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Recognized as Best Literary Journal for 2005 by Public Radio's - "The Poet and the Poem's" Tenth Annual Award for Excellence in Print


Book of Lamentations by Red Hawk (aka Robert MOore)Enlarged view of image
Book of Lamentations by Red Hawk ($21.00) ISBN # 978-1-7346535-8-8


Red Hawk (aka Robert Moore) is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. He is the author of 11 books of poetry and two books on spiritual practice. He is a student and devotee of the Spiritual Teacher Lee Lozowick and of Lozowick’s Master, Yogi Ramsuratkumar, the Godchild of Tiruvanamali, India. He is also a long-time student of the Spiritual Teacher George Gurdjieff. His root-Guru was Osho Rajneesh. He is the winner of numerous national honors, among which are the 1992 Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, the 1992 Cleveland State University poetry book prize, the 2008 Bright Hill Press poetry book award, one winner of the xlvi Pushcart Prize, and the 2023 Bitter Oleander Library of Poetry book prize—all using his Earth name Red Hawk. All of these book prizes were awarded in blind competitions, meaning the author’s name was not known until the winner was selected.

Red Hawk (aka Robert Moore) is not an Indian name, nor was it ever intended to be one or pretend to be one; it is an Earth name, given by Mother Earth many years ago after a 4-day water fast at the Buffalo River in an effort to save my life in one of the darkest periods of my life. It was given as answered prayer. It indicates a deep love & reverence for the Earth which named me, and how it has shaped my life. I stand by it. Love of the Earth is my Spiritual path. It honors Her power to direct the course of our lives. I am Her legitimate son. As the illegitimate son of unknown parents, Robert Moore is my adopted name given to me by 2 people who died of alcoholism; I honor them by the way I live my life.

Gathering Sunlight by Silvia Scheibli & Patty Dickson PieczkaEnlarged view of image
Gathering Sunlight by Silvia Scheibli & Patty Dickson Pieczka ($24.00) ISBN # 978-1-7346535-7-1

Silvia Scheibli has served as judge for the 2017 Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award. In 2015 she was invited to Ecuador in a cultural exchange of poets between the United States and Ecuador touring and reciting in the Amazonas as well as in Quito, Babahoyo and Guayaquil with Alan Britt and Steve Barfield. Besides publishing eight books of poems including, The Moon Rises in the Rattlesnake’s Mouth (Bitter Oleander Press), Under The Loquat Tree ( 2002, Vida Publishing), and Parabola Dreams co-authored with Alan Britt (2013, Bitter Oleander Press), she is the editor and publisher of Cypress Review and Cypress Books since 1980. Scheibli has published in Cholla Needles, Osiris, Bitter Oleander, Ann Arbor Review, Black Moon, The Midwest Quarterly, The January Review and The Raw Seed Review among others. She is an enthusiastic photographer and birder living near the borderlands in southeast Arizona where jaguars, bobcats, coatimundi, white-tailed deer and javelina move freely.

Patty Dickson Pieczka's third book of poetry,Beyond the Moon’s White Claw won the David Martinson Meadowhawk Award from Red Dragonfly Press. Her second collection of poetry, Painting the Egret's Echo, won the Library of Poetry Book Award for 2012 from the Bitter Oleander Press. She was the featured poet in their Spring 2014 issue and was invited to serve as book contest Judge in 2019. Other awards include the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest in the Best Sonnet category, the ISPS poetry contest for 2012 (first place in the free verse category), Frances Locke Memorial Poetry Award for 2010, and nominations for an Illinois Arts Council Award and three Pushcart Prizes. Other books are Lacing Through Time (Bellowing Ark Press, 2011), and a chapbook, Word Paintings, (Snark Publishing, 2002).

Patty graduated from the Creative Writing Program at Southern Illinois University. Writing contributions have appeared in many journals, including Bluestem, Blue Unicorn, The Cape Rock, Crab Orchard Review, Eureka Literary Magazine, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Red Rock Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Versedaily.org, and Willow Review. Her first novel, Finding the Raven, was released in June 2016 by Ravenswood Publishing. Visit her website at http://www.pattywrites.net/

Through anaphora, synesthesia, assonance, and more, imagery flows through these poems like a wild river! At times the imagery erupts like a volcano; other times words flutter as though they’re made of silk. The uniqueness of language is impressive. From Silvia Scheibli we read: “Parakeet-green & coconut-clawed / iguanas bask in dream-filled palms / taste melon sunlight / & tout spectacular tails / as their heavy Mayan eyelids / stay motionless.” And from Patty Dickson Pieczka, “Unbraid the night song / smoking through my hair // I reach into the past / with hands of dust.” These poems about nature and the human condition are often intertwined to create one in the same. Written by two extraordinary poets Gathering Sunlight is a remarkable tour de force that comes highly recommended!

