Andrew J. Thomas: “Strangeland” From Naked Bulb Press

We are happy to spread the word on the release of "Strangeland" from Naked Bulb Press, the first full length book of poetry by Andrew J. Thomas. We also have a new interview up here, where FOC editor Elynn Alexander asks about the book, owning the "poet" label, the Beast Lit Crawl, and more including how his manuscript ended up in the hands of Missy Church: "Missy was deciding she wanted to expand her literary community efforts beyond the open mic reading she’s regularly held in her backyard for seven years now. After experiencing the thrill of having her own book, Church, published by Paper Press, she wanted to help give that same experience to other writers. She wanted to start her own press. She knew I was trying to get my chapbook published, so she asked if her new press could be the publisher. To say I was humbled by her request is an understatement. At the same time, it immediately felt right. I had participated in the Naked Bulb open mic since its inception. Much of the work in my chapbook started from a first rough draft reading on her backyard stage. And Missy was a close friend that would treat my work with care and attention."       "Strangeland" is confessional, vulnerable, and honest. Thomas is open with the readers who will find parts of themselves in his poems. This is a collection that has been years in the making, waiting for the right press and the right time.
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This Week At Crow: What We’re Reading, Instagram, And Event Photos

This week at Full Of Crow, we are finishing up some upgrades and working on getting more event photos out there on the SM. And speaking of, we now have an Instagram that you can follow, with our typical artsy shit, weird photo angles, nostalgia, oddities, event flyers, and whatever else ends up there. Find us on there, twitter, facebook, all that and it will help us find and follow you. Support is the whole point, after all. Follow: Instagram Twitter (check out the icons on our sidebar) We have published hundreds of poems, stories, photographs, and we have had events all over the country for eight years. We push because we all have to push one another. Who else is going to? This is our bus to drive, baby. Take the wheel. What We Are Reading: Elynn Alexander discusses Cord Moreski's latest poetry chapbook from Indigent Press in Full Of Crow's review section. (Read Now) Cord is a poet from New Jersey, host of Poetry On Main in Asbury Park, and frequent performer. You can also find photos and event information on the Lehigh Valley Poetry Collective page on Facebook. Also on deck: Kendall A.Bell's "Trust Fall" and "Siberia", Chansonette Buck, a book project in response to the election, new issues of Fiction and Poetry, a feminist poetry reading hosted by Rag Queen, Paul Corman Roberts checks in on Crow West and bay area events, and new book launches. Plenty to keep us all busy. And zines. Did we mention zines? Cord Moreski    
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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.  
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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. 
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