Poets Wear Prada is a poetry publishing house with excellent poets and affordable books with beautiful covers. Have you had your poetry today?--Meredith Sue Willis, Books for Readers

Saturday, March 27, 2010

March 28: Allegretti in Orange, NJ





Sun., March 28:
Literary Lounge

~JOEL ALLEGRETTI~

JOEL ALLEGRETTI [Credit: Jon Paul]

@ Studio Luna
406 Tompkins Street, Orange, NJ
3PM-5PM


THRUM: Poems by Joel Allegretti (PWP, 2010
THRUM
Poems by Joel Allegretti
ISBN 978-0-9841844- 4-6
Soft Cover, Saddle Stitched, 40 pp.
$12.00 (+ $1.50 S&H)
Release Date: March 2010




"In Thrum Joel Allegretti, deftly and delightfully, strums his magical musical instrument, which is poetry, as he forges fresh forms of songs and stories that are inspired by strummers' strings. “Context is everything,” Allegretti reminds us, and we’re planted in the heart of a global ancient/modern orchestra. Prepare yourself for the revelatory performance."

Martine Bellen
Author of Tales of Murasaki and Other Poems,
1997 National Poetry Series selection


"Joel Allegretti's latest collection of poems is as enjoyable as it is different. Thrum takes the reader on a journey that explores known musical instruments, such as the mandolin, dulcimer and fiddle, as well as some not-so-known instruments, such as the oud, koto and theorbo. But what makes this journey unique is that each instrument is in a sense personified as the emotive element of each instrument is brought to life. Allegretti does a wonderful job tuning every poem so that the music of each instrument is realized again and again in the words on the page. An intriguing and must read for anyone who has a sense of all that culminates in the commingling of the arts."

Raymond Hammond
Editor, The New York Quarterly



About the Author

Joel Allegretti is the author of The Plague Psalms, which appeared in 2000 and is now in its third edition, and Father Silicon, selected by The Kansas City Star as one of 100 Noteworthy Books of 2006. Allegretti’s work has appeared in many national journals, including The New York Quarterly, Margie, The Laurel Review, Art/Life Limited Editions, Rattapallax, Slipstream, Confrontation, and Xcp Cross-Cultural Poetics. He is represented in the anthology Chance of a Ghost (Helicon Nine Editions, 2005), and his poem in that collection received an Honorable Mention in the 2006 edition of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, published by St. Martin’s Press. In April 2009, Kean University in New Jersey presented the world premiere of a song cycle based on Allegretti’s poetry, “A Cycle by the Sea” by Frank Ezra Levy, who served several decades as cellist with the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra and whose symphonic work is available in the American Classics series on Naxos. Allegretti is a graduate of New York University and lives in Northern New Jersey. His website is www.joelallegretti.com.

Friday, March 26, 2010

March 28: Alexis, Lerner & Mapp in NYC

On Sunday, March 28: Austin Alexis will be launching his new collection FOR LINCOLN & OTHER POEMS (Poets Wear Prada, March 2010). A special hand saddle-stitched edition of his book will be made available to the poetry community at $6 ($4 off the list price of the 6x9 trade book edition). Artist Charles Haywood Johnson who created the front leaf illustration, a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, will also be present to sign copies.

Please come. 2 other wonderful poets are reading: Linda Lerner and Erica Mapp!


FOR LINCOLN & OTHER POEMS by Austin Alexis (PWP, 2010)
For Lincoln & Other Poems
by Austin Alexis
ISBN 978-0-9841844-3-9
Soft Cover, Saddle Stitched, 36pp.
$10.00 (+ $1.50 S&H)
Release Date: March 2010


* * *

Phoenix Reading Series @ Bengal Curry, March 28, 2010
Please note: There will not be an Open Mic
Bengal Curry
65 West Broadway
Take the 1, 2, 3, A, C or E trains to Chambers Street
Sunday, March 28, 2010, 5:30 pm
1 1⁄2 blocks below Chambers St



This Sunday will be another great experience at the Phoenix Reading @ Bengal Curry. If you love poetry you will not want to miss it. If you love Indian food, including the best naan in NYC, you will not want to miss it. If you love both you will be in Nirvana.

If the weather is bad please call Bengal Curry at 212-571-1122 to verify that the venue is open.

The following poets will be featuring:

Poems and stories by Austin Alexis have appeared in journals such as Six Sentences and Tuesday Shorts and in the chapbook Lovers and Drag Queens (Poets Wear Prada, 2007). Recently he served as a panelist for The Bronx Council on the Arts Literary Fellowships. One of his poems won a prize in the 2008 Poets for Forest Competition. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of anthologies, including Bowl of Stories (Oregon Council of Teachers Anthology Winners Publication), Off the Cuffs (Soft Skull Press), Dinner with the Muse (Ra Rays Press), Art's Buoyant Felicity: Art/Healing/Creativity (Lickle Nine Press), and And We the Creatures (Dream Horse Press), among others.

Linda Lerner is the author of thirteen poetry collections, the most recent from Iniquity Press / Vendetta books, Something Is Burning In Brooklyn, (2009), Living In Dangerous Times, Presa Press (2007) & from March Street Press, City Woman (2006); (both a Small Press Reviews’ Pick of the Month.) Her poems have recently appeared in or been accepted by Danse Macabre, The Chiron review, Literary Gazette, Onthebus, Home Planet News and The New York Quarterly among others.

Erica Mapp is a visual artist as well as a poet. She studied Fine Arts and also Art Education. She loves to teach art and also literature. Her poems have appeared in Commonweal, Columbia, Lake Effect and other magazines. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, was a semi-finalist for the Morse Poetry Prize, and won first prize for her poems in the Freshmeadows Poets Open Competition. She has also been awarded first prize by the Graduate Department Poetry Club at Queens College, where she studied as a continuing education student for two years. Originally from Trinidad, she loves New York and is a long time resident.


For more information about the Phoenix Reading Series and for bookings contact: George Spencer.

April 10: Lanzillotto & Lisella in NYC

~~~~~~
IAWA Presents
Annie Lanzillotto & Maria Lisella
for Book Launch and Reading
on
Saturday, April 10, 2010
~~~~~~


New York, NY- On Saturday, April 10, 2009 the Italian American Writers Association (IAWA) celebrates its 19th Anniversary with the zany performance artist, Annie Lanzillotto and Maria Lisella, journalist, poet and co-curator of the IAWA Reading series at Cornelia St. Café, who will read from her new chapbooks.


