Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Natalie Eilbert is in the New Yorker & reviewed at the Rumpus!

Yes! Natalie Eilbert has a poem, "The Limits of What We Can Do," in this week's New Yorker

Read it here, and pick up a copy at a newsstand near you.

Also, SWAN FEAST has been reviewed glowingly by Julie Marie Wade at The Rumpus
"If Beauty is dead—beauty in the form of pretty, in the form of dresses that remind us of girls with curls and angels with halos, who of course evoke goodness and sweetness and also a feminized kind of learned helplessness—what then will rise to succeed the angels, to replace the dresses?"

Don't have a copy yet? 

Our friends at SPD have them in stock here (so please get one there—because we are dying to print new ones as soon as those are sold out). 

Monday, September 14, 2015

September Newsletter

Greetings from My Girlie Leisure Place

by Sharon Mesmer

Sharon Mesmer’s poetry is a stream of indomitable spunk . . . tough and lush . . . a fabulous tissue of language which floats out to inhabit other bodies, opens their mouths and makes them speak. —Alice Notley
Greetings from My Girlie Leisure Place is Sharon Mesmer's fifth collection of "tough and lush" poetry. Unwaveringly energetic and relentlessly wry, Mesmer fashions poems from the flashiest trash of the American sensibility and the Internet's muckiest dumping grounds, with a swagger and intelligence all her own. Hers is a generous spirit: "I want to expose myself," confesses one piece, "for love of the people."

Visit the Bloof Blog for more information & excerpts from the book.

PREORDER it via Square
or PayPal

PHILALALIA is this week! 

Bloof will be in Philadelphia this Thursday, Friday & Saturday, to take part in the second annual Philalalia Small Press // Handmade Books & Art Fair.

Please stop by the bookfair at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, to check out our table. We'll have Jennifer L. Knox's (early!) new book, Days of Shame & Failure, Philalalia-exclusive mini broadsides by Khadijah QueenAlyssa LyneeGinger Ko, and Nikki Wallshlaeger, as well as our full assortment of books and handmades.

On Friday night, we're reading with Black Radish Books & Propolis Press at Snockey's, featuring Natalie EilbertJackie ClarkBecca Klaver (whose Bloof book has just been announced), and K. Lorraine Graham (ditto, and see below).

Full festival schedule
Friday night reading


Other September & October events featuring Bloof poets include:

→ Wed 9/16 in New York, NY
Page Meets Stage: Natalie Eilbertwith Danez Smith

→ Thu 9/24 in Rock Island, IL
Spectra Series: Nikki Wallschlaeger with Lauren K. Alleyne & Marc Rahe

→ Thu 9/24 in New York, NY
Best American Poetry Series launch: Sandra Simonds…among many others, at the New School

→ Sat 10/3 in New York, NY
Segue Series: Sharon Mesmerwith Bruce Andrews & Drew Gardner's Poetics Orchestra

→ Tue 10/6 in Iowa City, IA
Prairie Lights Bookstore: Jennifer L. Knox launch reading for Days of Shame & Failure

Visit our Events page for details.

Four Wonders of the Future

Huzzah! Bloof will be republishing these 4 recent books in spiffy new editions and rolling them over into our own distribution, after their (quickly dwindling!) first editions sell out: Motherlover by Ginger Ko, The Dead Girls Speak in Unison by Danielle PafundaSwan Feast by Natalie Eilbert, and The Rest is Censored by K. Lorraine Graham.

Bloof Books​ is thrilled to add these new books to our catalog. And to welcome K. Lorraine Graham as a new member of the collective!

You'll find links to them on our site—pointing to in-stock copies at SPD, Powell's, and other indie bookstores.

Thanks, as always, for reading our books & supporting small press poetry.

