FORTHCOMING BOOKS FROM THE POET'S PRESS/ YOGH & THORN:
Wake Not the Dead: Continental Tales of Terror.
An Egyptian Reader.
The Diplodocus: A Poet's Press Sampler and Catalog.
John Burnett Payne. Emily and Walt, Walt and Emily.(Expanded Edition)
THE ISLAND OF THE DEAD — TWO POEMS ON HART ISLAND, by Brett Rutherford.
The potter's field cemetery for New York City is a desolate island closed to the public: Hart Island, where prisoners labor to bury the poor, the nameless, and thousands of victims of HIV/AIDs whose bodies no family would claim. This free PDF ebook presents two poems by Brett Rutherford that center on the loneliest place in New York City. From his Anniversarius cycle comes “Hart Island,” a narrative of the prisoners going about their sorry business of placing the coffins in trenches and then covering them. In 2020, the poet set out to translate and adapt a classic Spanish poem, “They Closed Her Eyes,” by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836-1870), a poet inflluenced by E.T.A. Hoffmann and Heinrich Heine. Unexpectedly, Rutherford found himself gender-changing the poem to "They Closed His Eyes" and making the mourned dead one of those sent to an anonymous pit of coffins on Hart Island. At the end of his poem, Rutherford laments: “City of a billion lights, city of symphonies and towers aspiring to Promethean heights: how did a hundred thousand souls persh in our averted gaze?” This ebook is offered free on The Internet Archive.
This is the 292nd publication of The Poet's Press. 28 pages. READ AND DOWNLOAD HERE.
THE STORY OF NIOBE. Adaptations from Ovid's Metamorphoses by Brett Rutherford, Phillis Wheatley, and Samuel Croxall.
This episode from Roman poet Ovid presents a boastful and narcissistic ruler, fourteen murders, a royal suicide, and a petrifcation, a tale that might be ripped from newspaper headlines except that the players are a Titan, a Queen of Thebes, Apollo and Artemis armed with fatal arrows, and a field littered with corpses as a grieving mother turns to stone.
Brett Rutherford’s new adaptation of Ovid’s gruesome mythological tale is followed by two famous earlier versions: one by the 20-year-old Boston slave poet Phillis Wheatley in 1773, and another by British poet Samuel Croxall from the famous multi-translator English edition of Metamorphoses from 1717.
Two important essays by Brett Rutherford round out this volume: “Niobe’s Tears: The Classical Poetry of Phillis Wheatley” studies how Wheatley constructed her mini-epic from Ovid, using both the Latin poet’s work, but also taking cues from the famous 1760 painting by Richard Wilson, The Destruction of the Children of Niobe. It is a rounding defense of Wheatley’s place as a poet in the classical tradition. Wheatley’s book found a British patron and was published in London in 1773, making it the first poetry book by an African-American woman.
A second essay, “The Myth of Niobe and the Boston Massacre” presents startling evidence that Paul Revere’s famous 1770 engraving of The Boston Massacre incorporates references to the Niobe myth and even copies visual elements from the Wilson painting. The illustrated text presents the three different known Niobe paintings by Wilson, and engravings made from them (the principal means of copying paintings in the era before photography.)
This is the 291st publication of The Poet's Press. 80 pages, 6x 9 inches with 26 illustrations, most in full color. $16.95. ISBN 9798674478591. Order from Amazon below.
THE BARBARA HOLLAND READER.
Created as a one-volume introduction to the poetry of Barbara A. Holland (1925-1988), the mysterious Greenwich Village poet who was a centerpiece of the 1970s neo-romantic and Gothic poetry movement, this volume presents all the reviews and essays about Holland that appeared in her lifetime, along with the poems quoted or cited in those articles. This makes it a perfect book to study and teach the remarkable work of this 20th-century American poet.
Twenty-eight of Holland’s most memorable writings are here, including the terrifying “Medusa,” “Black Sabbath,” and “Apples of Sodom and Gomorrah.” Her work is garlanded with a group of poems about her by her contemporaries and by younger poets she influenced, including Shirley Powell, D.H. Melhem, Marjorie DeFazio, Dan Wilcox, and Vincent Spina. A memoir of Holland in her coffeehouse haunts by Matthew Paris establishes her image and milieu as a fixture of the last Bohemia of Manhattan.
Interviews, reviews and essays about Holland are presented here for their first time since their appearance almost four decades ago. Those who shed light on Holland’s unique place in American poetry include Olga Cabral, Stephen-Paul Martin, Maurice Kenny, A. D. Sullivan, Robert Kramer, Ivan Argüelles, Kirby Congdon, Claudia Dikinis, and Michael Redmond.
Since Holland’s more than 800 extant poems are scattered across numerous chapbooks and books, this volume includes a complete bibliography of the currently-known poems. This is the ninth and final volume of a series based on the Barbara A. Holland Papers, and the archives of The Poet’s Press.
This is the 290th publication of The Poet's Press. 198 pages, 6x 9 inches. $14.95. ISBN 9798668830121. Order from Amazon with link below:
ON THE VERGE: POETS OF THE PALISADES III.
Edited by Paul Nash, Denise La Neve, Susanna Rich, John J. Trause, and David Messineo. The Poets of the Palisades shine in their third anthology of new and memorable works — 142 poems from 80 poets. All have had featured readings in the series sponsored by the North Jersey Literary Community in Teaneck, NJ (founded 1997) and the High Mountain Meadow Poetry Series in Wayne, NJ (founded 2017). For these tumultuous times of environmental crisis, bad politics, pandemic, and unrest, the editors selected submitted poems and arranged the best into eleven themed sections.