Annie Rachele Lanzillotto is a poet, performance artist, songwriter, lead vocalist of her band FIASCO. Her first solo show, "Confessions of a Bronx Tomboy: My Throwing Arm," was staged at the Manhattan Class Company's “New Works Festival,” Under One Roof's “Women 9 to 90” Festival. Her writing has appeared in numerous anthologies including Our Roots Are Deep With Passion: Creative Nonfiction Collects New Essays by Italian American Writers (edited by Gutkind and Herman, New York: Other Press, 2006); her story, "Cosa Mangia Oggi" appeared in Gastropolis: A History of Food and New York City (edited by Deutsch and Lawson, Columbia University Press, 2007) and "Strike One," a poem in Italian American Writers on New Jersey: An Anthology of Poetry and Prose (edited by Gillan and Giunta, Rutgers University Press, 2003)

In Lanzillotto's signature performance, "Icewoman," she spins and destroys a 200- pound block of ice in her homage to her Barese father and grandfathers who delivered ice in the Bronx. She recently performed at IAWA's social event in Fall, 2009 at the Italian Cultural Institute. Videos of her performances and solo-theater teaching can be seen on YouTube, and http://www.annielanzillotto.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Maria Lisella's two chapbooks, Amore on Hope Street (Finishing Line Press) and Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada) were published in 2009. She has also authored poetry, a few short stories and won awards for her creative non-fiction that has appeared in anthologies such as Avanti Popolo: Italian American Writers Sail Past Columbus (ManicDPress, 2008), More Sweet Lemons (2011, Legas Press) while her Pushcart-Prize nominated poetry can be seen online and in print in Felie-Festa, Gradiva, Italian Americana, The New York Quarterly, Skidrow Penthouse, and others. She was a finalist in the competition for Poet Laureate in Queens in 2007.

She has been reporting on the travel industry for the travel trade and consumer publications for the past 25 years and is a member of the New York Travel Writers Association. She has spelunked in caves in Madhyar Pradesh, rafted the Jordan River, ridden horseback in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro, explored the great art museums of Europe, hiked Mt. Etna in Sicily and Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. Visit www.nytwa.info/marialisella/

TWO NAKED FEET by Maria Lisella (PWP, 2009)

TWO NAKED FEET
by Maria Lisella
ISBN 978-0-9817678-8-8
Soft Cover, Saddle Stitched, 24 pp.
Poets Wear Prada, 2009
$8.00 (+ $1.50 S&H)


AMORE ON HOPE STREET by Maria Lisella (Finishing Line Press, 2009)
AMORE ON HOPE STREET
by Maria Lisella
Finishing Line Press, 2009
$14

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The reading takes place Saturday, April 10, 2010, 5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., at the Cornelia St. Café, 29 Cornelia Street, NYC, (212-989-9319); http://www.corneliastreetcafe.com/). The evening starts with Open Mic readings of five minutes each.


IAWA is a 501(3) © not-for-profit corporation. Since 1991, the organization has given voice to writers through its Open Reading series at Cornelia St. Café every month. For membership information, visit: http://www.iawa.net/


The three rules of IAWA:


Write or be written, Read each other and Buy our books.

Contact: Gil Fagiani (718-777-1178)
Authors Available for Interviews

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Austin Alexis | For Lincoln & Other Poems



[cover thumbnail]


FOR LINCOLN
& OTHER POEMS
by Austin Alexis
ISBN 978-0-9841844-3-9
soft cover - saddle-stitched - 36 pp.
$10 (+ $1.50 S&H)
Poets Wear Prada
Release Date: March 2010

Austin Alexis contemplates the way time's passage alters our sense of artists such as Chopin, Haydn, Poe, and Martha Graham as well as, among others, grandparents, Einstein, and presidents Lincoln and Obama. The way the poet cultivates sound, sense, and form, he grows, as he writes George Sand did for Chopin, "the branch he needs / in order to soar."
— George Held, author of Phased, Grounded, and other poetry collections

By use of precise imaginings, Austin Alexis allows us an intimacy with select artists: Chopin, or a street poet, or Lincoln, that great artist of rhetoric and vision. An engaged and observant poet, Alexis reveals grace, connection, legend and mortality. This book is an ode to all of us.
— Sarah Sarai, author of The Future Is Happy

The poet's vision enables the reader to see connections between Einstein and Merce Cunningham whose choreography "penetrates... the mysteries of space time [and] weight," and how Lincoln's last day actually culminates in another with the inauguration of Barack Obama: "each verse a fetus / waiting to be born / in the heart of a reader."
— Linda Lerner, author of Something is Burning in Brooklyn, and thirteen other collections



About the Author


Poems and stories by Austin Alexis have appeared in journals such as Six Sentences and Tuesday Shorts and in the chapbook Lovers and Drag Queens (Poets Wear Prada, 2007). Recently he served as a panelist for The Bronx Council on the Arts Literary Fellowships. One of his poems won a prize in the 2008 Poets for Forest Competition. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of anthologies, including Bowl of Stories (Oregon Council of Teachers Anthology Winners Publication), Off the Cuffs (Soft Skull Press), Dinner with the Muse (Ra Rays Press), Art's Buoyant Felicity: Art/Healing/Creativity (Lickle Nine Press), and And We the Creatures (Dream Horse Press), among others.

Meet the Author at the Following Events:


Sunday March 28
5:30PM - 7:30PM
Phoenix Reading Series
~ presents ~
*Linda Lerner, Erica Mapp & Austin Alexis*
@ Bengal Curry
65 West Broadway
(Between Murray & Warren Sts. 11/2 blocks South of Chambers)
New York, NY 10007
212.571.1122
$3 Donation
Dinner, Snacks & Soft Drinks Available for Purchase
Hosts: Michael Graves & George Spencer
Take A, C, 1 to Chambers or E to last stop WTC

* * *



Saturday, April 24 @3:00

~presents~
HEIDI SCHWARTZ & AUSTIN ALEXIS & TBA
@
NYPL - EpiphanyLibrary
228 East 23 Street
New York, NY 10010
(212) 679-2645
http://www.nypl.org/locations/epiphany
FREE!


