These poems are my grateful response to those who dream. To my own ancestors and family members, without whom I would not be alive to write these words. To the many women who, despite terrible circumstances, have refused to be silenced. To all those people who acknowledge the truth that political borders are nothing but imaginary lines drawn on a map. To those who feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and comfort the afflicted. Thank you so much. Now, more than ever, this world is needful of your compassion and hope. — Jeannine Pitas
For me, writing poetry is like solving, and then creating a puzzle. I see or experience things I know I want to write about, we all do. Figuring out a way to put those experiences on paper, so as to make them readable, is how one solves the puzzle. Avoiding straightforwardness and balancing on a knife edge, between enigmatic and readability, is how one creates the puzzle. I spent nearly three years revisiting, rewriting and re-getting pissed off at, The October Horse. I reference this poem so much because it is also almost entirely autobiographical (as is most of the book). I trudged through problems with addictions, like so many other 20 somethings, and I was maybe one or two bad decisions away from writing this book in prison (lucky me). The poem is so important to me because even when I was in the total animal soup of time (Ginsberg again!), I knew I wanted to write about that chapter of my life. — Alex Johnston
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Read a sampling of poems from this book here.
Read an interview with Alex Johnston here.
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Bill Gainer’s world is not a safe place, not for the old men, not for him. It’s a place of mysterious things, happenings, people, and times. It’s a place where the mysteries of old men are told, not with guilt, but as they happened. The Mysterious Book of Old Man Poems tells of a time mostly past, not forgotten, but hidden away in the hearts of old men, its magic intact.
“Down the road, before I die, I want the ghostly poetic angel Bill Gainer to visit me and tell me all about the extraordinary place they’ve carved out in the afterlife for creative beings like him … The arrangement of his Old Man Poems is a fantastic reflection of mortal man through the eyes of a poet who can communicate like a playwright. This is a brilliant collection that should be accompanied by fireflies, a marathon night of piano playing by Tom Waits, a dancehall till dawn, some bourbon, and the warm breath of a lover’s before life flashes and as Gainer puts it, ‘time calls no more.’”
Daniel Yaryan ~ Sparring With Beatnik Ghosts
“A warm and gentle melancholy flows through this collection, in which the poems manage to be both intimate and conversational. They speak of aging and the passing of time; friends and lovers lost to the years. Yet even when the matter is dark, the pieces have an inherent playfulness and good humor. At the end of it you feel you’ve shared some heavy conversation and a good many beers with the old fellow down at the end of the bar. When they finally close it down and you have to go home, you might still feel a bit sad about the way of things, but you’ll be chuckling a bit as well.”
William Taylor Jr. ~ To Break the Heart of the Sun
Hear “A Lonely Love” from this book.
“Listen up, kid!” Bill wants to share his wisdom with you!
6 X 9; 120 pages; Trade Paper
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LUMMOX PRESS IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE WINNER OF THE 2017 LUMMOX POETRY CONTEST…Mary McGinnis of Santa Fe, New Mexico!! Her winning poem was “No Father”. As part of her prize, Mary received 30 copies of this chapbook. She also is featured in the 6th edition of the Lummox Poetry Anthology and receives a small cash prize.
Breath of Willow by Mary McGinnis
FORMAT: 5.5 X 8.5 inches; Perfect Bound
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ABOUT THIS BOOK:
Mary McGinnis loves this world where we are, where “the first March ants can drift up your arm”; where “sassy women hold democracy up”; and “wells have never spoken before”. In one small chapbook, her poems move from lyrical to wildly imaginative, funny, and irreverent, to facing love, loss, and letting go. Lover and master of the acrostic poem, McGinnis is “an evangelist for words”. “Look for beauty, never forsake it,” Mary McGinnis exhorts us, “it will touch you like the breath of willow/ Even as earthquakes and deception fill the news, even as fascism/ eats at our hearts”….“it was a mountain all along that called me”.
