Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reading & Publication Party with Sugar House Review

To celebrate the release of our new issue, Ken Sanders Rare Books is hosting a reading with some of our local contributors on Wednesday, December 29th at 7:00 p.m. (268 South 200 East, Salt Lake City). Readers include Curtis Jensen, Sandy Anderson, Rob Carney, Andrew Haley, Sundin Richards, and Michael McLane. Copies of the newest issue and back issues will be available.

Curtis Jensen is an MFA candidate in the Creative Writing Program at Brooklyn College. His work is forthcoming in The Equalizer and The Bridge. He is the author of five chapbooks, and he co-curates the Prospect literary series. Previous to Brooklyn, he has lived and worked in Utah, Wyoming and Ukraine. He maintains a blog at http://theendofwaste.blogspot.com.

Sandy Anderson has been involved in organizing and giving poetry readings and workshops since 1965. She was a founding member of Salt Lake Younger Poets in the 1960’s, Word Affair in the 70’s and she worked for nearly two decades as the guiding force behind the City Art Poetry Series, for which she has been honored for her tireless efforts on behalf of other writers by the City of Salt Lake and Park City’s Writers at Work Series. She is the author of two books – Jeanne Was Once a Player of Pianos and At the Edge in White Robes.

Rob Carney is the author of Weather Report (Somondoco Press, 2006) and Boasts, Toasts, and Ghosts (Pinyon Press, 2003), both winners of the Utah Book Award for Poetry—and two chapbooks: New Fables, Old Songs and This Is One Sexy Planet. His newest book, Story Problems, is out this fall (Somondoco Press, 2010). His work has been published in dozens of journals and in Flash Fiction Forward (W.W. Norton, 2006).

Andrew Haley’s poems, translations, and short stories have appeared in Girls With Insurance,
Otis Nebula, STOP SMILING, Quarterly West, Western Humanities Review, Zone and other journals.

Michael McLane completed an MFA in Creative Writing at Colorado State University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, The Laurel Review, Interim, Colorado Review, and Sugar House Review, among others. He is a minister, loves Western history, and has a permanent 5 o’clock shadow.

Sundin Richards’ poems have appeared in Girls With Insurance, Zone, Colorado Review, Interim,Volt, Cricket Online Review, Elixir and Western Humanities Review, where he won first place in the 1999 Utah Writers’ Contest. His book The Hurricane Lamp is forthcoming from ONLS press. He lives in Salt Lake City.

For more information please call or email:
Ken Sanders Rare Books
268 South 200 East
(801) 521-3819

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pushcart Prize Nominations

Sugar House Review is lucky and honored and still amazed to have Paul Muldoon's poem from our first issue (Fall/Winter 2009) included in Pushcart Prize XXXV--Best of the Small Presses, which is out now and available for purchase. We have a copy and recommend it, not only because of Muldoon's poem, but because it's a great anthology of work, illustrating the wonderful job small presses are doing.

This new Pushcart anthology signals not only a great collection, but also that it's time for this year's nominations. We had a difficult time narrowing it down to six, because we love all of the work we've published this past year. Here are the six poems we nominated:

  • Steven Cramer's "Versions of Mandelstam" (v3)
  • Yolanda Franklin's "Porch Sitters Sippin' Sweet Tea in Heaven" (v2)
  • Randall R. Freisinger's "Alien Sex" (v2)
  • William Kloefkorn's "Sundown Syndrome" (v2)
  • Janet Sylvester's "Away From the Flock" (v2)
  • Pimone Triplett's "I Dream of Jeannie: Parabolic Lens" (v3)

Congratulations to these six poets!

We want to thank all of our contributors--obviously, we wouldn't have any Sugar without you--we appreciate you and your work.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Poets of the American West

About a month ago, Nathaniel and I attended a reading for the anthology New Poets of the American West in Tremonton, Utah on the Holmgren Historical Farm. It was an amazing evening--a reading in the barn, with a bon fire to follow. Such a beautiful setting and beautiful work.

