April 14, 2015

BookPage: NICKOLE BROWN’s top five reasons to read poetry

Nickole Brown

This National Poetry Month, BookPage is celebrating by “highlighting some of the best new collections,” including Nickole Brown’s Fanny Says. Brown was asked to write a piece for the magazine about the importance of reading poetry, and her top five reasons are worth sharing far and wide.

“In her second collection of poetry, Fanny Says, Nickole Brown offers a probing lyrical biography of her maternal grandmother while also considering the power of memory and Southern society. In this guest blog post, she lists the reasons you should be reading poetry—during poetry month and every other month in between.”

Here’s a taste of why Nickole Brown says poetry should be in our lives: “To me, poetry can make even the most quotidian of things—a tomato on the counter, a housefly batting against the window, your bent reflection in a steel mixing bowl—something extraordinary. Poetry notices things. It scrubs your life free of clichés and easy answers, and the best poems make everyday life strange and new. Poetry requires you to be awake to write it, and reading effective poetry is a second kind of awakening.”

Nickole Brown also wrote a guest piece for literary blog Write All the Words, in which she shares a fantastic classroom writing exercise for National Poetry Month. “There’s nothing more important to me as a poet—and as a human being, really—than awareness,” says Brown. “Paying attention is, I think, my primary responsibility as a writer. If I don’t notice the quiet tickings within my own self, I can’t fully appreciate the secrets and mysteries carried within my own body and memory, and perhaps more importantly, my work as a writer is work as a noticer, an observer of others and the life outside my own.”

Click here to read Brown’s top five reasons to read poetry.
Click here to read Brown’s guest post for Write All the Words.

Brown’s new collection Fanny Says is now available at the BOA Bookstore.

April is National Poetry Month! Now through April 30, get FREE SHIPPING on any BOA Bookstore order(s)!

April 07, 2015

BOA celebrates NPM: Poetry Open Mic and more!

Poetry Open Mic

April is National Poetry Month!

BOA Editions is celebrating this year’s National Poetry Month with Barnes & Noble. On April 18, 2015, a percentage of all Barnes & Noble purchases will help support BOA Editions! Simply present THIS VOUCHER upon checkout at any Barnes & Noble store that day. Everything in the stores — from your cafe beverage to the books on your spring/summer reading list — is included! Help support BOA from your own local store, no matter where you live!

(Note: If you visit the Pittsford, NY, location, simply mention that you are supporting BOA at checkout — no voucher necessary!)

Special Event: Poetry Open Mic

Saturday, April 18, 2015 | 2:00pm
Barnes & Noble (Pittsford)
3340 Monroe Avenue
Rochester, NY 14606

In honor of National Poetry Month, join us for a celebratory Poetry Open Mic event in the Community Room at the Pittsford Barnes & Noble! Share your favorite poem(s) with the BOA board, staff, and fellow Rochesterians!

Click here for directions to B&N, Pittsford.

  • Open Mic starts at 2:00pm on Saturday, April 18
  • Select your favorite poem(s) to read (must be family-friendly)
  • Participants will be given a maximum of 2-3 minutes to read poem(s)
  • Sign ups will be available until 2:00pm at the BOA Editions table (B&N, Pittsford)
  • Participants ages 10 and older are eligible to read
  • Event is free and open to the public

Can’t make it to a B&N store on April 18?

You can also support BOA by visiting BN.com from 04/18/15 to 04/23/15 and entering Bookfair ID# 11556057 in the code box at checkout. A percentage of your online purchase(s) will support BOA Editions!

[Click here to print in-store voucher]

We look forward to celebrating National Poetry Month with you!

April 01, 2015

COPIA ‘provides abundace, holds nothing in reserve’

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Erika Meitner’s poetry collection Copia has been in the recent spotlight!