These works, of our time, are on the verge, or, as editor Paul Nash indicates, “In transition . . . about to change ... at the point where something may occur … in anticipation … to extend outward toward the unknown . . . nearing the likely or inevitable attainment of some state of being . . . to approach a barrier, boundary or portal … at an event horizon … crossing a permeable membrane . . . to reach the outer margins of something different or unexpected.”
POETS AND ARTISTS IN THIS ANTHOLOGY: Joel Allegretti, Renée Ashley, Donna Baier Stein, Amy Barone, John Barrale, Caterina Belvedere, Norma Ketzis Bernstock, Michael McKeown Bondhus, Laura Boss, Theresa Burns, Laurie Byro, Kevin Carey, Cathy Cavallone, John Chorazy, David Crews, Jessica de Koninck, Erica Desmond, Catherine Doty, Juditha Dowd, Sandra Duguid, Jane Ebihara, James C. Ellerbe, R.G. Evans, Tom Fitzpatrick, Ellen Foos, Laura Freedgood, Davidson Garrett, Deborah Gerrish, Henry Gerstman, Suzanne Gili Post, George Guida, Barbara Hall, Therése Halscheid, Patrick Hammer Jr., Karen Hubbard, Pamela Hughes, Josh Humphrey, Paul Kuszcyk, Vasiliki Katsarou, Tina Kelley, Adele Kenny, Janet Kolstein, Elaine Koplow, Denise La Neve, Susanna Lee, Joel Lewis, Timothy Liu, Roy Lucianna, Mary Makofske, Charlotte Mandel, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, David Messineo, Marilyn Mohr, Gene Myers, Paul Nash, James B. Nicola, Priscilla Orr, Wayne Pierson, Tom Plante, Jennifer Poteet, Morton D. Rich, Susanna Rich, Denise Rue, Alison Ruth, Brett Rutherford, Yuyutsu Sharma, Danny Shot, Carole Stone, Heather Strazza, John J. Trause, Doris Umbers, David F. Vincenti, Emily Vogel, BJ Ward, Galen Warden, Joe Weil, Barbara R. Williams-Hubbard, George Witte, Dave Worrell, Anton Yakovlev, David Yazzi, Michael T. Young, Donald Zirilli, Sander Zulauf.
ISBN 9798650452249. 284 pages, paperback, 6x 9 inches. $19.95 from Amazon (see link below). Ebook for $4.99 from Payhip. (see link below).
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BARBARA A. HOLLAND. AFTER HOURS IN BOHEMIA: LOST POEMS FROM NOTEBOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS AND MAGAZINES.
Barbara A. Holland (1925-1988) was called “the Sybil of Greenwich Village.” Her poems of Manhattan’s Bohemia in its last decades are sharp and surreal takes from an outsider who fled a Wall Street job and chose to live among the writers and artists, a “full-time poet” when such a choice of profession was a guarantee of neglect and poverty. She is the flaneur of streets and harbors, of coffeehouses and lofts, always “alone in my voice” but eager to share her sharp and biting images and visions. After Hours in Bohemia is the eighth and final volume of the series of the poet’s complete surviving works, from published magazines and typewritten manuscripts. Holland’s long-time publisher Brett Rutherford has also added almost 100 pages of other poems, recovered or reconstructed from the poet’s hand-written notebooks.
The final section of this book reprints all the known critical reviews and articles about Barbara Holland published in her lifetime, plus interviews about her craft, and her struggles for recognition in the Manhattan poetry scene, which did not initially welcome her. As she told one reporter, “I am my own prison.” The contributors to the “critical reception” section include Ivan Arguelles, Kirby Congdon, Robert Kramer, Claudia Dobkins-Dikinis, Olga Cabral, Maurice Kenny, and Michael Redmond.
This is the 289th publication of The Poet's Press. 352 pages, 6x 9 inches. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD AND READ THIS BOOK FREE IN PDF FORMAT. Paperback print copies available by mail for $19.95.
JACQUELINE de WEEVER. SEED MISTRESS
The first Europeans to visit the Caribbean and the Amazonian realms of South America were overwhelmed by the profusion of animals and plants, many of them brightly-colored, unfamiliar in shape, and unknown to the gardener’s or the chef’s palette. Could you eat it? Would it eat you? Medicine, or poison? Overlaid with the magic of Inca, Maya, and Aztec, the natural world of our hemisphere is as rich as all of Europe’s myths, if only one looks and listens. Born in British Guiana (now Guyana), Jacqueline de Weever, a medievalist as well as a poet, has overlaid poignant lyric poems using tropical flora and fauna with the region’s troubled history from Columbus onward, in her two prior books, Trailing the Sun’s Sweat (2015), and Rice-Wine Ghosts (2017). In her newest book, Seed Mistress, where “dreams excavate my past,” de Weever plunges us into a world of crocodile caimans, howler monkeys, spice trees, boa constrictors, and armadillos, but just as readily engages with close observations from her own Brooklyn gardens. This is a voluptuous collection of poems with a voice gently but affirmatively outside-looking in: “I joined migrants and refugees long ago. Now I belong nowhere, birthplace an accident/ ancestors from rain forests in Asia, Africa, to meet saturated Amazonia.”
This is the 275th publication of The Poet’s Press. Published April 2020. 100 pages, 6 x 9 inches, paperback. $12.95. ISBN: 9798639275159.
BRETT RUTHERFORD. THE INHUMAN WAVE - NEW POEMS AND REVISIONS 2019-2020.
