What is #NaPoWriMo, you wonder? It’s an unofficial, unaffiliated poetry game played annually by poets all over the world (#GloPoWriMo). It grew, sort of accidentally, out of a personal challenge Maureen Thorson set for herself one April, many moons ago in the poetry-blog days of yore. I joined her the following year, and others did too, and soon it became an annual, organic free-for-all, a lively everybody-is-invited event.
Maureen’s idea has proven so popular, people have assumed it’s hosted by some Official Org or Institution, but nope. It’s entirely noncommercial and unsponsored. She’s created a site—napowrimo.net—and accompanying Twitter account to share daily prompts and featured participants every day in April, which is really nice of her.
Bloof always hosts a handful of our authors on our blog, and this April will be no exception. Wanna play? You can join in on your own site or social media account. See napowrimo.net for the details.
Bloof, the press, will not be at AWP. But Bloof, the poets, will be! And you can still grab some bookfair deals online.
VIRTUAL BOOKFAIR at bloofbooks.com March 7–13. All paperbacks in bundle deals: 2 for $25, 3 or more for $10 each. + Free shipping on all orders over $25 (US only). This virtual bookfair is for everyone, whether or not you’re attending the conference.
Thursday, March 9
DANIELLE PAFUNDA Family Trees in the Enchanted Forest: Fairy Tales & Intergenerational Trauma 12:10 p.m. Room 427
KATIE JEAN SHINKLE Two or More Become One: Writing in Collaboration Across Genre 3:20 p.m. Room 337
KATIE JEAN SHINKLE 6:00 p.m. Slip In Beltown Gallery 2301 1st Street Orchestrate Your Whole Fucking Life! reading
IRENE VÁZQUEZ 10:00 a.m. Bookfair signing Take Me to the Water chapbooks + broadsides of Glory from Above Riot in Your Throat table (T1522)
KATIE JEAN SHINKLE 2:00 p.m. Museum of Museums 900 Boylston Ave University of Louisiana Lafayette and Sam Houston University Graduate Student Reading
DANIELLE PAFUNDA, KATIE JEAN SHINKLE 7:30 p.m. Alley Mic 1922 Post Alley Apogee, Diagram, March Fadness, Texas Review, TRP reading
Saturday, March 11
KATIE JEAN SHINKLE, GINGER KO 1:45 p.m. Room 437 #FeelsBad: Writing Discomfort and Pessimism in Genre
GINGER KO, IRENE VÁZQUEZ, DANIELLE PAFUNDA, KATIE JEAN SHINKLE, NATALIE EILBERT Essay Press, Noemi Press & Bloof Books Extravaganza reading (see graphic above for the full list of readers!) 3:30 p.m. Crescent Lounge 1413 E. Olive Way
NATALIE EILBERT 6:00 p.m. Elliot Bay Book Company 1521 10th Ave. Copper Canyon 50th Anniversary Celebration
After being diagnosed, or misdiagnosed, with a rare, “invisible” eye condition that causes blind spots, Maureen Thorson set out to write a self-portrait in a broken mirror: a “mirror of my suffering,” wry and poignant, fragmented and necessarily incomplete. On Dreams is allusive, searching, and self-arguing, a lyric meditation on reality, truth, illusion—the warped reality of the mirror image and everything we “see”—and the illusion, “the dream,” of control.
After a pandemic delay and the intervening release of another book by Maureen last year (from our friends at Veliz), we’re finally ready to spring this fascinating book on you, dear readers!
On Dreams is as much a personal exploration on reality and illness as it is a richly documented commonplace book—the notes on the text are integral to the way the essays move, crisscrossed with rabbit holes and byways, with citations ranging from Aristotle to tweets. As Kwoya Fagin Maples puts it: “This work won’t allow itself to be pinned, even by its author. It follows its own north.” We can’t wait to get it into your hands.
Read “Confessions of a Pareidoliac,” an essay from On Dreams, in On the Seawall.