See you next month,

Greetings from My Girlie Leisure Place by Sharon Mesmer

Greetings from My Girlie Leisure Place at Square Market

Or via PayPal:

Sharon Mesmer’s poetry is a stream of indomitable spunk . . . tough and lush . . . a fabulous tissue of language which floats out to inhabit other bodies, opens their mouths and makes them speak. —Alice Notley

Greetings from My Girlie Leisure Place is Sharon Mesmer's fifth collection of "tough and lush" poetry. Unwaveringly energetic and relentlessly wry, Mesmer fashions poems from the flashiest trash of the American sensibility and the Internet's muckiest dumping grounds, with a swagger and intelligence all her own. Hers is a generous spirit: "I want to expose myself," confesses one piece, "for love of the people."

full cover design


"This Poet" at Bloof Books

"The Swiss Just Do Whatever" at Poetry Magazine

"This Gorilla Called Phillip Sidney" at Evergreen Review 

Misc. performances at PennSound


With great wit, the poetry of Sharon Mesmer plunders the new realism of digital space, with its wishes, lies, and “ever-shifting Brangelina alerts.” Her introductory poem, written in the voice of a beginning fantasy novel writer, announces, “I’d like to see / a ninja zombie pirate robot wizard / that is made of some kind of meat. / Preferably bacon.” A shrewd satire on poetics, “This Poet” consists entirely of questions that might have been asked an overzealous workshop director: “How does this poet reveal her basic nature, / her mortal wound? / Is it through her choice of Dog?” Profane and delirious, this is the Divine Comedy of our postmodern Eden. —Paul Hoover
Whatever it is you need to take you beyond your humdrum life—emus, golden human women with kitten hands, clown deer, labial wings, the forlorn mildew of Dorian Gray, blintzes, pet fungal onions, toy anal ATMs, or tiny uni-cows—Sharon Mesmer’s poetry has it. It’s encyclopedic! It radiates comic intelligence with a rare ferocity, like a Borscht Belt act. Add to cart! —Nada Gordon
No matter what form Mesmer’s words are taking at the moment, jokes—actual jokes that go “hardy-har-har!” at you, me, “I,” dogs, trees, astronauts—pop up like vermin in a Whack-a-mole game. No one is safe. Elbows, two-by-fours, knuckle sandwiches, and banana peels fly. Perhaps her most fixed form is that of Mesmie, the ninth Stooge. —Jennifer L. Knox, Best American Poetry blog

Parodying the come-ons of capitalism, Mesmer surprises us with access to something we hadn’t considered wanting, an arch anger that is surprisingly accepting of the compromises situations push on people, while at the same time smoldering with acidic resentment, as if Mesmer forgave the compromiser only to feel doubly incensed at the leveraged situations prodding us to inauthenticity. —Stan Apps, Jacket

. . . always interesting, beautifully bold and vivaciously modern. —Allen Ginsberg


Sharon Mesmer (photo by Esther Levine)

Sharon Mesmer is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist. Her previous poetry collections are Annoying Diabetic Bitch (Combo Books, 2008), The Virgin Formica (Hanging Loose Press, 2008), Vertigo Seeks Affinities (chapbook, Belladonna Books, 2007), Half Angel, Half Lunch (Hard Press, 1998), and Crossing Second Avenue (chapbook, ABJ Press, Tokyo, 1997). Her fiction collections are Ma Vie à Yonago (Hachette Littératures, Paris, in French translation by Daniel Bismuth, 2005), In Ordinary Time (Hanging Loose Press, 2005), and The Empty Quarter (Hanging Loose Press, 2005). She teaches in the undergraduate and graduate programs of New York University and the New School. Originally from Chicago, she has lived in Brooklyn, New York since 1988.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

This Poet: Sharon Mesmer

Greetings from My Girlie Leisure Place
Sharon Memser (Bloof, 2015)

This Poet

This Poet is for Edwin Torres, adapted from Chris Lofting’s writings on the I Ching.

What visible corporeal form does this poet present?
In what traditional nuances does she come “dressed”?
Does she suggest a hidden half-life of carefully maintained traditions?
Or does she eschew these nuances,
in favor of breaking off relations with the past?
If so, do earlier assertions lose their verity?
If not, is there a fraught relationship with the past?

Does this poet successfully express “commence”?
Does she stand up without weakness to say her piece,
ignoring criticisms or challenges to her origin story?
Does she demonstrate the ability to successfully streamline
the long history of prosody into the treasured figure
of a golden human woman with kitten hands?

