13 October 2014

A review to cure the Monday blues

The Book of Scented Things received a new review today from Grace Cavalieri at the Washington Independent Review of Books. We were singled out for the October edition of her "Poetry Exemplars" column, in which we are lucky enough to appear alongside new books from Michael Collier and Katie Ford, among others. I am also beyond flattered that Cavalieri chose my poem "Elegy with Osage-Orange" to excerpt for her review.

As the least accomplished poet of this intimidating group of powerhouse writers, I understandably have a bit of an inferiority complex about my little poem appearing alongside theirs in our beloved anthology. Thanks, Grace Cavalieri, for helping me feel like my poem has earned its place there. Happy Monday!

I also found out a week or so ago that Midway Journal has nominated my poems from volume 7, issue 4 for the 2014 Best of the Net! Thanks so much Midway editors!! My fingers are crossed hard.

08 October 2014

A new kind of beauty for a new age

After a year out of circulation and a full redesign, The Lumberyard is back! Issue 11 is brand-new, gorgeous, and has a poem of mine in it. This magazine gives a great deal of attention to design and always has a stunning, letterpress-printed cover. Check it out:

Even the interior is impeccably designed. I'm in love with how they illustrated my poem "from Atomic Age" and laid it out on the page. It's absolutely perfect, this beautifully simple and regal two-page spread.

I am so thrilled to have my poem made into a piece of visual art by designer Larry Buchanan, in this issue curated by editor Lindsey Alexander. In her editor's note, Lindsey said a lot of lovely things about the poems in this issue while meditating on the importance of "Beauty, Age, Goodness, and Size" and the order in which they come.
"The poets in this Lumberyard consider the scope of these adjectives, and in a manner Mme Bunting would approve, put them up front.
"What's beautiful here? Two orphans sit in front of a rococo sunset and ponder love; girls sweat their hair out jumping rope; a hummingbird.
"In this issue, poets deal with age and size in content and form. Each fresh, each drawing on a backstory older than Adam (or atoms?), some long and quiet or just a few little lines loud and with punch.
"Along these lines, you might notice some changes to the Lumberyarda new kind of beauty for a new age. A new size to accommodate them."

It felt extra special to get a reference in the editor's note. It makes me feel like my poem had a greater hand in shaping the issue as a whole. Thank you so much, Lindsey and Larry, for taking such time and care with my poem and my fellow-LYers' work. And thank you to 7 Ton Letterpress Collective (in my beloved Asheville, NC) for your fabulous printing work on this gorgeous cover. This is all why it was absolutely worth the wait

You can buy your own copy here. And you should.

28 September 2014

All this time

First, please let me apologize for my longer than usual absence from this space. It has been an extremely busy month and a half of work with the Literary House Press. But I'll tell you now some of the things I've been up to all this time: 

1. Cherry Tree
On August 15th, Cherry Tree: A National Literary Journal @ Washington College opened for general submissions. As managing editor, it has been my job to sift through the hundreds of electronic packets of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction: sending them to the screeners who will read them first and then moving them up the reading hierarchy. I'm also responsible for handling all of the correspondence with submitters and (when we're lucky) contributors. So all the (unfortunately) form rejections, the (better) encouraging rejections, and the (BEST) acceptance letters for the truly unmistakably fabulous pieces. I prepare and send out the publication contracts for those accepted pieces. I work with the writers to edit those pieces that require those final touches to make them polished and perfect (or close enough, anyway). I've even been keeping daily statistics on our submissions and responses. It's a big job but, so far, it is one that I have really loved doing. By now, we've nearly filled the roster for issue 1, but we'll still be reading until Cherry Tree closes for submissions on October 15th.

2. The Book of Scented Things
We are also preparing for the launch of our brand-new poetry anthology, The Book of Scented Things: 100 Contemporary Poems about Perfume, on October 7th at the Rose O'Neill Literary House. So we've been working our butts off marketing and promoting the book. It has arrived at our distributor, Small Press Distribution, where it is available for purchase. It has also received a few good reviews at popular perfume blogs like Bois de Jasmin and Ayala Moriel's Smelly Blog, and by Penning Perfumes editor Claire Trévien at Sabotage Reviews. We sent out promotional postcards to a select list of independent bookstores and libraries. The official book launch will be October 7th at 4:30PM at the Literary House. Then we'll follow that up with a second book launch on October 29th at 7:00PM at the Arts Club of Washington in DC. I can't wait for both of these events!