Spanning just one year of Brett Rutherford's poetic output, this 264-page collection shows the American neo-Romantic, Gothic poet at the peak of his powers. The new poems include biting satires and laments about the current decline of the United States, as might be expected from a self-professed "outsider." But there are many facets to this dazzling kaleidoscope of a book: childhood memories of the coal and coke towns of his Pennsylvania childhood; riveting narratives such as that of a freezing woman going from door to door begging for coal, or a grandmother telling her grandson about "the things that happen to women" living alone in the country; and memories of college years overshadowed by the Vietnam War. The supernatural, as always plays a large role, as an invisible monster lurks in a Pennsylvania swamp, angry Native American spirits pop the windows off skyscrapers and snap the wings off airplanes, Medieval thieves are magically prevented from robbing an Abbey; and the tale of a Danish girl, a raven, and her lover's eyeball. One of the darkest poems here is an imagined monologue of the crazed military Roman Emperor Domitian, as he leads a group of senators and oligarchs into his subterranean "Black Room."
Translations from Spanish, French, Old English, German, Danish, and Old Norse show the poet working in the tradition of American poets such as Longfellow, tapping the poems and lore of other times and cultures, yet making of them new works that delight (and caution) today's reader. Rutherford does not employ rhyme, so these adaptations flow like highly-condensed sketches or stories. At the heart of this book is a poem cycle started four decades ago and only now finished, an adaptation and expansion from German Rainer Maria Rilke's Duino Elegies, titled Fatal Birds of the Soul. It transcends any label, not translation, not mere adaptation, swallowing the lines of Rilke into a web of interrogations.
The book also includes another cycle, as far from serious German verse as can be imagined. Titled Buster, or The Unclaimed Urn, it is an imaginary cat book about the adventures of a winged housecat. Based on notes left behind by poet Barbara A. Holland, this long narrative poem shows what happens when two Gothic poets attempt to write a "children's book." Of course no child would ever be allowed to read a book about drowned kittens, eating mice, and the horrors of being "snipped" at the veterinarian's office.
Published June 2020. 262 pages, 6 x 9 inches, paperback. $14.95. ISBN 979-8650988762. This is the 285th publication of The Poet's Press. Order below from Amazon.
BRETT RUTHERFORD. FATAL BIRDS OF THE SOUL.
A Poem Cycle based on Rilke's Duino Elegies 1 and 2. FROM THE POET'S NOTES ABOUT THIS BOOK: “The work on these poems started in 1976, an attempt to translate, adapt, and expand upon the first two of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies. The project was abandoned, the sketches only rediscovered in late 2019. In April 2020, I decided to complete the project, revising and expanding the original sketches and making them into a connected cycle of 21 poems.
“This cycle is in no way an explication of Rilke, and the German poet would doubtless be horrified at the thought of a young atheist, neo-Romantic American poet of the 1970s making a palimpsest over his work, with the shades of Shelley, Walt Whitman, Poe, and even H. P. Lovecraft looking over his shoulder. That Rilke himself stepped away from the Elegies after writing the first two, only returning to the project some years later, gives some indication of the daunting power of Elegies 1 and 2. I, too, unsure of what I had done, and what was to be done with it, put the project aside.
“Some of my recent work with translations and adaptations gave me the self-confidence to return to this perilous project, this time trusting my own voice and letting even more expansion emerge from the original material. If I have succeeded, Rilke’s own words fit seamlessly into the flow of my own. I was in his thrall for a number of years, and his Letters to a Young Poet gave me comfort and inspiration when it was not coming from those around me. I already had a sense that in poems such as this, one is being “lived through” by language, creating a freestanding work that has its own existence, its own right to be.
“To illustrate this book I turned to some of the Greek sculpture that makes clear some of Rilke’s language about the vocabulary of touching in classic sculpture, and I was able to find a photo of the Latin tomb inscription Rilke found in Venice and copied down. I introduced the god Hermes, who, as a messenger of the gods, served the same role as messenger angels to the Greeks. These visual embellishments may help the reader recreate the visual elements of Rilke’s musings on angels, on sculpture, and on Beauty in general."
This is the 287th publication of The Poet’s Press. Published June 2020. 62 pages, 6 x 9 inches. ISBN 9798650985211 Price $14.95.
BRETT RUTHERFORD. THE PUMPKINED HEART: POEMS OF PENNSYLVANIA.
Brett Rutherford published The Pumpkined Heart in 1973 as a 48-page illustrated chapbook. Now, almost a half-century later, he has assembled all of his poems that have Pennsylvania as their locale, into one huge book, a personal memoir in poems.
Three towns figure in this saga that spans early childhood to college years: Scottdale, in the coal and coke district when the skies were black with smoke and fumes from the coke-ovens; West Newton, a grim steelworkers’ town hugging the steep banks of the Youghiogheny River; and Edinboro, a college town in the northwest corner of the state, its placid lake setting contrasting with the tumult of Vietnam-era protest.
From early childhood in Scottdale, the poet casts himself as an outsider, breaking rules, recruiting neighbor children to act in “monster shows,” absorbing Native American lore from a story-telling grandmother, and learning about the Golem legend from Jewish neighbors. The other side of his family life is “out home,” where his maternal grandparents live in squalor in a tar-paper-covered shack. These country people, their pride and their secrets, left an indelible impression that emerges in “memory poems,” written many decades later. In “Peeling the Onion,” a grandmother relates to him the dark side of living alone in the mountains, and “the kinds of things that happen to women.”
Four high-school years in West Newton with a degenerating family and an evil stepfather are lightened by self-discovery: “I was a poet. A cape would trail behind me always.” Here he studies Latin, writes his first poems, and deepens his abiding love of the Gothic in literature and film. The fantasy poem “Son of Dracula” celebrates artistic birth, and “Mr. Penney’s Books” gratefully recalls the town’s one mentor for the unruly young, a bibliophile with 10,000 books.
