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.
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" 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.
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", 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
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.
Elynn Alexander and Paul Corman-Roberts. Full Of Crow's Toxic Abatement. Viracocha, San Francisco.
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 Reading Promo
Featured Poets- Explorations of Identity Reading
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 in
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.
or the blog.
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.
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".