Sunday, November 30, 2014


Eileen Tabios posts a blog article about a unique distributor for her book THE THORN ROSARY:

"Poetry and the Sari-Sari Store"

Here's an excerpt:

sari-sari store is a convenience store found in the Philippines. The word sari-sari is Tagalog meaning "variety". Such stores form an important economic and social location in a Filipino community. It is present in almost all neighborhoods, sometimes even on every street. Most sari-sari stores are privately owned shops and are operated inside the shopkeeper's house. Commodities are displayed in a large screen-covered or metal barred window in front of the shop. Candies in recycled jars, canned goods and cigarettes are often displayed while cooking oilsalt and sugar are often stored at the back of the shop. A small window is also present where the customer's requested commodity is given. A cigarette lighter tied to the window can also be found. Benches and sometimes tables are also provided in front of the sari-sari store. A shade is placed above it which is also used to cover the large window when the store closes.

Dona Tilan Valdez's sari-sari store in Ilocos Sur, Philippines

Friday, November 28, 2014



Jon Curley & Burt Kimmelman
reading new and published work

Sunday, December 7th at 6:30
Left Bank Books
17 8th Avenue—Near West 12th Street
NYC 10014

Burt Kimmelman's eighth collection of poetry is Gradually the World: New and Selected Poems, 1982 - 2013. His work is often anthologized, has been featured on NPR’s The Writer's Almanac, and has been the subject of a number of interviews, articles or reviews. More information about him can be found at

Jon Curley is the author of three collections of poetry: New Shadows, Angles of Incidents and the forthcoming Hybrid Moments. He teaches in the Humanities Department at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark and works with children at Battery Park in Manhattan. Poet Fanny Howe has described his work as "New England-y and gnostic." He lives in New York.

$5 Contribution

Monday, November 24, 2014


We're delighted to share that Norman Finkelstein's prowess as editor is among those highlighted in Library Journal's recent article on "Exciting Titles for Poetry Lovers."  Congratulations for his edited book, A MOMENTARY GLORY: LAST POEMS by Harvey Shapiro (Wesleyan University, 2014), being among the lauded titles featured HERE.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Marsh Hawk Press offers a "Three Questions" Series for its authors to discuss individual titles -- an index to the Series is available HERE.  We are pleased to present this Q&A with Norman Finkelstein and his 2010 book:

1) What is something not known or obvious about your book Inside the Ghost Factory?

Some, but by no means all readers, will recognize that the “ghost voices” that rise up from under the line at the “end” of many of these poems is a device originally used by Jack Spicer in the “Homage to Creeley” section of his book Heads of the Town Up To the Aether. It has also been employed, with a somewhat different twist, by Nathaniel Mackey (in Mackey’s work, the text below the line is often as long as the original poem, and serves almost as a rewriting or a different “take” on the original). Once I got into it, the device offered all sorts of possibilities, and intensified what I understand to be the dark comedy of the poems, a comedy also based in discursive code switching, ellipsis, non sequitur, and ironic allusion.

2)  Please share some responses to your book that’s surprised you, or made you happy or disappointed.  If your book is relatively new, share some of your hopes for how readers might respond or how the book finds its way in the world.

Since my feeling about Ghost Factory is that the poems inhabit a space somewhere between humor and terror (at least, that’s how I felt while writing them), I was surprised to hear recently from a new reader that he found the book consoling after suffering the loss of a beloved mentor. Needless to say, I was very moved by this response, and it has led me to reflect on what exactly is going on in these poems, which are often as mysterious to me as to any of my readers. Perhaps there is something comforting about finding out that you’re not alone in the dark—even when whatever is there with you is not necessarily concerned with your best interests.

3)  If you had to choose a favorite poem or a poem to highlight from the book, which one would you choose and why? 

I have great affection for a lot of the poems in Ghost Factory; I find them weirdly companionable and charming years after having written them. And they opened a door on whole new dimension in my poetry, which continues up until today in the series I’ve been working on recently, From the Files of the Immanent Foundation. I guess my favorite, or one I would highlight, is “Advertisement.” It was the second poem in the sequence, but the first in which the possibilities of that particular kind of discourse really opened up. And not incidentally, it came to me as one of the purest instances in all my years of writing of what Spicer calls “dictation.” I was alone in the house, I had poured myself a glass of wine, I opened my notebook, and in an instant the poem began to write itself. Looking back, I see that the poem is dated 11/16/06. The draft is absolutely clean. A gift.


We call this phenomenon “Soul Sleep.”
It involves placing the elbows on the table
while the table levitates.  It involves

tables, tax tables and tables with
claw and ball legs.  It involves the legs
and the arms, one of each, on either side

of the body.  Do you see this lamp?
It is guaranteed not to break unless
you break it.  It is guaranteed to shine

but only on missing objects, objects which
have disappeared from sight.  It is a singing lamp;
that is how it attracts the lost objects.

I do not know if it works for lost children.
I do not know, madam, but I suspect
that there is an oil, there is a balm,

there are certain pillows, certain fabrics
which exude scents known to have
restorative properties.  These properties,

these estates—and the fields, and the
horses in the fields—all are at your disposal.
We have arranged for you to sleep there

but only for a little while.  We must ask you
to leave at three.  We must ask you
to leave three articles in the house,

if the house is to win.  And the house must win;
it is urgent, for the funds must be restored
to their proper owner.  Please behave accordingly.


I have one good eye and one
brown eye.  I like to read
brochures about bees, invisible

bees or bees of the invisible.
Gold honey.  Red honey.  Black
honey, produced by black bees.

This was on the train with the buffalo hunters.


We thank Norman Finkelstein for participating in this Q&A.  Please visit him at his website:

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Marsh Hawk Press offers a “Three Questions” Series for its authors to discuss individual titles -- an Index to the Series is available HERE.  We are pleased to present this Q&A with Tom Beckett and his Marsh Hawk Press book, recipient of the 2013 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize:

1)  What is something not known or obvious about Dipstick(Diptych)? 

Dipstick(Diptych) comprises two long poems: “Overpainted Thresholds,” and “I Forgot.”  The book’s title alludes to its having two parts; but is the “dipstick” crossed out because it’s a mispronunciation of “diptych,” or because the book both is and isn’t an instrument for taking the measure of something?  Or…?

2)  Please share some responses to your book that’s surprised you, or made you happy or disappointed. 

“I Forgot,” the final poem in my book, was inspired by Joe Brainard’s great I Remember, his stunning catalogue poem of “I remember” anecdotes.  I wanted to pay homage to Brainard but I thought it might be interesting to approach memory from the standpoint of anecdotes and statements about things I’ve forgotten.  For example:

I forgot which version of my story was a fantasy


I forgot to put the leftovers in the fridge.


I forgot my lines.


I forgot to meet you halfway.


I forgot to tighten the bottle cap.


I forgot that you are allergic to shellfish.


I forgot that you are my sworn enemy.


I forgot that your political views are repugnant to me.



I was surprised by how enthusiastically Eileen Tabios responded to “I Forgot.” She has even based some of her recent work on the “I Forgot” structure.  It always makes me happy when something I’ve written inspires someone to do new work of their own. 

3)  If you had to choose a favorite poem or a poem to highlight from the book, which one would you choose and why?

I like both parts of my book, but I’m particularly fond of the first part (“Overpainted Thresholds”).  I think that it shakes the cage of my psyche in energetic and interesting ways.


Sad ecstasy of shadows
Coming into me.


All or
Nothing leaks out.


Limitless limited bodies.

Statues made of noise.



Overpainted, stained,
Smudged, smeared,
Scratched, half-erased pentimenti.

Your voices
Shadow mine.

Streak of color.
Cadence of speech.

Borders aren’t
Always apparent.


Borders aren’t
Always available
Or mappable, documentable.

There’s something
About networks.

There’s something in
My overlapping senses
Of things.

I didn’t want
To comment (or
Commit) but
Couldn’t help myself.

The noise
In me
Is undimmed.


You say
You want
For nothing.

This you,
This I
Are most
Peculiar constructions.

Talking to
Oneself in
Speaking to another
Is a kind
Of reverse ventriloquism.

The dummy lives.

How much

Can one
Listen to, embrace,
At once?

How attentive
Can one be?
Is this
A test
Of worth?

I am
Not beautiful.
I am

Not you.


How does one
Read a poem
Which is
Crossed out?





Tools, moods,

Rooms, food.


A sonic

Thing that

Thinks is

What I'm

Talking about.


This heaviness

Is unlikely

To be

Lifted soon.


Spaces one's

Inscribed upon,

Scratched into.


Swallow and

Swallow again.


Thresholds, tongues

Held. Hell

Is self-consciousness,

Thoughtless nests,

Nets or

Knotted chords.

Notes leak

Out of

What surrounds

One's aporias.


What is

Thinking called?

--Dancing, war,

Sex, writing?

--Being, language,

Maths, noise?


I had

A seizure

That I

Don't remember.

Tore me

Apart, put

Me together

Again, rearranged.


Drums and

Guitar mirror

One another.

Attention, practice

Always entwined

In exchange.


Wherever I

Am you're

Someplace else.




State. Presences
Out of register.


Torso in mirror

Receding faster

Than it appears.


The world
Is overseen
& underheard.


If philosophy is psychosis
If poetry is a ventriloquist act
If the robot’s notebook pages have been filled out and overwritten


What surrounds
One’s aporias?
--So-called nature?

Formula fiction skillfully
Fondles pleasure centers.

“Entanglement” means any set of conditions.
“Entrapment” means a condition.


What is the price of ambiguity?
What is the price of exactitude?


Nature scares me.
Human nature most of all.


One has
To acknowledge
The irreducible.


What about
The Body?


My Robot


Here between
The global
The local
I dream

My robot
Just arrived
In the mail.


The package
From within.

My robot
Emerges grinning.

I take
Its place
In the box.


My robot
Opens the box
I am in.

Our eyes lock.

“Happy Birthday,”
I say.



No thing
Isn’t connected

To some
Other thing,

To some
Unexpected thing.

Separations are
Social constructs.


Is there
Such a thing
As unmediated experience?


Where to
Begin again?


Sensation isn’t
A territory.
It’s weather.

Waiting is
The story,
Oratorio, opera,
Tap dance.


I’m not
Protected against
500,000 definitions.


I am
A series
Of interruptions.


Inside and
Outside all
The time.


My Robot
Is one hard
To parse sentence.

Try, if you
Want, to diagram
Our relationship.


Everything is
Virtual in its
Own way.




Will he
Sample me
Today or
Will he
Sample me


Robert Duncan, in "The Venice Poem," writes:
“The world is false as water.”
I’ll never understand that line.


I’ll never understand any thing.


What is thought’s object?


“What do you know?”
Was a common greeting
When I was young.

The formulaic reply
Almost always:
“Not much. You?”


Does anyone
Think much
About cultural
Assumptions anymore?


Irregular spacing

Is a symptom.


What is
Not broken?


That fucking copula


The relevance
Of specific


I keep
Deferring stuff.


The realm
Of “as”
Or “ass.”

A truly
Slippery slope.


Where are we
In this mess?


Messages are
Being sent

But are
Rarely received.


We thank Tom Beckett for participating in this Q&A.