The shorelines of these poems are not those of the Atlantic and the Pacific, framing one mighty and dominant land mass, that of the United States, “from sea to shining sea”, but rather those of the great continental divide, the two sides of the Atlantic separating “old” Europe from what was once called by some “The New World”, two land masses distinct ever since the two tectonic plates began to drift apart. I know both continents intimately. I was born and raised and had my first adult experiences in the United States, on the Eastern Seaboard, and I now divide my time between Switzerland and France, and the poems in this volume shift, or travel, from place to place, residing however temporarily in the city and the country, moving from continent to continent, where exile and homecoming are somehow always one.
The darkness and divisions of our day, of war and hatred, of prejudice and political turmoil, are not without response in these poems, but there is also a celebration of something else, something greater, still available to us, a slower, geological time, not only of the earth but of the air, an attentiveness invigorated by the imagination, where the bedrock under our feet supports our wanderings and lets us look, and not alone, at such wonders as the burning nettle and the red admiral butterfly, the fleeting reflections in the rain on the streets of New York and the magnificent stones of Notre Dame in Paris, the peregrinations of the snail and the stained-glass colorings of autumn leaves anywhere.
Bruce Lawder is an American and divides his time between an apartment in Switzerland and a house in France. In addition to writing poems, stories, plays and occasional essays on poetry, he has published articles on painting in the catalogs of a number of major museums in France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Before deciding to earn his living as a teacher, he was an actor at the Charles Street Playhouse in Boston, Massachusetts. He has published three previous volumes of poetry as well as a book of essays, Vers le vers. His most recent play, Computer Time, was performed at the American Theatre of Actors in New York City in 2022.
This May Sound Familiar
Michael Favala Goldman
This May Sound Familiar by Michael Favala Goldman hits that sweet spot between the intellect and the heart. These poems mine domestic conflict, nature, and the creative process to find breakthroughs to belonging, despite pride, rejections, and self-sabotage. “It’s always sunrise somewhere./…irrepressible, the arc/ of awakening.”
Michael Favala Goldman (b.1966) is an award-winning poet, jazz clarinetist, and translator of Danish literature. Among his seventeen translated books is Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen, which made the New York Times Best 10 Books of 2021 as book three of The Copenhagen Trilogy. Goldman’s work has appeared in scores of publications including The New Yorker, Rattle, and The Harvard Review. He lives in Northampton, MA, where he has been running bi-monthly poetry critique groups since 2018. This is his fifth poetry collection. https://michaelfavalagoldman.com/
Goldman’s last book of poetry from Homestead Lighthouse Press, Small Sovereign, won the 2022 Los Angeles Book Festival Poetry Prize.
Michael Favala Goldman
(From the rear cover)
Small Sovereign is Michael Favala Goldman's second full-length collection of poetry. Drawing on experience as a remodeling carpenter, jazz musician, Danish translator, gardener and parent, Golman awakens in us a deeper awareness of life's minutiae - its pain and victory - from multiple points of view.
"We are all sharing atoms, at least/.../like the sea mixes with the sky/words do not keep them apart." The poems explore the paradox of personal power and powerlessness, using everyday experience as a door to the universal. "The organization has its priorities/which do not include delight."
The Girl Who Quit at Leviticus:
Poems by Suzanne Rhodenbaugh
The poems of The Girl Who Quit at Leviticus are, like all forms of story, about sex and death: the life force and whatever is its negation or absence. They don’t want to deny the regret, rage and dread of a life, but they also want to openly admit delight and joy, especially through the delectations of sound and humor. Their forebears include The Old Testament, Mark Twain, and hillbilly music, with a little Fran Lebowitz thrown in.
Their means vary from very short lyrics; to nonce sonnets; to the multi-part prose poem “The Views of the Widow’s Daughter,” with its recurring imagery of eyes, blue, white and dark, and a direct athwart voice that moves through a life. The poems are sometimes analogues, including letter, song, list, testament and anecdote. Some are near water – creek, lake, river and ocean -- the poet came up out of Florida and Georgia. And the voice often inhabits gardens, which like poems must have both control and wildness to be beautiful. The
poems may show it’s possible to be irrepressible, even in a swan song.
Emily & Virginia:
"McDowell had already experienced visitations—some might call them hauntings— from Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf. The two women, dead 20 and 75 years in 1961, sat on his bed and talked to him and to each other. Because he loved them, the child did not think this strange. He was already a believer in Familiars and soon his two Authors showed up everywhere—in his secret thicket cave on the grounds of the Ramona Convent (where he read some of Virginia’s novels and Emily’s poems for the first time), at Marguerita Elementary School and Alhambra High, at sporting events (Virginia more than Emily), stores and libraries. Virginia never showed up at dental appointments because she’d had too many teeth pulled and Emily avoided eye exams. Both could become irritated when the author’s mother took him in tow to shop for clothes, but both loved recitations, sing-alongs and romps in the woods.
