Bloof published Frank’s collaboration with CAConrad earlier this year—The City Real & Imagined.


Thanks so much for asking! Here’s my list:

Lo Terciario / The Tertiary 
Raquel Salas Rivera
(Timeless, Infinite Light)

Raquel Salas Rivera lo terciario / the tertiary

City of the Future
Sesshu Foster
(Kaya Press)

“gaza poem” in Peach Mag
Fargo Tbakhi

Surge
Etel Adnan
(Nightboat Books)

General Motors
Ryan Eckes
(Split Lip Press)

River I Dream About” in American Poetry Review
Oliver Baez Bendorf

New and Selected Poems
Cecilia Vicuña
(Kelsey Street Press)

Glitter in My Wounds” in Poetry Magazine
CAConrad


The Silence that Remains: Selected Poems, 1982–2003
Ghassan Zaqtan
(Copper Canyon Books)

The universe collapses” in Up the Staircase Quarterly
June Gehringer

Bluff
Carlos Soto-Román
(Commune Editions)

Now I Will Write Using Words of the Left” in Tripwire Journal
Universal Jenny

Junk
Tommy Pico
(Tin House Books)

Infinity Ghazal Beginning with Lice and Never Ending with Lies” in Poetry Magazine
Tarfia Faizullah

Dulce
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
(Northwestern University Press)

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Untitled [I want you to come now!]

Living room, Arthur Smith, Architectural Digest, October 1983.
Living room / Arthur Smith, Architectural Digest, October 1983.
I want you to come now!
I want you to come now at the latest!
Bring your pocket calculator.
And the grand piano.
Bring band-aids aspirin eau de cologne and antiseptic soap
a bottle of seltzer a bottle of gin a bottle of whisky
and toothbrush mug
a bottle of Ajax and a large pack of sleeping pills a houseplant
a pizza
and a respirator.
I want you to come now!
Only you should come now at the very latest!
And take me by storm.
Turn out the lights.
And light the candelabras.
You should unplug the telephone jack.
And blow up the air mattresses.
You should dry my tears and talk some sense to me.
When the sun goes down behind the Opera House.
And it’s time to go home.
Then you should come to me.
With your heart.
And your shotgun.
So I’ll never lose my temper again.
In a tastefully furnished living room.
So I’ll never stand on the window ledge again.
Looking a little stupid.
With a dog rose in my hand.
So I’ll never creep through the subways again
with an embarrassing song.
On my broken lips.
You have to come now, now at the very latest!
Simply because I can’t stand it otherwise.
Simply because it’s so damn persistent.
Simply because I’m a totally ordinary woman.
Completely healthy and moderately overweight.
Somewhat domestic, helpful and nervous.
Kind and sweet and very scared.
With general interests and an untapped literary vein.

(1983)

__
Kristina Lugn, translated by Elizabeth Clark Wessel
from Seeking an Older, Well-Educated Gentleman
(Bloof Books Chapbook Series, 2019)

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A Version of Maine

Raspberries (1890s)
Raspberries, Annual Report from the Commissioner of Agriculture, NYS (1890s) from Internet Archive Book Images 

A Version of Maine

“Am I then this one fact forever,” he said…
“Until time runs out,” she said, pushing
Her golden bangs away from her eyes. Oh,

And the maples were
Already splotched with burning.

Snow filled the muddy footprint.
You could tell they were in for it.

Sore appendages. Raw throats.
Why did we keep returning
To bear witness to the same truth: something
In here is living with us.

We ate again. Sausages, wild rice—
A salad of lettuces.

A new average settled in. The unspoiled time
Of the future lay inside a forked past.

“The mice are well-fed at least,” she blurted out.
It was evening. The moonlight did something to her.
To him. Oily crumbs of stars on the newsprint sky.
We all laughed. We had another one.

__
Douglas PiccinniniVictoria
(Bloof Chapbook Series, 2019)

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Metaphor at 12:47 am

colorful mural
Photo by Ali Morshedlou on Unsplash

There will always be a gun at your back. Or
                                                                                         your front. Or 
somewhere near where your fear 
churns. 

And it is not your job to defer the end. Or the bleeding. 
It is your job to keep the heart 
pumping. 
Its violent living and scarlet song. Some would even 
say that 
maybe the gun is a 
device. 
That perhaps, it is actually 
Love. 
Because love can stop the heart's 
heaving or push it to a sure                    sprint. And 
maybe you can stop Love, but it is not your job to. Maybe the gun 
is a metaphor for Loving and being Loved and fearing the person 
who has a gun to your back. That they will 
one day use it to kill 
You. 
And fearing someone with 
something you do not have. Or maybe, 

A gun is a gun 
And you are trying to 
Survive.

