July 24, 2014

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

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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’

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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

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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”

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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

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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.

July 17, 2014

Life as a ‘balancing act’: Mid-American Review on Birth Marks

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Marked by its portrayals of the “post-industrial wastelands of Detroit and Pittsburgh,” the Mid-American Review describes Birth Marks as a navigation through the “loss of innocence, loss of life, loss of direction.”

“A family history of alcoholism, a dying city’s fevered baseball dreams, and an adolescence only half-remembered through a blur of narcotics, are woven together with masochistic wit, as Daniels plunges readers into a world where there is ‘Nothing to do but put it all out for the trash and start over.’”

Divided into four sections, Daniels’ new collection ultimately warns readers about the “balancing act” that life becomes. “Whether it’s the struggle to hold a family together, or a city, the fight to stay upright is ‘a matter of faith, like anything / with God and dog in it.’”

The full review can be found in the Mid-American Review: Vol. XXXIV, No. 2.

Birth Marks is available for purchase at the BOA Bookstore.

July 17, 2014

Poetry with brains: a 32 Poems review of Theophobia

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In a 32 Poems review of Bruce Beasley’s Theophobia, Luke Hankins taste-tests several poems both analytically and artistically, highlighting the theological, philosophical, and spiritual connotations of the collection. The reviewer suggests that Beasley’s poems “repeatedly raise the moral considerations inherent in the idea of a creator who is dreadful as well as glorious” and that such considerations are examined through the “lens of scientific learning.”

Though seemingly fascinated by the intellectual content of Beasley’s work, Hankins notes that the subject matter of his poems does not detract from the artfulness of Beasley’s writing, but rather reinforces the idea that “art convinces us that we are not alone in asking questions.” Beasley’s use of language is “an all encompassing metaphor” that “considers negative possibilities without faltering” and leaves the reader pondering the broad spectrum of spirituality without being subjected to “facile idealized assumptions.”  He compares this expression to “Keats’ idea of negative capability.”

Along with the impressive “brains” of the poetry, Hankins seems equally charmed by Beasley’s use of language as the “all-encompassing metaphor,”  his “brilliant and deep linguistic wit,” his fascination with etymology, and his ability to successfully “employ rarely used words.”

After a close reading examination of and philosophical engagement with numerous excerpts from Beasley’s poetry collection, Hankins provides the following review of his experience:

“In reading Beasley’s work, I find myself in the presence of an intimidatingly broad intelligence– one that not only has a great store of knowledge but also makes associative leaps and linguistic ventures that probably would never have occurred to me. It is for that very reason that intimidation is replaced by curiosity, and curiosity accompanied by wonder. Here are poems that carry me along when I can’t keep up, and which pull me close in moments of frightening intimacy. Here are uncomfortable poems that feel as familiar as my own doubting mind. Here is beauty marred with hectic pace that reminds me of the churnings of my own soul. Here is a poetry deeply rewarding to those of us who, like Beasley, wrestle with the metaphysical implications of our world and our lives in it.”

If you would like to begin your own philosophical conversation with Beasley’s latest work, Theophobia, you can obtain a copy from the BOA bookstore.

Luke Haskins’ article, “Metaphysical Courage: A Review of Bruce Beasley’s Theophobia,” can be found in 32 Poems Spring 2014 Issue.

June 30, 2014

The Era of Not Quite is ‘alive with a searing sense of humor’

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Winner of the BOA Short Fiction Prize, Douglas Watson‘s fiction collection The Era of Not Quite is unique in its “sublimely serious play and playful seriousness,” says Heavy Feather review.

“When I read Douglas Watson’s debut story collection, The Era of Not Quite,” says the reviewer, “I was awash with a rare and nourishing feeling: that what I was reading was exactly what I needed to be reading at that time exactly. Each of his stories deals a dark and witty blow. The collection is alive with a searing sense of humor, with wild formal play. It cranked me up and it stomped me down. I’ve been recommending this book to everyone.”

Stirred by the relationship between life and art, Watson’s short stories are blazing with terror, humor, frailty, and tenderness–the combination of which, Christine Schutt suggests, “can mend a broken world.”

“In life,” Watson states in the Heavy Feather interview, “there’s no filter. Everything just comes at you from all sides at all times, and you don’t even have time to try to makes sense of it, because every day bring a new jumble of knives coming at you. Knives and other things. Whereas art is the product of reflection.” In these works of art, Douglas creates approachable narrators whose sharp wit and clever voices reveal the raw truths about life–both fortunate and unfortunate–that are often inescapable and unwarranted.

Click here to read the full Heavy Feather interview with author Douglas Watson.

June 30, 2014

World Literature Today: The Oasis of Now is ‘pulsing with life’

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The Oasis of Now, Sohrab Sepehri’s first publication in the United States, is praised by World Literature Today and Three Percent review for its ability to marry “our everyday senses and that of nature flawlessly.”

According to Word Literature Today‘s Nota Bene review: “Sepehri combines his rich knowledge of Buddhism, Sufi mysticism, and western traditions in the rapturous collection.” Because of this integration of several belief systems, Sepehri is seen as an emblem of justice and peace in Iranian culture. His poetry often appeared on signs, banners, and clothing during the 2009 Iranian election protests.

One of the five most popular poets of Persian New Poetry, Sepehri’s work focuses on celebrating the beauty that arises from the familiar and mundane. A Three Percent reviewer says, “I felt the need to slow down after reading these pieces, so much that I just wanted to walk around my apartment, look at things, without expectations, certain that if I waited long enough something beautiful would emerge out of its ordinariness.”

Sepehri saturates his poems in rich imagery and language, ultimately reconciling conflicting ideals and creating a peace he feels can be present in the existing, natural world.

World Literature Today says, “Pulsing with life, Sepehri’s poetry mourns and rejoices, celebrating the complex nature of the world and humanity’s place within it.”

Click here to read the entire World Literature Today Nota Bene review.

Click here to read the entire Three Percent review.

June 27, 2014

National Book Award-winning Mary Szybist will judge 14th Poulin Prize

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With the 14th annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize just around the corner, we are thrilled to announce that National Book Award-winning poet Mary Szybist will judge this year’s contest.

Mary Szybist is most recently the author of Incarnadine, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry. Her first collection of poetry, Granted, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the 2004 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, Szybist teaches at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

An annual competition, the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize is awarded to honor a poet’s first book, while also honoring the late founder of BOA Editions. The winner for the 14th annual prize, to be announced in the spring of 2015, will receive a $1,500 honorarium and book publication by BOA Editions, Ltd. in spring 2016, within The A. Poulin, Jr. New Poets of America Series. A foreword for the winning book will also be written by Mary Szybist.

There’s never been a better to time to get involved with BOA. Keep an eye out for contest updates and results on the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize submissions page, the BOA Blog, and Facebook and Twitter pages.