The visits between worlds have gone on throughout the author’s life, but they took on a different focus in 2014. Gradually, McDowell realized that his Authors were instructing him and encouraging him to write a novel—this novel—about them teaming up and intervening in the life of a conflicted young woman."
Selected & New Poems
“Rare, then, is the contemporary poet who gives privilege to narrative as the engine inside the poem. Rarer still is the poet who masters both the art of deep, complex narrative and moments of mystical musicality where in truths feel just beneath the illusion of sense. It’s for this reason the greatest joy in seeing the best of Robert McDowell’s poetic career distilled between the pages of Sweet Wolf is witnessing the massive swaths of ground McDowell covered between the poles of lyric and narrative. Throughout Sweet Wolf, we see his prowess on the level of the individual poem as well as within the selections from each collection represented.”
--Chad Abushanab, from his Introduction:
Someplace Between Story and Song
EVERY POSSIBLE THING
Karen Poppy’s poems in Every Possible Thing pushes the envelope between Here and Somewhere Else where we may or may not be going soon. Philosophically intelligent, metaphorically magical, Poppy surprises with unexpected explorations and surprising breakthroughs. Along the way, she earns our trust and we double back to re-read poems while getting to the end and wanting more. Karen Poppy is a poet to watch and savor.
"In Every Possible Thing, Karen Poppy’s imagery soars and her unique vision leads us into a world of literary allusions, of life’s glory, of the earth, of water and waves, of suicide and the harshness of life and death. Exquisitely written, with attention to the smallest detail, to the vastness of mythology, these elegant poems compel the reader to turn the page in order to be richly rewarded by these tender pieces. Haunting, bewitching, evocative, her poems are often other-worldly."
- Virginia Chase Sutton
RIDING THE WAVES OF BLISS
Riding the Waves of Bliss: Seasons of Life Poems is the crowning achievement of Israeli/Chicago poet Shai Har-El. These lyrics combine to create the story of a life lived internationally, spiritually, passionately and well. Har-el’s poems are inspiring to readers of any age and they transcend geographical borders.
"With age comes better knowledge and a wider experience
of life. This comes up through my poems. Walking you
through the seasons of my life, they start with a deep yearning
and longing to the beginning, growing up in Israel; they
continue through the experience of my multi-faceted love for
and intimacy with my beloved wife Rosie of blessed memory,
the central figure in my life over 50 years; they shift to my preoccupation
with the questions of oneness and harmony in the
world; they go through the period of my spiritual awakening
and illumination; and they finally end where life in this
World concludes, in death and grieving."
- Dr. Shai Har-El
THE GIFT OF NOT FINDING
By Carol Aronoff
This is Carol Alena Aronoff’s seventh book of poems and it could not possibly arrive at a better time. As people around the world seek to discover the new normal, the poems here open windows and doors into meditation and the lasting beauty of the natural world.
As the poet Robert McDowell writes in the Foreword, “The Gift of Not Finding: Poems for Meditation by Carol Alena Aronoff embodies stillness. Perhaps this is the secret goal of all poetry when it is most fit in consciousness and memory. For what does one desire more than peace and the absence of worry and speculation it brings? Poetry that achieves and evokes stillness—dare I say ‘perfect’ stillness—is a gift that allows one to breathe deeply and be love.”
Bonnie Rose Marcus, The Luminosity
Selected Poems by Dennis Sampson includes the best work from the poet's seven extant volumes of poetry. Sampson's first book, The Double Genesis, was published in 1986 by Story Line Press. Sampson's poems embody the spirit of a solitary tree, the natural world, and the intimate spaces both within and between people.
"In an era of handsomely written books of poetry largely about their own skill with language, it's more than breathtaking to encounter a poet who writes for the most basic reason: because he has to."
- Philip Levine
SECRETS OF THE TREES
Nikkie, a twenty-two-year-old dancer performing at the Hollywood Bowl, is about to become a star. Instead, at the height of her performance, she is sent reeling by the vision of a girl and her parents being shot in a forest in 1940s Latvia. Knowing she will not be able to dance again until she solves the mystery of the vision, she goes on a quest to Latvia, the land of their ancestors, to uncover the secrets hidden in the trees of her vision and to find the father they’ve never met.
The novel is set in 2003, thirteen years after a nonviolent Singing Revolution freed Latvia from fifty years of Soviet rule. The world-famous Latvian Song and Dance Festival, the country’s cultural masterpiece, is about to take place.
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