3. Other writing things
So during this time, when not editing and marketing, I am still writing my own poetry (when I can manage it): continuing in development of the collaborative chapbook manuscript Women's Work and continuing the sequence of poems that will make up the opening section of my (intended) full-length manuscript Catechesis. In addition to the slow and steady writing progress, some other fun things in the works:
  • I will be planning a poetry reading (my first!) with the lovely and talented Sally Rosen Kindred to take place in the Annapolis area. Details to come!
  • I have also been invited to be the Poetry Judge for the contest from Echoes & Images, a literary magazine out of Northeast State Community College in Tennessee!


11 August 2014

Women's Work

Two weeks ago, I began a collaborative chapbook project with my super talented poet-printer friend, Emma Sovich. We're both letterpress printersshe's actually close to finishing her MFA in Book Arts at the University of Alabamaand as evidenced by our letterpress-centric Asheville vacation a year ago, we're pretty passionate about it. For such an industrial art, the letterpress printing renaissance that we're living right now is also largely populated by women. And all of these awesome women in the print shop has us feeling like the proper granddaughters of Rosie the Riveterat home amid the smells of lead type and rubber-based ink, working to the hum of the motorized proof or platen press. 

Image by Emma Sovich

Our collaborative chapbooktentatively titled Women's Workwill attempt to use the cast-iron imagery of the print shop to create a contrast with the traditional notion of softer, domestic tasks as "women's work." As relatively straightforward as this prompt sounds in concept, it does become a bit more tangled and difficult when you get down to the minutiae. The first poem I have written for this project casts a platen press in the role of clothes iron and ironing board, a housewife using a platen press to iron her family's clothes. This poem in particular plays on two definitions of the word "press": 
  1. to press clothes; to smooth out wrinkles in the fabric;
  2. a machine that prints text on paper by creating an impression of the metal type.
The end result is a poem that discusses the dehumanizing desire for one-dimensionality. A flatness of character created by stereotypes of domestic womanhood. Emma and I hope that, in the end, the fifteen to twenty poems we write for this chapbook manage to construct a kind of printers' feminist manifesto (or even a feminists' printing manifesto). Establishing through poetry the noble motto of the Ladies of Letterpress

"Dedicated to the Proposition that 
a Woman's Place is in the Print Shop."


And in other poetry news:
  • Poet Sandra Marchetti recorded her reading of my poem "Foxwife," published in Midway Journal this past October. I love her sensuous interpretation and her deep, lush voice. 
  • A new review by April Jones of Fairy Tale Review's Emerald Issue has been published on The Review Review. "It is a collection of insanely skilled authors and artists who take Dorothy's magical journey to a more modern audience." And I am so honored to have my poem amongst their pieces! 
  • And in just 4 days, Cherry Tree (on which I serve as managing editor) will open for its first reading period for general submissions. Even though this is my first time at the helm, I feel ready to manage this mischief. So send your best work our way, beginning August 15!

23 July 2014

Some summer reading

Because my friend Michele has requested so especially, I've put together a list of some of my favorites of the small press poetry books I've recently acquired and read.

1. Blood Makes Me Faint But I Go For It, by Natalie Lyalin (Ugly Duckling Presse)
I've loved the decidedly strange, but wondrous poetry of Natalie Lyalin since reading her chapbook from UDP, Try a Little Time Travel back in 2010. There's a distinct voice that leaps from poem to poem, that I trust in its confidence even though it's telling me things I've never heard before. Her new collection delivers on a lot of the same qualities that drew me in with her chapbook. Read more about it in her interview here. She's part of UDP's Eastern European Poets Series.

 2. Her Book, by Éireann Lorsung (Milkweed Editions)

I picked up Éireann Lorsung's Her Book last summer at Malaprop's Bookstore when I was on vacation. I read through it in only two nights while still in Asheville because it was such a compulsive reading experience for me. Infused with wildness and lyric language. Insects, weedy flowers, and the calm of northern England. These poems are as atmospheric as they are storytelling. There is a much better review of this book here

3. Girl Show, by Kristy Bowen (Black Lawrence Press)

Kristy Bowen's new collection of poems delivers carnival as collage and fabulism and matriarchy. Each one is chock full of things, objects. A vivid and lyrical specificity that accumulates into story, and sometimes prairieland prophecy. It's the mid-century, mid-country midway of our imaginations. Read an interview with Kristy here.

