Podcast – Real Talk: A Ghost Story

by Steve Gowin

Steve Gowin Reads “Real Talk: A Ghost Story”

Full story after the jump… Continue reading

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Behind My Eyes by Li-Young Lee

Reviewed by Elaina Perpelitt
2008, W.W. Norton & Company, New York
144 pages, hardcover

Li-Young Lee’s fifth book of poetry, Behind My Eyes, is a tender hymn to the hardships of his childhood, expertly combining the feelings of an adult who’s seen too much of the world with the innocence of a child who doesn’t understand the world’s injustice.

He opens with a poem entitled “In His Own Shadow,” and one gets the feeling he is talking about himself in the third person. The boy in the poem is affected by the line: “While all bodies share the same fate, all voices do not,” and it is this line that carries interest into the following poetry.

The story that follows this boy, possibly Lee himself, is there, but detached and only seen in glimpses throughout a medley of emotions. His style is somewhat jerky, not only in transition from poem to poem, but from line to line. For example:

The ore lies awake inside the rock, a dream
or origin pealing.

The bread that rises in a house that fails,
a man weeping.

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A Late Winter’s Conversation

by Joe Kapitan

I ask what news have you of your travels, and you say it’s true that there is a furnace at the molten heart of the earth, and in the pooled flame wades the devil, charred and seething, and upon his shoulders perch demons, winged and wronged, and on their spiked shoulders stand the false prophets, buttercream liars, and above them, feet upon shoulders, stand multitudes of murderers through vertical miles — dictators, gladiators, mass-weapon innovators, ninjas and Nazis, Genghis, Gacy.

You talk, and outside the day hemorrhages light, and the snow is dying, dragging its filthy remnants back into the shadows beneath the trees, back behind the shed where I left you.

You talk, climbing ever crustward, and you say you’ve seen terrorists holding up the thieves standing amidst fossilized frames of ancient monsters, joked with the thieves steadying gluttons who lodge their ponderous guts between the foundations of skyscrapers, mocked the gluttons stretching flabby arms to support the adulterers tangled in the roots of oaks , and you end there, dusk-silent, and I can hear the drips of melting ice from gutters and I can feel your fingers stretch up through the dirt, an apology.

If the devil stands on his toes, I say, I’ll grab your hand and pull you up, and the days will grow warmer and we’ll till the earth with what you did, plant what I did, and what grows will be all ours, our second decade in thorns for tearing skin, our first decade in husks for breaking teeth, and fruit that runs with the sugar that began us.
You don’t answer, which is the answer. Spring is lost and there is no time for tilling and there is no mercy in your grip and the devil bends at the knees to make room.

Joe Kapitan lives in northern Ohio, on land that once was the shore of an ancient sea, one million years too late for oceanfront living. His writing has appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, PANK, elimae, Necessary Fiction, and others, and is pending print publication in Fractured West and Bluestem.


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Somewhat Random Links

M Thompson interviews Kevin Murphy for Hobart October.

Lindsay Hunter has “After” in the new Dark Sky.

Some of the negative press for Holy Terror has me considering turning in my Penguin Deluxe Edition of Gravity’s Rainbow. Apparently, Frank Miller totally misses the mark on the 9/11, terrorism, and Muslim world discussion(s). That said, the supposed train-wreck nature of the book pushes it into must read territory.

AD Jameson lauds Drive, the latest from Nicolas Winding Refn. If you’re in the demographic for this one (it feels small), your anticipation will go up a bit after reading.

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Stacie Leatherman

An Interview

Your first two poetry collections, Stranger Air and Storm Crop, were published within weeks of each other earlier this year. What were some of the personal and professional challenges you faced due to this coincidence, and have any hidden blessings resulted from their simultaneous release?

Luckily, there weren’t any challenges. The fact that they were published so close together was purely coincidental. I had written the first manuscript as my creative thesis at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and as soon as I finished it, I began the second book. Storm Crop, my second book, came together relatively quickly. I knew the formal structure that I wanted, the abecedarium, and everything I was beginning to articulate in my first manuscript was carried out more fully, but in a very different way, in the second. It simply took a bit longer to find a publisher for the first manuscript, and its publication date was pushed back a little. So the second book followed closely on its heels because of that circumstance. The blessings aren’t so hidden: I had two books published, so I can hardly complain about that. I guess the only other thing I could mention was my paranoia that my readers would get the publication order confused. I was very set on my books being viewed as a progression of thought, idea, and form. Continue reading

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