According to a Scout Poetry review of the collection, “Erika Meitner creates a tenuous balance, simultaneously reaching into the unknowable future and the immutable past. The reader feels this tense equilibrium immediately as the opening poems address bygone and potential lovers while acknowledging the speaker’s immediate and contented suburban domestic life. . . . Copia, as its title suggests, provides abundance. Rather than filter and parse, it holds nothing in reserve and asks for an equal measure of openness from its reader, inviting participation and, perhaps, action.”

In an interview with Devil’s Lake, Erika Meitner opens up about the poetry process: “I don’t really think about composing a book at all when I’m writing poems. I write what feels most compelling to me at any given moment,” she says.

Copia reflects on several “un-poetic” experiences. Rather than intentionally adding these elements to her poetry, Meitner says she simply stopped removing them from her work: “I feel like life (for most people) usually takes place in doctor’s waiting rooms and Jiffy Lube waiting rooms and public restrooms and office parks. I happen to live in a lovely mountain town, but when things happen to me that feel notable or poem-worthy, I’m somehow never located in a pastoral place. I’m usually in my car in a parking lot.”

Click here for the full Scout Poetry review.
Click here to read the full Devil’s Lake interview.

Copia is available now at the BOA Bookstore.

April is National Poetry Month! Now through April 30, get FREE SHIPPING on any BOA Bookstore order(s)! Because we love poetry, and we love you.

April 01, 2015

IN A LANDSCAPE: ‘you’ve just stumbled on something great’

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John Gallaher’s In a Landscape is featured in Common Good Book‘s new electronic newsletter! According to CGB, Gallaher’s new book “is more than aware of its artifice, and thus, its voice. Like Whitman, Gallaher celebrates his vast incomprehension of the material world, no matter how big or how small, from Bob the Builder to John Cage, even as he ambulates to map the mind’s terrain, unsure if the two remain as visibly distinct as traffic lights or stars in space. . . . Each line like a rake here is unruly in its combing of a private logic and errant trajectory, as if in search of a sanative grammar; a better word than doubt to call our present tense by name. Fortunately, Gallaher can’t help or stop himself from ultimately worshipping our greatest fear: unknowns.”

A recent review from the Center for Literary Publishing compares In a Landscape to “the paradox Schrödinger expresses in his thought experiment with the cat.” And just as Schrödinger’s cat is simultaneously alive and dead until observed, reviewer Drew Webster says, “the book is, at once, a poem and not a poem.”

This is an attempt, says the review, to lead the reader to ask questions. “The first words of the book are ‘Are you happy?,’” which contributes to Webster’s idea that the work is “relentlessly self-reflexive,” leading to more questions than answers.

“If you’re looking for answers, Gallaher’s not going to give them to you. If you’re looking for questions, you’ve just stumbled on something great.”

Click here for the new electronic newsletter from Common Good Books.
Click here to read the full review from the Center for Literary Publishing.

In a Landscape is available for purchase at the BOA Bookstore.

April is National Poetry Month! Now through April 30, get FREE SHIPPING on any BOA Bookstore order(s)! Because we love poetry, and we love you.

April 01, 2015

Author Robin McLean on her BOA story ‘Cold Snap’

RMcLean_PhotoCreditRobertMcLean

Robin McLean, past winner of the BOA Short Fiction Prize for her collection Reptile House, also won The Carolina Quarterly‘s “End is Nigh” contest for “Cold Snap,” one of the stories in the new collection. In an insightful interview with Aisha Anwar, the author discusses the winning piece:

“The story is about isolation,” says McLean, “both physical and emotional.” The story follows protagonist Lilibeth, who endures an “end-of-the-world” winter storm while managing the small problems of everyday life, and working toward the goal of self-improvement.

“Isn’t this how things are?,” says McLean. “The world is melting. We are bombing strangers with drones while others strap bombs to their bodies to bomb us. Ebola is raging in Africa, jumping oceans. All the while we are getting are cars fixed, trying to lose weight, or taking pottery classes. I wonder if the weirder and more frightening the world gets, the more we turn to the small hopeful things to keep us going. Our kids, our football teams, reading a story or poem. Some of the scariness penetrates no matter how many barriers we erect. Lilibeth’s attempts at self-improvement, given the backdrop of the end of the world, are kind of silly, I guess; but maybe they are also a form of bravery, hope that life will find a way past the end of the world. Divorce and that type of intimate rejection is definitely a private form of the end of the world.”