* * *


Saturday May 1st
4PM-6PM
(Note: open mic sign up ends at 5PM)
The Shout Out
~AUSTIN ALEXIS~
Otto's Shrunken Head
538 East 14th Street
Between Avenues A&B
Hosted by Hobo Bob and Obsidian
$3 Hobo Fee (and please patronize the bar!)
Time Square Shout Out!: timessquareshoutout.blogspot.com
Hobo Bob:
theadventuresofhobobob.blogspot.com
OBSIDIAN:
obsidianthemystic.blogspot.com
A SHOUT OUT AT OTTOS! Anthology Blogsite:
theshoutoutatottos.blogspot.com

* * *

Monday July 12th
7:30PM till 10PM
Saturn Series
~AUSTIN ALEXIS~
Nightingale Lounge
213 2nd Avenue at East 13th Street
New York, NY
Age 21 & up
Open Reading
$3 Suggested Donation + 2 Drink/$10 Minimum at the Bar
Hosted by Su Polo & David Elsasser
http://www.supolo.com/


Monday, March 8, 2010

Joel Allegretti | THRUM




THRUM by Joel Allegretti


THRUM
Poems
by Joel Allegretti
ISBN 978-0-9841844-4-6
soft cover, saddle-stitched, 40 pp.
$12.00 (+ $1.50 S&H)
Release Date: March 2010




"In Thrum Joel Allegretti, deftly and delightfully, strums his magical musical instrument, which is poetry, as he forges fresh forms of songs and stories that are inspired by strummers' strings. “Context is everything,” Allegretti reminds us, and we’re planted in the heart of a global ancient/modern orchestra. Prepare yourself for the revelatory performance."

Martine Bellen
Author of Tales of Murasaki and Other Poems,
1997 National Poetry Series selection


"Joel Allegretti's latest collection of poems is as enjoyable as it is different. Thrum takes the reader on a journey that explores known musical instruments, such as the mandolin, dulcimer and fiddle, as well as some not-so-known instruments, such as the oud, koto and theorbo. But what makes this journey unique is that each instrument is in a sense personified as the emotive element of each instrument is brought to life. Allegretti does a wonderful job tuning every poem so that the music of each instrument is realized again and again in the words on the page. An intriguing and must read for anyone who has a sense of all that culminates in the commingling of the arts."

Raymond Hammond
Editor, The New York Quarterly



About the Author
Joel Allegretti is the author of The Plague Psalms, which appeared in 2000 and is now in its third edition, and Father Silicon, selected by The Kansas City Star as one of 100 Noteworthy Books of 2006. Allegretti’s work has appeared in many national journals, including The New York Quarterly, Margie, The Laurel Review, Art/Life Limited Editions, Rattapallax, Slipstream, Confrontation, and Xcp Cross-Cultural Poetics. He is represented in the anthology Chance of a Ghost (Helicon Nine Editions, 2005), and his poem in that collection received an Honorable Mention in the 2006 edition of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, published by St. Martin’s Press. In April 2009, Kean University in New Jersey presented the world premiere of a song cycle based on Allegretti’s poetry, “A Cycle by the Sea” by Frank Ezra Levy, who served several decades as cellist with the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra and whose symphonic work is available in the American Classics series on Naxos. Allegretti is a graduate of New York University and lives in Northern New Jersey. His website is www.joelallegretti.com


Meet the Author at the Following Events:
Sat., March 13:
Smalls' Jazz Club
183 W. 10th Street, NYC
5PM-7PM
Sun., March 28:
Literary Lounge
Studio Luna
406 Tompkins Street, Orange, NJ
3PM-5PM
Sun., April 11:
Polestar Literary Series
NATIONAL POETRY MONTH SOIREE
Cakeshop
152 Ludlow Street, NYC
4PM-6PM
Sun., May 2:
Polestar Literary Series
NIRVANA NEVERMIND NIGHT
Cakeshop
152 Ludlow Street, NYC
5PM-7PM
Sat., May 15:


Greek American Writers Association Reading Series
Cornelia Street Cafe
29 Cornelia Street, NYC
6PM-8PM

Sat., June 12:

Fort Washington Library
535 West 179th Street
(between St. Nicholas & Audubon Aves.)
New York, NY 10033-5799
(212) 927-3533
Host: Patricia Eakins
2PM-4PM
Sat., June 26:
North Jersy Literary Series
The Classic Quiche Cafe
330 Queen Anne Road
Teaneck, NJ
8PM-11PM
Tues., July 13:

Word for Word
Bryant Park
6th Ave. between 41 & 42nd Sts., NYC
12:30PM to 1:45PM



POETS WEAR PRADA
C/O Roxanne Hoffman
533 Bloomfield Street - 2nd Floor
Hoboken, NJ 07030
http://pwpbooks.blogspot.com/
http://poetswearprada.blogspot.com
http://issuu.com/pradapoet

POETS WEAR PRADA is a small press based in Hoboken, New Jersey devoted to introducing new authors through limited edition, high- quality chaplets, primarily of poetry.

Proud Member of CLMP

Have you had your poetry today?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

HPN Winter/Spring 2008 - Linda Lerner Reviews 2 from PWP





Linda Lerner


THE LITTLE BOOK OF FAIRY TALES AND LOVE POEMS
By Iris Berman
Poets Wear Prada, 533 Bloomfield Street,
Hoboken, NJ, 2007, 23pp. $8.

CONE INVESTIGATES
By Bob Heman
Poets Wear Prada, Hoboken, 2007, 12pp. $6.25



Reprinted from

Home Planet News


Issue 59
(Vol. 15 No. 3)
Winter/Spring 2008
Page 7 (continued page 22)



The two collections are the latest from Poets Wear Prada Press begun by Roxanne Hoffman in the Fall, '06.

Cone's empirical investigations lead him "over the edge of the map" into a world as magic-filled as Iris Berman's fairy tales. The red shoes that lead her "away from/ The beautiful men...Across meadow and dell/ From Mountain to mountain...refuse to stop moving...her mermaid's tears become the salty ocean." Heman's Dr. Cone "melts in the rain;..." the hedonists...view him as a cactus; when he visits "the city of numbers (he) slides inside a seven and disappears for hours."

Boundaries between human beings and nature, animate and inanimate objects, don't exist. Dr. Cone thinks he is the reincarnation of an ancient snowstorm ... the wind gets trapped in his beard, and like the red shoes, takes on a life of its own. Berman teaches her lover "To fly on the wisps/ Of smoke burning/ From the tip of (her) cigarette..." In "Cone Dreams" the doctor is led to Barabus by a rooster who "crows just as he reaches the door that he is sure is the right one." Omens are to be taken seriously.

A Cinderella "happily every after" story concludes not only Berman's title poem, but also in another in which a couple "stoned out of (their) minds...(make) truth out of lies to reach it." As if by magic, the fairy tale, rooted in the ancient world, and the scientist's investigations into the future, lead to the same place. It is not that the individual is in harmony with nature or in opposition to it, but that both interact, are engaged with each other through an unspoken language.