—Alan Britt, Emergency Room(Towson University)

Come Closer by Laurie BlaunerEnlarged view of image
Come Closer by Laurie Blauner ($20.00) ISBN # 978-1-7346535-6-4


Laurie Blauner is the author of five novels, eight books of poetry, and a creative nonfiction book published in 2022. She won PANK’s 2020 Creative Nonfiction Contest with her book I Was One of My Memories. Her essays have appeared in December, Sycamore Review, Superstition Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Connotation Review, and Your Impossible Voice among other places. Laurie Blauner’s fifth novel, Out of Which Came Nothing, was published in 2021 by Spuyten Duyvil Press. Her fourth novel, The Solace of Monsters, won the 2015 Leapfrog Fiction Contest, was listed in Book Riot’s A Great Big Guide to Wonderful Books of 2016 from Indie Presses, and was a 2017 Washington State Book Award finalist in Fiction. She is the author of three previous novels from Black Heron Press. Her latest book of poetry, called A Theory for What Just Happened, is available from FutureCycle Press. She has received a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship as well as Seattle Arts Commission, King County Arts Commission, 4Culture, and Artist Trust grants and awards. She was a resident at Centrum in Washington State and was in the Jack Straw Writers Program in 2007. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, The Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, Field, Caketrain, Denver Quarterly, The Colorado Review, The Collagist, The Best Small Fictions 2016, and many other magazines She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Come Closer, Laurie Blauner’s new collection of delicately wrought fables invites the reader into a delirium where unfamiliar and familiar realities combine. You can call these succinct yet lyrically sophisticated tales where it rains without raining, where birds open themselves like books, and your own heart can bite you meditations, auguries, revelations, or morality plays. Possessing an unrivaled imagination, Laurie Blauner transports us to cities that you recognize vaguely as if retrieved from that sinuous space between waking and sleeping. We are told in the opening lines There’s something wrong with the city: the streets I need for an appointment have changed; the florist shop leaps to the top of a tall building. The commonplace is altered to reveal its true nature; the apartment becomes not a place of refuge but the setting for speculative transformations. Blauner, the 21st century alchemist, takes the unpromising base metals of our everyday and spins them into literary gold. No one has expressed the unnatural so naturally as the poet in Come Closer, her vision is cerebral and visceral and somewhere on a continuum between pleasure and horror. Reptiles poured away, flowers were devastated, and the woman grew full and empty with her own painful truths. She is our storytelling Mary Shelley on Lake Geneva in the year of no summer.

—--Stephanie Dickinson, author of Blue Swan Black Swan: The Trakl Diaries

The Butterfly Cemetery by Franca MancinelliEnlarged view of image
The Butterfly Cemetery by Franca Mancinelli ($25.00) ISBN # 978-1-7346535-4-0

A bilingual edition (Italian/ English) translated from the Italian by John Taylor

Franca Mancinelli (b. 1981), known for her acutely crafted and existentially incisive poems and poetic prose, is considered to be one of the most original poets to have emerged in Italy during the past fifteen years. The Bitter Oleander Press has published her prose poems in The Little Book of Passage (2018) and her verse poetry in At an Hour’s Sleep from Here (2019). The Butterfly Cemetery gathers her most important autobiographical stories, personal essays, writings about poetics and landscape.

“This precious and intricately structured book gathers the most important prose narratives and personal essays that Franca Mancinelli has written alongside her verse poetry and prose poetry during the years 2008-2021. It is also a unique volume, for English readers, in that the author has not yet collected the original texts into a book: several of the pieces are unpublished in Italian, whereas the others have appeared in journals, in anthologies, and on websites. Several narratives are autobiographical and thereby disclose some of the personal sources of her writing, as she focuses on key events during her childhood and her passage into adolescence, while other texts raise questions about the self and its role in her poetics, notably the place of “the other” and the possibilities of an “open identity” that goes “beyond human contours.”