A couple of weeks after that, a few of our editors attended the Helicon West reading in Logan, Utah (posted previously on this blog) also featuring poets from the new anthology. It was another excellent evening of poetry and several of the poets at both readings have had work in Sugar House Review. If you don't already have a copy of the anthology, we here at the Sugar, endorse it--it's big, it's Western and it has some great poets.

Rob Carney has two poems in our current issue--he read part of one of them that night.

Star Coulbrooke has three poems in our first issue, is the founder of Helicon West and organizer of this evening's reading, plus she won editor's choice award for her poem in this anthology.

Michael Sowder has three poems in the current issue of SHR.

Chris Kokinos

Katherine Coles, Utah's Poet Laureate

You might not guess it, but Utah really has some incredible writers. Tomorrow night at Helicon West (Thurs., Nov. 11) our review editor, Mike McLane will be reading with Rob Carney. Both of their work is great, so if you're around, go see them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Where Have All the Stanzas Gone?

Stanza breaks, people. Stanza breaks. Stanza breaks? People? What happened to stanza breaks? Why this trend of what many of us call "the blob?" Where, oh where have all the stanzas gone? And why do people think readers no longer need a break? Or a little guidance?

Over the last year, I've read more poetry than I have in my entire life. Not because I'm being a diligent reader, but because I'm being a moderately-diligent editor. Reading other people's poetry in mass quantities has given me a wider, much more clear picture of the contemporary poet population's trends. Much is good. Much is mediocre. Some is bad (dripping orange orgasms, for instance).

One trend that particularly worries is the lack of stanzas. I read a lot of submissions without a single stanza break. By the end of such submissions, I am gasping for air--I have been given no time to breathe for an entire five poems. Poets? Why oh why would you do this to either of us?

The stanza break gives your message space. It gives the reader some room to take a breath, a moment to contemplate what's going on. The stanza break gives you as a writer a way to pace your work, a way to tell the reader how to proceed, where to take that breath. It gives you more control.

Thomas Sayers Ellis, one of my advisers during my masters program, says that each stanza is a room and a poet must decide how the reader will enter that room. The most obvious way is the door, but what if you take a helicopter and come in through the roof or climb up through the window? The more rooms a poem has, the more opportunities the poet has to direct the reader through the house. And what if you never actually create your rooms? Well then, you have no control over how anyone enters or exits your work.

I'm not saying every poem needs stanza breaks. There are clearly instances where a lack of stanza breaks actually helps the poem, enforces a message of being strangled, of being squished, of emulating a giant jello mold. My argument is that there are far fewer poems that are made stronger by a lack of stanza breaks, than the opposite.

So seriously, give me a break. I want a stanza break (or two or three or ten). People! Poets! Poets and people who submit, it's time to give us all a chance, a break, a breath, some room to rest our little poet heads.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Helicon West Reading Series

For all of you in the Northern Utah area, those who plan to be, or those who want an excuse to be, here is a list of upcoming events at the Helicon West Reading Series:

Oct. 14: Community writing group ("Groop") and League of Utah Writers
October 28: New Poets of the American West--poets from the new anthology
Nov. 11: Rob Carney and Mike McLane

Several poets reading on Oct. 28 and both poets on Nov. 11 have work in Sugar House Review. We'll be there--come say hi.

Helicon West is held the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month at the True Aggie Cafe (117 N. Main St.) at 7 p.m. in Logan, Utah. There is an open mic after the featured readers.

As a side note, we know we've been horrible at keeping this blog up, but hopefully this post is a step in the right direction to getting our lazy editor butts typing.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Man and Camel - The Precarious Dance of Poetry

In "Man and Camel," Mark Strand offers us a beautiful poem in which a narrator is smoking on their porch and sees a man and camel walking by. The man and camel sing a mysterious song.

A full copy of the poem is available here:

Through the course of the poem, the narrator reveals the meaning of the metaphor "man and camel." He states that the pair "seemed/an ideal image for all uncommon couples." The man and camel have nearly disappeared from the narrator's sight, but they return to the porch after the metaphor has been revealed:

... They stood before my porch
staring up at me with beady eyes, and I said:
"You ruined it. You ruined it forever."