CRAWLSPACE is “a series of sonnets that consciously disrupt their own formal limits, discovers the violence embedded in our most familiar structures: mortgages, meals, rooms, houses, family relationships, and language itself. Wallschlaeger’s poems feel timely, as the links between property ownership, alienated labor, and the history of black slavery in the United States (‘Greasy gangrene hamburger wrapper of a country,’ in her words) become clearer by the day. She deploys a new vocabulary for talking about the legacies of slavery and white supremacy as they manifest in daily life — a vocabulary that is as damning as it is lush, as rich with sound as it is bright with image.” —Iris Cushing, HYPERALLERGIC
I HATE TELLING YOU HOW YOU REALLY FEEL is a full-color hardcover version of Nikki’s groundbreaking meme-poem chapbook, first published by Bloof in our handmade series, which sold out almost instantly. This graphic chapbook features Julia, the 70s doll from Mattel based on Diahann Carroll, styled and photographed against colorful backdrops. “The writing in I Hate Telling You How I Really Feel is, by turns, thrillingly allusive and thrillingly frank. […] Wallschlaeger’s is a poetics of multiplication and plurality.” —Toby Altman, ENTROPY
I DO HAVE AN ABNORMAL AMOUNT OF DREAMS: A limited-edition print featuring one of the graphic chap memes! 12 x 16 inches in brilliant color on lightly textured 100% cotton fine art paper. A rare opportunity—available till March 1 only. Once they’re gone, they’re gone! FREE shipping on orders including this print. Enter FREESHIP at checkout to receive the discount. (Shipping on these is direct from our printer, approximately 2 weeks from order date.)
Huge thanks to all our readers for your support in 2022. It was a great comeback from our pandemic slowdown, and by our count we’ve handmade and mailed almost 500 new chapbooks! And there’s lots more to come.
As of December 19, all pending preorders were filled. We took a little break for the holidays (ahhhh), and now are shipping normally as of January 3.
Because y’all have been so enthusiastic, I have a lot of chapbooks to make! I’ve set up an email autoresponder to answer status questions and will update it each week until I’ve caught up. OK? Thank you for your patience!
This week, Nov 7–11, I’ll be working on TAKE ME TO THE WATER preorders that came in between Oct 10–15 and I PREFER THE FORESTS preorders that came in between Oct 3–10.
It’s a bit hard to explain, but well before we “go live” with preorders, we actually already have a backlog. Our subscribers mostly signed on in the spring, for instance, and our authors also sometimes need the first batch for a launch event, etc. So even if you smashed that button on the first day, so sorry, you are not actually first. 😂
I’ve sent out…let’s see…about 150 copies of these two, all told. And yours is coming, I promise.
Bloof Books is thrilled to announce our new series of chapbooks for 2022–2023:
Ryan Gosling Wearing a T-shirt of Macaulay Culkin Wearing a T-shirt of Ryan Gosling Wearing a T-shirt of Macaulay Culkin Marisa Crawford & Morgan Parker
Romance in Twelve Lines Bruna Beber, translated by Sarah Rebecca Kersley
If Your Lungs Are Skied Make the Scar Song Echo Until All the Winged Things Bleed Your Poetry Steven Karl
dear Elsie / seltzer Nicole Steinberg
Take Me to the Water Irene Vázquez
dwellswarm Reagan Wilson
Additionally we will be publishing a chapbook we held over from 2020 (aka the Uncertainty Year), by a poet already part of the Bloof collective:
three tides Pattie McCarthy
ABOUT THE POETS
Bruna Beber (Duque de Caxias, Rio de Janeiro, 1984) is a Brazilian poet and translator. She is the author of five books of poetry, including a fila sem fim dos demônios descontentes (the endless line of unsatisfied demons, 2006); balés (ballets, 2009), and the critically acclaimed Rua da padaria (Bakery street, 2013) and Ladainha (Litany, 2017). She is also the author of a children’s book, Zebrosinha, illustrated by Beta Maya (2013). Her translations into Portuguese include books by Eileen Myles, Sylvia Plath, Dr. Seuss, Shakespeare (a new Brazilian translation of Hamlet, published in 2019), Louise Glück, Mary Gaitskill, and others. Her work has been translated into various languages and has appeared in journals and anthologies in Germany, Argentina, Italy, Mexico, and the United States. She is based in the city of São Paulo and has recently completed a Master’s degree in literary history and theory from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP). Website: www.brunabeber.com.br / Instagram profile: @brunabeber_ (Photo credit: Rafael Roncato)
Marisa Crawford is the author of the poetry collections Reversible and The Haunted House from Switchback Books. She is co-editor, with Megan Milks, of We Are th Baby-Sitters Club: Essays & Artwork from Grown-Up Readers (Chicago Review Press, 2021), and founder of Weird Sister. Her writing has appeared in the Nation, Harper’s Bazaar, BUST, VICE, Hyperallergic, Bitch, the Rumpus, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. marisacrawford.net. (Photo credit: Lauren Desberg)
Steven Karl is the author of two collections of poetry, most recently, Sister (Noemi Press, 2016). He is the editor-in-chief for Sink Review, an online journal dedicated to experimental contemporary poetry. Recent poems have appeared in the tiny, jubilat and the Tokyo Poetry Journal, and a collaborative Dos-à-dos art book with Joseph Lappie will be forthcoming in 2022. Born in Philadelphia, he currently lives in Tokyo with his wife and daughter. stevenkarl.wordpress.com.
