July 30, 2014

Late Night Library interview with poet Keetje Kuipers


In a new Late Night Library interview by co-founder and director Paul Martone, poet Keetje Kuipers reveals extremely personal aspects of her new book, The Keys to the Jail: “I challenged myself constantly in the poems in this book to write to emotional places that actually shamed me … I’m always trying to argue something in my poems. I’m never willing to give in to the complacent or passive, especially not when trying to translate some portion of my personal experience into poetry.”

The Keys to the Jail continues Elizabeth Bishop’s tradition of the art of losing, but delves deeper, asking the question of who is to blame for all we’ve lost. This new collection calls us to reexamine the harsh words of failed love, the aging of a once-beautiful body, and our own voracious desires.

In the interview, Kuipers touches upon the various underlying themes of her collection, including “theories of power and status when it comes to heterosexual relationships,” “foreverness,” “the mask of distance separating two friends,” and  ”the complications of attempting to reconcile one’s identities as a woman.”

Although Kuipers admits that the overall tone of her collection emulates a raw sadness, “full of loss and longing,” she also notes that the speaker of her poems “turns, if not hopeful, at least calm and clear-eyed enough to see that someday hope might be a possibility.”

According to interviewer Paul Martone: “I was thrilled to receive The Keys to the Jail from BOA Editions this spring … It’s damn good.”

Click here to read the entire Late Night Library interview with Keetje Kuipers.

The Keys to the Jail is now available for purchase through the BOA Bookstore.

July 30, 2014

AMTRAK travel blog calls Revising the Storm a summer must-have

Geffrey Davis  (smaller) - color

In the travel blog, “My Black Journey,” National Railroad Passenger Corporation AMTRAK named Revising the Storm one of five “sizzling books you must slip into your travel bag this summer.” Poet Geffrey Davis discusses his new A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize-winning book on the blog, as well as his favorite books, his start in writing, and his self-titled role as a “literary citizen.”

According to AMTRAK blogger Shydell James, Revising the Storm “gives voice to the realities of distance, time, space. This work challenges you to reevaluate your relationships to people, events and your personal version of stories as a way to reconnect to other people and give voice to a wider emotional truth.”

In the interview, Davis offers readers new perspectives on the poems, highlighting the purposefulness and urgency driving them. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

AMTRAK: Your book as been described as urgent. Why do you think that is?

DAVIS: These felt like poems I had to write. As I started making my own family, there’s a different kind of urgency with trying to repair and recover that idea of fatherhood, as I became a father myself. One of the last poems has to do with the birth of my own son.

AMTRAK: You refer to yourself as a literary citizen. What is that?

DAVIS: A literary citizen as opposed to just a writer is somebody who reads and promotes the work of others. One of the benefits of being a literary citizen is to get out of your own head and read amazing work that’s being produced by talented writers and provide a platform for them.

Click here to read the full interview.

Visit us at the BOA Bookstore to purchase your copy of Revising the Storm.

July 29, 2014

How LeBron James got Hugh Martin through the Iraq War

Image courtesy of www.grantland.com

In his featured Grantland essay, BOA author Hugh Martin (The Stick Soldiers, 2013) recalls playing high school basketball with LeBron James, getting dunked on by his then-14-year-old Ohio league rival, and “how the NBA superstar helped get him through the Iraq War.”

In great detail, Martin recounts the shaping experience of getting dunked on by LeBron: “I ran beside him, waiting to swing my hand at his next bounce, but I struggled to keep pace, moving my feet as quickly as possible next to his long, rhythmic strides. After three dribbles he jumped off one leg and I reached to grab his arm, to foul him, but he kept going. Higher. With his right hand, he cocked the ball back and catapulted it through the hoop. The ball bounced hard once off the gym floor and I caught it on the way up, stepped out of bounds, and threw it in to our guard, who looked right at me. ‘Shit,’ was all he said.”

As he shares later stories of his war encounters, Martin cites how these connections to LeBron followed him to Iraq and back again: “LeBron and the Cavs represented life in a place where I wanted to return. It wasn’t just his genius as a player. LeBron meant all those things I longed for and thought about incessantly as a 20-year-old in Iraq: boyhood, sports, community, Akron, Cleveland, Ohio in general … In Iraq, following LeBron helped me keep those parts of myself — athlete, civilian, Ohioan — alive as I lived this other, temporary life as a soldier.”

