A Review of Frederick Seidel's Nice Weather
"In 1962, Frederick Seidel made a big splash when some anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic accusations were leveled at his first book. It seems he still relishes the press he got from such a bold start. You can almost see him chewing on the word “Jew” as he writes it into his lines. He wants you to know he is not the religious type and even imagines his bald spot as his yarmulke. Regular snipes at the absent God are nothing like the Larkin or young Hardy he must imagine himself. Seidel is the Overdog of American poetry: so well-connected and rich (who knows, though, maybe only by poet standards?), he doesn’t have to play by the rules. He went to Harvard, he reminds us, more than half a dozen times throughout Nice Weather. And he prefers the Ritz or the Four Seasons, apparently, to whatever other rooms might be available."
A Review of B. J. Best's But Our Princess Is in Another Castle
"...The prose poems range from meditations on love, friendship and faith, to riffs on Rad Racer, Pac-Man, and The Oregon Trail. The poems are a strange mix of prose and lyric transcendence, of childhood nostalgia and real world dilemmas, of video game heroes and high school sweethearts. Best’s collection asks the question that seems to be on our collective minds lately: do our video game selves of yore inform our adult, real world selves of today?"
A Review of Cleopatra Mathis's Book of Dog
"Dissolution of marriage—the separation of self and other—offers readers a poignant initial crisis in Book of Dog, Cleopatra Mathis’s sixth poetry collection. While the marriage’s trajectory is straightforward (i.e. downward), Mathis’s honest, intriguing, and affecting interiors and exteriors—her intersections between self and other, indoor and outdoor, middle ear and inner ear, silence and speech—help readers become more intimate with the female speaker’s evolving emotional condition throughout the collection. At first devastated, almost erased, the speaker forges new relationships with her exteriors, ultimately transforming how she perceives life. Achingly precise and intensely experienced, Book of Dog is a stunning recovery of self."
|Two Poems by Abigail Cloud
Abigail Cloud's Sylph, winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize and published by Pleiades Press, came in the mail today. It's beautiful inside and out.
"What is bone? Bread in your body. A core—the ground. Words that speak all the time of a yellowing of dream, its truth rusting to black and splintering. It’s sharp and you can’t remember why. Guilt gutters in the center, shrieking outward in points. What is guilt? A time when other minds rush inside your own, as many as slip past your gates."
Read more here.
|59 Ways of Looking at Domesticity by Christine Sneed
"59. We had two cats, one black, one yellow-striped with tall, jutting ears that looked like they had plans to take over her head. We also had a black dog, a cross between a pug and a Pekingese. The dog’s name was June. The cats’ names were Larry and Curly. Sundays we all slept in. None of us saw a therapist, at least not for a while."
|Two Poems by Douglas Kearney
"The Miscarriage: A List of 10 Euphemisms for Use in Stage Banter" and "The Miscarriage: A Minstrel Show."
Read them here.
|"Brightness Falls from the Air" by Alicia Ostriker
Brightness falls from the air
said the old woman
like Bach’s cello concerto
played by Isaac Stern
travelling the universe gently
like deep blue dust
I call it evening
|"The Devouring" by Michael Martin Shea
The day arrived with a heavy knock. At first I thought it was pestilence, my old friend, but turns out I was just hungover... Keep reading.
|Excerpts from "A Symposium on Poetic 'Risk'"
In the latest issue we asked sixteen writers of varying sensibilities to identify a poem published in about the last five years that they think is "risky" and to explain why in a brief essay.
Robert Archambeau says: "The most common thing our poets put at risk is the sympathy of their readers and editors, and they may do so by aiming too high, or too low." Keep reading.
Victoria Chang observes: "When I think about risk in poetry, I think about the act of making something or
reading something that looks different, sounds different, and feels different
in some/many ways. This type of poetry might initially be uncomfortable and,
even more, unpopular. The challenge, of course, is that as the human race
continues to change, progress, and improve, it’s a lot harder to write or find
poems that do seem to be risky. At some point, a lot of poems and books begin to
sound like each other." Keep reading.
Martha Collins reflects on Tony Hoagland's "The Story of White People," observing, "It's been awhile since 'saying anything' was considered risky..." Keep reading.
|December 6, 2013
I ate a shrimp for lunch.
The shrimp did not eat me.
For dinner I boiled a squid.