Readers turning to the Edinboro section of this book will be startled by the transformation of theme and mood. Rutherford attaches himself to the town’s glacial lake, its flora and fauna, its sharp seasonal divides, and weaves them into a Whitmanesque vision. These poems, while modern in style, are in the spirit of Shelley, Whitman, Rilke, and Jeffers. Returning to the locale again and again over many decades for renewal and recollection, the poems celebrate what the poet calls, “my first-found home.” Other poems lift the veil on the student life of the time, and the choices one had to make about war or resistance.
The last section of the book, “Looking Backward,” includes retrospective poems, written from far away, that look back on the childhood places and events, rather than the straight-forward story-poems earlier in the book.
The longer poems here are stories in verse, several of them with multiple voices, most notably the four-voice tale, “The Doll Without A Face.” But all the poems are clear, easily read aloud, and aimed at the reader who may be wary of poetry.
This is the 286th publication of The Poet’s Press. Published April 2020. 320 pages, 6 x 9 inches, paperback. $19.95. ISBN 9798639218460.
GROUP 74: THE NEW YORK POETS' COOPERATIVE.
The Poet’s Press is delighted to present this new edition of a wonderful 1974 anthology of New York poets from “The Last Bohemia.” Group 74: The New York Poets’ Cooperative. Edited by Edward Butscher, Roberta Gould, and Donald Lev.
In his Foreword, Robert Kramer outlines the organization and its goals:
“In April, 1969 the New York Poets’ Cooperative was founded by
Sabina Roseman and a number of other writers from the metropolitan
area who believed that by working together and sharing their writing
problems they could improve their own creativity and also foster an
appreciation of poetry around New York. Thus the activity of the
organization today is concentrated on two levels: the writing, editing,
criticizing, public reading, and publishing of the members' own works;
and the sponsoring of public poetry readings for non-member poets in
order to enable the public, at little or no cost, to hear gifted but
lesser-known poets read their own works. The Cooperative sponsors fifty
regular public poetry readings a year and also, upon request, provides
poets for readings at libraries, churches, Y's, and radio-stations. The
organization is completely democratic and not committed to any
particular school or style of poetry. New members are admitted solely
on the basis of the quality of their work, and all members share equally
in performing necessary tasks.”
Group 74 features the work of 32 poets who were active members of the Cooperative, and provides a lively cross-section of the literary scene in Greenwich Village in the 1970s: Jacob Bush — Edward Butscher — Olga Cabral Kurtz — Vinnie-Marie d’Ambrosio — Richard Davidson — Joseph Drucker — Elaine Edelman — RobertOh Faber — Mark Fishbein — Dolores Giles — Andrew Glaze — Roberta Gould — John Guenther — Hannelore Hahn — Rembert Herbert — Ronald Hobbs — Barbara A. Holland – Robert Kramer — Ann Kregal — Donald Lev — William J. Matthews — D. H. Melhem — John Burnett Payne — Sabina Roseman — Janet Sage — Susan Sands — Layle Silbert — Denis Sivack — Lee Strothers — P. K. Vollmuth — Dick Whipple — Eunice Wolfgran.
The text of the book has been completely re-set and corrected.
This is the 272nd publication of The Poet’s Press. Published March 2020. This is a free PDF Ebook. Read and download from The Internet Archive. Read Group 74 Online.
BARBARA A. HOLLAND: SELECTED POEMS, VOLUME 1
This publication is the first of two volumes bringing together the selected works of America’s great imaginative poet, Barbara A. Holland (1925-1988). It is based upon a 112-page edition published in 1980 and ambitiously titled Collected Poems, Volume 1. Only a few hundred copies of Collected Poems were circulated. After the poet’s death in 1988, the project fell into limbo. The first volume should instead be regarded as the commencement of her “Selected Poems,” a still-living poet’s choice of the works she wanted to preserve. A number of poems had previously appeared only in magazines, many of them already extinct by 1980. Additionally, we included the complete text of her earlier chapbooks: A Game of Scraps; Penny Arcana; Melusine Discovered; On This High Hill; Lens, Light & Sound; and You Could Die Laughing. The poems from an unpublished chapbook, East from Here, were likewise included.
For this expanded edition, completely re-typeset and corrected, we have added additional poems that Holland selected for a 1983 collection, Running Backwards, published by Warthog Press.
This is the 271st publication of The Poet’s Press. Published March 2020. 230 pages, 6 x 9 inches. PDF Ebook free to read online and to download from The Internet Archive. READ OR DOWNLOAD SELECTED POEMS, VOLUME 1.
BARBARA A. HOLLAND: SELECTED POEMS, VOLUME 2
The present volume is dedicated entirely to Holland’s cycle of poems centered around the paintings of René Magritte, originally titled Crises of Rejuvenation and first published in two volumes in 1974 and 1975, and then expanded in 1986.
The two volumes of Selected Poems should be regarded as the poet’s personal choice, rescued from chapbooks and magazines, of the poems she regarded as her best, in their final form. Some punctuation changes (commas and hyphens) have been added, in keeping with my overall editing of the Barbara A. Holland papers that became available in 2019.
Although most of these poems are inspired by a Surrealist painter's work, Barbara Holland is not a literary Surrealist. There is no randomness, no impulse toward Dadaist fist-shaking. The ambiguities of meaning, the shattering of form and syntax that run rampant in some experimental and visual poems, have no place in her writing. Like Magritte with his photographic style, Holland writes in plain English, often in a narrative that could easily be read as prose to the unwitting listener with poem-phobia. Her voice speaks in complete sentences, tightly packed clauses, and unambiguous meaning. If they seem at times like run-ons, they clarify themselves on repeat readings, like a puzzle solved.
