Monster is a unique, moving meditation on disability, medicine and caregiving. In this collection of linked essays and poems Jeneva Burroughs Stone reflects on hubris; scientific advances and their significance to humanity; and the responsibility of a creator to her creation.
Jeneva says, 'My son Robert has been an on-going inspiration to me, and pursuing diagnosis and treatment for his rare condition has illuminated science and medicine in ways I'd not thought possible. Robert has a very rare form of dystonia, DYT 16, which was diagnosed by whole exome sequencing 14 years after he fell ill. He's the only reported case in the U.S. and only 1 of 11 worldwide. Despite his life-altering physical disabilities, Robert has an infectious personality, even though he cannot speak: mischievous, funny, determined. I'm so glad he's allowed me to write about him.'
I first met Jeneva online, back in the days when Dave Bonta and I were co-editing qarrtsiluni. We also had a Vermont connection: she grew up near Burlington, VT, graduated from Middlebury College, and now lives in Bethesda, MD. Her work has been honored with fellowships from the MacDowell and Millay Colonies. I'm delighted to be working with her again, and honored to be able to publish this beautifully-written book.
(Please be sure to sign up for our email newsletter if you'd like to receive notification of the pre-order offer for this book and be eligible to win a free copy!)
(Author photo: B. Farbo, illustration: E. Adams)
Phoenicia Editor/Publisher Elizabeth Adams, left, and author Tim Mayo, right. (Photo by Jonathan Sa'adah)
In April, we were happy to meet poet Tim Mayo, whose new book, Thesaurus of Separation, we'll be publishing in July. Tim is from Brattleboro, Vermont, and, as some Phoenicia readers know, our own Vermont roots extend back into the mid-1970s.
We met Tim for lunch at the bakery/cafe of the King Arthur Flour Company in Norwich, Vermont, where we had a wide-ranging conversation about poetry, living in Vermont, French and French-Canadians (Tim grew up with a French-Canadian family and is fluent in the language), people we know in common, prior experiences of being edited and published, and, of course, Tim's book itself. It was fun to get to know each other better and establish a face-to-face relationship; in spite of the ease of doing this work via the internet, I'm always so pleased when it's possible to meet the authors in person. But who would have thought we'd still be wearing these jackets a month later! It's time for real spring in the north country!
By now the book is edited, designed, and in the final stages of production; we've received wonderful blurbs; and Tim has been invited to read at a number of events this summer and fall -- details to be announced soon. We're very excited and hope you will be too.
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The long, slow climb to publication...Tim Mayo, ascending the notoriously difficult King Ravine Trail in the Presidential Range of New Hampshire's White Mountains.
If, like us, you're a fan of Jon Appleton's music, or if you'd like to discover it through some excellent live performances, you can now watch videos of Yoshiko Kline playing four movements of Jon Appleton's Julia suite, and the complete Purcell Variations at Vimeo. These works are both available on the new CD Jon Meets Yoshiko, and as mp3 downloads.
Phoenicia is proud and delighted to announce our six nominations for the 2015 Pushcart Prize:
Magda Kapa, for the "January" section of All the Words.
Ivy Alvarez, for "Gratia plena"
Kristin Berkey-Abbott, for "A Girl More Worthy"
Leila Chatti, for "14, Sunday School, Three Days Late"
Nic Sebastian, for "girl with angel"
Claudia Serea, for "The good news"
Please join us in congratulating all of these gifted poets!
In August, Phoenicia traveled to the recording studios of WGBH in Boston where, with composer Jon Appleton, pianist Yoshiko Kline, and audio engineer Frank Cunningham, we produced a new CD of Jon's piano music that will come out in late November or early December. We thought you might like to see some images from the studio sessions, which were intense, concentrated, and extremely satisfying. Yoshiko's playing was virtuosic, expressive, and sensitive, and I'm very excited to share these new neo-classical, and neo-romantic compositions with both new listeners and fans of Jon's music.
The score for Nine Novelettes.
Frank studies a score while Yoshiko finishes her practice before recording the Purcell Variations.
Inside the studio's magnificent Steinway.
Yoshiko's hands at the keyboard, here playing one movement of the Suite des Hommages.
Composer and pianist on the last day of recording.
Jon, who now lives in Hawaii, gave Yoshiko a beautiful orchid lei.
The whole team was pretty happy at the close of recording: Frank Cunningham, engineer; Yoshiko Kline, pianist; Jon Appleton, composer; and Beth Adams, producer.
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In June, I had the pleasure and great good fortune to make a trip to Berlin, as the guest of my friend Teju Cole. Our mutual friend Magda Kapa came into the city by train to meet us, and we had a great time visiting museums together, eating some good food and drinking the fine local pilsner, attending an evening of the Berlin Poetry Festival, and expanding our literary friendship into a more personal one. Like me, and like Teju, Magda is a photographer as well as a writer; we all had our cameras at hand. She prefers not to be photographed directly, but I think she'll allow this one. Since she is Greek, we were kidding her about all the paintings that had grapes in them, so it seemed appropriate to photograph her this way!
Magda and I have known each other through our blogs and Twitter for a long time, and we've had a very fruitful relationship as writer and editor during the publication of her book, All the Words. But we were just delighted to finally meet each other in person. We spoke about internet relationships and how we both see them as absolutely real, but also how it helps to meet those people in person, and that this time spent face-to-face always changes and deepens the friendship.
I am determined to get back to Europe soon - it was such a treat to be in the vibrant city of Berlin, new to me, and to be surrounded by its art, music, and architecture, both old and new, and by people from all over the world. Our evening at the Berlin Poetry Festival was for a presentation titled African Voices; we heard strong performances/readings by Kwame Dawes (Ghana/Jamaica/USA), Warsan Shire (Somalia/UK), and Natalia Molebatsi (South Africa.)
As a child of the Cold War, I grew up under the cloud of the Iron Curtain and the sense of Berlin as a grey, divided city. This year is the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the city's revitalization, energy, and cultural richness were not only visually obvious, but could be felt.
And I hope that this won't be the only time I meet Magda, but the first of many such meetings. As she wrote in All the Words,
Friend: We touched each other in that photograph, now we'll always touch each other.
Memories: at the end of the year they hang together like grapes, some sweet, some sour, and wait for us to taste.
Phoenicia Publishing is delighted to announce the official launch of Magda Kapa's poetry collection "All the Words." This uniquely beautiful poetic "dictionary" explores a series of simple nouns -- from "love," "happiness", and "fate" to less obvious words like "sigh," denial" or "midnight" -- in short phrases that, taken together, create a flowing series of poems. Based on the author's observations and emotional reactions to her experiences over one year, these poetic explorations compress language into its essence. But the poet goes further, revisiting some words again and again to see how her own feelings have changed, and the words' meaning for her as well.
This project unfolded over a year as a series of posts on Twitter. Poet and translator George Szirtes was one of thousands of readers captivated by Magda Kapa's project, and praised her writing as "the pared-down core of poetry;" Dave Bonta stated that Magda Kapa is "a master of the aphorism" and that her book will be on his shelf along with classics of Chinese, Hebrew, and Sufi literature.
We hope you, too, will want to dip into the ever-changing river of Magda Kapa's thoughts, and, as a result, find new way of considering your own relationship to the everyday words with which we define our lives and their movement through time.
Furthermore, when you buy a book like this one, please know that you're encouraging the sort of experimentation and creativity that mainstream publishers have almost completely abandoned. How crucial it is for all of us who care about language in general, and poetry in particular, to support writing that breaks new ground, uses non-traditional media, and expands our awareness of how our minds work with words! Thank you!
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