Sarah Rebecca Kersley is a translator, poet and editor, originally from the UK and based in Brazil for over a decade. Her work has appeared in places such as The Elevation Review, Asymptote Journal, Denver Quarterly, Isele Magazine, and elsewhere. She co-runs Livraria Boto-cor-de-rosa, a bookshop and small press focused on contemporary literature, in the city of Salvador, Bahia, where she is based. Instagram profile: @sarahrebeccakersley. (Photo credit: Ana Reis).
Pattie McCarthy is the author of seven books of poetry and over a dozen chapbooks. She teaches literature and creative writing at Temple University where she is a non-tenure track associate professor.
Morgan Parker is a poet, essayist, and novelist. She is the author of the young adult novel Who Put This Song On?; and the poetry collections Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, and Magical Negro, which won the 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award. Parker’s debut book of nonfiction is forthcoming from One World. morgan-parker.com (Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths)
Nicole Steinberg is the author of Glass Actress (Furniture Press Books, 2017) and Getting Lucky (Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2013), as well as various chapbooks, most recently Fat Dreams (Barrelhouse, 2018). She is the editorof a literary anthology, Forgotten Borough: Writers Come to Terms with Queens (SUNY Press, 2011), and her work has been featured or reviewed in the New York Times, Newsweek, Flavorwire, Bitch, and Hyperallergic. She is the 2021–2022 Poet Laureate of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and she can be found online at nicolesteinberg.net or @nicolebrett.
Irene Vázquez is a Black Mexican American poet, journalist, and editor. Irene graduated from Yale with a BA in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration and English, as part of the 2021 cohort of Mellon Mays-Bouchet Fellows. Recently, Irene was named a winter/spring 2022 Brooklyn Poets Fellow. Irene’s works have appeared or are forthcoming in Muzzle, the Oxford American, and the lickety-split, among others. Mostly Irene likes drinking coffee, impulse-buying books, and reminding people that the South has something to say. Irene’s work can be found at www.irenevazquez.com. (Photo credit: Gerardo Monarca Velasquez)
Reagan Louise Wilson is a writer & artist who lives in Los Angeles. Some of her work can be found in the Portland Review, Matter Monthly, CONE, and Simultaneous Times, as well as several long lost zines. She is currently at work on a strawberry garden and a novel about care work in catastrophic times. The kiddo she looks after wondered if “& blah blah blah…” could really be included in this official bio.
These chapbooks will be released individually (on a schedule to be determined, starting this summer) for $10 each + $3 shipping, featuring hand-printed linocut covers and hand-sewn in natural twine. Or subscribe now to collect the whole series, and save $10.
Join us Saturday, March 19 at 4:00 p.m. EDT as we gather to read poems in celebration of Smol Fair!
Readers (L to R, from top in photo above): Dakotah Jennifer, Becca Klaver, Ginger Ko, Sharon Mesmer, Danielle Pafunda, JJ Rowan, Katie Jean Shinkle, Maureen Thorson & Elisabeth Workman. Hosted by Shanna Compton.
And now through March 27, we’re also running a Virtual Bookfair special (like we have every year during these conferences!): Enter SMOLFAIR at checkout to receive 20% off all Bloof books and chapbooks, including the already discounted chapbook bundle. (Excludes Hi Water art prints/cards and used books.)
This week we’re excited to be taking part in the alternative small-press book festival, SMOL Fair! Dozens of your favorite little presses are participating, most offering discounted book fair specials on their sites, and many hosting virtual readings and other events.