Wishes in dreams come true; curses placed on people are granted, as is Berman's wish that anyone climbing her pear tree get stuck "Mired in muck, caught in mud." In "Cone Awakens" the doctor is stirred by a dream to buy a rooster; the old one no longer crows and there have been no new chicks for a long time. Told there are no more roosters, he turns down an offer of a mechanical alarm, goes into the woods and sacrifices the fattest rabbit he sees to the goddess of the dawn. His old rooster is transformed as if by magic, and "soon little chicks are seen hurrying all around the yard."

For both Berman and Heman the surrealistic and fairy tale elements hide the unperceived reality of the world we live in. There is the angry man in "Humpty Dumpty" people "walk on eggshells" around, fearing to send him "over the edge" he eventually falls over; the treatment that cures him ends up killing the person he was, returning a seemingly lobotomized "Strangely quiet...Not the same" man. Rumplestiltskin "an ugly little man...who built an empire...Through bold financial deals" is reminiscent of ceo's who headline the news daily.

A satire on how art and indirectly literary reputations are made is explored in "Cone Paints." An artist does a series of white-on-white paintings. The critics who can't differentiate between the shades or the paintings, "applaud him for his courage in filling the grand gallery with five hundred and eighty-two blank white canvases." He never does another painting, and so "his immortality is assured." In "Cone Investigates" there are his clones, the hanger-on assistants we are familiar with, who pretend or imagine they are him.

Stylistically, each of these beautifully designed and produced chapbooks bears its own distinctive signature. Berman's poems utilize the short line, a minimum use of punctuation, and are driven by a moderately paced rhythm, sometimes with a refrain, as in "Echo Of Love." "My love goes riding" follows every one or two stanzas twisting around on itself to conclude with "My love won't stop writing."

Heman's collection consists of twelve prose poems in as many pages on ivory parchment with a pale green tint. Employing a simple sentence structure like a rope that both anchors and grants him freedom, he lowers himself over the edge,"(leaving) the world of concepts behind...plunging instead into a land of forces and junctions" in which, unseen, he moves as in a dream through an unexplored landscape.

As Berman goes riding off the earth with her lover and Cone "pulls magic out a rabbit and stuffs it into his hat," so readers will experience the same when they step into the marvelous worlds fo these two poets.



Chiron Review Spring 2008 - Linda Lerner Reviews Laura Vookles's JOHN ON THE CHRYSLER






Reviewed by Linda Lerner



JOHN ON THE CHRYSLER
Poems of Love and Grief


Laura Vookles


Poets Wear Prada Press,
533 Bloomfield St., Hoboken, N.J. 07030
2007, 17 pp., $6.25.



Reprinted from

Chiron Review


Issue #82, Spring, 2008
Page 44



Smoke from a Marlboro cigarette trails through poems which, in a very tactile sense, evoke a poignant relationship between a Long Island guy and a woman from Memphis. "You can't go back, but the past counts," Laura Vookles writes. More than counts. As she must accept her husband's death, so she can't ignore his presence whenever she touches one of his many art acquisitions and feels his spirit move through her hand; those same "battered and calloused hands (that) sawed, chiseled, sanded and built a wooden locomotive and a sloop inside a museum" were the hands "carrying me to places I had never been."

In "You are a Dream" the poet is telling her husband she is sure he still has a presence, that she felt it in something she filmed or photographed. While unclear about the details and who is even in it, she is not about his visible presence. In the dream she believes she's found tangible proof he's still here - "Even a candle snuffed leaves smoke / and a lingering scent." This is what she "wants to think." Needs to think.

In touching his Rookwood vase "she feel[s] the lust that compelled [him] to own her," and asks, "How did the 'artist fade that pink to green / without the glazes melting into mud?" How does one love someone with her every breath, without it turning, into resentment afterwards? Surrounded by "ceramic lovers" the poet suddenly has an urge to smash, throw them against the wall. "I should feel more angry at you, / like I am at those Marlboros." The significant word here is, should. The rage to smash cannot be separated from their "piles of pointed shards - / sharp, like grief." What lit up their life together and his death that extinguished it, are intermingled in that wide range of emotion one goes through in grieving.

This poem follows the more gentle and beautiful, "Sand in My Sheets": "If I ever find sand in my sheets, I will listen for you smoking in my kitchen. / Lighter click, a cough and then / the scrape of wood on tile as you return to me." Like the vase, the sand brings back what also reminds her is gone.

Cars like art objects are important links to both the poet and her husband, as in the title poem, "John on the Chrysler" and in the collection's final, "Stick Shift Cool," in which she is driving a blue and white Mini Cooper she bought for him. She is "Pounding the wheel, head tossed back yelling - 'Look at me, John! I got this car for you!'" and imagines she heard him laugh.

By the time we read the author's aside to her husband at the end of this collection, "Are you listening John? I wrote these poems for you?" she has convinced us what she intuitively, through a leap of faith, believes..

This is a highly recommended collection any reader cannot fail to be moved by. For those of us who've tried to make ourselves heard through the barrier of death, reach someone who is gone, these poems will especially resonate.


SPR Mar/Apr 2008 - Linda Lerner Review Laura Vookles's JOHN ON THE CHRYSLER





Smoke



John on the Chrysler (Poems of Love and Grief).
By Laura Vookles
2007;17 pp;
Poets Wear Prada,
533 Bloomfield Street,
Hoboken, N.J. 07030.
$6.25.




Linda Lerner


Reprinted from

Small Press Review


Mar - Apr 2008
Vol. 40 Nos. 3 - 4
Issues 422 - 423

Page 13



Smoke from a Marlboro cigarette trails through poems which, in a very tactile sense, evoke a poignant relationship between a Long Island guy and a woman from Memphis. "You can't go back, but the past counts," Laura Vookles writes. More than counts. As she must accept her husband's death, so she can't ignore his presence whenever she touches one of his many art acquisitions and feels his spirit move through her hand; those same "battered and calloused hands (that) sawed, chiseled, sanded and built a wooden locomotive and a sloop inside a museum" were the hands "carrying me to places I had never been."

In "You are a Dream" the poet is telling her husband she is sure he still has a presence, that she felt it in something she filmed or photographed. While unclear about the details and who is even in it, she is not about his visible presence. In the dream she believes she's found tangible proof he's still here - "Even a candle snuffed leaves smoke/ and a lingering scent." This is what she "wants to think." Needs to think.