—---from John Taylor’s postface “Franca Mancinelli: Facing the Invisible”

Tracing the Distance by Andrea MoorheadEnlarged view of image
Tracing the Distance by Andrea Moorhead ($18.00) ISBN # 978-1-7346535-5-7


Andrea Moorhead, born in Buffalo, New York, lived there until 1962 when the family moved to the New York metropolitan area. She studied philosophy and French at Chatham University and continued her study of the piano. She moved to upstate New York with her husband Robert, where, in 1972, they founded the international poetry journal Osiris, one of the first journals in the United States to publish poems in foreign languages. Moorhead then taught French and Latin at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, retiring in 2014. Her early personal geography included the beaches of Lake Erie, the Muskoka Region north of Toronto, and, above all, the Niagara River, the beauty of its shores and the impact of petro-chemical installations on the environment. At an early age, Moorhead developed a keen sense of place, which would later play a significant role in her writing. She writes both in English and in French. Her most recent collections are The Carver’s Dream (Red Dragonfly Press, Minnesota) and À l’ombre de ta voix (Le Noroît, Montréal). Her translations of Francophone poetry include the work of Madeleine Gagnon, Élise Turcotte, Hélène Dorion, and Marie- Christine Masset. Visual poetry is a special love; her photos appear in the publications of Edizioni Anterem in Italy and in numerous international literary journals, including Ce qui reste (France), Possibles (Québec), and The January Review (Philippines).

This book may be defined as "Slow, not cautious, a heartbeat away from the landscape. New England, Québec, Ontario. The nostalgia of memory; it’s not childhood that haunts, but the landscapes of the heart, Niagara, Harpswell, Deerfield, Connecticut. The cold waters of Couchiching. Walking the land we love, with those we love. Following the American tradition of place, contradictory and jarring, transcendent, elusive, haunting, raw, Andrea Moorhead writes the spirit in its many bodies, in its many seasons and voices. Our common mortality, our desire to love, to cherish, to remember. An old apple tree is threatened, someone dies, an animal perishes. An immense love of the Earth shines through these writings. Tracing the distance between the heart and reality, between the continual movements and changes that impact our lives. A delicate palette knife applying textures and colors, the lens of dream camera capturing fleeting forms, a soft voice inviting us to walk the landscape together."

Weightless Earth by Paul B. RothEnlarged view of image
Weightless Earth by Paul B. Roth ($21.00) ISBN # 978-1-7346535-3-3

Paul B. Roth has been published widely in the United States and his work has been translated and appeared in journals from Japan, Peru, Israel, France, Bolivia, Italy, Ecuador, India, China, Mexico, Italy, Syria, Romania, Estonia and the UK. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in both 2018 and 2020 and is the author of seven collections of poetry of which his most current are Cadenzas by Needlelight (Cypress Books, 2009), Words the Interrupted Speak (March Street Press, 2011), Long Way Back to the End (Rain Mountain Press, 2014), and Owasco: Passage of Lake Poems (Finishing Line Press, 2018).

This is an essential book in Paul B. Roth’s oeuvre. Bringing together qualities present from the onset in his writing, ranging from attentiveness to the living creatures and meditations on both humankind’s and our planet’s place in the cosmos, to a sharp scrutiny of our failure to protect and preserve the contemporary world, Weightless Earth impresses with its intricate language and remarkable imagery. One prose poem near the beginning of the book includes this characteristic observation: “Perhaps if we keep listening, we’ll be able to hear the momentary landing that a turquoise damselfly on a thin blade of floating lake grass touches down.” This is only one instance of countless other acute perceptions, which seem to unfold into ever-new perspectives or are inserted into tantalizing concatenations of still other images. And the very title of one piece, “Everything gets your attention,” sums up Roth’s willingness to turn outward from the self, to sharpen all his senses (and not just his eyesight), and examine the particulars of the world, especially natural and cosmological phenomena.

from John Taylor's introduction
Tango Below a Narrow Ceiling by Riad Saleh HusseinEnlarged view of image
Tango Below a Narrow Ceiling by Riad Saleh Hussein ($21.00) ISBN # 978-1-7346535-2-6

English from the Arabic

translated from the Arabic by Saleh Razzouk with Philip Terman

Riad Saleh Hussein (1954-1982) was a Syrian poet from the Aleppo province. He was mute, worked in Cinema Life Magazine in Damascus, and later for the Tishreen Daily until his death after a brief arrest for unspecified reasons. He published three collections of poetry; the fourth appeared after his death. A complete edition of his works was published in Baghdad, edited by Emad Najjar. He was considered a pioneer of prose poetry in which you can detect elements from Yves Bonnefoy and Jacques Prevert. He is a symbol of the Beat Generation who continued to revolutionize prose poetry in Arabic in the post-Adonis era.

