April 11, 2014

Conversing with Flowers of a Moment

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In a wonderfully unconventional piece on Ko Un’s Flowers of a Moment (BOA, 2006), Dave Bonta of Via Negativa says, “Tonight, I don’t feel like pretending to be a book reviewer. (Does it really matter what I have to say about a guy who’s been nominated so many times for the Nobel Prize?) Tonight I would rather respond to a few of Ko Un’s brief poems as if he were right here, sharing drinks and conversation.”

Bonta continues, attempting an intimate “conversation” in verse with selections from Flowers of a Moment.

Here are a few conversation excerpts we especially enjoy:

Ko Un: From across the river
the sound of a bell reached the two of us
for us to listen to together
The sound of a bell reached us

We had decided to part
but then we decided not to part

Bonta: I remember the big bronze temple bells in Japan, how they boomed rather than clanged, the sound going on and on: the bells of Mt. Hiei that I listened to with a lover as we gazed into each other’s eyes, and the bell at Ikkyu’s old temple in the country where I trespassed one night so I could stand inside  it, whispering hello to the spiders and the thousand-year-old bronze.

Ko Un: No need to know its whereabouts

A small spring in a mountain ravine
is like a sister
a younger sister
like a long lost younger sister
now found again

Bonta: The whole point of drinking, it seems to me, is that moment of recognition.  I’ve had brotherly feelings toward mosquitoes sinking their drilling rigs into my arm.

Ko Un: A warship moves through the sea
near Paekryong Island in the Yellow Sea
Not one seagull’s in sight
The sea
looks as if someone has disappeared in it
I’m carrying an empty soju bottle

Bonta: When war becomes permanent, who but a poet or crackpot remembers the kind of peace that doesn’t involve desolation? The deafening howl of A-10 fighter jets can linger for half a minute after they’ve passed from view, the air like a fresh wound that hasn’t yet learned how to bleed. Then, slowly, the whine of cicadas, and this old wrinkle of earth goes back to being a mountain.

Co-translator Gary Gach also recognized Ko Un at a reading honoring and launching Flowers of a Moment.  ”He’s like a waterfall,” Gach says of Ko Un and his 100+ published works. Click here to listen to the reading.

Click here to read the whole “conversation” in the Via Negativa review.

April 11, 2014

Little Star Weekly features Sepehri’s The Oasis of Now

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BOA translation The Oasis of Now is featured on the Little Star Weekly blog! The Iranian translation carries poems from the late Sohrab Sepehri, translated from the Persian by Kazim Ali and Mohammad Jafar Mahallati.

Sepehri lived his life as a poet and a painter. The review notes: “In the mid-sixties he resigned a government position and traveled extensively in China, Japan, and India, developing a deep interest in Buddhism and Hindu philosophy, and devoting himself thereafter  to painting and poetry. This encounter with eastern meditative traditions converged in his work with an affinity for mystical Sufism.”

“He followed Nima Youshij, Ahmad Shamlou, and other poets of the time in moving away from traditional Iranian forms toward an unrhymed, unmetered ‘New Poetry,’ which departed from the courtly traditions of Persian verse, embraced colloquial language and everyday experience, and conversed with European modernism. The result was a deeply personal, meditative verse that was disdained by the leftist intellectuals of his own generation but has been rediscovered by young contemporary Iranians seeking more personal freedoms and rejecting dogmatic authoritarianism. His work shares with the Buddhist poetry of China and Japan an attentive stillness and reverence for the natural world.”

Click here to read the entire Little Star Weekly feature.

The Oasis of Now is available for purchase at the BOA Bookstore.

To celebrate National Poetry Month, BOA is offering FREE SHIPPING on any order through April 30! Enter promo code BOAPOETRY in the discount box at checkout to save.

April 10, 2014

Publishers Weekly on Revising the Storm

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According to Publishers Weekly, Geffrey Davis’ debut collection Revising the Storm is “an account of selfhood, origin, and meaning in the face of an absent father and broken relationships.”

His collection, stocked full of memories, is a search for meaning and repair. “Throughout its three sections, the engine powering the collection runs on retrospection and introspection, and a fierce questioner, challenging the accuracy of the observations, is always at the wheel.”

Writing about such topics as childhood, a drug-addicted father, familial love, and self reflection, Davis speaks on a personal level. “Acutely aware of myriad meanings to each assertion and of the many versions of each story, these poems are strongest where they push through poetic narrative about personal experience to create poetry where storytelling itself is subverted … Continuously challenging himself to ‘[t]ell it right this time,’ Davis displays an elegant tenacity that begs to be unleashed on subjects beyond personal history.”

Click here to read the entire Publishers Weekly review.

To purchase a copy of Revising the Storm, visit the BOA Bookstore.

