Monday, October 24, 2005


on the Will to Exchange Blog.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


SPD RECOMMENDS: NEW TITLES for October 1-October 19, 2005

ORDERS: 1-800-869-7553

FAX: 1-510-524-0852
Try Electronic Ordering! SPD is on PUBNET (SAN #106-6617)
Questions? Contact Brent Cunningham at brent@spdbooks.org

by Zinnes, Harriet
$12.50 / PA / pp.56
Marsh Hawk Press, 2005
ISBN: 0-9759197-6-8

Poetry. With her new book of poems, WHITHER NONSTOPPPING, Harriet Zinnes has again welcomed the world with eyes wide open but with a curling lip, a sign that she well knows that what is out there may be beautiful but threatening demanding an irony that her pen knows well how to employ. Her words, economical and intense, reflect what can never be ignored: the majesty of a cosmos, the frequent frugality and misery despite the glory of its inhabitants within that enveloping cosmos. Ah, yes, she writes, "the poet who is anarchic/has a devil of a time." Be sure to check out Zinnes' other books, LOVER and DRAWING ON THE WALL, both available from SPD.



St. John's University
Presents the
Marsh Hawk Press Poets:

A series of readings featuring poets published by the Marsh Hawk Press

A Poetry Reading


Jane Augustine

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

5:00 P.M.

Queens Campus Library
Academic Commons

Light Refreshments will be served

All are Welcome!!!

Jane Augustine is a poet, short story writer mixed-media artist, literary critic and scholar of women in modernism. She has twice been awarded Fellowships in Poetry from the New York State Council on the Arts and has published six books of poems in addition to numerous essays on innovative 20th-century poets such as H.D., Mina Loy and Lorine Niedecker. “The way Jane Augustine’s poetry offers a view of the world is a marvel,” says prize-winning author Marie Ponsot. Poet-critic Alicia Ostriker says: “I find myself rather madly in love with this poet’s eye, her music, her awareness.” Augustine will read poems from her Marsh Hawk Press books, Night Lights (2004) and Arbor Vitae (2002), and discuss them in the context of contemporary literary movements.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Congratulations to Jacquelyn Pope whose Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize-award winning collection, WATERMARK, received a lovely review from Verse Magazine. It's available at this link, and also reprinted below:

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Watermark by Jacquelyn Pope. Marsh Hawk Press, $12.95.
Reviewed by Emily Taylor Merriman

Jacquelyn Pope's first book of poetry, Watermark, coheres: her voice is mature, and the tone is strong and even throughout. The cover image, an intriguing old map of Amsterdam, grounds the reader in the world of the poems, many set in the Netherlands, where the American poet lived for seven years.

The first of Watermark's three sections establishes the atmosphere of living as “other” and as “wife.” In poems like “Woman in Translation” Pope describes the experience of being transplanted and needing to learn other ways of living: “Let me / be written into this world: / something of substance / behind me now.” The second section explores ongoing adjustment and beautiful, strange flowerings, in “Ghostlily,” “Iris,” “Anemone,” “Tulips.” Departure and loss mark the final section, but with a narrative undercurrent of time's renewing force. This section also meditates on home, as when she writes, “I've settled with dust / and disbelief. I'm home” in “Letter in Two Drafts.” Pope reimagines her past for the reader, who is invited to experience intimately the sensory and mental world that the poet once inhabited, and, through the poem's re-creation, can inhabit again in spiritual form, even as a “devoted old ghost.”

The opening poem, “Raddled,” explores life's dynamic movements between separation and connection, dissolution and integration. The collection develops these simultaneously embodied and psychical movements through an impressive range of poetic forms, including a prose poem, “Red Scarf.” Pope makes good use of internal rhymes and alliteration. Some of the poems (“Hoogstraat,” “Vagabond”) are tightly woven; in others (“Iris,” “First Lesson in Silence”) the syntax starts to unravel. This range of formal textures inhabits the broad territory now open between the competing powers of the traditionally formalist and the experimentally “free.” At the same time, Watermark stretches the conventions of the mainstream personal lyric.