Click here to read the full interview: “the backdrop of the end of the world.”

Reptile House is available now, only at the BOA Bookstore until its May publication date. Get your copy early!

April is National Poetry Month! Now through April 30, get FREE SHIPPING on any BOA Bookstore order(s)! Because we love poetry, and we love you.

March 24, 2015

BOA Editions at AWP 2015!

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BOA is excited to be participating again this year at the AWP Conference and Bookfair in Minneapolis!

Click here for our full schedule of events, panels, and signings featuring BOA authors throughout the conference. This year, BOA will be at bookfair tables 830 and 832. Stop by, say hello to BOA staff and authors, and browse our wide selection of exceptional and essential books, including our newest Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 titles!

BOA authors will be setting up at the BOA tables (830 and 832) to sign copies of their new Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 titles. Take this schedule with you to the Bookfair to meet BOA authors and have your favorite BOA books signed!

Thursday, April 9 

-Nin Andrews: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
(author of Why God Is a Woman and Sleeping with Houdini)

-John Gallaher: 1 – 2 p.m.
(author of In a Landscape and Your Father on the Train of Ghosts)

-G.C. Waldrep: 2 – 3 p.m.
(author of Testament, Your Father on the Train of Ghosts, and Disclamor)

Friday, April 10 

-Bruce Weigl: 11a.m. – 12 p.m.
(translator of The Secret of Hoa Sen)

-Nickole Brown: 1 – 2 p.m.
(author of Fanny Says)

-Devin Becker: 2 – 3 p.m.
(author of Shame | Shame)

Saturday, April 11 

-Robin McLean:11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
(author of Reptile House)

-Robert Thomas: 1 – 2 p.m.
(author of Bridge)

We’ll see you in Minneapolis!

March 24, 2015

Nin Andrews featured on NPR affiliate Prosody, WESA 90.5 FM

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This past weekend, BOA poet Nin Andrews was featured on-air for Prosody, a public radio show for NPR affiliate WESA 90.5 FM. In a fantastic interview, Andrews read from her forthcoming collection Why God Is a Woman.

Set on a magical island where women rule and men are the second sex, Why God Is a Woman is the story of a boy who, exiled from the island because he could not abide by its sexist laws, looks back with both nostalgia and bitterness and wonders: Why does God have to be a woman? Celebrated prose poet Nin Andrews creates a world both fantastic and familiar in which gender roles are turned upside-down, and where all myths, logic, and institutions support the dominance of women.

Prosody, which airs every Saturday morning on WESA 90.5 FM, is Western Pennsylvania’s only regularly scheduled radio program featuring contemporary poets and writers.

Click here to listen to the full episode, with poetry reading by Nin Andrews!

Why God Is a Woman is in stock now, only at the BOA Bookstore until its May publication date. Get your copy early!

SAVE THE DATE | ROCHESTER

BOA is glad to be collaborating with the Rochester Contemporary Art Center again this June 23, 2015, for our annual “Poetry Is Jazz” event, hosted at RoCo during its 6x6x2015 exhibition, and during the Rochester International Jazz Festival.

The event will feature a poetry reading and book signing by Nin Andrews, from her new book Why God Is a Woman, which will be accompanied by live jazz music and painting.

March 24, 2015

Erika Meitner discusses favorite books, poems

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In a fascinating Q&A with Please Excuse This Poem, BOA poet Erika Meitner discusses her “favorites,” including the first and favorite books she’s ever read.

Included among the first poems she has ever read and loved are Lucille Clifton’s “Admonitions” and “Roots,” both from a copy of Contemporary American Poetry, edited by the late BOA founder A. Poulin, Jr., which she bought  at a library sale when she was 15 years old.