To celebrate National Poetry Month, BOA is offering FREE SHIPPING on any order through April 30! Enter promo code BOAPOETRY in the discount box at checkout to save.

April 10, 2014

The World Shared is ‘an echo of old Europe’

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Recently, poet Michael Dennis featured new BOA translation The World Shared on his blog as the book of the day. “Reading Dariusz Sosnicki is a bit like Vladimir Mayakovsky running into Wislawa Szymborska on a train, they sit down with the patient Raymond Carver and start to hack out poems,” he writes. “These melancholy poems read a little like fables, a little like common knowledge.”

The World Shared, a bilingual Polish-English collection by Dariusz Sosnicki, translated by Piotr Florczyk and Boris Dralyuk, carries a “thoroughly modern voice,” but also an “echo of old Europe singing background serenades.”

At times, the imagery and idioms selected by poets from the common imaginative realm of their own cultures do not easily make the leap to another culture in translation; but according to the review, “Piotr Floczyk and Boris Dralyuk have assuredly found Sosnicki’s real voice for us.”

Sosnicki’s exploration of the world we share with every created thing is enlightening and encouraging.  “Civilization can be a disquieting disappointment; Sosnicki chips away at its under-carriage in the service of truth and beauty. The World Shared makes our world smaller, more approachable, in this ever expanding universe.

Click here to read the entire feature.

The World Shared is available now at the BOA Bookstore!

To celebrate National Poetry Month, BOA is offering FREE SHIPPING on any order through April 30! Enter promo code BOAPOETRY in the discount box at checkout to save.

April 04, 2014

Lee Upton is awarded The Kirkus Star and new reviews

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Lee Upton’s new fiction collection The Tao of Humiliation is making big waves, with one month still to go until its official publication date. Having received The Kirkus Star (“awarded to books of exceptional merit”) and new reviews from both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, the BOA Short Fiction Prize winner is a hit.

According to Kirkus, these are “masterful stories by a writer of great lyrical gifts.” The review continues, “Upton specializes in ending her stories with epiphanies that can be searing in their poignancy. These 17 tales explore personal and familial relationships with both pathos and humor—and all are well worth reading.”

Publishers Weekly is calling the collection ” a smart and highly entertaining book.” According to the review, Upton’s stories are “playful, full of clever allusions that are deftly presented … Several pieces in the book are under 10 pages, and not so much plot-driven as high-concept. Upton’s story openings tend to be vivid; they’re great hooks.”

The Tao of Humiliation is available now at the BOA Bookstore. In honor of National Poetry Month, BOA is offering FREE SHIPPING on any order through April 30! Enter promo code BOAPOETRY in the discount box at checkout to save. Get your copy today!

The fourth annual BOA Short Fiction Prize is currently open for submissions through May 31. Click here for complete guidelines and requirements.

April 04, 2014

Happy National Poetry Month 2014!

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Happy National Poetry Month!

To celebrate this gorgeous month of verse, we’re offering FREE SHIPPING on any BOA Bookstore order through April 30! Give the gift of poetry this month, with the goal to put more poetry into more hands. Simply use promo code BOAPOETRY in the discount box at checkout to save!

There are lots of fun things going on this month. Here are a few you don’t want to miss:

Writer’s Digest 2014 April Poem-A-Day (PAD) Challenge:

Each day in April, Writer’s Digest will provide a poetry prompt on its website, from which you can write a daily poem. Submit each day’s poem in the respective post’s “comments” section. A pool of 30 different guest judges will choose their favorite poems, one for each day. All winning poems will be included in the Poem Your Heart Out anthology published by Words Dance Publishing.

Numerous BOA authors will serve as guest judges for the 2014 PAD Challenge, including: Bob Hicok (Plus Shipping, 1998); Jillian Weise (The Book of Goodbyes, 2013); Nin Andrews (Sleeping with Houdini, 2007; forthcoming Why God is a Woman, 2015); and Erika Meitner (forthcoming Copia, 2014). Click here for more information and the Writer’s Digest PAD Challenge guidelines.

Academy of American Poets (Poet-to-Poet Project and Poem in Your Pocket Day):

-This month, The Academy of American Poets is inviting students in grades 3 – 12 to participate in the Poet-to-Poet Project by writing poems in response to those shared by Academy Chancellors (including BOA poet Naomi Shihab Nye) in a series of videos on Poets.org. Students are encouraged to submit their poems by April 30 for a chance to be published on the site! Click here to learn more.

-Save the date: Poem in Your Pocket Day 2014 will be held on Thursday, April 24. On Poem in Your Pocket Day, people throughout the United States select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others throughout the day. You can also share your poem selection on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

We wish you a lovely National Poetry Month!

April 02, 2014

Booklist: Revising the Storm is ‘wonderfully complex’ and ‘entertaining’

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Booklist is also paying attention to Geffrey Davis’ new collection Revising the Storm, calling it a “wonderfully complex and entertaining debut.”

Much of Revising the Storm centers on family. “Thematically, Davis hits some strong subjects: missing fathers, marriage and divorce, early years and rebirth, all painful twists of reality and even sentimentality that make families too close for comfort yet often beyond reach … Davis’ poems are sweeping, lyrical glimpses into masculinity, violence, drug use, and history.”

Instead of escaping them, Davis is able to revise these subjects and experiences into something strikingly beautiful. According to the review, Davis is a “gifted wordsmith,” and “these poems are fresh and well-chiseled in word and line.”

Revising the Storm is now available at the BOA Bookstore.

To celebrate National Poetry Month, BOA is offering FREE SHIPPING on any order through April 30! Enter promo code BOAPOETRY in the discount box at checkout to save.

April 02, 2014

Booklist calls The Tao of Humiliation ‘mastery of the short form’

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According to a new Booklist review, Lee Upton’s The Tao of Humiliation is an “entertaining collection,” which will “appeal to fans of a variety of literary authors, such as Grace Paley, Edith Pearlman, and Louis Nordan.”

That’s high and rightful praise. In this 17-story collection of irony, mourning, humor, and satire, ”Upton, award-winning poet and literary critic, shows her mastery of the short form.” Abundant with “fascinating characters who confront and confound readers,” Upton creates a similarly wide variety of situations — loss, insight, betrayal, and, of course, humiliation — with a “lightness of touch.”

“She draws her unforgettable characters with decisiveness, using voice, point of view, and a variety of narrators. Many of the stories are very funny. Irony, satire, the gift of the apt phrase, and the occasional slapstick scene will delight readers.”

The Tao of Humiliation has been printed and delivered to BOA’s doorstep! Get your copy at the BOA Bookstore today, and we’ll deliver it to yours.

To celebrate National Poetry Month, BOA is offering FREE SHIPPING on any order through April 30! Enter promo code BOAPOETRY in the discount box at checkout to save.

March 27, 2014

The Journal calls The Oasis of Now an ‘exquisite collection’

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In a recent weekend feature for The Journal, reviewer Sonja James calls Sohrab Sepehri “one of Iran’s most widely respected poets from the 20th century.” Sepehri’s The Oasis of Now is translated from the Persian by Kazim Ali and Mohammad Jafar Mahallati. “As translators, Ali and Mahallati have rendered an exquisite collection that captures not only Sepehri’s love of nature but his constant struggle with the theme of the loneliness of the poet making his way through the world.”

The review notes Sepehri’s emphasis on loneliness as “the fate of the poet,” an inherent element of the poet’s journey. In The Oasis of Now, Sepehri uses nature imagery to convey the creative, yet often isolated, realm of the poet’s life.

According to the review, the title poem is “one of the most hauntingly beautiful poems in the volume.”  In it, Sepehri extends the poet’s experience to the whole human race. “How lonely humans are here,” he writes, uniting Earth, humanity, and the poet with the same melancholy solitude.

“As a whole, Sohrab Sepehri’s The Oasis of Now is a volume celebrating the joys and sorrows of a poet as he journeys through life. Sepehri’s poems are wise and elegant and mysterious as they teach us that solitude is often the mother of breathtaking beauty.”

Click here to read the entire The Journal review.

Visit the BOA Bookstore to purchase The Oasis of Now today!

March 27, 2014

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Daniels ‘turns a mill town into poetry everytime’

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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is calling Jim Daniels’ new collection Birth Marks “the essential handbook into the goings-on in author Jim Daniels’ life … Between dark humor and unwholesome love, the poet gives us an unblinking view of the alcoholism in his family, the struggles of the working class and the shame he has felt surrounding it all.”

Reviewer Daeja Baker writes, “Mr. Daniels is trying to find himself in this mess of Michigan memories, searching his own adolescence, crouching in the ‘sin pits’ of his past, longing for his words to fill him with the ‘familiar Detroit way’ once again.”

In his 14th poetry collection, Daniels is candid about his past, taking an uncensored approach to his experiences in such urban landscapes as Detroit and Pittsburgh.

“Like Jim Daniels we try to clear a path to understanding where we’re going as we age, by looking as deeply into the ground as we can dig, and as far back into the past that our minds can reach … Without that first love that died prematurely, or watching the Tigers’ 30th win in ’68 after the riots, or letting go of that taste for alcohol, who would Jim Daniels be? He wouldn’t be the man who turns a mill town into poetry for us every time.”

Click here to read the entire Pittsburgh Post-Gazette review.

To purchase a copy of Jim Daniels’ Birth Marks, visit the BOA Bookstore.