In this poem, revealing the metaphor is very effective. It seems to warn poets not to reveal too much in their poems. Readers often have the desire to know what a poem "means," especially if they are new to poetry. A good poem causes us to reflect and consider the meaning. The meaning may seem different to various people, or may even seem to change to an individual over the course of their lifetime.

"Man and Camel" draws our attention to the fact that there is such a delicate balance to a poem. A poem needs to be clear enough to connect with the reader, but still needs to hold back from telling everything.

--John Kippen

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The World Cup

The 2010 FIFA World Cup begins in South Africa on Friday June 11th. A fever is coming like a fiend in anguish; waiting, anticipating, even watching the glitchy, snow storm looking Spanish channels for whatever obscure match will pass the time.

Football. Soccer. FĂștbol. The words mean the same. Words for ‘the beautiful game.’ The World Cup is the most watched event on Earth, surpassing the likes the Olympics, Super Bowl, and women’s Roller Derby Finals.

Nelson Mandela remarked that “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite in a way that little else does.” Perhaps this is why every four years nearly all nations attempt to qualify for the World Cup, regardless of civil war, political strife or being governed by a despot.

The scope and reach of the game is stunning. While every country has its soccer pitches, from the greenest grasses to a dirt patch with sprinkles of broken glass, every country also has its poets.

In anticipation of the opening match which features Mexico vs South Africa, here are a couple poets of those respective countries, as found in The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry edited by J.D. McClatchy.


when you think of your country
you see
plaits and glasses; an old dog full of blood;
and a horse drowned in the river; a mountain on fire;
a space and two people without teeth in bed;
dark figs against sand; a road, poplars,
house, blue, ships of cloud;
reeds; a telephone;
you see

when you think of your country
you see
we must be strong; guts full of craters and flies;
the mountain is a butcher’s shop without walls;
over the thousand hills of Natal
the fists of the warriors like standards;
prisoners lie in the mud: you see
mines bursting with slaves; the rain
spatters high like sparks against the evening;
amongst the reeds the skeleton of the dwarf rots

when you think of your country
it is the end of all thought;
if it’s bright outside you throw the windows open;
you see the stars are arrows in the void;
you hear, as quiet as a rumor, don’t you?
“we are the people. we are black, but we don’t sleep.
we hear in dark how the thieves guzzle in the trees.
we listen to our power they cannon know, we listen
to the heart of our breathing. we hear the sun
shaking in the reeds of the night. we wait until
the devourers rotten and glutted fall from the branches–
a glutton will be known by his fruits–
or we’ll teach the pigs to climb trees.”

- Breyten Breytenbach, South Africa, translated by Ernest van Heerden

Along Galeana Street

Hammers pound there above
pulverized voices
From the top of the afternoon
the builders come straight down

We’re between blue and good evening
here begin vacant lots
A pale puddle suddenly blazes
the shade of the hummingbird ignites it

Reaching the first houses
the summer oxidizes
Someone has closed the door someone
speaks with his shadow

It darkens There’s no one in the street now
not even this dog
scared to walk through it alone
One’s afraid to close one’s eyes

- Octavio Paz, Mexico, translated by Elizabeth Bishop*

*I am a blog novice. The formatting on the Paz poem is not correct, I've been monkeying around with it for 30 minutes and still can't get it right. Many apologies, so sorry -- Jerry

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sugar House Review & Weston Cutter on Verse Daily

Weston Cutter's superb poem "I Want You," (from issue #2 of Sugar House Review) is today's poem on Verse Daily.

Thanks Verse Daily! You have spectacular taste.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rane Arroyo: 1954 - 2010

My contact with Rane was limited to a handful of email correspondences. But it didn't take much to be struck by his generous nature and candid personality. I'm saddened by his death.

Sugar House Review
was brand new. We existed only as a web page and (I think) a listing on Duotrope.com. In fact, at that point, we weren't "relevant' enough to have our own Wikipedia entry. Believe me. I tried.