The world of Barbara Holland, then, is the real one, that of a solitary literary woman living in Greenwich Village in its last Bohemian years. The twist is simply that impossible things happen there. Roses drink bottled blood, tree stumps sprout human ears, unaccompanied crutches stride the avenues, and a knife appears in the poet’s back as a permanent ornament. She writes with clarity and wit about each brand of impossibility. There is also the passivity of the spectator/voyeur in most of her poems: the poet seldom acts, but is acted upon. She is an esthetic pin-cushion. Reality annoys her more often than it delights her, and she is quick to tell you that. These poems inhabit the world-view, sense of life, and physical laws of an alternate universe. Her poetry is more aligned with weird fiction than with the sodden confessional personal poem of the 1960s.
The book includes notes about the poems based on 1985 interviews with the poet, and selected Magritte images alongside a number of the poems.
This is the 273rd publication of The Poet’s Press. Published March 2020. 140 pages, 6 x 9 inches. PDF Ebook free to read online and to download from The Internet Archive. READ OR DOWNLOAD SELECTED POEMS VOLUME 2.
BARBARA A. HOLLAND: THE SHIPPING ON THE STYX.
Barbara A. Holland (1925-1988) was called “the Sybil of Greenwich Village,” for her sometimes eerie presence and her incantatory readings. By 1970, she had published her work in over 700 magazines, and had read her work everywhere a poet could read. After seeing several small chapbooks published, Holland decided it was time to tackle the big New York publishers. The Shipping on the Styx, recently rediscovered in the poet’s papers, was rejected by all the publishing houses by the end of 1972. What would have been her “breakthrough” book is finally presented here. Its three parts include a solitary observer’s impressions of bustling New York harbor; a medley of her Manhattan-based poems that she read in coffeehouses; and her blistering and unforgettable Gothic poem, “Black Sabbath.”
Rounding out this volume is Songs of Light and Darkness, a manuscript that probably dates to 1951, the end-point of Holland’s graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. These poems show the poet embarking on her career as a devotee of the work of T. S. Eliot and, perhaps, of Thomas Hardy. Pre-dating her “New York style,” this never-before-seen glimpse at the early Holland is a revelation.
This is the 259th publication of The Poet’s Press. Published December 2019. 110 pages, 6 x 9 inches. ISBN 9781679125287. $12.95 from Amazon. PDF Ebook to be published at a later date.
TWO RUSSIAN EXILES: SELECTED
FICTION OF MIKHAIL ARTSYBASHEV AND LEONID ANDREYEV.
Mikhail Artsybashev (1878-1927) and Leonid Andreyev (1871 -1919) both spent their last years in exile from Soviet Russia, and saw their works banned in their native land. Each had gained notoriety for shocking the reading public and alarming the authorities. Artsybashev was a realist and an anarchist. Describing one Artsybashev story, an American critic wrote, “Twenty-three pages are sufficient for the author to produce a finished work that begins in laughter, and ends in horror so awful that no one should read it whose nerves are not under control.” Andreyev took the world as he found it, and wove an obsessive web of war, sexuality, and death, so much so that he has been called the Russian Edgar Allan Poe.
These ten stories, edited/adapted and introduced by Brett Rutherford, are as fresh as today’s headlines. With a journalist’s sharp focus, they deal with sexual predators, murderers, political fanatics, mass shooters, corrupt officials, the traumas visited upon soldiers in battle, and the dehumanization of a people as they are pulled into a civil war against their fellow citizens. These two authors lived in times that tested and distorted the very idea of what it is to be human, and their stories are an unflinching warning. As an outsider and anarchist, Artsybashev seems not to have an answer to the dilemmas he portrays, but he is there to show us that all these things are human; they are what people do. Andreyev has more soul and humanity, and his retreat into the Finnish countryside, to look at Russia from outside rather than be killed within in, shows him as a principled man who still had hope for his people, even if it seemed that humanistic values were no longer an assured progression.
A Yogh & Thorn Book. This is the 258th publication of The Poet's Press. Published December 2019. 6x9 inches, 266 pp. ISBN 9781676891512. $16.95 from Amazon. November 2020: PDF ebook version now also available for $2.99. (see link below).
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BARBARA A. HOLLAND'S
OUT OF AVERNUS: THE EXILED SORCERESS AND THE FALLEN PRIESTESS.
Barbara A. Holland (1925-1988) was called “the Sybil of Greenwich Village,” not only for her sometimes eerie presence and her incantatory readings, but also because she wrote a number of powerful poems on mythological women. In 1976, the poet went off to the Macdowell Colony in New Hampshire with a working manuscript collecting her unique “impressions and impersonations” of famed or unknown women who, “in conflict with the gods or the mores and customs of their cultures, are alienated.”
The manuscript she brought back to her Greenwich Village home yielded some powerful poems that she read for the rest of her life, inhabiting the spirits of the classical Cassandra, Sybil, and Eurydice; the Biblical Lilith, Hagar, and the Witch of Endor; the medieval snake-woman Melusine and Wagner’s Grail-temptress Kundrie; two 12th-century Hindu saints, and even a Revolutionary War-era witch who spied for General George Washington at Valley Forge.
Seen in the context of the feminist poetry being written in New York in the 1970s, Holland’s work can be seen as a recasting and re-voicing of women’s magical attributes, both for good and evil.
This is the 257th publication of The Poet's Press. Published October 2019. 6x9 inches, 80 pp. Print edition available for $12.95 at Amazon (see link below).
Emilie Glen (1906-1995) was a staggeringly prolific New York City-based poet, whose published work spans five decades with thousands of little magazine and newspaper credits worldwide. This new chapbook supplements the four-volume set available from The Poet’s Press, containing newly-discovered poems and prose from published magazines and from manuscripts. Since the cache of published poems included the first publication of one of Glen’s best-known poems, “Late to the Kitchen,” that poem is also included here, along with a link to an audio of Emilie Glen reading the poem.