SPR Jan/Feb 2008 - Clifton Snider Reviews Austin Alexis's LOVERS AND DRAG QUEENS




Anaphora



Lovers and Drag Queens
By Austin Alexis.
2007; 16 pp; $6.25.
Poets Wear Prada,
533 Bloomfield Street,
Hoboken, N.J. 07030.


Clifton Snider



Excerpt reprinted from

Small Press Review


Jan - Feb 2008
Vol. 40 Nos. 1 - 2
Issues 420 - 421


Lovers and Drag Queens is a clear-eyed, queer exploration of urban characters and dilemmas from the perspective of the talented African-American New York Poet, playwright, and fiction writer, Austin Alexis. In free verse and prose poems, Alexis offers an enticing palette of ordinary and outré people who populate New York, including the sexually ambiguous cop in “Eyes,” the “Call Girl at 5 AM,” the “Drag Queen,” the “Bronx Woman,” and the murderous “psychopath.” Utilizing anaphora reminiscent of Walt Whitman, Alexis celebrates a gospel choir in “Gospel”:
And the gospel choir swayed
and the gospel members
hummed in harmony...
and the singers’ black faces
shone against
their loose white angel robes,
and the organ revved up like a
preacher
the congregation loved...

Alexis also used anaphora in the one poem clearly outside the city, “The Villagers, 2005”: “They were trying to say/ that gayness is wrong,/ that their rules rule,/ that they own/ the world’s corrosive poison:/ power.” Far from a celebration, this poem comments on “an African village...[where] a man was stoned to death because of his sexual orientation,” as the explanatory note says.

Alexis also remembers another killer of gay men in “H.I.V.” And he delicately explores troubled lovers, male and female, in such poems as “Choices,” “Love Poem,” and “Dilemma.” Lovers and Drag Queens contains an intriguing variety of poems in its sixteen pages: a fine chapbook, well worth perusing.



Friday, March 5, 2010

SPR Nov/Dec 2007 - George Held Reviews 2 from PWP





Nocturnal



Dances With Tears
By Efrayim Levenson
2007; 10 pp; $6.25.
Poets Wear Prada,533 Bloomfield Street,
Hoboken, N.J. 07030.


Found in a Cord
By Alex O. Bleecker
2007; 10 pp; $6.25.
Poets Wear Prada Press
(see adress above).


George Held





Excerpt reprinted from

Small Press Review


Nov - Dec 2007
Vol. 39 Nos. 11 - 12
Issues 418 - 419

Pages 1 & 6
...The poet and editor Roxanne Hoffman has started to publish chapbooks and, in the case of these two early examples, chaplets - 10-page collections of poems. For both Levenson and Bleecker these chaplets mark their debuts. Influenced by Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg, Frank Zappa and Chabad Chasidism, Levenson writes lyrics primarily about love and "G-d." For instance, in "Electrocuted Tears" he writes, "If we wash our hands/and breathe our kepittel/ our love becomes an answered prayer." For his non-Jewish readers he provides a glossary, so one learns that kepittel means "psalm." His poems themselves are heartfelt psalms.


About 25 years younger than Levenson, Bleecker writes more formal lyrics, all in unrhymed tercets (except for two quatrains) that frequently run over from one to the next. As a preface Found in a Cord quotes the American Heritage Dictionary definition for "cord," which has eight meanings, but "cord" appears only once in these eight poems,within the title "Distorted Precordia." The precordium is the body surface overlying the heart and stomach, but what a twisted plural of it has to do with this lovely poem about picking orchids with the speaker's grandmother eludes me. Among the noteworthy lines in this collection are "It's been lucky / breathing with you," "I touch myself daily / / with the beauty of a coincidence," and "Take a boat/ and exchange it for a grain of sand." These chaplets make appealing introductions to these poets.


SPR Sept/Oct 2007 - Linda Lerner Reviews 2 from PWP





Magic


The Little Book of Fairy Tales & Love Poems
By Iris Berman
2007;23 pp; $8.00.
Poets Wear Prada,533 Bloomfield
Street, Hoboken, N.J. 07030.


Cone Investigates
By Bob Heman
2007; 12 pp; $6.25.
Poets Wear Prada (see adress above).

Linda Lerner




Reprinted from

Small Press Review


Sept - Oct 2007
Vol. 39 Nos. 9 - 10
Issues 416 - 417
Page 8.


As Iris Berman goes riding with her lover off the edge of this earth, Bob Heman's Cone "pulls magic out of the rabbit and stuffs it into his hat" so readers will experience the same when they loosen their grip on logic to step into the marvelous worlds of these two poets.

Cone's empiracle investigations lead him "over the edge of the map" into a work as magic filled as Iris Berman's fairy tales. The red shoes lead her "away from/ The beautiful men... Across meadow and dell/ From Mountain to moutain..." refuse to "stop moving; her mermaid's tears became the salty ocean." Heman's Dr. Cone "melts in the rain...";"the hedonists...view him as a cactus"; when he visits "the city of numbers (he) slides inside a seven and disappears for hours."

A Cinderella "happily every after" story concludes not only Berman's title poem but another in which a couple "stoned out of (their) minds...(make) truth of the lies to reach it."

As if by magic, the fairy tale, rooted in ancient world, and the scientist's investigations lead to the same place. In "Cone Awakens" the doctor is stirred by a dream to by a rooster; the old one no longer crows and there've been new chicks for a long time. Told there are no more roosters to buy, he goes into the woods and sacrifices the fattest rabbit he sees to the goddess of the dawn. His old rooster is transformed as if by magic, and "soon little chicks are seen hurrying all around the yard."

Stylistically, these beautifully designed and produced chaplets bear their own distinctive signature. While Berman's poems utilize the short line, a minimum use of punctuation,and are driven by a moderately paced rhythm, sometimes characterized by a refrain, Herman's collection consist of twelve prose poems in as many pages on ivory parchment with a light green tint.



HPN Fall 2007 - Robert Kramer Reviews Susan Maurer's RAPTOR RHAPSODY






Robert Kramer



RAPTOR RHAPSODY
By Susan Maurer
Poets Wear Prada, 533 Bloomfield Street, 2nd
Floor, Hoboken, NJ 07030, 2007, 14 pp. $8.


Reprinted from

Home Planet News


Issue 58
(Vol. 15 No. 9)
Fall 2007

Page 9 (continued page 22)

Susan Maurer begins her recollectin with an epigraph from Carolyn Kizer: "I am passionatley opposed to the notion held for so long that women's true subjects are 'love and loss.'" Indeed, who could deny the absurdity of any such limiting concept? Yet most of her poems actually do deal with intense relationships between men and women. Written in a variety of tones, they often capture fraught moments between lovers or would-be lovers, while illuminating their sublime tensions and anxieties.