In terms of his poetics, Riad did not trust a modernity without traditions. Instead, he preferred a modernity that was able to digest many tones and styles while still staying aware of its sources. Riad combined contemporary themes with hybrid, experimental forms, often in the same poem; his language (even in translation) encompasses, in frequently startlingly surreal imagery, an impressively expansive range of themes from the lexicons of art and nature, military conflict and sensual intimacies, and the stuff of his highly imaginative and sensitive interior dream world. In the manner of a Vallejo or a Neruda, his rhythm often breaks through its form, yet at the same time one senses the immediacy of his intense passion combined with his deeply attuned sense of compassion: “I want to build a room/Enough for a thousand friends..../I want to place a river/in the prison/I want to steal the jail cells/And throw them into the sea” (“Wishes”). During the period of the Arab “Beat Generation,” Hussein’s popularity thrived. His handsome appearance, complicated attitude with women, Dylan Thomas-like affection for alcohol, and his expansive, Whitman-like openness, made him a veritable poetry star.

And so, it’s no surprise that he was detained by the authorities and tortured. Because of his popularity among the younger generation and his good relations with important representatives in the media and among Syrian cultural figures, he was fortunate: he was granted release in less than a week. But the psychological scars penetrated deeper: he was ill, without access to meet expenses for his treatment, and he died only months after his release at the age of 28.

from Saleh Razzouk and Philip Terman's introduction
Consecration of the Wolves by Salgado MaranhãoEnlarged view of image
Consecration of the Wolves by Salgado Maranhão ($21.00) ISBN # 978-1-7346535-0-2


translated from the Portuguese by Alexis Levitin

Salgado Maranhão was born in the tiny village of Canabrava dos Moças, in the municipality of Caxias in the interior of Maranhão. His mother was a "camponesa," a sharecropper. His father was a wealthy land owner. His mother insisted on raising him alone, though the father (and his established family) wanted to raise this only male child themselves. He worked the fields till 15, in a region with no hospital, no school, no church, no police, no judge, no social mediation whatsoever. He was illiterate, like everyone else in his village. At 15 he moved to Teresina and learned to read and write, spending much time at the local library, where he discovered Camoes, Pessoa, Walt Whitman, Dostoevsky, Mayakovski, and the whole world of western literature. He had always loved hearing the repentistas, who came through on their northeastern peregrinations, singing or reciting their highly rhymed, highly rhythmic verse. After four years in Teresina, he was able to combine the rhythms of his infancy with the literary poetics he had learned at the library and so he went off to Rio to be a poet.

In addition to his 14 books of poetry, he has written lyrics for over 500 popular songs, of which at least fifty have been recorded, including "Caminhos do Sol," which became the theme song for a famous telenovela. Winner of all of Brazil's major poetry awards, Maranhão has toured the United States five times, presenting his work at over one hundred universities. Four collections of his work have appeared in English: Blood of the Sun (Milkweed Editions, 2012), Tiger Fur (White Pine Press, 2015), Palávora (Dialogos Books, 2019) and Mapping the Tribe (Spuyten Duyvil, 2020). Salgado was awarded an honoris causa doctorate for his cultural contributions by the Federal University of Piaui in 2017.

Brazil's northeast is a dry and ancient land. Little visited, it has come to be known outside the country for producing some of its best writing. Alexis Levitin has given us a perfect English rendering of Salgado Maranhão's deft expression of the tonality of this people and land.

—Gregory Rabassa

The poems of Salgado Maranhão are born of a commitment to language not merely as a tool, but also as a force, a physical, visceral entity. They enact a kind of ecstatic struggle aimed at chasing the sound and the sense we associate with language to the place where it becomes a living presence, one with heft and agency, one that can move not just the mind or the feelings, but flesh itself.

--—Tracy K. Smith Poet Laureate

Blue Swan Black Swan: The Trakl Diaries by Stephanie DickinsonEnlarged view of image
Blue Swan, Black Swan: The Trakl Diaries by Stephanie Dickinson ($18.00) ISBN # 978-1-7346535-1-9

Winner of the 2020 Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Award (BOPLOPA)

Stephanie Dickinson raised on an Iowa farm now lives in New York City with the poet Rob Cook and their senior citizen feline, Vallejo. Her novels Half Girl and Lust Series are published by Spuyten Duyvil, as is her feminist noir Love Highway. Other books include Heat: An Interview with Jean Seberg (New Michigan Press), Flashlight Girls Run (New Meridian Arts Press), The Emily Fables (ELJ Press), and Big-Headed Anna Imagines Herself (Alien Buddha). She has published poetry and prose in literary journals including Cherry Tree, The Bitter Oleander, Mudfish, Another Chicago Magazine, Lit, The Chattahoochee Review, The Columbia Review, Orca, and Gargoyle, among others. Her stories have been reprinted in New Stories from the South, New Stories from the Midwest, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. She received distinguished story citations in Best American Short Stories, Best American Essays and numerous Pushcart anthology citations. At present she’s finishing a work of creative nonfiction entitled In the Razor Wire Wilderness based on her longtime correspondence with inmates at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton, New Jersey. To support the holy flow, she has long labored as a word processor for a Fifth Avenue accounting firm. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, she has worked remotely from the sanctity of her 5th floor walk-up red room. Along with Rob Cook, she edits Rain Mountain Press.