Jane Lipman, Author of On the Back Porch of the Moon
Winner of the 2013 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award
for Poetry Book and a 2013 NM Press Women’s Award
Mary McGinnis has been writing and living in New Mexico since 1972 where life connected her with emptiness, desert, and mountains. Besides being published in over 70 magazines and anthologies, she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She also has published three full length collections: Listening for Cactus (1996), October Again (2008), and See with Your Whole Body (2016). Most recently, she has had work in Kaleidoscope (2017), Lummox 6 (2017), and Malpais Review (2016). The publisher hopes that you will enjoy reading this new collection by this very talented poet.
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ABOUT THIS BOOK
While “Carousel,” contains new material, it is also the culmination of many years of work and publication. I am grateful to my publisher, Lummox Press, and its editor, RD Armstrong, for an opportunity to share this writing with an expanded audience. For me, reading and writing are the two sides of world-exploration. Poems and stories, at their best, are at once personal and universal, and as necessary to a fully realized life as food and drink—and more, a human pleasure. My hope is that this book will bring some measure of that to readers. Judith R. Robinson
“Judith Robinson is a poet of image and motion. She composes poems like songs with clarity and vision, trimmed with memory. She’ll take you along on the road she’s traveling, and it’s the least dangerous place you’ll ever be—filled with flowers and colors—sometimes sadness—but even that will endear – as she holds her mirror up to the world.”
“The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress”
Read some selections from Carousel.
CAROUSEL by Judith R. Robinson
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A poem from the book as read by its author, Hank Beukema.
Scott Wannberg was born in Santa Monica in February of 1953. A big man with an even bigger presence, he attended Venice High School and then went on to receive his master’s degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University. He was a poet’s poet and a human’s human who spent his life working as a sales clerk and book buyer for independent bookstores, most notably Dutton’s Books in Brentwood, where he held court and worked the stacks for almost 25 years. His book Nomads of Oblivion (Lummox Press) made the Los Angeles Times‘ bestseller list in 2000, and in the late 90s, Los Angeles Magazine named him one of the “Top 100 Coolest People” in L.A. In 2008, he relocated to Florence, Oregon, where he died too soon at the age of 58 in August of 2011.
Special thanks to S.A. Griffin for Scott’s bio (above) and other permissions and info.
This book concern’s itself with Scott’s involvement with an obscure outpost located in the far reaches of his sphere of influence…namely the Lummox Press. It chronicles Scott’s involvement with all things Lummox: the Lummox Journal, including his interview; the two Little Red Books of his poetry (Equal Opportunity Sledgehammer and Nomads of Oblivion), and his contributions to Eyes Like Mingus (Little Red Book #9), Last Call (Anthology of poets influenced by Bukowski), and The Colorado River Song sequence (about Scott’s mother’s passing). Scott was named “Lummox of the Year” in 1999 and a drawing was commissioned to artist and long-time Lummox friend Michael Paul. This same drawing appears on the cover of the book. He was actively a part of Lummox for 10 years. Also included are remembrances by several of his friends…Doug Knott, Lynn Bronstein, Steve Goldman, Dona Mary Dirlam, Hank Beukema and Victor Infante.
Scott was the kind of guy who made a good impression on those receptive to that sort of thing. He delighted in playing with language, linking metaphors together that quite often seemed unlikely and impossible but, in the end, worked out as if by magic! For a sampling of Scott’s work, go here. Or listen to Scott read a poem here.
WORDS OF PRAISE
Scott was someone I saw every weekend during my childhood when Dad would take me to look at books there [Dutton’s Books]. Upon getting older and realizing I was “different” I found solace in Scott’s company, as I had learned to communicate better with people by the time I was that age. One day in particular during my high school years I remember talking to Scott about Mystery Science Theater and a strange dream involving “Sesame Street”s Bert and Ernie in a noir film on Turner Classic Movies. He combined these ideas (and then some) into a spontaneously written poem and I still have it in my room at my dad’s house.