The squid did not boil me.
|December 4, 2013
Zachary Mason is one of Pleiades' 2013 Pushcart nominees. Read his story, "Minos," here.
|November 23, 2013
"Dean Kostos’ new collection, Rivering, is the work of a gifted poet coming into maturity." Robert Zaller reviews it here.
|November 20, 2013
Here's a little poetry by Rebecca Hazelon for you:
Two men are explaining the world to each other.
One uses his hands. One uses the words
he uses for everything he needs. It’s day
and the light has for them traveled
very far. One man gestures to the other to explain
how one creature might use another
to survive. Sea lice, for instance. Lamprey eels.
|November 15, 2013
Megan Peak on Anne Marie Rooney's Spitshine. She says:
"To fully experience this collection, look at the book as if it were an atom, as if it were concerned with both the whole and with what generates when different charges rub against each other. Interpret the book as one of accumulation—one where without spit, without violence and heartache, there would be no shine, no redemption, no change."
Read the rest of her review here.
November 12, 2013
There's G. C. Waldrep in the most recent issue:
"take fire and keep it safe from other fire, and from us. We are not alone in this emerald galaxy. Paint runs from the center to the margins on daylight saving’s time..."
Read the rest of poem here and then get a copy of the issue here.
|November 8, 2013
“There is an energy in this... that feels like waking from grief. The reader now, too, stands in his small victory over the corpse of something both beloved and entrapping.” A review of Chelsea Rathburn's A Raft of Grief is here.
|November 1, 2013
"'Official' does not mean anything. You seem to have great faith in it. But the universities and the governments were in the cities, what did they know of what happened in the big dark woods?" Hilary Plum's "Folktales" can be read here.
|October 31, 2013
In her review of Albert Goldbarth's Everyday People, Taije Silverman observes, "Glamour mixes with boredom here, instructive wonder with the daily humdrum. As in life."
There's more -- you can read it here.
|October 30, 2013
"Fool, open the door!" There are two poems from Tomaz Salaumn in 33.2 and here.
|October 25, 2013
Reviewing Nate Slawson's Panic Attack, USA, Jennifer Schomburg Kanke writes, "...there’s enough in this first collection to warrant keeping an eye on Nate Slawson, and not just because his speakers sometimes go Charlie Sheen stalkerish and you don’t want to turn your back on a guy who says, “I am a tiger with blood” and, “you are the landscape/ I’d carve into my wrist / with a pocketknife." Read the rest here.
|October 24, 2013
Here's a poem from the current issue:
That was the year the chickens drowned in the flood,
the year I dreamt of empty coffins and went mute,
when the bodies washing up on the riverbank
with burnt soles and welted backs were called suicides,
and no one told the children any different.
They wanted to throw the ruined hens off the dock
to see if piranhas would eat them.
Everyone thinks that’s the day I stopped speaking,
but they’re wrong..."
Read the rest of Traci Brimhall's "Peace Be With Us" here.
|October 22, 2013
"I was strolling toward the high school on the opening day of football season when I saw a five dollar bill fly out of the pocket of a little girl’s shorts. By the time I scooped it up, she had gamboled quite a distance down the block. I wanted to run up to her and say, “Little girl, you dropped this.” But then I pictured myself, a stout and ugly man of the town, a bachelor past my prime, wheezing as I dangled a five dollar bill in the face of an unattended child in the town square on this busiest of days. Though I had no reason to be ashamed, the picture was too unseemly to contemplate. I put the money in my pocket and kept walking..." Read the rest of Jack Pendarvis's "Pinkeye" here.
|October 18, 2013
Shelley Wong says of 50 American Plays by Matthew and Michael Dickman, "The Dickmans create a surreal America of familiar symbols, characters, and places who have voice. In plays, text is stripped to voice and environment. In this slim, pocket-sized volume, there is no space for character development or backstory. The poems are about the surface of America: its consumerism, its regional attitudes, its diversity in every sense of the word, and how history is imbued in its landscape." Read more of the review here.
|October 11, 2013
Here's a taste from the current issue: Jaswinder Bolina's "The Tallest Building in America."