How does this poet reveal her basic nature,
her mortal wound?
Is it through her choice of dog?
And does that choice reveal (perhaps unwittingly) that, at nightfall,
her mind is too often beset with danger and blame,
and wondering about that wavering light behind the viaduct?
Does the inclusion of a viaduct support an as yet undeveloped
theory of beauty?
If so, what is her relation, if any, to beauty?
From what mud has this poet arisen, or
from what known or as yet undiscovered star has she descended?
How does she “sprout”?
How does her dog “sprout”?
Does her dog “sprout”?

Are there inevitable entanglements with syntactical intention
that this poet successfully manages to avoid?
If not, what are the unfortunate consequences?
Is she so deeply in disagreement with her own sentience
that she fails to teach social skills, the patience for opportunity,
the ability to recognize and negotiate subtle gateways?
How does she compromise/express uniformity, or at least meet halfway
the need for the establishment of such gateways?
Does she successfully compete in free-market fashion
while keeping the engine of her competition hidden?

What is her relation, if any, to beauty?
Does she seem to suggest the quantifying of such an unstable,
unreliable (and even vilifying) property as beauty?

First of all, does she even suggest an instability?
Does she lay personal claim to unquantifiability?
Are any properties at all suggested?
Or does she automatically devolve to mirroring?
If so, is there a hidden meaning in the mirroring,
and by what methods (grounded in the text or otherwise located)
can it be accurately gleaned?

Does she suggest the presence of a body crown?
And then provide specific guidances about how to ground,
frame, and then leverage that body crown for greater gains?
Can she adequately assess, then communicate—
in normative syntax, with a clear purview—
the purpose and worth of her own (markedly obvious) body crown?
And can she successfully balance that crown against the pure gold
of tradition, spun from air?

Does she make small gains that can be noticed, tracked?
And is this because of some carefully preserved piquant fragment
of a fraught past?
Does this fragment allow her to provide, without fanfare, and little preparation,
her own humble supper?
Does it confer the ability to traverse a thorny path carefully, gracefully,
and, while navigating, maintain balance and harmony
in the midst of sudden, irreversible—even tragic—
changes to the landscape?

Can this poet’s many obstacles,
so obviously and firmly set, and working against one another,
maintain a unified field, or at least work to neutralize unexpected attacks
from hostile, outside sources, on the poet’s core beliefs?
Can these obstacles, through their own natures and mortal wounds,
express empathy with readers both hostile to and in sync with
this poet’s basic aims?
Does this poet insult, consciously or unconsciously, the like-minded?
Can it be suggested that she try to prevent this?
If so, what form would the suggestion take?
Since something is to be accomplished, is it necessary
that she have “friends”?

Can these “friends” suggest judicious choices regarding
the density of a center,
and the successful deploying all “ghost words” cleverly
from that center?
Can they suggest that this poet’s center pragmatically oversee all
“ghost word operations,” successfully managing antithetical stimuli
so that these stimuli push the poet’s ideology forward effectively,
without giving offense, so that nothing
remains unfurthered?

How do these ideas identify as “friends”?
Especially as relating to a fraught past (if any; this has not yet been determined).
Would a clear-cut ideology of friends allow words to accrue
(naturally or unnaturally) to actual facts?
Can these ideas-as-friends-as-facts successfully riverboat all ideologies
without exception, and additionally, with appropriate breadth, purity
and sustaining power,
affirm that the poet’s innate enmities will not froth continually forth against
her principle expression?

In spite of these innate enmities, does this poet manage to find, express,
and celebrate a faith?
And if so, what is that faith?
Can the faith be expressed succinctly, gracefully in dependable,
forward-moving time?
Or is it a “faith” counter to the essential principles of forward-moving time?
Does the “faith” question chronos? Elevate kairos?
If no, or if so, how does the poet correct this corruption?
Indeed, does she even successfully express this kind of dichotomy
as a corruption?

Is this poet “successful”?
Is this poet “beautiful”?
Does this poet express “value”?
Does she acquiesce sufficiently to the low,
defer appropriately to the high?
Reflect precise cognizance of her station?
Does this poet actively elicit admiration,
or passively attract by innuendo, association?
Does she “housekeep” properly,
clearing chaff before incorporating wheat?
Are those fragrant boughs on her threshold?
Do those boughs “add value”?