Spencer Lane Griffin
We talk the old stuff: SA’s mac & cheese/ Dutton’s deceased bookstore, the endless forever Carma Bums,/ How Dustin Hoffman leaped up when he heard/ Scott was waiting for him with books! “What? Scott’s waiting for me?”/ Yes, Dustin jumped for Scott – and Mr. Dylan, Jackson Browne/ And all those movie people with the flagship names/ Always sought out Scott/ Because he was already an angel,/ and lifted them up/ despite their weight of fame/…
An excerpt from Doug Knott’s poem, Scott Wannberg in Florence, Oregon, July, 2010
Bill Craychee (reader) review:
I just finished reading your book about Scott Wannberg. I was around and not writing poetry during the years 96-06. Now I wish I was. Made me feel more a part of the poetry/art community I’m looking at through the corner of my eye… The book did a good job of introducing one to SW, making one curious enough to read some more, after a rest, of course, because SW was so relentless. “White noise Wannberg”. Nice book RD. Wonderful gift for a friend. Inspired me. Got me all fired up to be a poet.
“I wanted to publish this collection of Scott’s work to bring it to a wider audience and be entered into the American canon of literature. Though his work was peppered with metaphor, the message always comes through. Whether he’s talking about a little girl raped and murdered in a casino bathroom, or a young man bludgeoned to death in Wyoming because he was gay, or the power of Ella Fitzgerald’s voice, his words were true and free from moralizing. I think this was the real power of his work. I hope that the reader enjoys this cross-section of Scott’s work as it appeared in my old Lummox Journal (not to be confused with the Lummox Poetry Anthology that I have been publishing annually since 2012). I wish he were alive today if for no other reason than to hear him read some of my favorite poems. I hope you will agree with me after you have read this book, that he was one helluva writer! Scott was special. I can’t emphasize that enough. He was magic.”
Excerpt from the Introduction to the book by Raindog.
Scott Wannberg – The Lummox Years 1996 – 2006
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Edited by RD Armstrong
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I generally do not believe that books, especially poetry books, require an introduction. I make an exception here because there is a genuine break between the poetry I wrote from 1964 until 2007 and the poetry contained in this volume.
My wife, Gilda Mekler, died on February 7, 2007. Four months later (on June 5th of that year) I wrote the firs poem collected here. When Gilda died very shortly after her fifty-third birthday, I thought I would also die. Readers will note that this feeling informs several of the poems that follow. A few months later, my grief entered its second phase. When it appeared that I was not going to die, I passionately wanted to die, I longed for my days of sorrow to end. Eventually, this led to a third and quite shocking phase of what might be called the death experience: the realization that I had, in fact, died with Gilda on February 7th. Our lives ended together.
The Creator, however, had other plans for me, and the James Deahl who has written poetry and prose since that date, is a very different writer from the James Deahl who had written and published poetry for over four decades. I retain all the memories of that other poet, and I live in his body. And like him, I also labour in God’s vineyard, as Czesław Miłosz put it so well. Using the same name, I continue the work our Creator set out for us when that other writer was born following the close of World War II.
But I truly have been born anew. So this collection opens with twenty-three poems written between June 5 and November 14, 2007. These were published as a limited edition chapbook
by my friend and fellow poet, Allan Briesmaster, through his Aeolus House in 2008. This chapbook was my first writing since my death and rebirth.
The present volume closes with a handful of love poems written during the latter half of 2010 to an outstanding novelist and poet, Norma West Linder, who has, perhaps rashly, consented to join her life to mine. Between the Gilda poems of 2007 and the Norma poems of late 2010 lie several meditations on mortality. During this four-year period, a number of my friends died. This had, of course, been happening for quite some time, but their deaths had not been at the front of my mind. Many of these friends were younger than I was. After my wife died, I became keenly interested in the connection between love and death. And I questioned the passionate relationship between human joy and agony on the one hand and, on the other hand, Divine love.
