The new issue of Full Of Crow Quarterly Fiction is online! Check it out here. “Dialogues”.
Featuring: Jan Steckel, Fernando Meisenhalter, Rusty Barnes, H.B. Rubin, Mark Antony Rossi, Ruth Crossman, G. David Schwartz, Alina Stefanescu, Nathan Graziano, Steven Gray, J DeSalvo, Victor Clevenger, Kristen Caven.
Thank you to Paul Corman-Roberts for editing another great issue, and thank you to our fiction contributors!
Full Of Crow curated another reading, for the fifth year, in the Oakland Beast Lit Crawl, a festival involving over thirty curating participants and over two hundred poets and performers. Crow Show West was held at Econo Jam Records in Oakland and featured an awesome line up: Steve Goldberg, Chansonette Buck, Laura Jew, Roger Porter, Nancy Davenport, and Richard Loranger. See the Crow page with full bios on the BEAST CRAWL FESTIVAL PAGE here.
Beast has a Flickr page here. We will update the blog here soon, and you can check out photos on our facebook pages as well.
Full Of Crow Press (East Coast) hosts a new poetry series in the Lehigh Valley, kicked off in July in Allentown at the Coffee House Without Limits, hosted by Cleveland Wall and Elynn Alexander.
The Coffee House Without Limits is a relatively new space in the Alternative Gallery at the Cigar Factory. The reading series, Morrigan Wars, (info here) is an “unapologetically femcentric reading series in the Lehigh Valley” with the goal of showcasing and promoting the poetry, art, music, zines, and theater of talented local women, visitors, allies, and people who are willing to respectfully chill together.”
“Goddess Morrigan represents the circle of life, the phases of woman, the “phantom queen”. Crow. Crone. Warrior. Protective and nurturing, but spiteful and capable of deep wrongs. Loving deeply, but taking no shit.” Originally a play she developed in Berkeley in 2011, Lynn has had a fascination with the archetype and symbolism of the Crow and ‘Crone’s Shadow’.
“Her wars, and with whom, are for your pondering.”
The first Lehigh Valley event featured local poets and music- see photos under “Photo Collections” (And in our facebook albums!)
Lehigh Valley poet Cleveland Wall and NJ poet B Deihl organized a reading last week at an awesome Allentown gallery- TMD Gallery on S 13th. This is an eclectic space with a diverse collection of art from local LV artists, in affordable price ranges.
Another great reading in Easton, PA at the Quadrant Book shop downtown. Here at Crow, we are happy to partner up with Indigent Press and are looking forward to some upcoming readings and chapbook releases.
This was a cool afternoon of poetry in Easton from familiar faces and new visiting poets.
I met New Jersey poet Charles Joseph a few months ago, when we read in the Lehigh Valley Vanguard’s event “Explorations Of Identity” at a new space in Easton, 719. He is a founding publisher and editor of Indigent Press, a small press based in Montclair. His chapbook “Fireball” (Or 12 Quasi-Epic Poems of Cheerful Doom and Gloom) is one of their offerings, with an initial print run of 100 limited copies.
The first poem, ‘The Return of Kid Lightning”, introduces the speaker as a poet who struggles with self doubt after “years of sluggin’ it out with the blank page.” He has made a connection with a reader in Texas, who has provided encouragement, now: “the blank page better watch its ass.”
We see the process of emerging confidence and purpose in “Fireball” as well: “So I’d rather surround myself with those/who will at least have the decency/to accept who and what I am-/and perhaps even pause for a moment/in the wake of my afterglow.” Again, convincing the reader that the doubts of the past have been sloughed, the poet is determined. Maybe he is also convincing himself, affirming and defending what he feels driven to do? The sense of being driven in “Fireball” is likely the same impulse described in “This, Creed”:
I do this while my girlfriend sleeps naked. I do this when happy, sad, or indifferent. I do this, you do that, everyone does something. However, this-
Again in “Finding The One True You”
Sometimes you need to return to the spark that sets your world on fire-
So if you catch yourself living the lie instead of the dream, return to that song, to that book, to that whatever-it-is that makes you feel as though you’ve been zapped with a million megawatts of raw human power.
Charles Joseph’s poems in “Fireball” reflect a straightforward style, accessible language and themes:
From ‘Penn Station Postscript’
Late one night while waiting for the cattle car, I studied the faces of a hundred miserable humans.
With all seats occupied by blue and white collars, I discovered a man more miserable than all of us.
The poems in “Fireball” have a connecting theme of avoiding regret, and avoiding the trap of a life lived with suppressed passion and talents. Many readers will be able to relate to that fear, and the need to find a way to push through doubt and keep that “spark” going. My favorite poem in the book is “For The Queens Of Zimbabwe”, which stands out as different in both style and tone from the rest of the collection.
Charles is the author of three poetry chapbooks and “No Outlet”, a novel. Information about his work can be found at his website, www.charlesjosephlit.com.
You can follow the press, upcoming readings, and view some of the YouTube readings from Indigent Press using the links on the website.
I recently received “This Same Small Town In Each Of Us” (Embracing The Human Condition) by Wanda Morrow Clevenger published by Edgar and Lenore’s Publishing House in California. A collection of prose, memoir, and poetry, it was a needed change from many of the essays that I have been reading lately. Her characters felt familiar to me, recollections from different ages and situations brought me to places that I recognized. I connected the prose and poems to many of my own memories and reading this book brought me back to experiences that I have not thought about in years. Small things, like riding on the handlebars of a bike and skinned knees, holidays and little memories triggering larger ones. Clevenger moves from child to mother, past and present, the world of her youth and the world of today, different in obvious ways but also in the sum of many small things that we lived without back then but are an integral part of life now.
Clevenger has this ability to be funny and serious, descriptive without going too far, with her transitions well timed. She knows when to pull the reigns, how much information we need and she doesn’t dump words to fill pages. She writes like a reader.
That is probably a weird thing to say here, this idea of somebody “writing like a reader”, but what I mean there is to describe a certain control and flow that good books have, and writers who read good books seem able to pick up on and apply almost intuitively in time. This is also a feature of practice and experience, and this is the impression that I have of Clevenger: a careful, deliberate writer with discipline. Some of her pieces are short, a page or two, but she says what she wants to say. The same can be said for her poems, succinct and focused.
In small press, different names come up and become familiar, and I was aware of Wanda Morrow Clevenger but not familiar with her work beyond a passing “hello”. One of my goals is to spend more time on the body of work from different writers, to get to know their work in a broader way beyond small samples here and there over time. This was a good choice because the book has different kinds of writing, but is presented in a cohesive way. Since this was published in 2011, I don’t know the status of availability but she has a blog here.
We have been going through digital photos, adding some new ones to the pages. The photo collections are primarily photos from readings and events that are connected to Full of Crow or the editors or contributors. If you look above at “Photo Collections”, you can select the page and it will have an index with the links. You can also view the page options by hovering, but since there are so many pages you cannot see the full list. To get you started, here is a link to one of our events.