P.S. She's my editor at the envelope-pushing dancing girl press!

4. Darling Hands, Darling Tongue, by Sally Rosen Kindred (Hyacinth Girl Press)

Sally Rosen Kindred's re-imagining of J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan and Wendy is a woman-centered world with a very particular focus on the body: girl, woman, fairy. These poems pull adult themes from the children's story that we all noticed, but perhaps did not examine as closely before now. The way a girl's changing body shuts her out of one world and pushes her into another. Hips. Lips. "[T]wo bones from the tongue/ of a lark." My particular favorite from this chapbook is "Notes from a Fairy Autopsy." Read an interview with Sally here

I'm sure you've probably noticed a trend here. My tastes tend to steer me more toward poetry written by women about women and girls. This definitely shows up in my writing as well. No apologies.

17 July 2014

Cleaver Magazine: a second review of Imago

Poetry reviewer Kenna O'Rourke wrote up a really great review of my chapbook Imago for Cleaver Magazine! So exciting! Here are some of my favorite bits: 

"Even if one were to dismiss the conceit of Imago (or interpret it more literally), the chapbook would resonate courtesy of the very elegance of the lines within. Refreshingly sparse and thoughtfully arranged, Lusby's language is what transmutes absurdity into emotion here…"

"Sense is abandoned for the sensory; logic abandoned for mystery. In other words, by Lusby's strange machinations, a reader can't help but look at vegetables a bit differently for a spell."

Thank you so much for your generous words, Kenna! Read the full review here.

The Cleaver Magazine Twitter account referred to it as "eggplant-fantasia." And I think I like it. Hah!

11 July 2014

Manifesto of a feminist, in brief

**This typically has not been a space in which I air my political views. I try to stay on the topic of poetry, printing, and books. But there are some things I need to say that are central to who I am on the subject of feminism that have steadily bothered me more and more and more. Today, I've reached a breaking point. These are things that seep into every part of my life including the obsessions listed above. Bear with me for this one post, please.**

FIRST OF ALL: I am a proud feminist. 

HOWEVER, from the beginning there has been this ugly underbelly that at some point was given a name: White Feminism. KEEP READING. This is not a name for feminists who are also white. This is a dangerously clueless movement polluting the greater, beautiful cause. That only understands feminism through the lens of the middle-class white woman. This lens has no capability for peripheral vision and, so, the White Feminist cannot understand why women of color still have issues regarding race and class and prejudice and discrimination, or why all of these issues are inextricably interconnected with feminism. White Feminists' propensity to approach all issues of race with defensiveness automatically shuts down further conversation, and the issue dies in stubborn discord and divisiveness. They create a brick wall down the middle of feminism and put everything that makes them uncomfortable about inherited privileges on the other side. 

SURE, the feminist who is white faces issues of sexism, just like our feminists of color. But we white girls DO have privilege of race. Acknowledging that privilege does not denigrate the legitimacy of your feminism. So stop running away from it. It will make you uncomfortable, sure, but you're a woman which means you're incredibly strongso suck it up. When you do face up to your own privilege, it will open you up in a way that allows you to listen to an experience that is not your own and learn from it. Listening and learning from mistakes makes you a better person and a better feminist. None of us are saying that being born white makes you a bad person, so please stop crying victim, White Feminists. You are not being attacked. You are being asked to stop talking for a minute and listen. And then, take a few minutes to absorb and reflect. Reflect on yourself and be honest. Have empathy. You don't have to respond right away. And remember: granting legitimacy to the experiences of another person does not de-value your own. That's not what this is about.

THE THING IS: As feminists, I feel we have a responsibility to respect the legitimate differences in our experiences, as well as the similarities. Feminists who are white should be supporting their (our) fellow feminists of color in bringing issues to the table that affect them in a way that is unique to them. That doesn't create divisiveness within the feminist movement—the refusal to provide that equal respect does.

DO YOU SEE? Equal. Respect. That's all it's ever been about.

**This has been a test of the emergency alert system. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming**