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What We’re Reading: “Fireball”

What We’re Reading: “Fireball” by Charles Joseph    (via Elynn Alexander’s Essential Industry Blog) 


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.”

Fireball, Chapbook by Charles Joseph. Indigent Press. Via Blog Elynn Alexander. Full Of Crow Press.
“Fireball” by Charles Joseph, Indigent Press

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-  

this-is mine.


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.


What We’re Reading: “This Same Small Town In Each Of Us”

“What We’re Reading”,  Crossposted from the blog of Elynn Alexander, Full Of Crow Editor. 

“She writes like a reader.”

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.

Wanda Morrow Clevenger, Book Cover. Reviewed by Elynn Alexander. What We Are Reading, blog at Full of crow press.
Wanda Morrow Clevenger

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. 

Event Photos

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

elynn alexander. lynn alexander, Paul Corman-Roberts. poetry. readings.
Elynn Alexander and Paul Corman-Roberts. Full Of Crow’s Toxic Abatement. Viracocha, San Francisco.

“Explorations Of Identity” Poetry Reading

The Lehigh Valley Vanguard hosted a poetry reading a few weeks ago:  “Explorations of Identity”,organized by Marlana Eck. The featured poets brought a mix of styles, from confessional to rants, on the questions of identity.  Lehigh Valley Vanguard is an online webzine of political and critical essays, poetry, and nonfiction based in Easton, PA.

Photos from that event can be viewed here. 

Lehigh Valley Vanguard. Poetry Readings. Easton, PA. Elynn Alexander. Lynn Alexander.
Lehigh Valley Vanguard- Poetry Reading Promo
explorations of Identity, poetry, Lehigh Valley Vanguard, readings, easton, PA.
Featured Poets- Explorations of Identity Reading
Poetry easton 18042
Poetry 18042


Social Media

We have been updating our facebook and twitter pages pretty regularly, mostly with links to the fiction and poetry in our issues. We have two pages on facebook: one is for the general Full Of Crow Press, and the other is for poetry with the original idea as the posting of poems from the archives. I have a page on facebook where I post event photos from readings, etc. and that is here, Elynn Alexander.  (that is my page, not my profile, either one works.)

I also have a twitter, and Full Of Crow has a Twitter.

If you feel so inclined, please “like” and follow so we can stay in touch and tag you in photos or links to your work.


We Also participate infull of crow open this “networked blogs” nonsense, but we aren’t really sure if that is useful to people or if people still use it regularly. If you are on facebook and want to follow us that way, there should be a box on our front page sidebar that has “networked blogs” in there somewhere.


The submissions page (above) has been updated, and things are coming back together. We hope to hear from some of you out there with poems and stories.


There are links on the sidebar —-> and above. Get in touch if you have questions.

elynn alexander@gmail.com


or the blog.




Crow.O: Crow Submissions Open

We are trying to spread the word that Full Of Crow is again accepting submissions of poetry and fiction for new issues in April. We have been closed for almost a year, so it will take us time to reach out and connect with the writers and readers that we had in the past. Submissions will likely be slower. During the hiatus, we kept the lights on and the doors open, but needed a break from adding issues. We appreciate the understanding.

     foc20banner So if you are new to Crow, we produce four quarterly online issues per year of poetry, and four of fiction. They generally go online in April, July, October, and January. I (Elynn Alexander) edit the poetry and Paul Corman-Roberts edits the fiction. We might add a new person for ebooks and possible person to help with reviews but we will see how things go as we get back in the groove.

The fiction section can be viewed at: Full Of Crow Fiction and poetry at Full Of Crow Poetry.  

If you check out the links above, you will see a tab on “submissions”.

Events! Summer 2013!

More summer events! If you can get to the bay area or live nearby, please join us. And the hiatus for Poetry and Fiction ends this week with new issues in both, and the special Graffiti issue of Blink Ink coming at last at the end of July. Thank you to everyone for your support, patience, and help as Crow has been pulled through some tough times with illness, loss, and change. We are back, and finally have the space and equipment and resources needed as well as a new location. If you have had anything, correspondence or query, lost in the shuffle please get in touch and we will do our best to make it right. We also apologize for the recent account hacking, we received an overwhelming amount of spam emails from you guys and apparently you got some of your own from us! Sorry for that, and hopefully that has all been resolved. If you have any concerns about email, are wondering if we received something we should have received, please write. We will investigate.

Now for the readings and events- we will be hosting and/or reading:

JULY 5, 2013 Punk Hostage Press BBQ (2:00 pm) and Poetry Reading at The Baltic hosted by A Razor and Iris Berry (4:00 pm) in Richmond, California. FB Event with details, RSVP, etc.:
Or just search for Punk Hostage Press, in events.