Published by BOA in April 2013, Martin’s Poulin Prize-winning collection The Stick Soldiers recounts his time in basic training, his preparation for Iraq, his experience withdrawing from school, and ultimately, the final journey to Iraq and back home to Ohio.

After deployment, Martin still circles back to his high school basketball days, to a time when LeBron was just a rival with splayed feet and hard-to-spell name, and when Martin had no foreseeable future as an Iraqi War veteran.

“On that court, LeBron is not the King yet; he’s just my man. I’m not a soldier, not a veteran, not someone who has known war intimately. September 11 hasn’t happened. Many of the future soldiers are living their childhoods and don’t know they will die in Mesopotamia — a place they might’ve studied in school. The civilians who will die in these wars are still alive. Some are yet to be born … When I see LeBron now, he is a symbol and a reminder of who I was before Iraq.”

Click here to read Martin’s entire Grantland essay, “Cheering LeBron in Jalula.”

To purchase The Stick Soldiers, visit us at the BOA Bookstore.

July 29, 2014

Mantis Review: Birth Marks is ‘cool…the best of mixed tapes’


According to a rave Mantis review, Birth Marks is “the ideal of hipness,” “the best of mixed tapes,” and “cool … Like the Detroit and Pittsburgh, baseball and Black Sabbath and road trips the book contains. Cool like Jim Daniels.”

The review notes Daniels’ ability to combine humor with “the elegantly understated” in his fourteenth poetry collection, comparing the poet to the likes of Frank O’Hara and the Black Mountain poets.

“Sitting down to read Birth Marks is a bit like drinking a high-protein smoothie made from O’Hara’s breath, Creeley’s observational skills, and Springsteen’s wisdom; in short: it is Daniels at his finest,” says reviewer D. Gilson. “Here is Daniels showing he can master tight form alongside long lines, elegy alongside comedy, and at his best, everything at once.”

With humorous style, the review calls Daniels “one of the key voices of his generation.”

“I love Birth Marks,” says Gilson. “It is essential reading for anyone writing or interested in contemporary American poetics … here Daniels delivers on the promise that indeed, contemporary poetry is alive and well; it is full of wisdom and fun again.”

Click here to purchase the most recent issue of Mantis.

Visit us at the BOA Bookstore to purchase your copy of Birth Marks.

July 28, 2014

NYTBR features ‘The Tao of Humiliation’ on Sunday Shortlist



Big news from the weekend for The Tao of Humiliation! The New York Times Book Review featured Lee Upton’s new fiction collection on its Sunday Shortlist, calling the stories “long, erudite, warmhearted and capable, brimming with scholarship and knowledge.”

According to the review, “Readers will want to live inside this wonderful book — not just in its parties and wrecked gatherings and sophisticated conversations but in the sentences themselves, which are genuine shelters … In its own way, each sentence is a container filled with something revelatory.”

Just released in May, The Tao of Humiliation is alternately chilling, funny, devastating, with stories that examine the course of humiliation. Introducing us to a theater critic who winds up in a hot tub with the actress he routinely savages in reviews; a biographer who struggles to discover why a novelist stopped writing; a student who contends with her predatory professor; and the startling scenario of the last satyr meeting his last woman, Upton’s characters backtrack into the past, then make their way forward with humiliation as their guide.

“Upton’s other life as a poet pervades this book,” says the NYTBR. “Over and over she settles her attention on something — an apple blossom one second, a sexually transmitted disease the next — and her imagination pauses time and narrative to pool around an image. Her treatment of history is also fascinating, and winningly breezy, as if it were just gossip from the past.”

Click here to read the entire NYTBR review.

The Tao of Humiliation is available for purchase at the BOA Bookstore.

July 24, 2014

Heavy Feather Review calls Birth Marks ‘masterful’ and ‘profound’


In a review that regards Jim Daniels’ Birth Marks as an expression of “the loss of the authenticity we experienced during our youth,” Heavy Feather Review analyzes the recurring motifs of authenticity and alienation in the recent poetry collection.

“Employing his masterful control of language, Daniels’ new book suggests that, much as we may be ‘marked’ during our youth by the imperfections of a dissolute society, from our subsequent perspective as adults, we may view our often flawed coming-of-age experiences as the most authentic ones of our lives.”

The review calls the poems “very amusing,” and speculates that the “profound irony that emerges” in Daniels’ poetry may be a reflection of the poet’s own “experiences while growing up in 1960s/70s Detroit.”

Click here to read the entire insightful and analytic discussion from Heavy Feather Review.