In the season of her first cancer, my sister looms over lampposts,
over broadcast antennas, over cicadas in flight. News helicopters
chuckle below her, but I can see her from every corner druggist,
I can see her from the pier at Pratt Street Beach, from the botanic
gardens in Glencoe, from every expressway and ring road.... Continue.
|October 10, 2013
In a review of Catherine Pierce's Girls of Peculiar, Raena Shirali reflects on "[t]he notion that each of these adolescent identities is intrinsic to our eventual selves" while trying to match Pierce's "vocabulary of desire." Click here to yearn more.
|October 3, 2013
"Entomology and etymology are blood cousins. Insects and words are segmented by history: their light travels leave heavy marks, and both have the ability to confound, despite their ubiquity. Eric Baus’s curious volume, Scared Text, folds the two topics together. The work is a hybrid of form and function, a descendent, somehow, of disparate ancestors...." Read more of Nick Ripatrozone's review here.
|September 27 , 2013
Bruce Whiteman reviews two books in 33.2. He praises Dana Goodyear's "cutting-edge sensibility
and her limning of a dissolute and desolate postmodern environment." Of Robert Firmage's translation, he says it "has brought Trakl’s poetry
into an English that itself has an undeniably poetic character." Read more here.
|September 23 , 2013
A thoughtful review of the latest Unsung Masters feature -- Russell Atkins: On the Life & Work of an American Master. Bit off a big chunk of poetry criticism and chew on it!
|September 18 , 2013
Read Anis Shivani on Ha Jin's Nanjing Requiem: "This dramatizes the absurdity of calculation per se in war time, when it comes to whom to save and whom not to save. The whole calculus is profoundly deceptive and useless, reflecting the collective insanity of the project of domination and conquest." Read more.
|September 17 , 2013
Check out the NewPages review of issue 33.1 here. "The short stories in this issue are all of high quality, written with precision and timing, rising and setting along with readers’ expectations....The poetry in this issue is as stellar as the constellation."
|October 5 , 2012
Some love for Pleiades from The Review Review: "[F]or anyone who loves to read anything that makes you think, feel, and lose your ability to form cohesive sentences for a short time, Pleiades is your new crush lit mag." We'll take it!
|June 27 , 2012
Great quick review of Bruce Snider's Paradise, Indiana, on the Prairie Schooner blog. Reviewer James Crews notes that Snider "is a master of the quiet moment" and that the poems are "just plain good."
|April 4, 2012
• The winner of this year's Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize is Katy Didden for her book Avalanche, chosen by Melissa Kwasny. We're thrilled to be publishing it. (For those of you who entered, detailed paper announcements will be going out ASAP, and if you included an SASE for it, Katy's book will be mailed to you when it comes out.
• Bruce Snider's book, Paradise, Indiana, chosen by Alice Friman for last year's prize, is now out and available. For info, check the Lena-Miles page. It can be bought online at LSU Press, Powell's, Amazon, or just maybe a bookstore near you.
• For next year's Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize, we've doubled the prize money to $2,000 (!) and extended the deadline to November 1, 2012 (!!). Dana Levin will be the judge. For more info, check our guidelines.
|September 2, 2011
|July 6 , 2011
The judge for the 2011 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize will be Melissa Kwasny, author of four poetry collections—The Nine Senses (Milkweed, 2011), Reading Novalis in Montana (2009), Thistle (Lost Horse Press, 2006), and The Archival Birds (Bear Star Press, 2000)—and editor of the critical anthology Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry 1800-1950 (Wesleyan, 2004). We're thrilled to have her on board!
Chris Forhan's "Aspirin & Shadow," from Pleiades 31.1, was featured on both Poetry Daily and Verse Daily!
And: Peter Ramos' essay-review "Modernism in the Contact Zone: Latin Americna Art & Poetry" was a Poetry Daily Prose Feature.
|April 8, 2011
Alice Friman has chosen Bruce Snider as the winner of the 2011 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize. His book, Paradise, Indiana, will be published by Pleiades Press in April of 2012 and distributed by LSU Press.
Judge Friman also singled out two finalist manuscripts for special mention:
Katy Didden, Avalanche
Matthew Olzman, Magnets Taped to the Heads of Crocodiles
The other finalists were:
Sarah Blackman, Fourthspace
Bruce Bond, For the Lost Cathedral
Ryan J. Browne, Outside Come In
Edward Dougherty, Grace Street
Nadine Sabra Meyer, A Toast to Grief
Brittany T. Perham, Safe House, Water Palace
Philip St. Claire, Blue Network
Congratulations to all! We received about 400 manuscripts this year, and all these finalist manuscripts were extraordinarily strong.
|March 18, 2011
Two great reviews of Dunstan Thompson: On the Life & Work of a Lost American Master, the first volume in the Unsung Masters Series:
In the current issue of the current Gay & Lesbian Review, Jason Roush writes: "[I]n our era of manufactured celebrity, this book made me reconsider what it takes for an author to be remembered, how easy it is for writers to become lost ot history, and the careful work that's required to help us to rediscover them."