First recognized by H.L. Mencken and published in his American Mercury, she started as a fiction writer and then gravitated to narrative poetry, writing and publishing thousands of poems in magazines around the world. Glen’s poems are an ongoing narrative saga of New York high and low, as well as a poignant saga of family sorrows. The best of them are intimate character portraits, short stories compressed into a dramatic, reader-friendly style, poetry the untrained reader need not fear. A strong musical thread runs through this collection as well: Glen was a child prodigy pianist and came to New York City to study at The Juilliard School before the poetry Muse asserted her primacy, so Glen's Manhattan is always a musical island. Her years of acting in children’s theater also come to the fore in this collection.
This is the 254th publication of The Poet's Press. Published October 2019. 6x9 inches, 48 pp. A PDF ebook. $2.99. Print edition available for $12.00 at Lulu.com (see button below) and also from Amazon (see link below).
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JODY AZZOUNI. HEREAFTER LANDSCAPES.
As cheerful as Timon of Athens or Anacreon, philosopher-poet Jody Azzouni unleashes this cycle of aphoristic, terse and dark visions of the world after global warming, nuclear winter, pollution, mutation and plague have come and gone. There's no "rapture" to rescue us, just the hard light of a ruined world. Back in the Cold War, Bertrand Russell noted that the smartest thinkers were the most gloomy about the prospects for humankind, and this cycle inhabits that world of intellectual worry. And yet there is beauty in desolation, and every dystopian artwork, by depicting what might and must not come to pass, may serve as a warning. Hereafter Landscapes might be the butterfly that changes history by changing the hearts of a few — or it might be locked into a time capsule as a prime specimen of post-millennial gloom. However one takes this sombre and linguistically rich little book, it comes from a serious thinker, versed in myth, science and art. In keeping with the book's theme, we chose to decorate it with the paintings and engravings of the artist most associated with the terror of the Sublime: John Martin. Martin's vast murals terrified crowds in London, and his engravings of Paradise Lost and Biblical cataclysms gave nightmares to generations of Victorian schoolchildren.
Selected as one of the six best chapbooks of 2010 by Presa magazine: "The most ambitious production in this round-up, complete with beautifully printed cover art and illustrations from the paintings and engravings of John Martin . . . The poetry has a prophetic quality that reminds us of the apocalyptic writings of William Blake. Azzouni also deals with the big themes, unafraid of directly engaging the spectre of potential environmental & nuclear disaster. His work is didactic, but not in a bad way, since the issues raised are the very issues of human meaning and survival. "
New second edition October, 2019. This is the 256th publication of The Poet's Press.
56 pp., 8-1/2 x 7 inches, full color, $12.95 paperback.
BRETT RUTHERFORD. WHIPPOORWILL ROAD: THE SUPERNATURAL POEMS (Expanded and Revised 6th Edition, 2019).
is the expanded sixth edition of Brett Rutherford's landmark poetry
collection, Whippoorwill Road: The Supernatural Poetry. This
extraordinary 418-page paperback contains all the poet's supernatural
poems, including major new poems added since the last edition. Praised by
Robert Bloch and Ray Bradbury, these may be the best supernatural poems
of our time. The writing ranks from the seriously Gothic
through the downright hilarious, including Gorgons, Egyptian
mummies, Golems, Lovecraftian horrors, vampires, werewolves, possessed sex toys
and stuffed animals, and the personal recollections of Fritz, the
hunchback assistant of Dr. Frankenstein. All of Rutherford's Lovecraft-related poems are collected in this volume -- more than 100 pages of Lovecratian items including all the poems written for the annual ceremonies at HPL's gravesite in Providence. Other major new items in this collection include the long narrative poem “Mrs. Friedman’s Golem,” and accounts of Pittsburgh’s radioactive grave-walking specter, the most alarming bed-and-breakfast stay of all time, a secret mental ward full of Lovecraft fans, and a young girl’s lessons in witchcraft in ancient Corinth.
This is the 255th publication of The Poet’s Press, under its Grim Reaper Books imprint.
Sixth edition, revised and expanded 2019. 414 pp., 6x9. ISBN 9781701296275 . $19.95.
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THE BECKONING EYE.
Barbara A. Holland (1925-1988) was called “the Sybil of Greenwich Village.” Her poems of Greenwich Village’s Bohemia in its last decades are sharp and surreal takes from an outsider who fled a Wall Street job and chose to live among the writers and artists, a “full-time poet” when such a choice of profession was a guarantee of neglect and poverty. She is the flaneur of streets and harbors, of coffeehouses and lofts, always “alone in my voice” but eager to share her sharp and biting images and visions.
From the papers and notebooks of Barbara A. Holland comes The Beckoning Eye, this collection of 150 poems that appeared in little magazines, few of which have ever appeared in book form. Holland’s long-time publisher Brett Rutherford has also added 29 other poems, recovered or reconstructed from the poet’s notebooks and typed manuscripts. This is the third volume of publications from the Barbara A. Holland papers, following Medusa: The Lost First Chapbook and The Secret Agent.
Whether writing about doomed love affairs or her flirtation with the mysteries of Hindu religion; recreating the persona of a jealous witch, or an outraged Virgin Mary in grief at Calvary; playfully bouncing stars, moons, and mirror images in Magritte-inspired pre-dawn fantasies; or puzzling over her fellow residents of Gotham’s Bohemia, Holland is at turns brilliant, unnerving, and witty. Many of her poems are miniature opera arias, tightly-knotted in syntax, poetic hand-grenades disguised as walnuts. They are meant for reading and performing aloud, and unfurl their meanings on repetition.