War, mental illness, narcotics, sickness, incest and a deep passion for poetry were all a part of the Austrian poet Georg Trakl’s short and tragic life (1887-1914). Biographical accounts have been few, vague and speculative. So little is clearly known about the man that much in this regard has been supplanted by what can be only assumed from the poet’s substantial volume of work. The great German poet, Else-Lasker Schüler, who was a friend of the poet, wrote in her two line elegy: “Georg Trakl died by his own hand in the war. / That was how lonely he was in the world. I loved him.” In Blue Swan, Black Swan: The Trakl Diaries, Stephanie Dickinson opens a new door, but not one into Trakl’s psyche, rather from out of his psyche as if it were him relaying the incidents as they occurred in each particular moment and which these poems more than aptly provide. All is as if it originates from his mouth, from his dictation onto the pages of what is meant to be read as his unwritten diary. So powerful and precise is Dickinson’s language that at times you cannot distinguish between what she says and what you imagine Trakl would have said. The intensity level is that analagous. Dickinson’s intimacy with such a tragic poet’s life acts to offer us Trakl himself speaking about something we never knew in such detail and which we the reader have only her to thank for sharing with us.

--—Paul B. Roth, editor The Bitter Oleander Press

I walk around gathering up my garden for the night by Marie LundquistEnlarged view of image
I walk around gathering up my garden for the night by Marie Lundquist ($21.00) ISBN # 978-0-9993279-9-9


translated from the Swedish by Kristina Andersson Bicher

Marie Lundquist, born in 1950 and residing in Stockholm, is a poet, translator, and dramatist. She is the author of eleven books of poetry, prose, and essays; she has written two radio plays and translated several plays for the largest Swedish theaters. She also writes essays and critiques of photography exhibitions. In addition to writing and translating, she has worked for many years as a librarian and a teacher of creative writing. Lundquist received numerous awards and honors, including Sveriges Radios Lyrikpris (2002), stipendium from the Svenska Akademien (2007), De Nios Lyrikpris (2008) and the Aspenströmpriset (2015).

Her books have been translated into Dutch, French, Arabic, Latvian, Polish, Norwegian and Persian. Individual works published in journals or anthologies have been translated into Norwegian, Danish, Polish, English, German, Spanish, Russian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Greek, Italian and Chinese. Jag går runt och samlar in min trädgård för natten was also translated into Dutch in 2001 and distributed in Holland and Belgium. In 2017, a major Norwegian press published a translation of selected poems from her first three books. The influential Norwegian paper, Morgonbladet, published an in-depth and favorable review of this new translation.

This collection is both compelling and elusive. There’s directness, despite stories being told slant. There’s authenticity in league with surrealism. Earnestness holding hands with irony. While the emotional terrain explored is intense, devastating even, Lundquist’s tone remains arms-length. The voice is calm but never seeks to comfort. —Kristina Andersson Bicher from her introduction

"[Marie Lundquist’s garden]is an Eden long since vacated, abandoned and dilapidated, and with its original inhabitants modernly banished and post-modernly defamed, but which the poet Lundquist nevertheless persists in attempting to invade with sincerity. In order to succeed with such a poetically death-defying undertaking, she makes use of a rhetorical matrix that…combines the lofty and the clever. Everything is to be taken seriously, including what can, and must, be laughed at." —Göran Sommardal

“Lundquist has stayed quietly undefinable and outside of [recognized] stylistic formations. Her prose poems show a fine self-sufficiency and in many ways she is by her diction and her refusal to substitute linguistics for human interest, a modern classicist.” -Jonas Ellerström

"[Her work has] the purity of the still-lifes of great masters...in them, we hear the world tremble." - Adam Zagajewski

Outside by André du BouchetEnlarged view of image
Outside by André du Bouchet ($28.00) ISBN # 978-0-9993279-8-2


translated from the French by Eric Fishman and Hoyt Rogers

André du Bouchet(1924–2001)is recognized as one of the greatest French authors of the twentieth century. A groundbreaking poet, he was also a prolific translator from the English, German, and Russian, as well as a noted critic of art and literature. He published nearly seventy books in all. These include scores of volumes of verse and lyric prose, numerous works on Giacometti and other artists, along with translations of Faulkner, Shakespeare, Joyce, Hölderlin, Riding, and Pasternak. In the late sixties he co-founded—with Yves Bonnefoy, Jacques Dupin, Paul Celan, and others—the influential literary journal L’Éphémère. Among many honors, he was awarded the National Poetry Prize of France in 1983.

