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Tag Archive: Bob Kaufman Book Prize

orogeny

orogeny front cover

orogeny front coverby Irène Mathieu

$16.00 | Jan 2017

Winner of the 2016 Bob Kaufman Prize, selected by Megan Kaminski


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Orogeny buries deep into rock and soil, silence and speech, into the pulse of what connects us as mothers, sisters, lovers, and ghosts—the quest for home and for a language that can account for both what might become and what has been lost. Searching ecologies, history, and embodied experience, Irène Mathieu’s lyric voice pieces together a world, which is at once our own and a map of possibility, a “fetal dream of ourselves, a sea of curled and floating ideas.”
—Megan Kaminski, author of Deep City, judge of the 2016 Bob Kaufman Book Prize

In orogeny, wisewoman and mythkeeper Irène Mathieu fiercely erects a “pharmacy of noises,” a mountain of love poems to what it means to be precariously human, an awakening fist armed with the might of dreams against the things that plague the earth and us: murder, hate, wars, borders. This collection is a hymn for the puzzling anatomy of survival, the evolution of rage, and the healing prism of wanderlust. These poems serve as “proper rites” against the violence of language that accompanies what has become the world’s textbook physical ruthlessness. Mathieu penetrates the dust and fragments of our earthly existence—all that’s been lost and left behind—and sings it back together. I could “drink these poems” with their old eyes for an eternity, and they would be enuf, all I need.
—Yolanda Wisher, author of Monk Eats an Afro, Poet Laureate of Philadelphia 2016-17

It’s apt that one of the central images of orogeny is that of Pangaea because Irène Mathieu broke me, over & over & over & infinite. Orogeny takes its reader across many different histories–of family, of continents, of violences, of sciences, of dirts, of fears, of soils, of loves–and every one is bigger than the last. It asks its reader, “what do I deserve?” and while the reader stares at it in amazement it answers “everything inside the moon.” In an existence as fractured as this one, orogeny is not just the myth that we need; it’s the then (& now & future) that we deserve.
– Mark Cugini, author of I’m Just Happy to Be Here, managing books editor, Big Lucks Books

About the Author

Irene MathieuIrène Mathieu is a pediatrician, writer, and public health researcher who has lived and worked in the United States, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Peru, and elsewhere. She has been a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Callaloo fellow, and a Fulbright scholar. Irène is the author of the poetry chapbook the galaxy of origins (dancing girl press, 2014). She holds a BA in International Relations from the College of William & Mary and a MD from Vanderbilt University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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there are boxes and there is wanting

there are boxes and there is wanting

there are boxes and there is wantingby Tessa Micaela Landreau-Grasmuck

$16.00 | January 2016


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Winner of the 2015 Bob Kaufman Prize
Selected by Laura Mullen

there are boxes and there is wanting: an indictment of capitalism, of the mental health industry, of our culture’s inability to deal with other sorts of ways that humans are in the world. It is also a book full of ghosts. So it is a book that shimmers and it is an unusually complicated book, but one that is graceful in its negotiations, in its refusals.
– Juliana Spahr

Necessary and impossible books are, perhaps, the most difficult to write and the most compelling to read: Danielle Collobert’s hauntingly staccato syntax in Survie (Survive), published just three months before her suicide on the day of her birth; M. NourbeSe Philip’s unearthing the ghosts of the slave ship ZONG!, their speech the texture of broken glass. And now, Tessa Micaela’s there are boxes and there is wanting. Grief, the kind that fractures your soul, sings an incantatory love song of loss in these poems, the body bent into rocking. It says, there is no language for what I am about to tell you, though I must try because in this attempt, I, and you, reader, might find some solace. there are boxes and there is wanting touches the hand of the “patient” it loves, it kisses the mouth, and pulls us into that space where mystery lives, wrapping its claws around our necks. If a wound is a stroking place, then this stroking will live with you forever.
– Dawn Lundy Martin

Where storms are stories that “cannot be pulled apart from one another,” and stories storms swirling up around “precarious” bodies (“if the body doesn’t end at the skin”)—this book: hybrid of play nonfiction and poetry. Where “at least we are dancing. at least we are not separate from one another”—this book: a description of, also a resistance to, the reduction of “the body” to “the patient.” This book: urgent attention given to the restoration of visibility in the theatrically lit stage space of a deep concern about surveillance. Intimate and performative, finding doorway after doorway, the embodied, hyper-vigilant, proposals of there are boxes and there is wanting reveal a lyric speaker who goes from particle to wave, subject to object, interior to exterior and back with extraordinary speed and fluidity, with an astonishing control and an equally impressive wildness. “when it is our turn to speak a kind of breaking happens.” This book: “any investigation of skin must start here.”
-Laura Mullen

About the Author

Tessa Micaela Landreau-GrasmuckTessa Micaela Landreau-Grasmuck was born in Philadelphia and currently resides in Oakland with her dog, Ramona Pickle. Tessa has waited tables, bound books, worked as an abortion counselor, reproductive health educator, and birth doula, taught writing in the San Francisco county jail, studied herbalism, and carved out time to write between it all. Tessa was granted the first Community Poetics Fellowship from Mills College, where she received her MFA in 2013. Tessa is the author of the chapbook Crude Matter (ypolita press, 2015). Other writing has appeared in Make/shift, Dusie, Open House, Sink Review, and various other jars and corners. there are boxes and there is wanting is her first book.

