Friday, June 20, 2014

Open Reading Period: Not yet, but soon

We are not open for submissions at this time.

It's true that we were open in June the past two years. But this summer is extraordinarily busy and we want to finish a few important things before we open again.

Please subscribe to the newsletter to be notified when the reading period is open. Details will be in the July newsletter. 
The signup form is in upper righthand sidebar of this blog. ↗ 

As usual, this Open Reading Period will be for poetry chapbooks only. (We are full for longer books through 2015 and not yet ready to think of 2016.) 


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Natural History Rape Museum reviewed by Joyelle McSweeney*

Natural History Rape Museum
Danielle Pafunda
Review by Joyelle McSweeney

Danielle Pafunda’s fifth book shows her at the top of her hilarious, furious game. One must reach for the oldest stories to describe the particular clawed, fanged, winged, and always female bodies of these texts: fury, harpy, Medusa, Baba Yaga, the killer sphinx at her least composed moments. Pafunda’s poetry is always a spiky sonic treat, punching a tracheostomy in the throat of lyric convention so that the noise of erased, extinguished, and strangled women can come out. Yet  for all their uncanny, violent verbal fluency, each of her volumes feels not so much voiced as somehow pressed through a body, through the particular body of the text. Her always alert language spurts through the pores, orifices and wounds of these poems.
This new volume finds Pafunda full of trick moves and self-snaring complications, like a cutter-girl-Houdini or a lady knife thrower with her self roped to the target.  Lyrics are pierced with lacerating text boxes, or compressed into tableaux and forced to host italicized narration. The book presents an antagonist—a male-pronouned figure referred to as "the fuckwad." The fuckwad or other man appears in these poems and donates a certain aggravating grain, in response to which a she figure produces an iridescent mucoid substance, a sticky, toxic emulsion that hardens into the pearl of the poetry. See example A:
Example A, from Danielle Pafunda's Natural History Rape Museum

In this rankly attractive and illustrative tissue sample, the gross lustre of Pafunda’s strategy is apparent.  The "punky loam vista" with its hidden color, pink, calls up the uterine/gestational imagery which the book is pleased to host.  The grit of the textbox with its life-sentence of conjugal servitude also encapsulates the gestational process—the man’s exorcism of his "fink" will produce a baby, an "it" that "wails" unless the derailment of miscarriage (also a theme in this book) can veto this logic. The presence of the alien text box causes the language to dense up around it, the mother-of-pearl that is Pafunda’s fecund word horde lavishing the grit with synesthesia, sound that is also a mouthed, gritty texture, esses and chaw-chaws and gushes of sonority. The effect is both luscious and cosseting, like the pet names (sunshine, sweetheart) which convert to sexually vulnerable positions and epithets (supine, peep cheater) in the second half of the couplet. The couplet here is a kind of snare.

An irony of Pafunda’s body of work, including the poems in this volume, is that the response-production of antigens and nacre is so intense that "poor" fuckwad hardly stands a chance. The poems are allergic to fuckwad, but they need him to stage the emergency response that is the poem. Once he sets the poem in motion with his irritating comments or action, the poem hardly needs him at all, and if he re-enters the poems it seems to be on the poem’s own terms. See example B: 
Example B, from Danielle Pafunda's Natural History Rape Musem

In this excerpt, the fuckwad certainly gets things in motion, "placing"our lady "in the room with the knife." Remembering that stanza is Italian for room, we can imagine this stanza as the carceral/theatrical room in which we may now admire Pafunda’s resourceful knifework. The spectacularly inventive diction is burlesque and acrobatic, violent, yes, but the violence seems to indicate a kind of contraction in the muscle of the syntax, pushing the female pronouns along. This time the text box seems to be less the irritant that produces the poem than an out-of-body observation about the poem itself, a traumatic extra-space, self-consciousness that rises up and looks down. 
Pafunda’s books continually and valiantly return to the scenes of gendered crimes, to the rape, the violation both historical and personal, the trauma of birth and of miscarriage and of objectification (the book begins, “When they called me vagina.”) which women are somehow expected to swallow down and survive.  At the same time, each new book instants a furled and fishy banner under which an entirely nonvirgin, mutant nonqueen rides into battle.  This queen must be doomed, as she must always take her lance (and lancet) back up, and never finish off fuckwad. But her ingenuity, her intensity, her brilliant, decaying armament is so radiant that each new volume by Pafunda seems to  configure a new strategy of survival—however dubious such a goal as survival might be under current and foreeable conditions.  In which case, as another queen-slash-fuckwad once so gamely blazoned: Viva Hate. 

*originally appeared in the Poetry Project Newsletter No. 239 (April/May 2014)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ultramegaprairieland giveaway winners!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

New! ULTRAMEGAPRAIRIELAND by Elisabeth Workman

Elisabeth Workman

May 2014
Trade Paper Original
ISBN-13: 978-0-9826587-6-5
100 pages


Once upon a time, ancient glaciers oozed light through the general living room of America, scraping the terrain into the sweeping prairies of the Midwest, a superlatively grassy expanse in which American bison cavorted with dangerous electric fish-goats and no one got hurt. That was a long time ago. Then one day we woke up and it was everywhere: ULTRAMEGAPRAIRELAND.

Referentially crammed and brimming with cultural bling, the poems in ULTRAMEGAPRAIRIELAND range from forlorn to flipped out, citing and subverting far-flung sources high, holy, and WTF. 

"I wrote all of the poems after moving back to the Midwest from the Middle East," explains Workman. "They are all somehow symptomatic of my inability to adjust, not to the Midwest per se, but just in general. Surviving the Midwest is all about juxtaposition."

• Landscape with Porn Stars
• Yeti with Nihilists by a Fountain
• Probably the Song of the Unemployed Sith Lord
• Empathetic Jellyfish
• Bullets Built by Dad
• Other Cute Animals of the Big Prairies
• The Canadian Tuxedo in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
…and many more!

Elisabeth Workman was born and raised in the pharmaceutical suburbs of Philadelphia and has since lived in Boston, rural Pennsylvania, the Netherlands, Qatar, on/around the Standing Rock Nation of the Dakotas, and now in Minneapolis, where she lives with the designer/typographer Erik Brandt, their daughter, and two cats of the tuxedo variety. She is the author of numerous chapbooks, including Opolis (Dusie), with Michael Sikkema Terrorsim Is What Whale (Grey Book Press), and ANY RIP A THRESHOLD (Shirt Pocket Press). This is her first book-length collection.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Note about our new email newsletter

If you've…

• purchased a book or chapbook from our site or via Square
• submitted a chapbook to our open reading period
• published a book or chapbook with Bloof
• asked to be added

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This email newsletter is only for major announcements like new releases, exclusive discounts, big event invitations (not every single reading), and news re: our annual OPEN CHAPBOOK READING PERIOD.

Newsletters will go out once a month (or less) and you may opt out at any time.

This is in response to requests at the bookfairs (thanks!) and the changes to Facebook that have hobbled our Page there to near oblivion unless we pay to show you our news.

Thank you for your ongoing enthusiasm and support!


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