Home

Current Issue

Poetry Prize

Unsung Masters Series

About Us

Submit

Visiting Writers Series

> News

Back Issues

 
Pleiades' Fifth 2014 Nominee for the Pushcart Prize is...
Mineshaft

J. Duncan Wiley, "A Notice from the Office of Reclamation"

The Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety would like to remind you that abandoned mines are dangerous. Last year, twenty-two people across the country died while exploring such sites. Victims suffocated in oxygen depleted atmospheres, fell from broken ladders, and drowned in near freezing pools of water. They were crushed by cave-ins, poisoned by carbon dioxide, and fell through holes that opened beneath their weight. They encountered rattlesnakes and mountain lions; they triggered stores of unstable explosives; and they fell—oh, how they fell—three hundred twenty, one hundred sixty, nine hundred feet to their deaths.

We understand the urge. We are human. We too have come across those dark, sighing cavities in the earth’s crust, a few gray timbers or rusting rails lying scattered around their mouths. You see such a place, and you know that people have gone that way before. You know the passage was safe once. Then you start wondering: What’s it like inside, just beyond the reach of sunlight? Did those others leave anything behind? What if there’s a seam of gold or silver, just waiting for you to discover it? We know this urge, know how strong and primal and erotically charged it is. But before you rush off to penetrate the mysteries crowding your imagination, we say this to you: Resist.

The earth does not give her secrets up lightly. Rocks grind their granite teeth over geologic eons, holding their grudges close. You cannot win against them. Your little flame of curiosity, infinitesimal by comparison, will gutter before it illuminates even the shallowest depths of that darkness. You will fall. Or you will not fall. Any number of calamities could claim you....

Read the rest of the story here.

 
Pleiades' Fourth 2014 Nominee for the Pushcart Prize is...
Carmen Gimenez Smith

Carmen Giménez Smith, "I Will Be Her Apprentice"

 

 

as if I were a hunger because
it is our bleak and common future
to reverse the sphinx. I study the meander
of her logic for context. Sometimes it is
like a poem that is not quite realized
filled with hollows and bursts.
The bursts are a stranger’s
wild grief and rage. She asks to go
home when she’s home. She screams
for the things we’ve hidden from her.
Other times we circle the same spots,
and I try to be as I know she was
with me once, remedy or anchor.
I’m a fair to poor copy, but
I was born her proxy. ...

 

Read the rest of the poem here.

 
Pleiades' Third 2014 Nominee for the Pushcart Prize is...
Drew Calvert

Drew Calvert, "Adorno by the Pool"

Chris Marker described himself as “publiphobic.” He gave few interviews, kept the details of his biography secret, and, whenever necessary, put forth a wide range of avatars and alter egos, the most dependable of which was his own cat. “Cats,” he wrote, “are never on the side of power.” The first time I saw his photograph, it appeared alongside his obituary in the New York Times. “Chris Marker” itself was a pseudonym he adopted because his real name, Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve, was cumbersome and “not very easy to travel with.” In 2008, approaching his ninetieth birthday, he conducted one of his final interviews through the virtual medium of Second Life.

This elusiveness and self-effacement meant he was not always as famous as other members of “the French New Wave,” but it did secure him a loyal cult following. Best known for his 1962 film La Jetee, which consisted entirely of still images and inspired the Hollywood movie 12 Monkeys, he was also admired in the art world for his experiments with various forms—from photographs to installations to CD-ROMs—and among leftist intellectuals for films like Statues Also Die (a critique of French colonialism) and A Grin Without a Cat (a history of the New Left after 1968). ...

Read the rest of the essay here.

 
Pleiades' Second 2014 Nominee for the Pushcart Prize is...
Alicia Ostriker

Alicia Ostriker, "Brightness Falls from the Air"

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... 

Read the rest of the poem here.

 

Announcing Pleiades' 2014 Nominations for the Pushcart Prize: First Nominee is...

Alexander Weinstein photo

Alexander Weinstein, "Children of the New World"

"Children of the New World" was also the 2014 winner of the Crump Prize, awarded to an exceptional story published in Pleiades each year, named in honor of early editor & long-time supporter of Pleiades, Dr. Gail Crump.

Sometimes, when evening comes and the light hits our home in a way that reminds us of that other life, we’ll talk about them. What their faces looked like, the feeling of their weight in our arms, the way our youngest would crawl onto my back. I’ll see Mary sitting alone in our living room, the sun gone, just the reds of dusk outlining the trees, and I know she’s remembering them. I walk over, put my arms around her, or kneel by her and place my head in her lap, and we’ll stay like that, holding one another’s pain, wondering whether we are truly monsters.

They weren’t real, we say, looking for confirmation. Right?

Right.

Then we get up, start dinner, and move on with our childless lives.

Read the rest of the story here.

 
Richard Burgin. Hide Island. Texas Review Press, 2013.
Hide Island by Richard Burgin

"In Richard Burgin’s latest collection Hide Island—nine stories and a novella—the reader enters the orbits of dozens of characters who can’t escape their memories even as they are appalled by the rate of their disappearance. The stories, at turns fierce and sad, disturbing and sweet, murderous and hopeful, deal in the harshest, and most unimaginable reality of all: individual extinction. Characters are alone with themselves, plagued by past mistakes, disappointments, and embarrassments, or in the company of others whose presence they cannot stand, looking for a way out. Most of the characters aren’t misanthropes—other people just get on their nerves, and they are harassed by “unnecessary nervousness” whose source is unknown or masked by drink, pot, crack, illusions of romantic love, and, in the novella, by drugs designed either to deliberately erase memory—and therefore the self—or enhance it. It’s not a question of characters making up their minds. They’re trapped between wanting to escape the past and never wanting to lose the memory of it."

Read the rest of the review here.

 
Chris Mattingly. Scuffletown. Typecast Publishing, 2013.

 

"At once haunting and heartfelt, Chris Mattingly’s debut collection Scuffletown contains a full cast of characters from this west Kentucky ghost town where nothing comes easy. More than a body of work these poems depict a moment in time, and while so much national attention is often paid to the decline of manufacturing along the rustbelt in major cities like Baltimore and Detroit, Mattingly’s works offers a stark homage to rural life in post-industrial America. The town’s hardship is revealed in the lives of its people, allowing tension to build from all sides and seemingly without effort."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Maurice Manning. The Gone and the Going Away. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.


"...Indeed, what’s best in these poems, as in most great literature, is the discovery of the strange. Who will ever forget, after reading “The Great Kentucky River Steamboat Dream,” the Parson who removes his eye patch to reveal “in the dark of the dead socket,”

…a little bitty possum [who] reared back
on his haunches, who reached a tiny hand
into his pouch and retrieved a gob
of hoary froth and flung it down
in equal portions on the platters
of God knows what in the world it was.

Such a discovery can only come from a mind confident in following its wild trains of thought, which is another way of saying, quite simply, such a discovery can only come from a mind free to dream."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Hailey Leithauser. Swoop. Graywolf Press, 2013.


"Hailey Leithauser’s Swoop is full of poems that squeeze long feet into short lines. Anapestic dimeter; dactylic monometer: the book teems with swaying, Swinburnian meters split across telegraphically short lines, and the method works especially well in the book’s first poem, “Scythe.” Leithauser begins with lines that are rhythmic without quite cohering into metrical regularity: “If it could speak it would offer / you excess; it would / offer you more.” By the fifth line, though, “Scythe” locks into anapests which swoop through the lines in a manner more than a little mimetic of the poem’s titular implement."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Rebecca Hazelton. Vow. Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013.


"Rebecca Hazelton’s second poetry collection has me confused. According to the book’s back cover, “If you—your charismatic, beautifully erotic self—had died young, your ghost would count itself fortunate to have lived, loved, and flamed-out in the company of the wildly imaginative author of Vow.” Huh? What a funny little game of hypotheticals to be playing with the reader. When I attempt to approach the collection qua collection, my brain spins as I try to figure out which characters are real players in the narrative and which are just extended metaphors."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Amy Fleury. Sympathetic Magic. Southern Illinois UP, 2013.


"Amy Fleury’s second poetry book is a fine, powerful collection—one that is simply magical in its musicality and its imagery. Through consonance and very active language, one with strong verbs and surprising sonic invention, she is able to capture the beauty of the heartland, moving from poems of solitude to poems of engagement. The subject matter of her work runs the gambit from poems of adolescent experience and the natural world to the sobering illness of a father from cancer."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Review of T. Zachary Cotler's Sonnets to the Humans. Ahsahta Press, 2013.


"In T. Zachary Cotler’s finely crafted book, Sonnets to the Humans, readers will find a wide range of poetic subjects—including “weather,” “cities,” “cortices,” and “chimerical cartographies”—all of which are presented within the formal constraints inherent in the sonnet. These fourteen-line poems, however pristine, and however whole they may appear at first glance, offer a provocative fragmentation of meaning, particularly as narrative dissipates, and any rhetorical explanation is pared away from the book’s visually arresting images. By creating this tension between formalism and fragmentation, Cotler uses form to complicate the content of a given work, the end result being a book that lends itself to multiple careful readings..."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Review of Victoria Chang's The Boss. McSweeney’s, 2013.


"Chang’s boss is protean: in turn harsh, fickle, caring, dangerous, and flighty. Sometimes the boss is a she; sometimes the boss is a he. And that’s the point: the boss isn’t a single figure. These poems aren’t the portrait of some sitcom middle manager, they’re the lyric distillation of the essence of “the boss”—a powerful force well known to anyone who’s ever donned a nametag or manned a cubicle."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Interview with Jack Pendarvis.


"I love young writers! They are a lot more fun than old writers. I think I did say that young writers have a problem with structure sometimes, but who doesn’t?.."

Read the rest of the interview here.

 

Review of Christopher Buckley's Varieties of Religious Experience.


"One of our greatest contemporary metaphysical poets, Buckley launches a new investigation into science, religion, and philosophy vis-à-vis his Catholic upbringing and the existential quandaries produced by lost faith. Varieties of Religious Experience borrows its title from William James’ landmark study of natural theology which espouses the use of science for the analysis of religion, and it’s immediately clear that Buckley shares this purview for his own book."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Review of Adrienne Rich's Later Poems: Selected and New (1971-2012).


"Later Poems: Selected and New: 1971-2012 is Adrienne Rich’s last book—in which she made her own selection of poems from previous books and unpublished poems. The book feels especially poignant, as she knew she would probably never see it published. Still, unlike her nineteenth-century “heroines,” who were born too early to be heard, Rich will live on: her voice is likely to be heard for many years to come. Her legacy to poetry and to women is unsurpassed in the poetry of America in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries...."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Review of Alan Michael Parker's Long Division


"...Long Division, is just as funny as The Vandals, but it embodies a different sort of humor, as Parker turns his attention to bittersweet reflections on suburban middle-class life. Where The Vandals sought to evoke a lurking, explosive American id (or perhaps superego), Long Division speaks in the voice of a conscious, careful mind that spells out—delicately and lyrically—the compromises and evasions of the reality principle. With its lawns, children, and third marriages, Long Division finds its humor in the dark wood and Christmas lights of middle-aged maturity..."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Interview with Hilary Plum.

Picture

"I often describe the novel as resulting from a practice of attention: a book whose fragmentary form attests to my daily attention, through the years in which I was writing, to reportage from the Iraq War. The form attesting to a practice through which I imagined a group of characters who—unlike so much of the culture around them, around us—offered urgent attention and forceful response to that war. This explanation is true, and not quite true..."

Read the rest of the interview here.

 

Reivew of Corey Marks's The Radio Tree.


"Corey Marks’ 2011 Green Rose Prize winning book The Radio Tree reads like leafing through an enormous, time-damaged photo album form an estate sale, looking into the faded photographs and clippings of a lost history that could at once be many of our own. With scorching precision and control, Corey Marks crafts a lyric narrative scratched through static on a poet’s dream radio, a difficult journey into memory through the meditative mind and the landscapes of wilderness that provoke it..."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Interview with Abigail Cloud.


"Really, the dance and the writing are inextricable. The sense of rhythm, shape, weight, speed, movement: All of these things are fed by both art forms. I grew up doing both, starting dance classes at the same time I was learning to read and write..."

Read the rest of the interview here.

 

Review of Jehanne Dubrow's Red Army Red.

"Jehanne Dubrow’s third full-length collection, Stateside (2010), sought to articulate the specific type of loneliness that haunts a person whose partner is militarily deployed. It is a book fixated on the external: family, war, military life. Now, in her follow-up, Red Army Red, we find ourselves carried from the external to the internal as Dubrow tackles themes of self, genealogy, and history. For much of the book we’re situated in Russia and Poland, where Dubrow interacts with major historical events in deeply personal ways..."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Now Available from Pleiades Press:
FRANCIS JAMMES, ON THE LIFE & WORK OF A MODERN MASTER

In the mountain villages of the remote French Basque Country in the early years of the twentieth century, Francis Jammes was writing poems, plays, and novels. Praised by his French contemporaries, Stéphane Mallarmé, André Gide, and Paul Claudel, among others,
Jammes would become known among the American Modernists as one of their most essential influences. And then, thanks to the vagaries of time and taste, he and his works were forgotten. Known for his masterful imagery and charming frankness, Jammes’ influence can be seen on the New York School and Deep Image poets. In addition to its significance to literary history, Jammes’ work remains as surprising and resonant as when it was first published with acclaim.

Read a sample of Francis Jammes' poems here.
Or buy a copy of the book here.

 

From 34.2: "I Will Be Her Apprentice" by Carmen Gimenez-Smith

as if I were a hunger because
it is our bleak and common future
to reverse the sphinx. I study the meander
of her logic for context. Sometimes it is
like a poem that is not quite realized
filled with hollows and bursts.

Read the rest of the poem here.

 

From 34.2: "We Buy Gold" by Venita Blackburn

"Flowers and Eddie became recent regulars at Jonathan’s shop. Jonathan treated Flowers like wallpaper carefully chosen by someone else important, while anyone that knew Eddie knew to take him seriously. The shop wasn’t always for gold. First there was a haberdasher, then a barber, then a psychic reader, then a watch repairer, and then a dry cleaner. The barber strangled the haberdasher before the courts learned to care. The psychic gave up the shop after finding Christ only to lose Him soon after..."

Read the rest of the story here.

 

From 34.2: Martha Collins Introducing Sara Eliza Johnson

"It’s my very great pleasure to introduce Sara Eliza Johnson to Pleiades readers, in anticipation of her publication debut in August. I’m very happy that Milkweed Editions will be publishing Bone Map, and that a large audience will soon have the opportunity to read the book that first delighted me some months ago."

Read poems by Sara Eliza Johnson here.

 

From 34.2: "Wimbledon" by S. Brady Tucker

"It sounds like Nadal and Federer are fucking, very slowly, in the living room, and my coffee is getting cold so I stop with the writing which is really obsessively checking Facebook and Twitter and Goodreads and Gmail and Amazon and Gawker and Flavorpill and all the university job boards, and head the two steps into my tiny living room, and find that my girlfriend of two years is masturbating quietly on the couch, watching Nadal and Federer at Wimbledon. So in a way, you could say they are fucking."

Read the entire story here.

 

A Review of Charles Harper Webb's What Things Are Made Of.

"Webb’s poems are wonderful in the way they reach for what’s right about the world without denying what’s wrong, proving what seems to be one of Webb’s main arguments in this collection: that it isn’t necessarily the individual molecules that make life so amazing, but rather how they all fit together."

Read the entire review here.

 

A Review of Joshua Robbins's Praise Nothing.

"Joshua Robbins’ first book of poetry, Praise Nothing, is a lament on the loss of faith in American life. These poems are haunted by the absence of God and a suburban landscape, which has succumbed to this new nihilistic tendency."

Read the entire review here.

 

A Review of Marjorie Maddox's Local News from Someplace Else.

"This collection draws a new contrast, one that works as the governing question of the collection: does public and spectacular cultural upheaval (think 9/11, Columbine, publicized kidnappings and murders and the like) remind us, via contrast, to appreciate how the quotidian can resonate with even more power?"

Read the entire review here.


A Review of Mark Irwin's Large White House Speaking.

“...When I read these poems I feel summoned, too. Summoned to re-see the world in a way that is simultaneously sad and marvelously, unexpected and luminously poignant."

Read the entire review here.


An Interview with Traci Brimhall.

Most of my poetry comes from fear. I guess I've always believed that if you try and escape it, you'll just end up chasing the thing you're trying to run from, so why not strangle it, or snuggle it, or bury it in your backyard (but only metaphorically, of course)."

Read the rest of the interview here.


An Interview with Hailey Leithauser.

“I start, 99.9% of the time, with the sound, which inevitably creates a structure, and concentrate on that, letting that take the poem where it wants to go, keeping faith that sense will worm its way in there somewhere."

Read the rest of the interview here.


A Review of Maya Zaher's Thank You for the Window Office.

“Let’s be honest—if you love your job, truly love it, you’re in the minority... It’s this dispassionate passion that informs Maged Zaher’s third collection of poetry, Thank You for the Window Office. The speaker of the poems is a cog in the machine."

Read the rest of the review here.


An Interview with Catherine Pierce.

"It’s tremendously satisfying, chipping away at a poem until it takes its best shape, arriving—finally!—at an ending that feels Exactly Right after coming up with a bunch of endings that are wrong, wrong, wrong."

Read the interview here.


A Review of Kevin Young's The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink.

“Because I cannot resist them, let’s get a few of these jokes out of the way: Kevin Young, as editor of the anthology The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink, has, for the most part, great taste. But, considering this is a 158-poem volume, he also has a voracious appetite and perhaps could use some slimming down."

Read the rest of the review here.


A Review of Kathleen Winter's Nostalgia for the Criminal Past.

“Jellyfish Elvis” is one of the cornerstones of Kathleen Winter’s first full-length collection of poetry, Nostalgia for the Criminal Past, which won the 2011 Antivenom Prize from Elixir Press. It’s talky but keeps its toe on the lyrical line and witty but not distractingly so. Additionally, it reminds me of important and painful things that I know, but often conveniently choose to forget, about how the world works (or doesn’t, as the case may be)."

Read the rest of the review here.


A Review of Elaine Terranova's Dames Rocket.

"With a global perspective and a soaring imagination, Elaine Terranova gives us Dames Rocket, a collection so rich in emotional power, we find ourselves awed. Exploring the trajectory of a life set against the weight of a century of history, Terranova focuses her broad lens on how world events, whether close up or far-flung, can sideswipe us."

Read the rest of the review here.


A Review of Wally Swist's Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love.

"In Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love, Wally Swist invites us to contextualize his exquisite eco-poetry within a subtly Buddhist life philosophy, weaving personal landscapes into natural ones. Although Swist’s poems arrive at countless reminiscences of a lover who is gone, his speaker nonetheless succeeds in being present in each moment and quietly teaches us how individual persons are always present, perhaps, as facets of Huang Po’s conception of a transcendent, all-encompassing Mind."

Read the rest of the review here.


An Interview with Zachary Mason.

"The idea was to make the bio superficially credible, but, under even casual scrutiny, obviously a joke. (For instance, “I” purport to hold the John Shade chair at Magdalen College, Oxford - there's no such chair - John Shade is a characer in Nabokov's metafictionalish “Pale Fire”.)"

Read the interview here.

 

A Review of Nicole Stellon O'Donnell's Steam Laundry.

"At the center of Nicole Stellon O’Donnell’s Steam Laundry resides a wistful faith in the unlikely beauty accompanying poverty and manual labor. A thick collection of persona poems that traces a pioneer woman and her family during turn-of-the-century gold rush years in Alaska, this debut juxtaposes delicate lyricism with descriptions of repetitive work and little gain."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

An Interview with Christine Sneed

"In a way, we have to live with a kind of split consciousness now – one side of us is trying to immerse ourselves in the intimate, evolving world of our characters, while the other is aware that Twitter and Facebook and our blogs are also there, demanding our attention."

Read the interview here.

 

A Review of Kirk Nesset's Saint X

"Saint X explores regret, the expressive beauty of words and things, and the circularity of existential seeking.... Thankfully, both Nesset’s ironic sense of humor and his eye for human nature in raw and simple forms — particularly anchored to the beauty of the physical world—keep reeling us back from bathetic despair."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

A Review of Farrah Field's Wolf and Pilot.

"Throughout Wolf and Pilot, Field’s formal decisions complicate the content of her work, resulting in a book that lends itself to careful attention and rewards frequent re-readings."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

A Review of Hayden Carruth's Last Poems

"Mastery of rhyme and meter, conspicuous breadth of lexicon, syntactic deftness, range of idiom, and improvisational freedom, part jazz, part free verse, had been hallmarks of Hayden’s developing style for years. The voices of naturalist, bard, historian, social critic, philosopher, farmer, mythographer, raconteur, soldier, jazzer, and private person, in love and in pain, all these threads were already strong in the fabric."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

A Review of Dannie Abse's New Selected Poems

"Abse at his most conventional can be awkward (“I have seen, visible, Death’s artefact / like a soldier’s ribbon on a tunic tacked”), but he evolved into a poet of fewer conventionalities as he matured; and although a fine poem like “Praise May Thither Fly” embodies a certain conventional music and is nevertheless of a high quality, Abse is perhaps most accomplished when he combines his doctor’s eye and his lover’s heart with a music that embodies rather than illustrates the particulars he wishes to record."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

A Review of Robert Miltner's Hotel Utopia

"Miltner doesn’t advocate revolution as much as he sees it as a condition of the material world; what he does advocate is a revolution of a higher order, a 'beautiful revolution' where pens are taken up instead of rifles, where words and tongues are the weapons of change, and where art and imagination can create an “investment you could call friend,” a country where 'we’re the capital ('Dear Beautiful Revolution')."

Read the rest here.

 

A Review of Andrew Grace's Sancta

"In short, Andrew Grace’s Sancta is a beautifully crafted collection that raises compelling questions about our relationship to the world around us. A truly remarkable addition to this writer’s body of work."

Read the whole review here.

 

Congratulations to the winner of the 2013 Kinder Prize for Fiction

Starting earlier this year, out of the summer issue, the editors selected an exceptional work of fiction to receive the Kinder Prize, named in honor of one of the early editors, long-time supporter of Pleiades,and award-winning author, R. M. Kinder . The recipient of the Kinder Prize for issue 33.2 is Sharon Harrigan for "Half"

Read the winning story here.

 

Congratulations to the winner of the 2014 Crump Prize for Fiction

Starting this year, out of the winter issue, the editors select an exceptional work of fiction to receive the Crump Prize, named in honor of one of the early editors and long-time supporter of Pleiades, Dr. Gail Crump. The recipient of the Crump Prize for issue 34.1 is Alexander Weinstein for "Children of the New World."

Read the winning story here.

 

A Review of Dan Beachy-Quick's Wonderful Investigations.

"No recent book has affected my sense of what poetry is more than Dan Beachy-Quick’s Wonderful Investigations: Essays, Meditations, Tales (Milkweed, 2012). Partly due to Beachy-Quick’s tender empathy and respect for both the living and the dead, partly because of the seemingly unmediated way the book’s sentences give voice to imagination’s wanderings, and also due to its clear-voiced investigation of the imbrication of lyrical voice and postmodern style, I was engaged by every word..."

Read the rest of Richard Tayson's review here.

 

A Review of Jenny Boully’s of the mismatched teacups, of the single-serving spoon by Kristina Marie Darling.

"Rather than limiting herself to found academic templates, or even prose in a general sense, Boully engages even the most traditional poetic forms. By working across literary genres, she is able to make claims about culture that are much wider in scope."

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Congratulations to the winners of the 33.2 Editors' Prize for Emerging Poets.

Out of each issue, the editors select poets who show exceptional promise. Though it's been awhile since the issue came out, we are still pleased to announce the recipients of the Editors' Prize for the issue 33.2 are George David Clark, Stephanie Horvath, and Jono Tosch.

Read their poems here.

 

Congratulations to the winners of the 34.1 Editors' Prize for Emerging Poets.

Out of each issue, the editors select poets who show exceptional promise. The recipients of the Editors' Prize for the issue 34.1 are Rosalie Moffett, Talia Bloch, and Rodney Wilhite.

Read their poems here.

 

A Review of Garry Craig Powell's Stoning the Devil

"What makes Stoning the Devil such a powerful read, however, is not merely the surprising strength of its female characters, or its cutting insight into contemporary gender politics in the Gulf states, or its ability to connect multiple dramatis personae over a series of individual short stories, but how Powell’s attention to language and to detail creates such crystalline renditions of scenes."

Keep Reading.

 

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."

Keep Reading.

 

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?"

Keep Reading.

 

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."

Keep Reading.

 

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."

Keep Reading.

 

 

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

Keep reading.

 

"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

"Ballad" by Jono Tosch

I ate a shrimp for lunch.
The shrimp did not eat me.
For dinner I boiled a squid.
The squid did not boil me.

Keep reading...

 

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

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.

Keep reading...

 

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

Lena-Miles news:

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.

 

 

March 22, 2012

It's been an embarassingly long time since we've posted news. Here's some:

• R. T. Smith's poem "Within Shouting Distance of the Coosa" from Pleiades 32.1 was reprinted on Poetry Daily.

• There's a wonderful piece on the Pleiades Unsung Masters Series in Fringe Magazine, written by Brian Nicolet.

• Great reviews of Tamura Ryuichi: On the Life & Work of a 20th Century Master in Japan Times, Triquarterly, and New Madrid. The book was also an SPD bestseller back in August.

• Great review of Ryan Flaherty's What's This, Bombardier? in Halfway Down the Stairs.

 

September 2, 2011

Check out Bruce Bond's poem "Arrows," from Pleiades 31.2, up at Verse Daily!

 

August 26 , 2011

As of September 1, Pleiades will be accepting submissions through our ONLINE SUBMISSION MANAGER!

 

August 25 , 2011

Ryan Flaherty's wonderful poem "Portrait of Adamine," from Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize-winning book What's This, Bombardier?, is up at Poetry Daily!

 

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 14 , 2010

Pleiades
was just named one of "17 Literary Journals that Might Survive the Internet" over at Huffington Post.

 

August 11 , 2010

Check out Kevin Clark's poem "Scrim" at Verse Daily!

 

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 EvansMigration (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 KeyesTreadmill (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!