Natural Subjects

Natural Subjects

Natural Subjectsby Divya Victor

$16.00 | November 2014

Also available on Amazon and SPD

Winner of the 2014 Bob Kaufman Book Prize
Selected by Anselm Berrigan

“May I see your passport, please?” What are you a citizen of? What subject to? Are you natural or naturalized? What have you sworn to and will you tell true? Divya Victor, true to form in wit and poetic acuteness, has made a book about nations, nationality, and their notions by showing documents, facts, fictional and real heroines, instructions for assembly, and lyric lists that makes readers acknowledge their own disassembly, distribution, and/ or dispersal in an on-going diaspora. This acute work by Victor teases civic ideologies in all their motley, pervasive constructions by writing from multiple subjectivities and engineering defiance, struggles with agency, language play, appropriated commentaries, and revelations of loss. A multi-faceted book of high interest.
Rachel Blau DuPlessis, author of Drafts

A mandala of homeland motifs and constellations that are numbered but not named bursts, at the start of Divya Victor’s strangely painful and real new book, to reveal: talons, attempts, a “pose.”  These initiating frames take us through a naturalization process – from the gathering of biometric data to the duplex-pomegranate-linoleum reverie of the pledge ceremony itself.   Questions of “exit” and “enunciation” accrue a “blunt hum” as the book progresses.  Lit from within by an “opal glass shade” or the “violent and excited” intake.  Yet never clarified.  Here, for example, is Dimple Kapadia, taking the stage like late onset “logopoeia.”  Are you a “great scholar”?  Are you a “lover”?  Did you make your home in the trampled lot behind the Edison IKEA?  Did you “maybe write things”? Victor has written a book that is both heart-breaking and a brilliant, effervescent and dark joke.
Bhanu Kapil, author of Schizophrene. 

Divya Victor’s Natural Subjects, a tough-minded, audaciously structured, & subtly open-ended poem, closes in on the naturalization process by locating the small but bureaucratically nebulous frame of the passport photo and opening up the multi-layered points of stress and dislocated violence that frame marks. But that only gets at a little bit of what Natural Subjects does. I register things like an offhand cubist tonality, a witty examination of scale, a spin of the frame to let character-versions of Eliza Doolittle, Hedda Gabbler, and fräulein Maria in, and the shaping of poetic material that comes from many sources without leaning on them. Nothing is telegraphed. The book keeps opening each time I pass through.
Anselm Berrigan, author of Notes from Irrelevance

About the Author

Diyva VictorDivya Victor is the author of Things To Do With Your Mouth(Les Figues, 2014), Natural Subjects (Trembling Pillow, 2014), and Unsub (Insert/Blanc, 2015). She is also author of the Partial series (Troll Thread), Punch (2011), Goodbye John! On John Baldessari (2012), and Swift Taxidermies (2014), all from Gauss PDF; and the chapbook Hellocasts by Charles Reznikoff by Divya Victor by Vanessa Place (2011). She divides her time between the United States and Singapore, where she is Assistant Professor of Poetry and Poetics at Nanyang Technological University.

Reviews:
Felix Bernstein reviews Divya Victor’s Natural Subjects at Jacket2.
BookThug selects Natural Subjects for its 2015 Summer Reading List.

Other Books by this Author:

Things to Do with Your Mouth, Les Figues Press, 2014
UNSUB, Insert Blanc Press, 2015

Psalms for Dogs and Sorcerers

Psalms for Dogs and Sorcerers

Psalms for Dogs and Sorcerersby Jen Coleman

$16.00 | December 2013


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Winner of the 2013 Bob Kaufman Book Prize selected by Poet Dara Wier.

The “psalm-poets” of the Reformation wanted to bring etheral ideas down to earth. “Thou, once a body, now but air/Arch botcher of a psalm or prayer/From CarfaxJ come/And patch us up a zealous lay” penned the 18th century psalm-poet Robin Wisdom. 21st century psalm-poet Jen Coleman is involved in her own reformation of psalms as proceeding from the ground up. She details how “The dirt holds eight immutable truths” while acknowledging that she can list but six of them – and they don’t present themselves in numerical order! While it is a mystery that Robin Wisdom predicted the existence of Carfax (insert emoticon of choice), it is no secret that Jen Coleman has reclaimed the psalm for those of us who still puzzle over the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question of what life is all about.
— Tina Darragh