I also took a deeper look at the theology of the Christian faith and the teachings of the Torah. I believe this activity is common, if not universal, among people who have already died once and know they will die again. Confronting death tends to clear the mind of all trivial concerns. Throughout this process, the writings of Father Thomas Merton were, and continue to be, my constant guide and companion. As this good priest has written, we should seek solace in God’s love.
No one knows my failings better than I do. I don’t propose to rehearse them here. Yet despite being a sinful and undeserving man, somehow — and I’m not sure how — I continue to live and enjoy all the beauty of this physical realm. I write, edit, translate, and do the work set out before me. I continue to love my three daughters and my granddaughter, and I love and honour my Norma and strive to be the man she deserves. All these and more are unexpected, and unearned, gifts. Clearly the bounty of our Creator’s grace and compassion passes all understanding.
From the Introduction by James Deahl, Sarnia, Ont. Canada, 2016
READ SAMPLES OF TO BE WITH A WOMAN HERE.
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To Be With A Woman
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Thomas K. Armstrong, my father, died in early January 2015, in his sleep of a heart attack. He had suffered, over the past six years, from Vascular Dementia (the lesser-known half of senility, Alzheimer’s being the more widely known form). A month before, in Dec. of 2014, I had been to see him. This chapbook contains poems and blogs about that visit and his subsequent death.
People deal with the death of a parent in many ways: denial, anger, guilt, bargaining, transference…it goes on and on. Grief has no timetable either so it may take years for that loss to resolve itself (or it may never happen). In my case, I turned to a projection of my dad as a black rabbit. Some might call this transference or an animal fetish; I dunno.
I had a dream after his death and in the dream…”Suddenly, something was thrust into my arms: a medium sized furry thing as black as this night, unidentifiable except for its two white, buck teeth. Then I knew it was a black rabbit. I could feel its heart racing in fear (but also alive!) and pulled it closer. But just as suddenly as it had appeared it now leaped out of my arms and bolted into the dark! I was devastated, thinking that it had been a gift from my father, that I had not understood what it was until it was too late and now it was gone for good (like the old man)…but then, out of the darkness, the rabbit came bounding and leapt into my arms again!
I awoke from this dream wondering what in the world did this mean? I knew enough about Native-American lore to realize that the black rabbit was my father’s spirit animal and that it would guide him through the death process; and this little black bunny would serve as a talisman for me, as well…” (from the Introduction to the chapbook).
RD Armstrong uses the power of poetry for his elegiac mythology of grief. Everyone who has ever been on earth has died, and we never get used to this. Poets especially have to speak/define/make sense of it. Armstrong’s natural strength as a writer uses an archetypal Rabbit as the central focus. This metaphor extends the glandular process of a body lost and born again. Armstrong commands the structure of prose narrative—as well as the economy of the poem— to memorialize his love for his father. In doing this, he brings everything to life again.
— Grace Cavalieri, “The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress”
A black rabbit jumps into a bereaved dreamer’s arms, bounds out, comes back, leaves. RD Armstrong tracks it through dream, poem, memoir, waking life, waking dream, blues, and rain. This mixed genre tale of the poet’s loss of his real father and dreamed-of father, and coming to terms with it, is a stunner–– image-rich, narratively and descriptively tight and moving, emotionally powerful. The images and emotional honesty make the reader feel all the transformations of the dad and to the son in his journey of awakening.
— Jane Lipman, author of On the Back Porch of the Moon, winner of the 2013 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Poetry Book and a NM Press Women’s Award
You can read selections from this book, here.