JULY 6, 2013 Oakland’s BEAST Crawl, a literary festival featuring dozens of readings, venues, and crowds of converging poets!
www.beastcrawl.weebly.com for curators, readers, bios, maps, venues, details, and all things Beast.
(Search for Beast Crawl, events, etc. and you will find all kinds of event pages!)

Full Of Crow will be hosting once again, in Leg One, at five pm at SoleSpace, Oakland. Our reading is “Beast Crawl Presents: Full Of Crow’s AUDREY’S COFFEE”.
To view the facebook event page with details, directions, readers, and more:
You can search in events, or the Full Of Crow page, or Lynn’s profile. Links everywhere.

JULY 7, 2013 TOXIC ABATEMENT SF! Spoken words, contaminated world. Toxic Abatement SF will be held again at Viracocha, SF. This will be an evening of talented performers coming together in community and in support of Big Bridge’s organizing of the global 100K Poets For Change, in September. Donations welcome. Please spread the word and come out in support of poetry, community, and action in ways that are meaningful to you in your own neighborhoods. 100 Thousand Poets For Change is about global solidarity, in our own towns among neighbors. It can mean what you want it to mean, and we think that is pretty cool. Come down, hear some music and poetry, throw a few bucks in the can if you have the means. Nobody turned away.
That event page here on Facebook is here:

JULY 8, 2013 Retreat? Recovery? Let’s call this a “sojourn” on the California coast. Big Sur and Tor House, followed by poetry without microphones, amps, lights, introductions, features, papers, books, chairs.
Get in touch. No event page, no link.

JULY 9, 2013 Red Crow Reading. Stork Club, Oakland. Open Mic reading with features. All welcome. Hosted by Paul Corman-Roberts- hit him up with questions.

JULY 10, 2013 Poetry With Legs, Sacramento. Poetry series hosted by Bill Gainer at The Shine Cafe, 1400 e street, Sacramento. 7:30 pm. Lynn Alexander and John Swain.

Spring News: Readings, Books, More

MiCrow Issue 8, “Luminous” is now online! Michael J. Solender did a great job, as usual. If you like flash fiction and photography, don’t forget to check this out. (Go to MiCrow). Submissions are now closed. Thank you to all of the supporters and contributors.


Readings: Readings and events coming up, with more opportunities coming up all the time. The editors at Crow are going to have a busy 2013! Bitchez Brew in March, and monthly in Oakland. If you are in the SF bay area or plan to visit, check out the website for the Bitchez Brew Reading Series here: Bitchez Brew Review. 

Look for Broken Pulpit in Cleveland in April, the Tremont Crawl, Oakland’s BEAST Lit Crawl in July and Toxic Abatement followed by another reading in Sacramento.  Info will be posted here in the next few months.

Introducing Crow Bookshelf: In progress- adding digital archives of projects, books, zines, and more to the bookshelf.  The goal is to eventually have an archive version of all of our printed chaps and zines since 2010.


Winter, 2013 Full Of Crow Updates

Thank you for staying with us through a tough year. Sometimes that damn thing- “real life”- gets in the way of our plans, ideas, dreams, whims. And we have to reckon with reality. I want to apologize for the delays and slow progress on the pile of things to get done. Some health stuff, work stuff, life stuff, etc. have made it difficult to keep at things with the force and diligence of years past. I am adding interviews, reviews, working on the digital versions of our books for our “bookshelf” area. We have new winter issues up of great fiction and poetry. Another issue of MiCrow flash in the works, submissions are open for that. And in a few months we will have new events to share including the next Toxic Abatement, more of the wonderful Bitchez Brew series (link!) in the bay, and of course BEAST lit crawl in Oakland in July. If you made it last year, you know that it was an amazing effort with hundreds of readers, volunteers, curators, community partners and supporters. Look for that info, in July.
Here are some links to check out some of these things:
Full Of Crow Poetry– Winter 2013
Full Of Crow Fiction– Winter 2013
MiCrow- Open For Submissions, See site.
PRATE: Full Of Crow Interviews: Recently added include Michael Grover and Leah Angstman.
Crow Reviews: Many on tap, including Zarina Zabrisky, Bud Smith, and more. Please note that after the reviews “promised” the reviews section will be closed to requests. (ok, it has been but we get them anyway and despite being swamped, we feel bad and hate to say no.)
Unfortunately, after three years, we are going to end the printed issues of Blink Ink. We are going to send out the final printed Graffiti issue soon. We might revisit the online format that we used to have, but we aren’t sure. We will try to make right on the subscriptions but we will not be accepting new subscriptions or submissions for the print issues. Previous issues will start to appear archived in digital format this year on our “bookshelf”.
We appreciate the support for three years of our printed books. Edited by Doug Mathewson, these have found their way all over the world. We have had these books at book fairs, readings, events, and more. This project has a special place in our hearts here at Crow. We will let you know what happens next.
Thank you and please feel free to get in touch. -Lynn Alexander