Apocalyptic, raw, and galloping, Jennifer Coleman’s poems are built to unsettle. This is a book that begins with the corporeal and ends with the collapse. Its restlessness is visceral; it’s a trip not to be missed.
–Lisa Jarnot

Unwilling to share secrets that must be told, Jen Coleman’s poems whisper to each other their wisdoms. Our role is a better kind of listening; more like taking action than what we have been taught. “A serious census of the fishes”. I was not prepared to need this book the way I do.
— Buck Downs

I just want to make a list of all the small animals in this book. The krill, the worms, the insects, the bees and their honeys. And also the rivers and the cities. All the ways they mix and meld. The way this book lets a rat be a short-eared bunny and a lingcod be the 15 million unemployed. The way this book also asks “what does it matter, the ocean?” And then explains it, fully, beautifully through psalms that celebrate what remains of the at risk ecosystem.
— Juliana Spahr

There’s this list I’ve been carrying around, 100 things I love about Jen Coleman’s poems. It became 180 with little effort. Is this your first time reading Coleman? Do yourself a favor give it the full  treatment, reading it four different ways: umbrella in the rain, feet in mud, seeds under tongue, underwear loaded with whipped cream, DO IT, DO IT DIFFERENT!! These poems span more than a decade of making poems. Writing poems is one thing, but making them HAPPEN, making them take over your sense of the world around you, that’s a REAL poet’s job!! Coleman!! For years I’ve said WHY doesn’t Coleman have BOOK!? Do you own many books of poetry? Do you KNOW HOW RARE it is to LOVE each poem in a book? Coleman, we’ll refer to her poetry-making by her last name one day soon, like, have you read the Coleman poem with that middle-of-the-night morphing epiphany, “I turn my body over / in my sleep as if it exists / as if it is worth the trouble.” WOW. If I could go back in time I would ask my mother to read this book out loud each week I was inside her. Prepare with poetry that is honed on the great experiments of LIFE!!
–CAConrad

About the Author

Jen ColemanJen Coleman was born in Minnesota in 1970. She earned a BA in Theater from Beloit College, and worked briefly at a circuit board factory, a three ring binder factory, a blanket factory, a gas station, as a theater electrician and as a schoolbus driver. She earned an MFA in poetry from George Mason University. There, she studied with Susan Tichy, Peter Klappert and Carolyn Forché. Her work was further shaped by the Washington, DC, poetry community. While in DC, Jen co-hosted with Allison Cobb a season of the DCAC “In Your Ear” reading series and completed a collaborative chapbook with CE Putnam and Allison Cobb entitled Communal Bebop Canto. Jen and Allison moved to New York in 2000, where they joined Ethan Fugate and Susan Landers in editing six issues of Pom2, “a journal of poetic polylogue.” While in DC and New York, Jen worked for Environmental Defense Fund. Jen and Allison moved to Portland, Oregon in 2008, where they live with their dog, Quincy. In Portland, Jen participated in the 13 Hats collaborative of artists and writers. She co-hosts readings with the Spare Room Collective and works for Oregon Environmental Council. This is her first full-length volume.

Of Love & Capital

Of Love & Capital

Of Love & Capital

by Christopher Rizzo

$15.00 | October 31, 2012 |

ISBN: 978-0-9790702-9-7

Winner of the 2012 Bob Kaufman Book Prize selected by Bernadette Mayer

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“I want to write a Christopher Rizzo poem. He reminds me of Clark Coolidge. So here it is: demeter disney’s demerol drinks in / her daughter’s forgetting that she / lives in the show me state, full of gentian prairies. Or this: I once knew a guy named Gerard Rizza / Whose poetry I also loved; there’s also RZA / Of the Wu-Tang Clan. (P.S. You have permission to sign my name as William James). Always striving!”
—Bernadette Mayer, author of Ethics of Sleep (2012 Judge of the Bob Kaufman Award)

“The unnerving nerves of this first-rate book are a deep-sampling via elegant breaks & stabs of our new & nervy ‘microwavable century’, a mix with a BPM rate has John Wieners & Frank O’Hara dance all night (yet never getting to the slow) as they do, double-scratched as they are with all our other fathers & mothers into this double, triple, multi-layered HVP (High Velocity Poetry): It will tup you to ramiform boo as its juju goes loco with mojo. Read this book standing up and moving about, & just try not to wake up on fire. Who said that? You, our century, did. Love it!”
—Pierre Joris, author of Poasis

About the Author

Christopher RizzoChristopher Rizzo is a poet, scholar, and editor who lives in Albany, New York. Awarded the Academy of American Poets’ Phyllis Hurd Liston Poetry Prize in 2011, Christopher has published a range of critical and creative work in numerous magazines and journals, both in print and online. The founding editor of Anchorite Press, he currently lectures at the University at Albany, where he is finishing his doctorate in English on twentieth century American poetics. His latest full length collection of poetry, Near Point Balance, is forthcoming from Skysill Press.