40 pages; $12
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The poems in Ann Curran’s Knitting the Andy Warhol Bridge flash with a quiet brilliance. An adroit wordsmith, Curran turns clever on its head; her poems can become deadly at the least provocation, not to mention funny, dark, illuminating, and often, heartbreakingly sad. Her poems celebrate life in all its sullied glory. No subject escapes her critical gaze:
weddings, sports stadiums, parolees sharing a moment, adoption, racism, war, rumors, love, death. Even the penis is fair game for her wit. These poems sparkle with specifics; they dig deep, nudge the reader toward tolerance. “The New Pastor” “urges the faithful/ to open their hearts to different people: the food co-op kid with rings in his nose,/ lips and eyebrows, the Latino next door,/ college students with raucous beer parties,/ even the half-black U.S. president./ Put down the iPod, the Wi-Fi-fed notebook. / See the live people. …Deal with the real.” This timely, remarkable collection deals with the real in a profound and brand new way. It is a considerable achievement and a terrific read.
—Alexis Rhone Fancher, poetry editor of Cultural Weekly, is author of State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, and How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen and other Heart Stab Poems
A poet’s muse can take many forms. Ann Curran finds inspiration in the personal stories and incidents of daily life. A journalism background informs her craft, but her stories would be hard to tell in a newspaper. It is her poetry that offers her the way to make sense of her world and ours. A native Pittsburgher, she finds much material locally, but, whatever the locale, her poetry is infused with humanity, wisdom, wit and grace.
—Reg Henry is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
See a sample version of this book, here.
In Knitting the Andy Warhol Bridge, poet Ann Curran takes you into Downtown Pittsburgh, looks at life—raging, whimpering, chuckling— at the bus stop, at the PNC/Y, along the three rivers where local knitters and crocheters decorated the bridge that commemorates Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol. That bridge leads to the North Side of town where the nation’s largest museum dedicated to a single artist attracts international visitors to ooh and aah, tap and punch at a roomful of inflated silver balloons and see shows that depict the brutal end of a routine southern picnic in the olden days —families, children to ancient grandmas, gather to watch a black man lynched. She’ll take you up the incline to Mount Washington, where her Irish immigrant grandparents landed in what they thought was luxury, where she’s lived for a couple of decades, blocks away from “the best urban view in the world.” Five minutes from Downtown, you’ll find deer and turkeys meandering through her yard. She’ll recall the G-20 visit to town, the steps to becoming a white racist or not. Music and religion seep into how she’s come to love her hometown and all the children and grandchildren of immigrants who, like her, still wave their other flag—in voice, in music, in food, in their very souls. You don’t have to be from Pittsburgh to enjoy the sounds and insights of this book. You just have to belong to the human race, diverse as the knitwork that dressed the Andy Warhol Bridge for a brief month one summer.
Ann Curran, president and CEO of Curran Ink, is author of Placement Test (Editor’s Choice, Main Street Rag) and Me First (Lummox Press). She has worked as a backroom bakery slave washing dirty pans and snitching icing, and as a conscientious journalist at the Pittsburgh Catholic and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A film reviewer of the love-to-hate school, she reported on new films and Pittsburgh Public Theater plays for the Market Square tabloid and covered the International Poetry Forum for the Pittsburgh Press, providing advance features and reviews of performances. She wrote features for half a dozen Pittsburgh Magazine editors. She also taught English at Duquesne University, her alma, as a graduate assistant, which placed her well below an adjunct professor. She learned grammar teaching remedial English at the Community College of Allegheny County, where she found her favorite, obscene example of passive voice written on a wall on her way to class to teach that chicken way of talking. For a couple of decades, she edited the prize-winning quarterly Carnegie Mellon Magazine at Carnegie Mellon University, while her boss, Don Hale, argued with assorted presidents about why they should not fire her. Otherwise, she plays tennis in four seasons, Shanghai Rum and 500 with cocoa bean fanatics, works out at the Y, does the laundry, sort of cooks, cleans the toilets and performs other poetic chores. Some how she managed to marry a kind, loving man—Ed Wintermantel. They raised the most thoughtful, sweetest daughter imaginable—Cristin Francis Curran Wintermantel. Ann sings at St. Mary of the Mount Church when the choir is in active voice and serves on the Parish Pastoral Council.
See a sample of Knitting the Andy Warhol Bridge here.
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