In the following lines I would like to clarify her particular talent for obliquie psychological insights.

The poem "Blossom" begins with a rather sarcastic question: "Want my wanting/ on ice?" The speaker recognizes the important role a woman's desire may play in a relationsip, realizes in fact her need is a significant factor in holding on to her man. The idea of somehow preserving her "wanting" on ice--maintaining it artificially--is crude and depressing; yet the woman pragmatically accept the situation. To her own rhetorical question "what's/ in it for me?"--she gives two answers: her sexual responsiveness will keep that man around and, if he stays around, she will have the possibility of hoping for something deeper and more intense, "that melt/ into a martini, that gin 'bite.'" The earlier image of ice now leads by association to a joyous experience from the past involving martinis:

I
think about the time in Ireland
we took the kids'
baseballs
and had a martini party;
ended up playing midnight
baseball on the tennis court
lit by rings of headlights.
The initial tension, perhaps anger, disappears in the final scene of an idyllic moment of childhood returned and the overcoming of darkness.

"Strativarius" is a witty account of an attempted communication that goes awry. The narrator address a certain "you" who is supposed to serve as the instrument of a reconciliation between the narrator and an alienated lover. The narrator dials her lover's number and hands the phone to "you", but instead of bringing her and her lover together, this "you" engages in a conversation with him, intruding into the former relationship, perhaps usurping it. The narrator responds with the laconic remark: "You're playing our song," masking her hurt by utilizing a witty variation on a cliche now turned negative. The title, of course, is ironic, since Stradivarius violins are esteemed the finest, while "you" has been an utter disaster as instrument.

Maurer is very skilled at exploiting cliches in a suprising manner. Her poem "Subject:" presents another example.

I take the phone of the hook
to stop the sound of silence.
It can't come
in unless you invite it
Funny how the index finder
can turn into a sword
you throw yourself on,
no on home.

"The sound of silence" is an old paradox cleverly re-employed. "Silence" here is more than an absence of sound; it also refers to the awareness that someone who could and perhaps should call, but who does not. It combines uncertainty and hurt. But if one takes the phone of the hook, then there is no possibility of someone calling, there is no uncertainty, and there is less hurt, because the subject has become active and is "in control." In the last threes lines,
however, the narrator changes her tactics and attempts herself to call the one who should have called, and the long, slender, pointed index finger used for dialing becomes the sword for committing emotional suicide, as no one answers.

I must mention "Blue Rose," which does not at all explore the problematics of love and desire, but rather belongs in the tradition of Imagist poetry and certain Asian forms.

Drop. Drop
           From the eyedropper
                      to the top of the glass
           of the water
                      as the doctor says
           and the blue
                      liquid spreads out
                      and blossoms like a rose...
"Blue Rose" depices a remarkable metamorphis from the banality, even portentousness, of depositing drops of medicine in a glass of water--to a beautiful vision of the fluid slowly flowing into the shape of blue rose. It's unique in this volume in its precise observation of objects in the physical world and is one of the loveliest poems in the collection.

There are other poems here that will make you laugh out loud, yet leave a somewhat bitter taste in your mouth. The overall tone of the book is wry, juanty, ironic, and stoic--a fresh and original voice.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

HPN Fall 2007 - George Held Reviews Payday Loans by Jee Leong Koh







George Held


PAYDAY LOANS
By Jee Leong Koh
32 pp. $10.
Poets Wear Prada, Hoboken, 2007




Reprinted from

Home Planet News


Issue 58
(Vol. 15 No. 9
Fall 2007

Page 6 (continued page 18)

What are the odds that a gay Singaporean would or could publish a book of sonnets inspired by Paul Goodman (1911-72)? In Goodman's day, nil; in 2007, low. Yet for its debut chapbook, Poets Wear Prada has produced this beautifully designed and printed collection of thirty sonnets, one for every day of April, presumably 2005. Each poem bears the date as its title. Thus the first poem is "April 1, Friday," and in it the speaker asks "Mr. Certain Death" to "lend me thirty," with the promise, "You'll get them back on my payday." This is the payday loan that gives the book its title. Note that Koh uses "them" to refer to "thirty," an example of his sometimes unidiomatic English.

But these slips don't detract from his fluency with the sonnet. He works all kinds of variations within its strict confines, to which he adheres in most cases. Moreover, he writes alternately in the Italian form, which allows less freedom in its rhyme scheme than the English form, in which he writes the other half of the time. He even writes a sonnet with an inverted rhyme scheme, and he has fun with comic rhymes. Thus "April 1, Friday" ends with these rhyme words: "pissed," "mall," "irrational," and "subsist." In "April 16, Saturday" Koh uses a single rhyme for the first thirteen lines and then breaks the pattern with the onomatopoeic word "crack," enforcing the breach.

I mention only some of Koh's play with the sonnet, to suggest his versatility and the degree to which the pleasures of his book are formal. (The cover bears a firmly ruled calendar for April 2005.) Next to form, Koh's obsession is sex, a subject that informs his better poems here. Arguably the best is "April 13, Wednesday," which the government of Singapore banned from being read at a gay-pride celebration there. The poem begins:

Come on straight boy, and make gay love with me.
One night of loving will not turn you queer,
if queer is what you will not bend to be.
Loving a man is but a change of gears.


These lines recall the rhetorical strategies of John Donne's peoms addressed to his (women) lovers, sly attempts to persuade his listener to enter into forbidden intimacy. Like Donne and other major poets, particularly sonnet writers, Koh exploits the value of monosyllables: these four lines contain 40 syllables, 38 in monosyllabic words. Moreover, except for the necessary adjective "straight," these lines eschew modifiers. Koh's skill in a second language puts to shame many contemporary poets who are native speakers of English and who seem addicted to modification. "April 13, Wednesday," is a perfect sonnet in the sense it fulfills itself in exactly fourteen lines. It moves from the charming opening quatrain through a second which asks the question to disparage heterosexual coupling and a third that argues for the superiority of performance between same-sex lovers, to the sensational closing couplet: "What have you got to lose? Leap, acrobat!/ You can always fall back on pussycat."

The questions in the second quatrain recall Shakespeare, whose sonnets contain much interrogation, and whose other strategies and tones Koh's work borrows from. Other mentors are more contemporary and some are gay, including Goodman, a line from one of whose sonnets Koh uses to begin "April 20, Wednesday," and Frank O'Hara, to whose Lunch Poems Koh alludes in "April 19, Tuesday," which begins, "This is not a lunch poem. It's an after/ lunch poem. I can write this coz [sic] I'm jobless." By the end of this riff on an O'Hara poem, the speaker takes a job offer. May be he will soon be able to pay off his loan to Mr. Certain Death, but that theme occurs only sporadically in the Payday Loans, despite the title.