In New Pages, Caleb Tankersley writes: "Dunstan Thompson: On the Life & Work of a Lost American Master is a stunning and appropriate first for an ambitious series. Coming from some of the best poetic minds in contemporary America, Dunstan Thompson is the first of the Unsung Masters Series. . . . And speaking of Thompson's poetry: it's good. Damn good. 'Unsung Master' good. . . . With a fascinating biography, compelling essays, and poetry that will give you goose bumps, Dunstan Thompson is well worth the discovery." The complete review is here.
|February 23 , 2011
A glowing review of Kevin Clark's Self-Portrait with Expletives is in the current Indiana Review. Reviewer Sarah Suksiri says, "Poet Kevin Clark has crafted his second full-length collection with such maturity and dexterity that it would be hard to mistake this book for anything less than the work of a seasoned artist. Balanced between memory and the present, Clark's Self-Portrait is a dynamic portrayal of growing up in late twentieth-century America and of the complexities that such a life embraces. It's a distinctly masculine perspective, yes, but one that transcends the personal to the profound, giving readers of any background a speaker with whom we can closely identify . . . These poems are written to be told, and in being told, to last beyond the poet himself, to perpetuate the simple but profound love learned in a single life."
|November 15 , 2010
A lovely review of Kevin Clark's Self-Portrait with Expletives is up at Story South.
|August 3 , 2010
Editor Phong Nguyen's short story collection Memory Sickness has just won the 2010 Fiction Prize from Elixir Press! The book will be published sometime next summer.
|July 29, 2010
Welcome to the new Pleiades and Pleiades Press website!
On our homepage and throughout the site you’ll find excerpts from past Pleiades covers, which the artists were very kind to let us use on our redesign. We owe them a great deal of thanks. Please visit their websites early and often to find more about their fantastic work:
Amy Casey’s upended (acrylic on paper, 20.5” x 22.5”, 2007) and Stretched (acrylic on paper, 11.25” x 12”, 2006) appeared on the covers of volumes 28.2 and 29.1, respectively. Casey’s website can be found here.
Rob Evans’ Migration (mixed media on paper, 20” x 27.75”, 1997) and March Dig II (mixed media on paper, 21” x 25”, 1985) appeared on the covers of volumes 29.2 and 30.1, respectively. Evans’ website can be found here.
Jessie Fisher’s Bunny on Deer (oil on canvas, 48” x 60”, 2004) and Red Hood (oil on canvas, 16” x 20”, 2004) appeared on the covers of volumes 26.2 and 27.1 respectively. Fisher’s website can be found here.
Mary Y. Hallab’s Bouquet with Crowd (oil on canvas, 24” x 36”, 2009) appeared on the cover of volume 30.2. Hallab’s website can be found here.
Wes Hempel & Jack Balas’ collaborative paintings Progenitor (oil on canvas, 50” x 40”, 1997) and George W. (oil and enamel on wood, 48” x 40”, 2003) appeared on the covers of volumes 25.2 and 26.1, respectively. Hempel’s website can be found here. Balas’ website can be found here.
Josh Keyes’ Treadmill (acrylic on canvas, 24” x 30”, 2006) and Dog Park (acrylic on panel, 18” x 24”, 2007) appeared on the covers of volumes 27.2 and 28.1, respectively. Keyes’ website can be found here.
Andrew Pope’s Lick a Stranger (oil on wood panel, 33” x 23”) and I’d Like to Discuss the Henderson Report (oil on wood, 24” x 32”, 2001) appeared on the covers of volumes 23.2 and 24.1. Pope’s website can be found here.
Julie Speed’s The Last Supper (oil on linen, 24” x 24”, 2003) and Domino Man (oil on linen, 14” x 11”, 2003) appeared on the covers of volumes 24.2 and 25.1. Speed’s book, Speed: Art, 2003-2009 can be found here. Her website can be found here.
Again, a big thank you to these wonderful artists!