Tuesday, December 21, 2010
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
Sunday, November 21, 2010
- 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)
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
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.
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.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
These elements coalesce in The Book of Whispering, where Wilkinson has honed his craft to the point that he is now cutting, editing, and hand-painting the brief frames of his poems not before the screening, but as the reel is spinning. The transitions are sudden, dramatic, and yet in Wilkinson’s hands they occur with a seamlessness that is eerie, not so much like dreaming as they are like sleepwalking (a theme that recurs throughout his work)—the unsettling and yet strangely enlightening experience of waking up again and again in a strange place without knowledge of how one got there but knowing all too well that the body or the guide has motives and motions of its own. Such moments are many in Wilkinson’s work as in “light blew open the hutch & a boy saw it,” which ends:
attached to their seats. What of this will we remember with our hands?
What tent will find you as warm night air? How many stories were you
asked to bury & which ones did you bury?
around the hutch.
Or in “a brief history of the developer” where we are given a brief look inside the darkroom only to be redirected again and again:
the trees to charcoal, before the white fish were locked in the ice of the
fountain. I am the boy who took the pictures you’ve seen. This is my sister
who developed them without her gloves on. These are her hands.
since I found
the clawhammer in the mailbox
attached to a note
You will need this when I come back
skunk grasses lay flat, & a mare
sniffed them, spooked them.
tugged our laundry line down
& it brought the edge in
off the edge.
Despite the fragmentary framework of Wilkinson’s work, its emotive quality is remarkable. These are not confessional poems and one would be hard-pressed to confuse the anxiety and disorientation that frequents the poems with pathos or anything even bordering on catharsis. It is both easy and enjoyable to make the authorial fallacy in these poems, to make them biographical and place Wilkinson in his “kingdom of the phonebooth” or his “city of ferns and copper light.” It is all too tempting to see him as the boys listed in “deer & salt block.”
in from the orchard. One boy says the pantry wall will open if you say
an untold anagram of his name…
One boy took a long time in the bathtub reading the
comics. One boy loops a tractor chain to the ceiling fan & tears the
whole roof down.
carry the news in your top hat. You must reckon with the autumn’s sorcery
& take it to school in your thermos. You mustn’t clear the table with your
crows & you must remain asleep in the bunk no matter who arrives
Like the figures and landscape mentioned above, The Book of Whispering in the Projection Booth is ghostly and transient. Like a voice on a cell phone or radio that is slightly out of range, we catch Wilkinson’s missives in fleeting, crackling whispers only to have them disappear and materialize again a few feet later and hundreds of miles away. The book’s true grace is in how fluid the text feels and how it embraces its interruptions. We continue pursuing Wilkinson’s sleepwalkers, despite their irrationality and the instability of the ground. Like the speaker in “sparrowfield,”
light is falling all over, developing us in the sounds of the chase.
Friday, October 15, 2010
In the poem, “Nary A Soul” in Macgregor Card’s Duties of an English Foreign Secretary, Card’s speaker states:
If I no could
As the figure rotates its conductive high and low peaks through the charged field of the poem unfolding in time, energy is generated. Of course various devices might be operationalized to conserve and/or also generate more energy:
If I no could...
No, could NO could could...
From “The Merman’s Gift”:
“Take care forever, no!”
Nothing’s supposed to be there
In Duties of an English Foreign Secretary, Macgregor Card searches for (and finds!) those figural planes capable of expressing and so transmitting the energy of his nimble, terrifying, hilarious, melodic and significant poetic oscillations between sets of peak values: contemporary cityscapes to depth charges of historical conventions and texts; plunges into the complexities of a relationship (romantic and platonic modes both) to recoilings back from the social milieu; the subjective plane of present earth to the objective heights of the air, which turns out to be just as contingent in its flickering phenomena as anything perceived at the firmament. In the wash of the work’s music, points of equilibrium blister out of the text as certain subjective perspectives. Often roles such as juror, maudit, and my favorite: the sun’s own paned ajudicant. Roles are taken up or avoided, embraced or shunned, constituting another oscillational plane of the text. Oscillations set into the fields of other oscillations, e.g. in “Gone to Earth” a social interaction in the air permutates to a private kind of night in the tomorrow possible on the ground.