 

Dakotah Jennifer, Fog
(Bloof Chapbook Series, 2019)

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(From) a simple verb

Pink letters scattered on a white wall
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

 

the simple verb is only as good as its distractions. the brain is good
for a ride if you hold on. the brain takes a breath / memory
evacuates. the pen is in an undisclosed location. the song pulls you
firmly into the seat of a car. fuzz goes the voice of the future. fuzz
goes the voice of the lovers. you are making a distinction here. you
are holding the blank in your hand. you, the immediate soft
crumble.

pressed between two safe bodies in an undisclosed location you
watch understanding bloom. one hand to okay you. a reenactment
of forever’s face and its sick trill.

you & i & the immediate instinct to blank.

somewhere nearby a series of people walk to a series of
destinations. some seal a thought in plastic before dipping it deep
into steaming water. an idea takes a breath.

a memory chokes on itself.

//

 

JJ Rowan, from a simple verb
(Bloof Chapbook Series, 2019)

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Salado

Iguana
By Gerrit Jan Schouten , 1884., Public Domain

 

Salado

In Maracaibo, being unlucky translates

to salty. You are salado, brackish, bad luck

swallows you and spits you out like an ocean

wave. It is never done with you. I am

salty. Mama found an iguana under

the kitchen table this morning. While everyone

was out scaring the green monster away, I

sprayed her French perfume on my hand. It smelled

like her during hugs post-dinners—its fragrance lingers

on her plastic-covered couches. Scent particles flew

into a fan, a brushed nickel finish apparatus,

and out into her bedroom. I held out my hand

in front of the fan, as if it to stop physics. it chopped

off my fingertip. As my relatives clean the bloodspots

from my dress—they’re huddled up around me, on their knees

the iguana they chased off earlier is walking

underneath my bed. I’ll drop something at night,

and when the lights are off, feel

its scales through my bandage.

 

Ana Hurtado, Miedo al Olvido: Poems from an Uprooted Girl
(Bloof Books Chapbook Series, 2019)

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Unsolved Mystery

Golden Hand
Photo by MUILLU on Unsplash

 

Unsolved Mystery

Think about where you have been in your life
     thus far

& think about suburban America 1995–present.
     Tell me more

about beheadings. Look up there,
     the girl-in-the-guillotine, sword-in-sheath.

The first girl I kissed I told her I loved her,
     gold blade to my throat.

I sent her more love than could fit.
     Wax stamp of crest, sigil,

tattoo of initial(s), what brand
     of unfortunate

as if a town-square ritual, body-outlier,
     unsolved mystery, revealed.

 

Katie Jean ShinkleRat Queen
(Bloof Chapbook Series, 2019)

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“The poem is an organism one can inhabit”

Danielle Pafunda

Sometimes the speed and volume of the language overflows its container. Or, since my poems are voice-driven, I often think: what (plat)form does this speaker require to deliver their speech? Sometimes they need the emphatic disruption to logic provided by line breaks and stanzas, sometimes the furious liquid state of prose. 

In The Dead Girls Speak, I conceived of the poems as coming over an erratic connection. Like a worm line from the underworld, running through the soil alongside roots. A landline! That led to sparser poems than I usually write. They declare what they need to and ring off.

[…] You enter a poem and wander around inside it. There’s not necessarily a rule about how to proceed through it. You neither start at its beginning, nor finish at its end. You inhabit it, you climb its stairs, and maybe it’s haunted, maybe it’s housing exhibits, maybe it’s filled with memories. It’s a time machine; it preserves a live and multi-sensory intensity. It has a pulse. The poem is an organism one can inhabit. Maybe like a mother, or a monster. Maybe like a planet, a universe, something with a lot of fibers. A phenomenological space that could otherwise only exist in its moment as connective tissue between sentient figures.

—Danielle Pafunda interviewed about The Dead Girls Speak in Unison at Bayou Magazine

Read the rest here.

Get the book:

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Operation USA, an altered board game by Nikki Wallschlaeger

Operation USA by Nikki Wallschlaeger

You missed the chance to nab this one-of-a-kind artwork (lucky collector!), but you can still dig into these photos and Nikki’s artist statement

“‘Cavity Sam’ is the name of the patient, according to the original directions to the game ‘Operation.’ Uncle Sam is on the operating table rotting from the inside out from his lies, delusions, and deceits, is the keeper of a terminal illness called manifest destiny, called colonialism, called capitalism. Through generations of persecution in this global circle jerk career of hate Uncle Sam projects his own dehumanization onto his victims, and in the end who here is the real caricature, stereotype, and fetish object?” —from the artist’s statement

Read more at Container.