About SMOL Fair: “SMOL Fair is an alternative, virtual book fair that will be ‘live’ from March 3-7, 2021. It is 100% free for presses to participate. For readers, we are hosting a reading, a keynote address, and a mixer. We are coordinating an events calendar for that week featuring readings from participating presses as well as book give-aways and deals on work from your favorite authors.”
20% off at bloofbooks.com
NOW through Sunday, March 1–7, use the promo code SMOLFAIR at checkout to receive 20% off your order. We’ll be enclosing hand-printed postcards, bookmarks, and other surprises with your packages (while supplies last).
Bloof Books + Action Books Marathon Reading for SMOL Fair
On Saturday, March 6 beginning at 4:00 pm EST, a multitude of poets will perform via Zoom. Details are still being finalized, but the lineup is looking stellar. The event will be auto-captioned and include some visual materials by the performers, plus a multimedia intermission. Free registration via Eventbrite here.
The eighteen poems in Rat Queen luxuriantly explore transgression and intimacy, the various ways we take each other eagerly apart and taxidermy ourselves back together again. “My dear, what muscularly defines you?” the speaker asks, “When I pin you like insect wings, / corked-fog and iridescent-under.”
Rat Queen is the fourth chapbook in the 2019–2020 series from Bloof Books. Each chapbook in the series is released in a limited edition of at least one hundred numbered copies, followed by a digital release, and eventually in a combination volume called Bound.
This is Katie Jean Shinkle’s fifth chapbook. She is an Assistant Professor in the MFA Program for Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing at Sam Houston State University. She is the author of three full-length works, most recently Ruination (Spuyten Duyvil, 2018). Her poetry, prose, and criticisms can be found in Flaunt Magazine, the Georgia Review, Denver Quarterly, New South, the Collagist, Washington Square Review, and elsewhere. She serves as associate fiction editor of ANMLY, co-poetry editor of DIAGRAM.
Let me cry 1,000,000 tears of gold,
weave tapestry-strands with vigor,
douse your open heart with champagne,
only the best, most expensive will do.
Show me Benjamin Franklin,
fanned out to cool, I will show people
you forget along the way. Tell me,
while at my feet, how the bank
of booze is vampiric and fanged.
The equation of who will perish first,
(w)hol(l)y simplistic: You, knee-crouched,
or me, hands in prayer, eyes transfixed?
So funny what we cling to,
not giggles or open-mouth hardy,
but uncanny, filled to the brim.
FIRST THE BURNING by Catie Rosemurgy has sold out. If you recently placed an order (or are in the class in Tuscaloosa), never fear. We are printing an additional small run to fill all current orders. THANK YOU.
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 they come in over the next week or two. Enjoy. —Bloof
Shanna Compton is the author of Creature Sounds Fade (Black Lawrence, forthcoming in 2020), Brink (Bloof, 2013), For Girls & Other Poems (Bloof, 2008), Down Spooky (Open Book Award Winner, Winnow, 2005), and several chapbooks. She’s currently working on The Hazard Cycle, a book-length speculative poem. Her poetry and essays are widely published, appearing in Best American Poetry, the Nation, American Poetry Review, McSweeney’s, the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series, and elsewhere. She works as a freelance book designer and editor in Lambertville, NJ.
Because I work as an editor (here & for independent authors) and book designer (here & for other small presses), a great deal of the reading I do each year is pre-publication. In other words, I’m reading the future. As a result, I’m also often reading the past, catching up on things from previous years I didn’t have a chance to read right when they were first released. And like all of us, as a writer I’m often organizing my reading around/toward whatever project I’m personally working on. Here are some things I read this year from each of those categories.
This is an excellent example of my future-reading dilemma. I’ve been reading & learning about Chinese poetry’s history and various movements from this anthology edited by Ming Di (which I designed for Black Square) since I first got the manuscript in 2017. But it’s not yet available for preorders. Just trust me: write it down now as something to look forward to and teach from, and a month or so into 2019 check the website again here.
I have dreamed of this book existing for many years. Farnoosh Fathi’s tremendous work restores one of our lost poets to us. Hooray.
The hour like a child runs down the angle of star and rests at the bottom It is a staring woman that may hold that child in its arms But women prefer to see the hours slip from their fingers For that are dancing an old earth constituency
I am a little beyond the river and stare from my particular casement I am slender as the stalk and have my own flowering I don’t draw from women but I prefer the truth and not the trick of living
I must forgive myself for waiting so long. I know a woman who waits is offensive but I just can’t get over my flaws
& now they might zero me out. My blood is a zone of dispute, a tropic of fault. Since I’ve waited so long, I must forgive myself.