For English-speaking readers, the pieces in Outside expand the access to du Bouchet offered by Openwork, the selection published by Paul Auster and Hoyt Rogers in 2014; deliberately, none of those texts is repeated here. Like the earlier volume, Outside affords a cross-section of du Bouchet's vast and highly varied work: from the dreamlike landscapes of his youthful poems to the mineral shards of his later compositions, which waver between poetry and prose. Even more than Openwork, Outside places a particular emphasis on the lyrical fragments from du Bouchet's notebooks. All the texts in this new collection follow the chronological order of their original publication—or in the case of the notebook entries, their date of composition—and all have been rendered into English for the first time. Du Bouchet's oeuvre is immense, and much of it still remains untranslated.

—Eric Fishman from his introduction, The Poetic Geology of André du Bouchet

In a typically taut yet open-ended design—as much visual as verbal—du Bouchet draws together the principal threads of his lifelong quest for truth, no matter how daunting that truth may be. The paradox of poetry is that unless it ceases to speak, the fecund silence toward which it tends cannot enter into play: the poet cannot go “outside without having stopped it.” What he was seeking reemerges as the world itself, the crushing “avalanche of air” that takes his breath away. He hangs up his vain attempt to approach it like a hollow pelt; language, which seemed so “rapid,” is now the “motionless animal of words.” The poem is always a betrayal of nature, a kind of taxidermy. But innate to the ceaseless hunt for meaning is the wildness that escapes us. Killing the vital language we love, freezing it into the trophies we call poems, we arrive at an inkling of what awaits us beyond them. We have gained what far surpasses any Romantic reverie: reality itself.
—Hoyt Rogers from his afterword, André du Bouchet: The Silence Outside

Not All Saints by Sean Thomas DoughertyEnlarged view of image
Not All Saints by Sean Thomas Dougherty ($16.00) ISBN # 978-0-9993279-7-5

Winner of the 2019 Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Award (BOPLOPA)

Sean Thomas Dougherty was born in New York City and grew up in Brooklyn, Ohio, and New Hampshire. He is the author or editor of eighteen books including Not All Saints, winner of the 2019 Bitter Oleander Library of Poetry Award; Alongside We Travel: Contemporary Poets on Autism (NYQ Books 2019) and All You Ask for is Longing: New and Selected Poems (BOA Editions 2014). His book The Second O of Sorrow (BOA Editions 2018) received both the Paterson Poetry Prize, and the Housatonic Book Award from Western Connecticut State University. His awards include the Twin Cities College Association Poet in Residence, a US Fulbright Lectureship to the Balkans, two Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowships in Poetry, and an appearance in Best American Poetry. He has worked in a newspaper plant, as an untenured college lecturer, and in a pool hall. He now works as a care giver and Med Tech for various disabled populations and lives with the poet Lisa M. Dougherty and their two daughters in Erie, Pennsylvania. More information on Sean can be found at seanthomasdoughertypoet.com

Sean Thomas Dougherty's Not All Saints leads us through grit-strewn passageways to a realm of insight. These strong and beautiful poems are unafraid to open their interiors to explore secret depths of emotion and reach into the darkest recesses of grief, love or the musings of a stillborn child. The reader will visit the “Ghost Roads” to see the lynched, the Indian graves, chicken bones and spent bullet casings and will delve into the unexplored and sometimes breathtaking terrain of "invisible scars" where the poet searches for more than "all this suffering, the long stroll to become nothing." This collection seeks to find salvation and to balance the divine with the damaged until "a wafer of moon dissolves into the mouth of the dark."

~ Patty Dickson Pieczka (Judge for 2019 BOPLOPA)

At an Hour's Sleep from Here by Franca MancinelliEnlarged view of image
At an Hour's Sleep from Here by Franca Mancinelli ($28.00) ISBN # 978-0-9993279-6-8


translated from the Italian by John Taylor

Following upon the success of Franca Mancinelli's The Little Book of Passage, whose "quest," as Mark Glanville qualified it in The Times Literary Supplement, "goes beyond simple philosophical questioning; it is an existential struggle," The Bitter Oleander Press is proud to publish At an Hour’s Sleep from Here: Poems 2007-2019. Alongside new verse, this major volume collects the Italian poet's first two books, Mala kruna (2007) and Pasta madre (2013), which established her as a captivating and particularly mature new voice to which one listens attentively. In Mancinelli is ever a drive to get down to the core, the crux, the heart, the bone, the fossil. "Poetry is our imprint," she has stated, "the fossil trace of our passage on earth." Drawing on concrete experience—be it hers or humanity’s—Mancinelli's poetry opens onto cosmic and spiritual perspectives encompassing the archaic and the contemporary, the origin that is within the present moment.