Does this poet engage in a nonlocated, disembodied spiritual ethos,
providing little or no solutions to our lives’ demands?
Is this her way of expressing—indeed experiencing—
states of mind that are exceedingly seductive, even addictive?
Is this poet “addicted”?
And, if so, is she successfully “addicted”?

Will this poet move politely beyond what is required?
Or will she “showboat?” “Crow?” “Grandstand?” “Badger?” “Preen”?
Can she express her excess per established mainstream conventions?
If no, how might she ultimately assert containment/control?
And will she add normative, recognizable value to that control?
If so, does her work let slip the idea that she believes that control
to be “beautiful”?

Does this poet “woo” you with a restrained enticement?
Or does she draw you in, potential compeer, by enticing with
a practiced, crafted insouciance?
Is this poet lying to/using/exploiting you?
Is she asking too much of her interlocutor, her responder?
Or is her interlocutor/responder projecting personal issues neither contained
nor addressed by the poet,
but rather issues related to, for example, an untended relationship
with a needy parent?

Does this poet bring something—anything—into the light?
And is this light a fair trope that can be described, pointed to, aimed at?
Would you say that the phrase “omnia quae sunt, lumina sunt”
is a valid assessment of the light’s role vis-à-vis the poet?
Does the poet know how to protect this light if the light feels
it lies unprotected as it has not yet come into its time?
Does the light exit the precincts of the poet insulted?
Why has the poet violated the light’s role?
Does the poet believe that insulting her (admittedly) chosen, fair trope of light
adds normative, recognizable value?
Can these missteps—if indeed they be missteps—
be successfully corrected?

Does this poet have the ability to gracefully deploy rigid structure
as a form of surface-tension release?
Can she “mirror” or effectively deal with opposition?
Does she obstruct, go against, stand up to, the general flow?
What is her position with regard to the flow?
(And the flow’s position regarding the poet?)
Is there a standoff?
Is the standoff obstinate? Flawed?
Or a necessary enhancement of value?
Can the standoff be pressed upon to yield?
Or should this poet ultimately be forced to release the standoff
through a faux-relaxed structure plan, attainable within, say,
three or four stanzaic elements?
And can the standoff be asked to track changes
in the poet’s will to change?
Is the will to change too much to expect of this poet?
Does this poet exhibit a will to change?

Will this poet ever achieve normative, recognizable value?
Will she someday “seed” her meanings successfully?
Is she fated to always become overly entangled with something/someone?
Can she learn to remain integrated within her own context,
either by the subtle hand of craftsmanship
or strenuous slave-master boundary effort?

Is the life of this poet already delimited?
From where does she get her nutrition?
How does she express conversion from the raw to the cooked,
vulgar to sacrosanct?
Has she ever genuflected, bestowed roses?

How does this poet express discernment, gradual development, maturity?
Has she expended her energy too soon?
Is her natural exuberance completely shot?
What happened to her original radiance, her abundance overflowing?
What complications dictated her choice of dog?
What complications were the result?

Did this poet express her goals too intensely?
Did she standardise?
Did she fail to express empathy?
Did she not successfully protect a soft core by fronting a hard exterior?
If so, has this poet “failed”?

Did this poet ever, at any point, “get it right?”
And if she does, does she do so by engaging in focused, framed self-sabotage,
rejecting the work of making things clear,
eschewing her (purported) goal of revealing the roots of foolishness
by gently dispelling the cloud of unknowing?
Despite her flaws, her wrongs, her sins against convention and taste,
can she still cultivate a reader and become, ultimately,
through a “Pontius Pilate’s mosquito” sort of notoriety, influential?

Is the value of this poet simply that she enables engagement?
That she demonstrates the capacity to be present and open,
not grasping at or rejecting either presence or the transcendence of presence,
and thus her openness remains (and retains) a natural adjectival sublime?

Should this poet continue to strive for success
despite her aggressive actions against agency,
her obsessive reanimations of highly personal pied moments,
the consistent shifting of her attentions away
from an immediately visible, comprehensible form
to a postponed instress of questionably pleasurable shock?
Should she blame herself for her failure to cause a bear to appear,
her lack of a proper dog?
And if that failure indeed rests upon the lack of a proper dog,
what dog would be the right dog?
From what kennel, if any, would it come?
And can that lack be remedied?
Ultimately, could it be?
In a final assessment, should it be?