This is the 253rd publication of The Poet's Press. Published September 2019. 6x9 inches, 212 pp. paperback. $14.95. ISBN 9781695033023. A PDF ebook will also be published.
SECRET AGENT AND OTHER POEMS FROM NOTEBOOKS AND CHAPBOOKS.
Barbara A. Holland (1925-1988) was best-known for her alarming and terrifying supernatural and myth-infused poems, and for her large cycle of poems that transferred the surrealist visions of Belgian painter René Magritte to the gritty streets of Greenwich Village. The never-published manuscript titled The Secret Agent is something very different: a spiritual and psychological battleground. These are not freestanding poems such as one finds in little magazines, but a series of interlocked self-debates in which Hindu gods, un-named lovers, and a mysterious Secret Agent who may have stepped from a Magritte canvas, vie for attention, and for the poet’s soul. Like Rilke’s Duino Elegies, these strange poems, full of arresting, pin-prick images and startling lines, may defy easy interpretation.
This volume also includes the full text of another long-unavailable chapbook, Lens, Light and Sound, and a completion of Holland’s longest and most unusual unfinished work, a text for a macabre cat story in the manner of Edward Gorey, now titled Buster, or The Unclaimed Urn, the life, adventures, and sad fate of a flying housecat.
To round out the collection, Holland’s longtime publisher Brett Rutherford has added sketches and unknown poems from the poet’s notebooks and manuscripts, now available for the first time. Finally, the book concludes with a set of Holland’s supernatural “warhorses,” the most powerful incantatory poems she performed for enthralled audiences all over the Northeastern United States.
This is the 252nd publication of The Poet's Press. Published August 2019. 6x9 inches, 158 pp. paperback. $14.95. ISBN 9791689221405. A PDF ebook will also be published.
MEDUSA: THE LOST FIRST CHAPBOOK.
Barbara A. Holland (1925-1988) made her entrance into the New York poetry scene around 1961 with a self-published chap-book, Medusa. The reaction to its up-front mix of witchcraft, Satanism, and Chthonic mythology among friends, family, and fellow poets must have been discouraging, for the book vanished and Holland never referred to it again. The haunting title-poem, “Medusa” was published and read aloud frequently, and, by the early 1970s, the poet was regaling her audiences with other alarming and terrifying supernatual and myth-infused poems. The Gothic vein in her writing was not to be suppressed.
The discovery of the sole remaining copy of the chapbook led to the creation of this book. To round out the collection, Holland’s long-time publisher Brett Rutherford has added sketches and unknown poems from the poet’s notebooks and manuscripts, now available for the first time. The range of work presented here shows Holland’s engagement with Greenwich Village and its eccentric people, with the inner demons of thwarted desire, and with the overarching power of nature: moon, wind, woods, and ocean.
Fasten your windows, New York: Barbara A. Holland is back!
This is the 251st publication of The Poet's Press. ISBN 9781686840289, 80 pp., 6 x 9 inches. $12.95 from Amazon. The PDF ebook is $3.99.
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OF THE CAROUSEL.
Burt Rashbaum has had the rare privilege of being one of five operators at The Carousel of Happiness, a re-imagining of a 1910 carousel with animals hand-carved by Scott Harrison, a Vietnam veteran who used his decades of carving to heal himself from the horrors of war. With ridership approaching one million, Rashbaum has had the opportunity to see a wide spectrum of life, and how riders react to the beauty of the carousel. In describing his experiences, he would often say, “I see magic there,” but when asked what this magic was, his explanation never seemed to match the actual experience.
Rashbaum knew he could only relate his observations in the one genre that can explain the unexplainable, through poetry.With a fiction-writer’s eye and a poet’s sensibility, he crafted these 21 poems as one sequence to reflect the beauty and wonder of The Carousel, the healing that occurs there, the life lessons, the love and indescribable joy that, as one poem states, is “barely contained within the human form.”
Scott Harrison, the carver of the carousel animals, wrote: “For me who, during the carving process, never knew the future extent of its magic and meaning, [the poems are] a particularly extraordinary description of what goes on under the roof in ways only an observant operator who stands in the middle of the spinning creatures could know.”
Some of the poems are in the shape of the carousel, others evoke its movement, the kinetic energy of the place and the enveloping bombast of the 1913 Wurlitzer band organ that plays while the carousel spins. While the words whirl like a rider on the carousel, when they are read aloud they tell stories. Open this book and enter The Carousel of Happiness, become a rider and experience what countless thousands from the world over have shared.
This is the 250th publication of The Poet's Press. 72 pp., 6 x 9 inches, printed in full color. $14.95 from Amazon.
TWENTY MINUTES OF CALM: POEMS OF NATURE, SCENE & SEASON.
New Jersey-born poet David Messineo’s ninth collection, Twenty Minutes of Calm, is his first to focus exclusively on Nature. His selection of works on “Nature, Scene and Season” range from idealized nature as painted in China in the 17th century, to the raw discomfort of a rural American winter; from a cave in Australia to the placid shores of a lake in the Pine Barrens; from the Amazon in Brazil to the rivers and hills of northern New Jersey.
Messineo is widely known as the publisher and poetry editor of the award-winning Sensations Magazine. He is one of the nation’s longest-serving independent literary magazine publishers, and he runs one of the longest-lasting poetry reading series still active in America, the Sensations Magazine Creative Events Series. Much of his published poetry centers on American history, and as an editor he has persuaded many other poets to create narrative and lyric poems inspired by historical events and persons. In this role he has helped shape what is now informally called The Palisades Poetry Movement. His previous books are First Impressions, Suburban Gothic, A Taste of Italy, A Taste of Brazil, Restoration, Formal, The Search for the Sapphire Robe, and Historiopticon.