So I'm not sure how or where Rane heard of us, but he e-mailed and introduced himself (he had spent a lot of time in Utah) and asked if we would be interested in considering some of his work for our magazine. I admit, at that time I wasn't very familiar with Rane's work. But I knew of him. I knew the University of Arizona had done a couple of his books. And that was enough for our brand new magazine to be excited.

The more familiar I become with Rane and his poetry, the more lucky I feel that he found us and that we had the chance to include his poems in our debut issue. Rane's poetry exhibits a fearless generosity that never becomes tired. It is both musical and accessible, personal and universally relevant.

After Rane received his contributor copies he conveyed a deep satisfaction at being published in a Utah poetry magazine--a sort of peace-making with the Utah of his past. His words ring with me. I find that poetry, or probably any creative endeavor, can serve as a way to link us to our former selves, to look into the eyes of--even if we can't make peace with--our past.

Rane said it best in the conclusion to his poem, "Always" (linked here), What an education: / poetry always demands all my ghosts.

Thank you, Rane. Rest in Peace.

--Nathaniel Taggart


Flowers in Florence

Two of the daffodils are dressed

in glowing faces; three of them

grimace in gold masks: resurrection
poses. What's not to love, this

half-spent day? These blossoms are
alternative suns on a cloudy

noon: five sisters gossiping with
spring's army of gray. The astral

plane must be beautiful in order
to tempt some of us from this ache

we call yellow that is in and of this
world. These flowers possess the plain

grace of specificity: five
gold coins not long for my cold hands.

--Rane Arroyo
from The Portable Famine
BkMk Press, 2005

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pushcart Prize!

Paul Muldoon's "Capriccio in E Minor for Blowfly and Strings"--the 1st poem printed in the in the debut edition of Sugar House Review--will be included in the 2011 Pushcart Prize Anthology.

Whilst we realize that most of this is due to incredible luck--mostly the luck inherent in getting that lovely poem from Muldoon--we can't help but feel a need to celebrate.


We're not sure about the exact volume of submissions that the Pushcarts receive, but we know it's a lot. Most literary journals and small book publishers nominate work they've published (up to 5 pieces a year). For the 2010 edition, 63 pieces were chosen for inclusion. We imagine the number will be similar for 2011. The fiction, poems and essays contained within the anthologies is one of the most esteemed encapsulations of great work for that year. The anthologies are also widely available (in terms of literary anthologies) at booksellers and news-stands.

Here's more about the Pushcart Prize Anthology.


Thank you Paul Muldoon. So much.

Thank you to our subscribers and contributors and all of those that allow us to review their work for publication in our little magazine.

And thank you Bill Henderson and the editors/advisers of the Pushcart Prize.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A capella Zoo: another journal you should check out.

If you haven't seen A capella Zoo, you should check it out. Colin Meldrum and staff are doing a superb job of gathering work that fits within the realm of magical realism. Sample content for their new issue (#4) can be found below. Be sure to check out "Two Evenings" by R. Matthew Burke. If'n you dig, subscribe, and support independent publishing!

Check it out.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ken Brewer video

Here's a video about Utah's former poet laureate, Ken Brewer. We had three of his poems in our first issue. He was a great poet and great influence on Utah's poetry community.

A Song for Ken Brewer from USU Extension on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Photos of the Reading

The lovely audience

Jerry VanIeperen, Star Coulbrooke and Natalie Young

Carrie Farmer, Sandy Anderson, Adrianna Jorgensen and Shari Zollinger

Natalie Young and John Kippen

Star Coulbrooke, one of the poets in our first issue, took photos to document the Sugar House Review reading. Many thanks to you, Star.

We had a great turnout and all of the readers did an excellent job. Thanks to everyone who made it out to support us.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sugar House Review Reading

Sugar House Review poetry reading at City Art (Salt Lake City downtown library).

Wednesday, January 6, at 7 p.m.

Come if you can. Local contributors from our first issue will read some of their work:

Rob Carney
Shari Zollinger
Joanna Staughn
Star Coulbrooke
Brock Dethier
Michael McLane

Many thanks to Joel Long for scheduling us and letting us sell
Sugar House Review at City Art.