The Taiga Syndrome Cristina Rivera Garza, translated by Suzanne Jill Levine & Aviva Kana (Dorothy Project)
I’ve never met a Dorothy Project book I haven’t loved. This is book is both thoroughly odd & unexpectedly gripping. It shouldn’t work, but it does. A sort of speculative detective verse-prose novella.
I remember the light through the many windows. Memory dangles these windows in front of me, at daybreak, just barely covered by a thin linen curtain. Then the same windows in the middle of the day, opened wide. The windows again in the evening, and above all, I remember the hands on them, all over the glass. And the nostalgia of this, of what’s on the other side the great beyond, as it used to be called. Above all, I remember I used to exhale in front of them, in front of the glass, and write with the tip of my index finger the words “I am leaving here” and “I will never return.”
I’ve been rereading Alice Notley—because of the book I’m working on, she’s a poet on perpetual repeat (not that we sound alike, but she sustains and bristles weird energies over a long-form poem like no one else). So I could have chosen The Descent of Alette again, or Benediction, or Alma, but I’m going with this one because I finally got to see her read this year, last month in Princeton. She read the first poem from this book, “I Couldn’t Sleep in My Dream,” then several from a newer unpublished series she’s been working on to recover some lost memories (so lots of anecdotes & recognizable poet figures), and a few other things. She talked a bit about her process for her book-length work—having an idea, finding a form to contain it, and how she “doesn’t write collections. Well, this [holds up this book] is a collection.”
The sun is rising, and light enters my old house. What sun is this? The desert star or some one flame as in transcendence? I won’t as it. I won’t ask anyone anything. I got tired of being childish. In your assigned role you were a woman. But I’ve always been a poet, that’s all, no sex or race, no age or face. Can Eternity strip me of it? That’s only another word. I’m inside myself, and inside it. Today’s the new fact. Are there others there?
…I have to dig deep below the fold to find stories about how he turned his back on boys who were quilting America’s cities in gay enclaves. Many Black women died of the same neglect and, Good Lord, I remember the news used to talk about babies, blood saturated in suffering. Not today, though. Today, the papers can’t even speak of his war without casting that failure, also, as a bid for peace. So, please, when I die, forget all the fires I set.
When the culture passed over We bathed in its light in its fear in its Mountain stream. We left mountains Of carts full of junk behind. We bade them Farewell. They bade us Weep and know shape They bade us be hard. Without power, I wielded my body
Disclaimer: I’m in this too, but it’s still brilliant. Including terms such as viral avatar (Danielle Pafunda), ecobereavement (Bhanu Kapil), negative corpuscuity (Vishnu Aggarwal), cloudygenous (Eileen Tabios), this unique work of speculative nature writing/ecopoetics opens several new portals.
I didn’t mean to assemble my whole career on lies, so now I blast holes in the men. I blast holes in the prints of the men. I blast holes in the holes who are the men. I move them in a process called autonomous fetishization, and they enjoy the hazards of my queenly thinking. I grip their cheeks
mercy learn in a permanent lockdown you should work in a permanent lockdown you could play fuck walk in a permanent lockdown birth sleep eat in a permanent lockdown wake tweet fight swim shift thou pluckest me out in a permanent lockdown
“Aging” Rosmarie Waldrop (Academy of American Poets / Poem-a-Day)
I don’t know Rosmarie Waldrop personally, but she’s an important model for me as a poet/publisher so I always feel very close to her work. I love this poem.
The road toward rotting has been so long. We forget where we are going. Like a child, I look amazed at a thistle. Or drink cheap wine and hug my knees. To shorten the shadow? To ward off letting go?
Visually, aurally, and typographically complex—including photographs, text collages, mixed languages. Both mournful and hopeful, this wide-format book is a luxuriant physical experience. I don’t think representing it with a snippet online is enough. Sit with it in your lap.
Kate’s work often mixes elements of visual art, samples of her handwriting, photographs, and multiple shifting viewpoints that create kaleidoscopic patterns. There’s nothing quite like living for a while inside one of her books.
Deep in my own green element, I met a friend. My double, my dearest.
Others pulled me out of the sea, placed me
in this pan of water, added salt and taught me to eat bread.