I’ll start to count, but it will pass
Haven’t seen one beast today
Gone to Earth
It is too near–maybe I can tell
It’s difficult to clear the air
Card’s struggle to manage the sonic/linguistic material of the poem is something that can be heard and read throughout Duties. In essence, Card shows his work at every turn (or return), thus his authority is transparent in his open struggle with the text’s material. We see, in fact, we hear and therefore feel, phrase by phrase, how Card made his compositional choices. Paradoxically it is Card’s quickness and poetic skill, his nimbleness in music, word play, and phrasal movement that makes the book wholly his own. So we have another oscillation, between transparency and mastery. But at certain moments it is this mastery that can sling the reader from the text. Certain moves perhaps might be considered over-nimble, moves so quick as to wrench the reader from the poem and into the dirt of pragmatics’ arena. Perhaps that is the cost of such productive experiments in the generation of energy through poetic oscillation. Nevertheless, through his precise management of affective devices, the motifs, melody, pathos, humor, rhyme and theme and variation mentioned previously (devices of which Dobbel was a master), Card by in large supports the reader throughDuties’ interelational unfolding, and in so doing he harnesses Duties’ high-charge oscillations to powerful poetry.
What geometries then could describe the energy dynamics of interelational oscillations such as those that Card executes in Duties of an English Foreign Secretary?
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.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Landscape with malcontents.
Landscape with syringes in a shoebox.
after privilege you told me you would bring me
back to the sea before I die.
Langan’s is a speaker admittedly in exile, though whether this is literal or psychic, self-imposed or otherwise seems always in flux. Admiration is juxtaposed with contempt, affection with disgust. Still, in his quietest, most fragile moments, he longs for the mother tongue, asking:
please, in plain flat
bully. Undocumented, suffering lapses,
certainly he’s come a long way,
but he’s still dangerous…
You flash into my mind, dear one,
and are exalted then extinguished.
with the article I was reading
about the misconstruction
of deconstruction? The TP,
your famous IUD, the brochure
from the cemetery where we
can buy our plots now
at all, not one tear, even though the darkness
has arrived, you remember light, don’t you,
and being moved to rapture by the singers,
their birdlike pronouncements in the final movement—
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
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
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Football. Soccer. Fútbol. 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
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;
when you think of your country
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
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
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
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.
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.
from The Portable Famine
BkMk Press, 2005
Monday, May 17, 2010
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
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!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
No whirling dervish on the radar, no radar, no brackets
no voices warning—no Voice—fugue of trees, lightning
Because we cannot know, we imagine
What will happen to me without you?
decided to give away and concludes:
I know how your hands smooth skin, stroke hair.
That much I allow myself to imagine of your body
Taken from me someday,
And the table—
Already spoken for by a young couple at the iron gate—
…Whoa, I said to my ordinary. To my stubborn. To fear’s
Onion smell welling up in my armpits. What we have here is a body
Created for me. A creature of wild and deadly desire. Bad.
The poems in History of Hurricanes are, for the most part, firmly rooted in the domestic. Whether walking the dog, watching birds through a bedroom window, or taking a trip to the museum, family, lovers, children, and home are all thrown perpetually into focus. Even when poems gesture towards seemingly larger historical events or figures is always a result of some more localized trigger, as in “Burying Ground,” where the speaker’s daughter discovers the graves of six children lost during the Revolutionary War including a boy just under 3 years old:
She asked, “What does ‘wanting 8 days mean’?”
Eyes wide: “What happened to them?”
War in Lexington. Fear. Near starvation.
In eighteen days the deaths of six children.
Disease. Epidemics. “Could be smallpox,” I said
“Don’t worry it’s been eradicated.”
She wasn’t worried. Summer’s rebound
beckoned for another bike ride into town.
But I went back to read the stones more closely.
I cannot watch again. I will not water the pitted
ground with my prayers, or spend nights in the garden
singing to the god of drought. Have you watched a tree die?
Pathetic fisted leaves, cocoons like burial shrouds.
How much should I save, one pound, or two?
Monday, April 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
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:
Many thanks to Joel Long for scheduling us and letting us sell Sugar House Review at City Art.