Poet Nicelle Davis started 2012 with a resolution to take poetry with her wherever she goes, sharing her love with her community. As her first effort in her Living Poetry Project, she hand-copied individual poems from Dave Bonta's Odes to Tools onto thank-you notes, and gave them to workers in her community. On her blog, Nicelle has posted a number of photos of the recipients with Dave's book. She writes:
"While [in 2011] I never lost hope for the magic of poetry, I did begin to question its function in the world. Why poetry? Seemed to be my daily mantra. At the arrival of the New Year—I found my answer--because poetry is beautiful. The world can always use a little more beauty—or rather, a reminder from poetry that life is beautiful.
My resolution for 2012—to enjoy time—to run with it—live with it—and be “in love” with poetry. This is my goal: to physically take poetry everywhere I go and share it...
I met many kind, generous, and funny people while sharing Odes To Tools with my community. For this (and many other reasons), I’m grateful to Dave Bonta. His book has helped me connect with the physical, intellectual, and emotional aspects of my home–it has helped bring poetry closer to those who construct the home I love. Odes to Toolsis a tribute to the makers of this world—a testament for beauty."
Of course, Dave is delighted, and so are we at Phoenicia. Thank YOU, Nicelle, for your generosity of spirit in thanking the people who build our homes and communities, and for sharing Dave's Odes with them!
We were delighted to receive a copy of the latest issue of Lilith, which calls itself "Independent, Jewish, and Frankly Feminist:" in other words, a most appropriate place for a review of Rachel Barenblat's 70 Faces: Torah Poems. The reviewer, Marina Blitshteyn, writes:
"Barenblat turns through the old characters and narratives of the Torah as though she is holding a prism in light: her modes are distinctly personal and shine with her understanding of life as a woman, rabbi, wife and mother. She places herself in the predominantly male tradition of midrash (exigetical stories that seek to understand scripture), and she asserts her own voice in this rich lineage. What unfolds is a set of poems, one for each Torah portion, that speaks to body, ritual, complex familial relationships, and the very act of writing..."
Phoenicia Publishing would like to thank you for making 2011 our best year ever! More than we can possibly express in words, we appreciate your support of our authors and what we're trying to do here -- and we promise to continue our best efforts in the coming year.
We wish you a happy, healthy 2012 filled with exciting, meaningful, moving and thought-provoking reading. As always, we're delighted to hear from our readers, and very appreciative of your comments and reviews. Thank you so much!
Five Phoenicia authors have just been nominated by small presses for the 2011 Pushcart Prize, and we're delighted to congratulate them and share the news with you!
We're delighted to be able to congratulate Dave Bonta on winning the 2011 Keystone Chapbook Contest for his manuscript Breakdown: Banjo Poems. Dave won in the division for authors who've already had a published chapbook - which is, of course, his Odes to Tools, published by Phoenicia. The banjo poems, which appeared in serialized fashion on Dave's blog, bear his signature style, weaving in information and ideas from many traditions and disciplines. Congratulations, Dave, and to Keystone Press and their guest judge, Sascha Feinstein, for selecting this excellent collection.
William Woolfitt’s The Salvager’s Arts won in the category for manuscripts by new writers (no previous book or chapbook publication).
Breakdown: Banjo Poems will be published in May of 2012 as #9 in the Keystone Chapbook Series.
Phoenicia is delighted to announce the imminent publication of Kenneth Pobo's "Ice and Gaywings," winner of the 2011 qarrtsiluni chapbook contest. Luisa Igloria, this year's judge, had this to say about the manuscript she chose:
"The experience I value most in reading this collection is the way its language (never romanticized) and tone (never overwrought) allows me to settle with increasing depth into the poems’ rhythms and precise observations—about the natural world, now only partially reclaimable from so many forms of artifice; about the intrusions of contemporary urban life and culture; about histories older than us that haunt and shadow place. And finally, its urgent reminder to listen, look, and learn to dwell again."
The author, Kenneth Pobo, has four full-length collections of poetry and, including Ice And Gaywings, twenty chapbooks. He teaches creative writing and English at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania. The chapbook, with full-color glossy cover and 38 pages, contains 26 poems, of which all but two have been chosen for publication in other journals.
Watch this space for a special pre-publication offer, and more news about the author and this chapbook that we're very proud to publish in collaboration with qarrtsiluni.
August may be le mois des vacances here in Quebec, but here we are in the last week, with September right around the corner and Phoenicia is getting busy to sail off into an exciting fall season!
Chapbook Winner! On September 1, the winner of the annual qarrtsiluni chapbook contest will be announced, with the winning chapbook to be published by Phoenicia. That book is already in preparation, and we can hardly wait to let you know about it!
Photography! In mid- to late October, we'll be publishing our first photography book: a stunning and thought-provoking collection of black-and-white photographs from the late 1960s and early 1970s by Jonathan Sa'adah. These images document the protests against the Vietnam war; the changes to a formerly rural New England landscape that were wrought by militarization, emerging corporatization on a national scale, and the expansion of interstate roads; and the response: the back-to-the-land movement by rural hippies. The book will include essays by Steve Tozer and Hoyt Alverson, and by the photographer.
Epic Poetry! And then, before the holidays, we'll be bringing out Marly Youmans' book-length, post-apocalyptic narrative poem, Thaliad -- a poem I fell in love with when we published an excerpt at qarrtsiluni, and hope many of you will feel the same way.
And a Late Summer Sale! More news and plans are already in the works for 2012, but you'll have to wait for those! In the meantime, please browse the current catalog, where all our book titles are on late summer sale of 15% off, now through September 9th (online e-store orders only, not through Amazon.) Please use code#B87AYYZU when ordering.
Down the stairs, onto the porch, into the truck, up a different set of stairs...are all those book boxes we've lugged from college to first apartment, from first apartment to our first home, from city to city, becoming a thing of the past? The debate about e-books is one thing, but when we start talking about whether to simply get rid of all the books - as some of us have done with records, and then CDs and DVDs - it feels like the distant drummer is right outside on that porch. In today's New York Times, Nick Bilton, a converted e-book reader, struggles with what to do with his print book collection before he moves from NYC to San Francisco, and readers respond in the comments.
I've thought about the same thing, of course. When we moved from Vermont to Montreal two summers ago, we culled a third to a half of our large book collection, but brought the rest. They were one of the first things we unpacked, because filled bookshelves are one of the things that make us both feel at home; arranging a bookshelf has to be one of the most satisfying acts in establishing a new place, and rearranging it can be cathartic and symbolic. Dismantling the library of someone we've loved is like taking a final walk with them, and almost always contains revelations. Like some of the commenters on Bilton's article, I can't imagine a home without books; to me they are the soul of a home, a collection that is open to be "read" not only by their owners but by visitors who stand and browse the titles: a short course in the characters of the book collectors themselves.
But the last four books I've read have been e-books (read on both my PC and my android) and I can feel myself sliding into greater acceptance of the new media. I buy books more selectively now than I ever did, partly because I don't want to acquire a lot more things and partly because English-language books are more difficult to get here in Quebec. But I do still buy them -- the ones I know I'll want to keep, poetry and certain novels especially -- and can't imagine a time when I won't.
Music? I haven't bought a physical CD in a very long time, and we moved our entire music collection to mp3s. Are the two media parallel? Will print books go the way of CDs eventually? Or will we continue to have bookshelves - perhaps housing smaller collections -- for the comfort they give, and because, like art, they are objects that we like to see every day, both for their beauty, and for the way they chart our path through life?
The latest news and commentary about our plans, events, authors, and titles!