Posts Tagged ‘Paula Bohince’

Second Book Summer

It’s been a great summer of reading.  It’s also been the summer of second books, with a lot of second collections by many of my favorite poets.  If you have not read these great books, put them on your fall reading list.  

 The Wishing Tomb by Amanda Auchter  (Perugia Press)  New Orleans takes center stage in Amanda Auchter’s second poetry collection.   Exploring the Crescent City’s deep history through  a strong lyrical voice, readers learn about Fred Staten, a nightclub performer who was also considered as the King of Voodoo; Sister Francis Xavier Herbert, an Ursuline nun who was the first woman pharmacist in America; and Maryann Albert, the mother of Louis Armstrong.  The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina also is present in this collection, although it is not the focus, as Auchter dives into the diverse and mysterious past that has created this resilient city.  (First Book: The Glass Crib)

Notes to the Beloved by Michelle Bitting  (Sacramento Poetry Center Press)  Winner of the 2011 Sacramento Poetry Center Book Contest, Notes to the Beloved is collection containing poems that are caught between the lyric and the narrative.  Whether she is describing a wife watching her husband untangle holiday lights or retelling Alice in Wonderland’s fall through the rabbit hole, Bitting creates magic, making familiar stories just a little bit surreal. My favorite poem “Boys Like You” can actually be found online here.  (First Book: Good Friday Kiss)

The Children by Paula Bohince (Sarabande Books)  Fans of the Scrapper Poet know how much I love Paula Bohince’s work, and her second collection, The Children, did not disappoint. Writing serene pastorals, Bohince plucks elements from the natural world — bees, milkweed pods, dogwood —  to create a world of isolated beauty.  Still, with poems like “Everywhere I Went That Spring, I Was Alone” anyone reading this book will wander away feeling  just a little bit lonely. (First Book: Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods)                               

Home Burial by Michael McGriff  (Copper Canyon Press)  A work of gritty working-class landscapes, Michael McGriff’s Home Burial details places and people of hardship.  Whether he is describing a pastoral-like scene of deer bones and rats or retelling a story about catfishing,  McGriff draws the reader into a world of tough and stubborn living.  (First Book: Dismantling the Hills)

The Death of Flying Things by Gabriel Welsch (WordTech)  Gabriel Welsch returns to rural Pennsylvania (a favorite place of mine, if I do say so myself) in his second collection, where he explores both the wonder and tragedy of  rural life where interactions between humans and the natural world are favorite subjects.  (First Book: Dirt and All Its Dense Labor)

Springing Ahead: The Poetry Edition

My students have a bit of Spring Fever and to be honest, I think they caught it from me.  Since the weather has warmed, I’ve been in a tizzy, and falling behind on my poetry related goals.  But I’m slowly getting back on track.

As I mentioned before, March has been my month of revision.  I have yet to draft a totally new poem.  Instead, I have been cleaning out my files, getting rid of duplicate poems and duplicate ideas. Surprisingly, I have found some really good drafts that never made it to any sort of “final poem.” 

In other news, I have been catching up on my reading.  I have to admit that I’ve read a lot of poetry collections that have not really impressed me — I mean they were solid collections, but nothing stood out.  But recently, I read three collections that really were fantastic.  I want to write reviews on all three, but time constraints will probably prevent me from doing so.  And speaking of reviews, Rattle has a copy of Wearing Heels in the Rust Belt — if you want a free copy in exchange for a review, please contact the editors!

Finally, in a few days I will be leaving town to attend the annual conference of the Appalachian Studies Association.  This is the first time that I have ever attended this conference, so I’m really looking forward to the trip.  Plus, I will be reading with Paula Bohince, a poet I really admire.  While JCC does not have Spring Break until the start of April, I’m going to consider this trip a precursor to the real thing!


ASA Conference

A few days ago, I received some great news — at the end of March, I will be reading with one of my favorite poets, Paula Bohince, at the Appalachian Studies Conference in Indiana, Pennsylvania.  Fans of the Scrapper Poet know how much I love Bohince’s work (and so excited that her next book, The Children, will be out in spring 2012!), so I’m thrilled (and a bit nervous, I must admit) to read with her!  The conference also holds other great writers including poets Maggie Anderson, Peter Oresick, and Lori Jakiela. 

This is the first time I have ever planned on attending the Appalachian Studies Association Conference, and I’m really looking forward to the event.  The Appalachian Studies Association is much like the Working Class Studies Association — that is, it’s an interdisciplinary conference, so there will be films, readings, panels about pedagogy and literature, plus panels concerning history and sociology.  I always love these kinds of conferences because I learn so many new things.