Franca Mancinelli (b. 1981) is widely considered to be one of the most compelling new poetic voices in Italian poetry. Her first two collections of verse poetry, Mala kruna (2007) and Pasta madre (2013), now entirely translated in this book along with a selection of new poems, were awarded several prizes in Italy and later republished together as A un'ora di sonno da qui (2018). In 2018 also appeared her collection of prose poems, available in English from The Bitter Oleander Press as The Little Book of Passage.

John Taylor is an American writer, critic, and translator who lives in France. Among his many translations of French and Italian poetry are books by Philippe Jaccottet, Jacques Dupin, José-Flore Tappy, Pierre Voélin, Pierre Chappuis, Pierre-Albert Jourdan, Lorenzo Calogero, and Alfredo de Palchi. He is the author of several volumes of short prose and poetry, including, for The Bitter Oleander Press, If Night is Falling and Remembrance of Water & Twenty-Five Trees.

Ancient Maps and a Tarot Pack by Serena FusekEnlarged view of image
Ancient Maps and a Tarot Pack by Serena Fusek ($15.00) ISBN # 978-0-9993279-5-1

Winner of the 2018 Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Award (BOPLOPA)

Serena Fusek was born in New Jersey. When she was a child her family moved frequently, which gave her a sense of wanderlust. Her travels have taken her to Europe and across the United States and Canada. Some of the miles were traveled on the back seat of a motorcycle. She has been part of the small press scene since the 1980’s, publishing in such magazines as Poetry Motel, Impetus, Poet Lore, Semi Dwarf Quarterly, Chiron Review, The Bitter Oleander, Star-Line and Mythic Delirium among others. Twice she was nominated for a Rhysling, awarded by the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Slipstream Press published her chapbook The Color of Poison and her first full length collection of poems, Alphabet of Foxes, was published by San Francisco Bay Press). In addition she has had several chapbooks from Skiffs Creek Press, including Miles Melt Like Winter and The Bike Let Loose about her motorcycle adventures. She served on the editor’s side of the desk with both Orphic Lute and Proof Rock. For Proof Rock she also wrote reviews of poetry publications. Today she co-hosts a poetry workshop and teaches a continuing education class in poetry. She is an amateur photographer. She currently lives in Virginia with her husband, John, two cats and shelves crammed with too many books.

Alan Britt, who judged BOPLOPA-2018, commented: Creative minds experience resistance and encounter turmoil when trapped inside the confines of a utilitarian culture. Universal harmony suffers. So, what do some imaginations do? They write poems. Commenting on her poems in this book Serena Fusek confesses "a sense that there is something—perhaps something important—right next to me that I cannot see." She adds that her poems "rise as obsessions with ravens and angels," plus “how the light falls and stains the world with shadows." In short, Fusek, disenchanted with the status quo, rejects the mundane: "the sick snake of traffic / crawling slow as a clogged drain" and "in the attic, / chained to the rafters, / the angel screams / without sound" in favor of harmony with nature: "Here is my bed / with its rose quilt / and headboard woven of thorns. / I wander the deer trail." Her diction is sensitive when she says "eyes blue / as arctic snow at twilight" and "we sat by the window / watched petals brown / and curl / like burning paper." Along the way she wows with penetrating imagery: "shocks of light / sizzle down air / that stinks of incense / and iron." Fusek’s language is an electric current flowing beyond the profane and into the sacred. How apropos she ends her poem, "Prayer for Raven’s Return," with "I listen / for Raven's call / hoarse as the rasp / of an old man / spilling a lifetime's secrets / summoning me / to the blood feast / of poetry." Ancient Maps and a Tarot Pack is a sensitive and image rich journey through a private but shared universe. What a wonderful ride it is!

Forty-One Objects by Carsten René NielsenEnlarged view of image
Forty-One Objects by Carsten René Nielsen ($18.00) ISBN # 978-0-9993279-4-4

translated from the Danish by David Keplinger

Carsten René Nielsen, born 1966, is a Danish poet and author of ten books of poetry and one book of flash fiction. His first book published in 1989 was awarded the Michael Strunge Poetry Prize. The prose poems Cirkler (Circles, 1998) won him critical acclaim throughout his native Denmark. Recent collections include the prose poems Enogfyrre dyr (Forty-One Animals, 2005), Husundersøgelser (House Inspections, 2008) and Enogfyrre ting (Forty-One Objects, 2017). He has won several fellowships from the Danish State Foundation for the Arts. In the United States two of his books in translation have been published: his selected prose poems, The World Cut Out with Crooked Scissors by New Issues in 2007, as well as the prose poems House Inspections, by BOA Editions in 2011, both books translated by David Keplinger. In 2014 a selection of Nielsen’s poems was published by EDB Edizioni in Italy under the title 8 animali e 14 morti. He lives in Aarhus, the second largest city of Denmark.

In his introduction, translator David Keplinger states that "it should be of little surprise to us that Nielsen's strangeness has been embraced—perhaps more than in Denmark—in the United States. His books have found a following here where a cerebral, Pythonesque silliness stands a chance to draw a crowd. Nielsen's archeological excavations, with its grown men in baby carriages, spider theaters, and sneezing trumpets, serve as antidote where politics have sickened us: the delusion of self-importance is momentarily washed away, and a clown sings from inside his barrel, rolling down a dark and lonely street."

Here's a most insightful review by John Tipton in the current issue (#98) for October 2019 of Plume:

John Tipton

The Stella Poems by Duane LockeEnlarged view of image
The Stella Poems by Duane Locke ($14.00) ISBN # 978-0-9993279-3-7

Duane Locke was born in 1921 on a farm near Vienna, Georgia. His undergraduate work at the University of Florida led to his Masters studies on John Keats and set the foundation for his Doctoral thesis on the poetry of John Donne and Andrew Marvell. He received a PhD in English Renaissance Literature in 1958 and was Professor of English and Poet in Residence at the University of Tampa for over twenty years. At the University of Tampa, he edited three critically acclaimed journals of poetry, Poetry Review (1964-1971), UT Review (1972-1982), and Abatis (1983-1986). He taught courses on every period of poetry ranging from Old English to contemporary, with a concentration in contemporary European and Latin American poetry. Locke's poems have appeared in such journals as American Poetry Review, The Nation, The Literary Review, Kansas Quarterly, Black Moon, Ann Arbor Review, and The Bitter Oleander to name but a few. He has published over 7,000 different poems, 36 poetry collections, and appeared in numerous anthologies. He is listed in the Marquis Who's Who in America. He won four Poetic awards in one year: The Edna St. Vincent Millay award for the best sonnet of the year, the Charles Agnoff award for the best poem in Literary Review, Walt Whitman award issued by Poetry Society for best poem on Walt Whitman, and was awarded by a Swiss university for the best poem on Europe. He has also served on the Board of Directors of COSMEP; he was elected by nation-wide vote of poets to serve on CCLM Grants Committee. He is also a Nature Photographer and a visual artist. His work in is the permanent collections of museums, has been in hundreds of exhibitions and over 300 magazines as well as many book covers.

Still writing well beyond his 96th year, Duane Locke's most recent collection, The Stella Poems, invites the reader to accompany him through a thoughtful though sad journey across the landscape of our current trends and the reactions these trends have on our relationships not only with other human beings but with the wide-open natural world as well. As always, there is an impeccable imagery as Locke guides us through this natural world and we see for the first time what was right in front of us had we only opened our eyes. Which is also why we can always expect to be amazed. Though a twist on Sir Philip Sydney's Astrophel & Stella, Locke's ability to make contemporary the kind of love it takes to exist in this world is, as usual, exceptional.

The Little Book of Passage by Franca MancinelliEnlarged view of image
The Little Book of Passage by Franca Mancinelli ($16.00) ISBN # 978-0-9993279-2-0


Translated from the Italian by John Taylor

Franca Mancinelli was born in Fano, Italy, in 1981. Her first two books of poetry, Mala kruna (2007) and Pasta madre (2013), were awarded several prizes in Italy. In 2018 appeared the original Italian edition of this new collection of prose poems, Libretto di transito. The Little Book of Passage represents the first appearance in English of writing that has made Mancinelli one of the most compelling voices in contemporary Italian literature. Her writing has been translated into Spanish, Arabic, and Slovene, and her first two books have been recently reprinted as A un’ora di sonno da qui (At an hour’s sleep from here) by Italic & Pequod..

The Little Book of Passage is the story of the crossing of an inner fault line, a travel diary through the territories of the psyche: presences close to disappearing and dreamlike atmospheres act as a deforming mirror in regard to the gestures and happenstances of everyday life. Allusiveness and precision, density and evanescence, are juxtaposed and integrated in this continuous attempt to focus on and pronounce the world. As in a rite of passage, Franca Mancinelli, who lets herself be visited by shadows, recomposes the fragments of an open identity, which has never abandoned the origin.

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