This is the 249th publication of The Poet's Press. 56 pp., 6 x 9 inches, designed and typeset in the manner of a Roycroft Book, printed in full color. ISBN 978-0-922558-01-8. $13.95 from Amazon.
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BARBARA A. HOLLAND'S
AUTUMN NUMBERS. NEW EBOOK EDITION.
Autumn Numbers was published as a chapbook by our Grim Reaper Books imprint in 1980. We described it then as “a wry set of poems. … [with] many surreal and whimsical autumnals.” It included “End of an Era,” addressed to the goddess of Victory, fallen from the arch in Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza. For this new 2019 ebook edition, we have added some other Holland autumn-themed poems, including the terrifying witch-poem, “Apples of Sodom and Gomorrah,” and Holland’s most powerful single poem, “Not Now, Wanderer!”
Philadelphia-raised poet Barbara Adams Holland was the daughter of an archaeologist who specialized in Greek ruins; her mother was a Professor of Latin. She earned B.A. and M.A. degrees at University of Pennsylvania and completed work on a doctorate. She labored on the staff of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, conducted genealogical research, and worked as a stockbroker. A descendant of the Revolutionary-era Adams line, she was a rugged individualist, choosing to live off the tiny earnings of a small bundle of stocks and bonds so that she could be a full-time poet living in Manhattan. From the 1960s until her death in 1988, she did just that, publishing hundreds of poems and haunting all the poetry venues of New York. Her Gothic and surrealist poems, and her gaunt appearance, earned her the nickname of “The Sybil of Greenwich Village.” So powerful were her readings that audiences frequently wept, and many poets who heard her were inspired to emulate her or even to write poems in response to hers. She is still a legend on the New York poetry scene.
This is the 248th publication of The Poet's Press. To order the PDF ebook for $2.00, click below.
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ALTERNATE LIVES. NEW EBOOK EDITION.
Poet, novelist, and storyteller Shirley Powell is best known for ghostly tales, turning the American Midwest of her childhood, and the New York of her later years, into spine-tingling, tantalizing stories in prose or verse. Alternate Lives weaves the supernatural and transcendental with a very different strain, retelling the lives of seemingly-ordinary people — people who do not read poems — in sparkling images and words. We meet and grow to understand a shepherd, a wise farmer, a lonely African-American farm wife hidden away by a jealous white husband, a cemetery caretaker, and several urban homeless. There’s always the dark, Chthonic undercurrent, though, as she veins into the very cells of someone frozen in the snow, and another who lived and died in a tree, “leaving my satisfied skeleton wherever scavengers let fall the bits of me.” In another poem she has entered the soil, saying, “I am really gone this time.” The Woodstock Times reviewer cited the book’s “original visions of country living, strange tales unadorned with sentimentality.” The book features montage art illustrations by Mildred Barker.
This is the 247th publication of The Poet's Press. To order the PDF ebook for $2.99, click below.
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THE LUST FOR BLUEPRINTS. 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION.
Poets are expected to have, or imply, a philosophy in
their writing. But when a philosopher threatens to write poetry, most
readers head for the hills. This makes the debut book of
philosopher-poet Jody Azzouni all the more astonishing. It dazzles
and delights. Wry, sardonic, myth-infused, and precise as a
scalpel blade, this 1999 collection revels in dark imagery and playful
erudition. All the poems here were published in literary magazines, but
some also appeared as postcard-sized "guerilla-publishing" pieces that
found their way into New York City bookstores, sometimes even planted
like wasp larvae inside books of other authors' work. To our delight, a
cache of these books has turned up intact, surviving our many moves, as
well as several floods and mildew plagues. This volume contains
two digital art illustrations by Catherine Weaver, and concludes
with Azzouni's challenging 20-page essay, "Numbered
Paragraphs: An Essay on Esthetics."
Print edition on press now. To order the PDF ebook for $2.99, click below.
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IN THE SILENCE OF SCORPIONS.
POEMS BY RICHARD LYMAN.
A LOST 1971 POET'S PRESS CHAPBOOK.
The first edition of this book was a hand-stapled chapbook, published in 1971 as one of the earliest productions of The Poet’s Press. The text was completely re-set and minor corrections of spelling and punctuation were made. Many of the poems are intentionally ambiguous, so punctuation has only been added in a few places for clarity.
Richard Lyman (1925-2003) was the pseudonym of Richard Bush-Brown. He was active in the Greenwich Village poetry scene in the 1960s and early 1970s.
The poet was the son of Harold Bush-Brown (1888-1983), a Harvard-trained architect and author of the 1976 book, Beaux Arts to Bauhaus and Beyond: An Architect’s Perspective. His mother, Marjorie Conant Bush-Brown (1885-1978), was an artist and portrait painter, and both his paternal grandparents were artists. He was estranged from his parents, who disapproved of his youthful avowal of Communism. Only the fact of his birth is stated on web pages about his parents.
Bush-Brown attended Black Mountain College. His poetry is overshadowed by his reverence for Dylan Thomas. His poem, “The leopard came into the world” was his most memorable work, and his readings of it impressed listeners at New York poetry readings. On the strength of that poem, The Poet’s Press persuaded Bush-Brown to assemble the manuscript for this chapbook.
No other details are known about the poet, who vanished from the Manhattan poetry scene, and so far as we know, he published no other books.
He continued to live in Manhattan, was seen riding the subway to and from some Wall Street job, and died on October 18, 2003.
40 pp, 6 x 9 inches. PDF format. $2.99. Published May 2019. This is the 243rd publication of The Poet’s Press.
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Version 21.9 Updated August 11, 2020