I don’t know how many readers I have in the Western/Central Pennsylvania area, but if you live in the area — I would think this is a conference well worth attending, even if you can only make the Saturday events!  Here is the link to the ASA’s website, along with the conference schedule. 

Emerging from Place & Other News

No, I have not melted into a puddle from another heatwave.  I just finished up my Chautauqua poetry workshop #1 for the summer.  Under the direction of poet Maggie Anderson, I studied sense of place.  I’m always happy if I can get one good draft from a one week poetry workshop, and this past week I have three.  Next week, I will be working under poet Stephen Haven.

In other news, have you read the newest issue of Boxcar Poetry Review?  There’s a great conversation between Suzanne Frischkorn and Brent Goodman about first books.  Take a look.

Finally, and this is really great news, Paula Bohince’s second book of poetry titled The Children will be released from Sarabande Books in 2012.  Fans of The Scrapper Poet know how much I loved Paula’s first book, Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods, so I’m excited about this new collection (even though I have to wait until 2012). 

Wait a Minute, Mr. Postman

The US Postal Service has been kind to me this week. First, I received my contributor’s copy of Copper Nickel — and it’s a great issue (I am not just saying that because one of my poem is found within its pages).  There’s work from Mary Biddinger, Karyna McGlynn, Jericho Brown, Jessica Jewell, R.T. Smith, and Alison Stine.  My favorite is Stine’s poem, “Canary” that opens this issue.   In this work, the poet proclaims:  “It’s not so bad, seventies/in March, coats off, daffodils opening/in a white blaze. But the polar bears/drowned, swum too far to look/for food.  The ice floes lost their edges; each shore sunk further out.  Frogs/the first barometers, on some banks/started exploding, blood turned.  My canary/shutters against the man I thought/I knew, the one who promised to love me.”

I also received my copy of Green Mountains Review.  Fans of The Scrapper Poet will know that I blogged quite a bit about Paula Bohince’s Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods on my old blog — and then I got the chance to write a more formal review of this great book for GMR.  If you haven’t picked up Bohince’s début collection yet, you really should.

Finally, last year I was honored with a chance to judge the Keystone Chapbook  Award from Seven Kitchens Press, and Soot by Jeff Walt was the winner.  This chapbook arrived in the mail.  What did I say about Walt’s poems?  “Jeff Walt’s collection is filled with dirt, grit and dust.  These tough poems squint in the bright light but focus, fear both real and imaginary dangers but still fact the day, fall but get up to brush themselves off and move on….”

When I connected to the Seven Kitchens Press website,  I discovered more good news.  Seven Kitchens Press is planning a big year with chapbooks! RJ Gibson’s Scavenge will be released soon (you have to check out that cover).  Plus, two of my favorite Pennsylvania poets will also be publishing with Ron Mohring’s micropress.  Gabriel Welsch’s chapbook, An Eye Fluent in Gray  and Todd Davis’s chapbook Household of Water, Moon, and Snow are both due out later this year.   More good reading, ahead!  I know that times are tough, and that if you are a poet and/or blog reader, you are always being asked to support the poetry community.  I can say that Seven Kitchens Press is one of the best places for poetry!


This weekend I finished Patricia Smith’s Blood Dazzler, a full-length collection of poetry that depicts and explores the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.  Readers of this blog will already know that I named Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods by Paula Bohince as my favorite poetry book published in 2008.  However, I must say that if I had read Blood Dazzler last year (the book was also published in 2008), Smith’s collection would have given Bayonet Woods  a run for its money (to use the horrible cliche).  Using different styles of poetry, Blood Dazzler follows the Katrina catastrophe through many different voices.   A reader of this collection will find poems written from different points of view, ranging from voices of the survivors of the disaster, to Hurricane Betsy (a hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast in 1965), to President Bush (don’t worry, the poet is not especially kind to him) to Hurricane Katrina herself.  (herself — in spite of the name, can I give a hurricane gender?)  The result is a stunning collection.

A few months ago, I read Katie Cappello’s first book of poems titled Perpetual Care.  I really enjoyed this collection as well — especially the last section of the book that is dedicated to a series of laments for the city of New Orleans after Katrina.

I have been working on a more formal review of Perpetual Care — but I was sidetracked by Blood Dazzler.  Not because I think one book is better than the other, but because I am amazed about how different two books of poetry can be — even when the two books have focused on the same event.  Can anyone tell me — are there more full length collections of poetry about Hurricane Katrina?  Let me know!!!