Speaking of titles, I wonder that none of the famous poets Koh heartily thanks for their help did not point out to him that giving his poems the names of days would leave them bereft if they are ever anthologized: "April 18, Monday" offers no clue about the fine erotic poem beginning "What's on tonight but lips pressed on lips." And not all the poems in the collection add to its value; maybe Koh should have chosen February. All told, however, this book refreshes our sense of what can be done in a traditional form when the poet uses his wits and has the wit of Jee Leong Koh.



Brant Lyon | Your Infidel Eyes





Brant Lyon recites "Hash House Blues" in NYC at Bowery Poetry Club on New Year's Day 2006






YOUR INFIDEL EYES
by Brant Lyon
soft cover/saddle stitch/12 pp.
$6.25 (+ $1.50 S&H)



Photo Credit: D. Cloherty





Not to be confused with the championship bicycle racer from Canada with the same name, BRANT LYON has for more than a decade tirelessly pedaled his words and music throughout New York City’s poetry circuit and beyond. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Bowery Poetry Club, The Cornelia Street Café, Galapagos Art Space, and elsewhere in New York City, in the Catskills, as well
as in his native New Jersey. Brant currently curates “Hydrogen Jukebox,” a ‘jazzoetry’ series where the recombinant DNA of word, rhythm, and tone metamorphoses in improvisatory chrysalises and re-emerges as musical logo-imagoes. His poetry has most recently appeared in print and online in Rattle, Big City Lit, Lullwater Review, The Long Islander, Medicinal Purposes, Rogue Scholars Collective and one cheesy anthology best forgotten. Once a clinical social worker and an administrator of juvenile justice, for now, he leaves it to others to work out their problems, as he frequently bounds out the door for adventure in far-flung places. For the past eight years he has tracked the digital revolution in Egypt, where he and his partner have just opened an internet café in a neighborhood of greater Cairo so obscure only a homing pigeon could find. He otherwise resides in Brooklyn, New York.






THE PECKING ORDER ON SHARIA AS-SOUQ, ASWAN

At dusk, when the market simmers down,
then cools--a pot brought back to boil by noon
next day--what won't be thrown into that pot
is tossed onto a heap in the middle of Sharia as-Souq
that nightly grows then disappears:

Bone and gristle from the butcher shop,
soggy mint leaves from the corner café,
a crate of tomatoes trampled by a donkey cart,
rotten lemons not even the careless
or desperate would buy...

Donkeys lower their muzzles into the pile
and are led away; sheep and goats, a few stray
dogs and cats, pick over the trash and take their fill;
next ducks, chickens, and geese furiously peck.

Finally, the mound is set on fire.
Flames feed, in turn, licking air.


Ricki Stuart | Freak Show





FREAK SHOW
by Ricki Stuart
soft cover/saddle stitched/12 pp.
$6.25 (+ $1.50 S&H)







Ricki Stuart


I consider poetry my spiritual path. Using the magic of word and the divine power of inspiration, I try to process my life. I obtain my material from dreams, worlds travel and the inner voyages all artists live by. I’m extremely grateful to all those poets “on the circuit” who have helped me in my journey. I have been fortunate enough to have been published in various magazines including Chimes From the Clock Tower published by members of the New York Public Library Jefferson Market Branch, Nomad’s Choir, Lucidity Magazine, and others.

I have been featured in readings at New York Poetry Forum, Green Pavilion, Unitarian Church of Brooklyn, Moroccan Star, Jushi’s Riding Centerfold Café, Pita Petra, among others. As a docent of the Brooklyn Museum for many years and in my world travels, I had an opportunity to experience many cultures. I have organized readings in New York City and Florida and was on the staff of the New York Press where I was an editor.





I AM THE HAIR THAT WON’T LIE FLAT

I am the hair that won’t lie flat!
   I tried to be happy
With my husband the doctor
   Who told me
After reading his medical books
   Again
That my spiritual experiences
   Were the first signs of madness

Religious mania
   That I badly needed therapy —
I said I badly needed to be
   Rid of him
And so I did!

I am the hair that won’t lie flat
   For the deniers of life
There is safety in a net
   I’d rather be the fish
In the open sea
   And risk
Being swallowed by a shark
   And also risk
The greatness I was born to be.



Alex O. Bleecker | Found in a Cord





FOUND IN A CORD
by Alex O. Bleecker
soft cover/saddle-stitch/12 pp.
$6.25 (+ $1.50 S&H)






Photo Credit: Gloria Buono



Alex O. Bleecker is a high school English teacher in New York City. He curates a monthly poetry series called diVerseCity, now in its second year, at La Negrita on the Upper West Side. His publication credits include both print and online journals, with his poetry featured most recently in Shampoo and Motel.




DISORIENTING REPORTAGE

Prior to the first shoot
a star is photo-shaped. It gets
touched. Studies show

8.68% of reported disorientations
event from too many lights
to determine. The eye, the object

that objectifies. Banking
on liquid displays, backers
invest in faces. Contribute.

Celebrate symmetry. Flashlights
& other transient sources
1.8% a portion of that false.






Click my Hypster playlist to hear my entire interview by Art Waves Host Anne Cammon on WKCR FM NY, originally aired on Friday August 24, 2007 at 9PM EST.





Monday, March 1, 2010

Iris Berman | The Little Book of Fairy Tales & Love Poems



Iris Berman in NYC at The Back Fence on January 8, 2006
(Video by Roxanne Hoffman)/





THE LITTLE BOOK OF FAIRY TALES
& LOVE POEMS
by Iris Berman
soft cover/saddle stitched/24 pp.
$10.00 (+ $1.50 S&H)




Credit: Bayridge Film Center, Brooklyn



Iris Berman is a graduate of Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont and also attended The Art Students League in Manhattan. Her major influence was Richard Pousette-Dart from whom she learned much about art and spirituality. Her artwork has been exhibited in several solo and many group exhibitions. After many years of not writing, she walked into a poetry reading and started writing again. She has since studied with Louise Gluck, Barry Goldensohn and William Packard to name just a few. Her most recent workshop was led by Patrick Rosal at Poets House.

She has published locally in journals such as Rogue Scholars' Rogue Gallery, Nomads Choir, Home Planet News, Park Slope Poetry Project’s Erato, and nationally in Song of the San Joaquin and Backstreet Poets Quarterly. She has appeared at open mics and has been a featured reader at many poetry venues throughout New York City.>


Click Here to read review of this book from
Small Press Review, Sept - Oct 2007, Vol. 39, Nos. 9 - 10, Issues 416 - 417, Reviews, "Magic" by Linda Lerner







It was the little girl’s hair
They worried about

Shining, golden nuggets
Of light leaping from strand
To strand

It made them afraid, curious,
Awesome, dumbstruck, blind,
In hate and in love

So they hid her away
Forbid her to leave
The dark and lonely room

And there she sat
Year after year
Framed in the backlit
Picture window

Singing to herself
And the birds answered back

One spring day
A fine young man
Followed the beautiful music
To the one in the window

The old ones were afraid
They sent her far away
To a barren desert
Where she wouldn’t stray

But a song filled with the lute
And the flute and dancing in May
Possessed the young man
Led him to her little house

And there they stay
Together to this day.



Laura Vookles | John on the Chrysler




What is so evident in Laura Vookles is the ring of the 'quiet truth'. What would be drums and trumpets in the hands of other poets becomes the symphony of the understated in her hands. I do not mean that you will find soft-strings sugaring-over sharp edges of grief; quite the opposite. In her works grief is met in a quiet room. The discussion is civil. The sound you hear is your heart breaking for her. There are not harsh lights in LV's work. Still, her words do not give anything any place to hide.
Ryk McIntyre, Poet, Dad, Cantab Lounge CoHost and Self-Appointed Unitarian Pope


Click here to read
Small Press Review, Mar - Apr 2008, Vol. 40, Nos. 3 - 4, Issues 422 - 423, Reviews, "Smoke" by Linda Lerner, a review of Laura Vookle's John on the Chysler (Poems of Love and Grief).


This is a highly recommended collection any reader cannot fail to be moved by. For those of us who've tried to make ourselves heard through the barrier of death, reach someone who is gone, these poems will especially resonate.
Linda Lerner, Author of 12 chapbooks including City Woman (March Street Press, 2006) and Living In Dangerous Times (Presa Press, 2007).


Click here to read Chiron Review, 2008, Book Reviews, A more complete review of Laura Vookle's John on the Chysler (Poems of Love and Grief) by Linda Lerner.



JOHN ON THE CHRYSLER
by Laura Vookles
soft cover/saddle stitched/17 pp.
$6.25 (+ $1.50 S&H)





Laura Vookles (a.k.a. LV) is chief curator at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, NY, where she has worked for over 20 years. Her most recent scholarly essay is featured in Westchester: the American Suburb, co-published by the Hudson River Museum and Fordham University Press. Her poetry has been included in two anthologies Look! Up in the Sky! An Anthology of Comic Book Poetry (Sacred Fools Press), HIS RIB: Stories, Poems & Essays by HER (Penmanship Books) and has been published in Ballard Street Poetry Journal as well as online at RogueScholars.com and November3rdClub.com. She writes memoir about growing up in Memphis, her grandmothers, motherhood, her husband's death and middle-aged romance. She has featured for the Worcester Storytellers, the Poetry Asylum New Year's Prom, GotPoetry Live, the louderARTS UPPERCASE series, The Back Fence, The Brownstone Poets, among other venues. She won the first ever White Plains Library Slam, joined the Westchester National Slam Poetry Team and competed this past August [2007] in Austin, Texas.






John’s Karmann Ghia

Who knows what became of John’s
sun yellow Karmann Ghia?
Perhaps, as I imagined many times,
a gust of wind lifted the body,
joints weak from rust,
off that chassis and bore it heavenward?
Perhaps it did not truly exist
after it ceased to be his baby
and, languishing in another driveway,
the sun simply slipped past the horizon?
But that German coupe is never far from me
when I think of him. One in the same.
Vintage cool and showing its age.
James Dean of the museum staff parking lot.
I hate yellow cars but I made an exception.
Real chrome, with dents and scratches
to match a chiseled nose and
wayward bronze whiskers in a silver beard.
Smoky leather interior like his old bomber jacket.
Engine turning over like a biplane, more bark than bite.
Not a comfortable ride
but intriguing and exciting.
A car to put sex on the brain but no place to do it.
All pent up and screaming for attention,
while John pretended to keep a low profile,
Joy Division blaring in the wood workshop.
Unique like him, a relic in 1990.
I only ever saw one other on the road.
Robin’s egg or was it wide blue sky?—
looking for a yellow sun.







Laura Vookles recites her "1960 Baby" at Bowery Poetry Club, New Year's Day 2008
[Video Credit: Roxanne Hoffman, Poets Wear Prada]






Laura Vookles is an astonishing poet who rises from life's heartwrenching path only to forge a bridge to all our hearts through brilliant observation and the witness of words.
Su Polo, Curator of the Saturn Series Poetry Reading, NYC



If we consider that each poem is a gesture, and that gesture may be turned inward, toward the poet's self, or directed outward, toward an object or other, this book becomes an opening of hands, an offering not just to John, the direct beloved, but to each of us, reading, a soft unfolding of palms insisting, “I have many train stories, but this is yours.”
Marty McConnell, member of the Piper Jane Project and co-curator of louderARTS, NYC



Two of the hardest topics to write about are Love and Loss. So many times they are written about superficially, lacking depth, context, or explanation as to why it should be important to the reader. LV manages to tread this territory with the skill of a seasoned tour guide, covering the important touchstones while pointing out small details that give the larger picture depth. Even at its most emotionally raw points, LV's poetry presents itself with a grace and beauty rarely found when discussing such hefty topics as Love and Loss. She manages to capture small moments with the exacting eye of a war photographer, leaving us with word pictures both gorgeous and heartbreaking in their honesty. She also talks about some cool cars.
Bill MacMillan, Founder of the Worcester Poets' Asylum and member of the 1996 National Slam Champion team, Providence, R.I.



In “John on the Chrysler”, boundary-defying poet LV has given us a powerful and modern elegy. Tenderly cataloguing her late husband's life with clear and thoughtful verse glittering with detail, LV allows us to join her as she attempts to make sense out of what is ultimately senseless -- the early death of a husband and father. Heart-breaking yet resilient, mournful yet hopeful, this collection may long for what might have been, but it also shows a profound and brave understanding of what is. It is testament to the power of LV as a writer that one leaves this book – a book so inextricably tied to death--with a grateful sense of awe, wonder and triumph.
Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, Founder & Host of Urbana Slam at NYC’s Bowery Poetry Club