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

July 22, 2014

The World Shared is ‘destined to become an international classic’


A new “Weekender” review by West Virginia’s The Journal says Dariusz Sosnicki‘s new Polish translation The World Shared is “destined to become an international classic.”

Translated by Piotr Florczyk and Boris Dralyuk, the bilingual English/Polish collection is celebrated for its use of “contemporary issues such as global warming, urban life, and advances in technology” to explore the human condition.

“One of Poland’s foremost poets… Sosnicki is a fearless and tenacious intellectual whose poetry exhibits flashes of brilliance that illuminate our most obscure and often unacknowledged fears about contemporary life. He is also a cynic who knows how to hope. As such, he teaches us that human expression is a worthy cause,” says reviewer Sonja James.

In her final words on the poet and his collection, James says, “These poems of modern-day Poland unveil the shifting complexities of our human place in a natural world that by necessity includes the urban and advanced technology. Above all, Sosnicki is a poet who expresses the seamless interchange between our psyche and our surroundings.”

Click here to read the entire review from The Journal.

Visit us at the BOA Bookstore to purchase your copy of The World Shared!

July 21, 2014

The Stick Soldiers gives ‘voice and image’ to contemporary war


According to American Microreviews and InterviewsHugh Martin‘s debut collection of contemporary war poetry “joins a growing field of contemporary war poetry that includes Brian Turner, Seth Brady Tucker, and others. The Stick Soldiers gives readers a broad sense of his experience in basic training, deployment, combat, and return to civilian life.”

Selected by Cornelius Eady as winner of the A. Poulin, Poetry Prize, Martin “helps establish the point that like any soldier, there are prewar and postwar moments, too.”

Reviewer Mark Allen Jenkins claims that much of the collection’s strength comes from Martin’s exploration of the relationships between soldiers, as well as the difference between the expectation of war and the actual reality of war.

The poem “Nights in the Quadrilateral Pool of Sawdust and Sweat,” centers on the “familiarity in communal showers among a company of men who have spent enough time together to no longer feel awkward showering together.” As a result, the speaker is able to identify the other soldiers by the scars on their bodies, reflecting the intimate companionship these men share with each other. ”First Engagement” examines the tension and confusion that emerges in a soldier’s first combat, when his training meets actual combat. These are just two of “many of the poems in this compelling collection that [Jenkins] dog-eared for rereading.”

As America’s withdrawal from Iraq fades amidst more recent events, it becomes even more important to read books like The Stick Soldiers to give voice and image to just what contemporary war constitutes for soldiers like Martin.”

Click here to read the full review.

The Stick Soldiers is available for purchase at the BOA Bookstore.

July 18, 2014

BUST Magazine: Jillian Weise’s Poems “Set the World on Fire”

Image courtesy of BUST Magazine

In a recent BUST Magazine “Feminizzle” interview by Amy Carlberg, award-winning poet Jillian Weise discusses “new words, cyborgs, and burning patriarchy to the ground.” The poet offers her take on stereotypes within the writers’ circle, and on the assumptions readers, reviewers, and other writers often make about speakers in her poems.

Weise handles such topics as disability and discrimination, as experienced in her life and in her poetry, with the spunk and pluck of a true modern feminist, a girl defending her right to bear arms “at the shooting range, practicing [her] shot.”

“Moments after Jillian Weise left the stage of a poetry festival for which I volunteered,” says Carlberg, “she pressed a copy of her recent poetry collection, The Book of Goodbyes, into my hands without payment. It’s inscribed with one simple instruction: ‘Set the world on fire.’ It’s a brilliant manifesto for a young woman of any discipline, and one that punches through every line of Weise’s poetry.”

Click here to read the complete BUST Magazine interview, “I Can’t Pretend to Have No Response.”

Jillian Weise’s award-winning collection The Book of Goodbyes can be ordered online through the BOA Bookstore.

July 18, 2014

NPR interviews Lee Upton on writing, publishing, and her new book


In a recent NPR interview by Bathsheba Monk of WDIY, Lehigh Valley, author Lee Upton talks on-air about her new fiction collection The Tao of Humiliation, and how she is able to juggle writing, publishing, and teaching at Lafayette College.

According to novelist Monk, “Lee Upton’s stories in The Tao of Humiliation are startlingly original, emotionally compelling, and delicately crafted, making them that most satisfying of finds: a great read.”

Click here to listen to the full interview with Lee Upton.

The Tao of Humiliation is now available at the BOA Bookstore.