Pope's poems often enact a transformative movement, most often a descent (“Persephone Descending,” “Woman in Translation”), sometimes a rising (“The Baker's Wife”), and often a horizontal movement--for example, out to sea (“Hoogstraat,” “Rain Diary”). In the final stanza of “Dwelling,” Pope succeeds in keeping still and moving up, down and out all at once:

Under blankets, under beams
we sheltered by blank windows
tucked under roof tiles
and chimney stones, under
the briny air, its muddied stars.

The frequent descents suggest the influence of Weldon Kees, and the lively poem “Mrs. Robinson” is a response to Kees, simultaneously an act of homage and an implicit remonstrance at the marginalization of women in the world of the Robinson poems. There are also echoes of W.H. Auden (“I asked for hope, and no hope came”), of Sylvia Plath's sharp humor (“You wouldn't stick by the likes of me, / but you do, you do”), and of Adrienne Rich's determination to glean and grow from the past.

In Watermark, time and weather bear down on the human psyche. Time sours, but also heals: “Time cured me past caring.” Scars are “weathered by the dark”; one can become “wind-grown.” Many of the poems succeed in moving between the realms of cityscapes and seascapes in the outer world, and landscapes of the unconscious. These scenes do not merge, but flow into each other--like the fresh water into the salty sea, the poetic line into the poem, reality into imagination--as in the powerful final poem, “World's End”:

One day I shall walk out and cross the sea
and crossing it shall carry me from tides
below the oyster shell of sea meeting sky
and I shall come up on the other side--
back of beyond, a land covered with frost,
studded with fires.

The last line, “I'll come alive in the wrack of the sea,” is an unsentimental assertion of survival, a subtle reference to poets like Kees and Hart Crane who have drowned, and even an apocalyptic vision in which, post-tempest (and the last section is full of storms), this great globe itself shall dissolve. The word “wrack” here is excellent, incorporating seaweed cast on the shore (a metaphor for the unavoidable detritus of each lived life, for destruction, for the ironic eventual “wreck” of the sea itself--place of so many shipwrecks) and the “rack” (wisp of cloud) of Shakespeare's “leave not a rack behind.”

Pope is particularly good at evoking the experience of being a woman participating in heterosexual domestic relations (“The Good Wife,” “Dwelling,” “The Baker's Wife,” “Persephone Descending,” “Mrs. Robinson,” and “Furiouser and Furiouser”). “Household Economy,” written in cookbook second-person, employs a clipped iambic pentameter, with lines that often lose the opening unstressed syllable, in illustration of the poem's purported message: “Begin by paring back, by peeling down . . .” In the penultimate line, “Cut down or turn out whatever wears out,” the poem's first spondee aptly interrupts the iambs, as if the rhythm of the verse were itself wearing out. The last line yokes the poem's themes of keeping house and keeping silent: “save your breath for shaping mending words.” The meanings of “shaping mending words” multiply: words may mend; words may need to be mended; the woman poet may need to speak up, or be quiet, for the sake of peace in her home, and she also needs to write. Jacquelyn Pope's poems are at once recipes, whose ingredients are carefully selected and kept words, and the spicy, savory, or even sour meals that those words--cut, stirred, and simmered--create.

Friday, October 14, 2005


The New York Metro American Studies Association (NYMASA) presents

A Salon Talk with

Stephen Paul Miller

on the publication of his new book of poetry

Skinny 8th Avenue (Marsh Hawk Press)

Thursday, October 20th
rm 5414, CUNY Graduate Center
5th Avenue at 34th Street

Stephen Paul Miller’s new book of poetry is by turns narrative, experimental, whimsical, politically engaged, hopeful, cynical, expressive. Andrew Ross says “Miller’s mind is exactly the kind of soft, self-perpetuating machine that you want to access when your own is running out of juice.” Is there any higher praise?

Miller will be reading from the new book and will have copies available for sale. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact Sarah Chinn at (212)772-5178 or sarah.chinn@hunter.cuny.edu

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Thomas Fink and Eileen Tabios are among the poets in the new issue of MIPOesias Magazine!

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