Erika Meitner is most recently the author of Copia. This fourth book by Meitner grapples with the widespread implications of commercialism and over-consumption, particularly in exurban America. Documentary poems originally commissioned by Virginia Quarterly Review examine the now-bankrupt city of Detroit, once the thriving heart of the American Dream. Meitner probes the hulking ruins of office buildings, tract housing, superstores, construction sites, and freeways–exposing a vacuous world of decay and abandonment–while holding out hope for re-birth from ashes.

Click here for the full Q&A with Erika Meitner.

Copia is available now at the BOA Bookstore.

March 18, 2015

PW calls McLean’s REPTILE HOUSE ‘darkly poetic’

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According to a new fiction review from Publishers Weekly, Robin McLean’s May collection of short stories, Reptile House, ”moves seamlessly from adultery to kidnapping, from assassination plots to extreme geothermal events, all in a voice that is spare and darkly poetic.”

The fascinating characters in these nine short stories abandon families, plot assassinations, nurse vendettas, tease, taunt, and terrorize. They retaliate for bad marriages, derail their lives with desires and delusions, and wait decades for lovers. How far will we go to escape to a better dream? What consequences must we face for hope and fantasy? Probing the dark underbelly of human nature and want, Robin McLean’s stories are strange, often disturbing and funny, and as full of foolishness and ugliness as they are of the wisdom and beauty all around us.

McLean’s stories offer “strangely realistic glimpses into conflicts that are equal parts surreal and hyper-realistic, rendered by a voice that gracefully juxtaposes terse reportage and lyrical insight. The result is a taut volume that explores the fate of the dashed dreamer, offering charming insights into the untidy worlds of people who are not where they thought they’d be.”

Read the full review here. 

Newly printed copies of Reptile House are available now, only at the BOA Bookstore until its May publication date! Click here to get it early!

March 11, 2015

Poem from COPIA featured in NYT Magazine

Copia_Bookstore

Erika Meitner’s poem “Outside the Abandoned Packard Plant,” from her recent BOA book Copia, was featured in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. The poem was selected by former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey as the newly relaunched magazine’s poem of the week.

According to the feature, “There is a driving rhythm in this poem — the industry of crickets, the forward motion of the lines — even as there is no man-made machinery at work in the defunct auto plant. The contrast between the two heightens the tension between what is lost and the image, in the last line, of a possible future.

Erika Meitner’s fourth book grapples with the widespread implications of commercialism and over-consumption, particularly in exurban America. Documentary poems originally commissioned by Virginia Quarterly Review examine the now-bankrupt city of Detroit, once the thriving heart of the American Dream. Meitner probes the hulking ruins of office buildings, tract housing, superstores, construction sites, and freeways–exposing a vacuous world of decay and abandonment–while holding out hope for re-birth from ashes.

Outside the Abandoned Packard Plant

By Erika Meitner

closed fifty-four years, the crickets
are like summer, are like night

in a field, but it is daytime. It is August.
There is no pastoral in sight — only

Albert Kahn’s stripped factory, acres
of busted and trembling brick facade

so vast there must be thousands
of crickets rubbing their wings

beneath makeshift thresholds of PVC
piping tangled in ghetto palm saplings

growing through a deflated mattress top
tossed over rusted industrial metal the shape

of an elephant dropped on its knees
dispensing invisible passengers into

moats of rubble dappled with what?
These crickets, their industrious wings

mimicking silence and song, lonely
background, until one beat-up maroon

Buick flies down Concord, accelerating
like the road just keeps going, like he’ll

actually get away with whatever he’s doing,
then two white cop cars, Doppler sirens

shrieking and braiding, but it is peaceful
other than that — you might think

you’re in the country as in not the city
as in wilderness under the bridge that used to say

MOTOR CITY INDUSTRIAL PARK
and now just punched out eyes and ARK

Click here to see the New York Times Magazine feature.

Erika Meitner’s Copia is available at the BOA Bookstore.