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Received & Reading

Got GivenI’ve been busy pouring words into a lot of different boxes so this little blog has languished but I’m hoping to get back to updating it regularly.

So I’ll start with this little pile of poetry books I’ve received in the last six months or so. Many need no introduction (Dodie Bellamy’s Feminine Hijinx, Brathwaite’s History of the Voice). Others, I’ll write about at length elsewhere (Karen Leona Anderson’s Receipt and Sueyeun Juliette Lee’s wondrous Solar Maximum). One is buried by other books Stephen Karl’s Sister, which I blurbed (and loved). One I’m too eternally startled by to say anything responsibly (Cheryl’s Nobody Dancing).

Don’t Let’s by Edric of Great Lakes & 5 Points by Patrick Reidy. The latter of these is published by the Buffalo Ochre Papers, which is part of Yellow Field, both of which are, as far as I know, efforts of Edric Mesmer. Now that I’ve been in Buffalo for five years, I fully understand what an idiosyncratic marvel Edric’s output is. Yellow Field and the Buffalo Ochre Papers keep an extremely minimal digital presence and so rely on Edric distributing the journal by mail and in person at events in Buffalo. There’s a certain generosity behind that–knowing I’m not receiving an omni-directional broadcast but a specific invitation to care about what a group of writers is up to. And in that I made one of those happy discoveries that someone else working away in the archives at Buffalo was a poet too–PR.  I love the kind of easy spill of language in Edric’s poems– “the foamy lather of palavering– / the least cooing of doves” –whose are textures fascinating in the sense that I don’t feel like I’m ever proceeding straight through his poems but asked to linger around certain nodes, tracking back and forth.

Foundlings: the first non-student lit magazine publication of a former student. I was  happy to see this, amazed at how quickly some writers jump into publishing. But it also has me thinking more and more about what to say about all of that to writers just getting a start in the 2016 media environment where there are a staggering number of avenues for publication.

See also some really special chapbooks from Buffalonians Shayna Israel, Marie Elia, and Alison Fraser. These books gave me a lot of joy.


Filed under: Book Notes

About the Author

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Joe Hall is the author of five books of poetry, including Someone's Utopia (2018) and Fugue & Strike (forthcoming). His poems, reviews, and scholarship have appeared in Poetry Daily, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Postcolonial Studies, Peach Mag,, PEN America Blog, Poetry Northwest, Ethel Zine, Gulf Coast, Best Buds! Collective, and Eighteenth-Century Fiction. He has taught poetry workshops for teachers, teens, and workers through Just Buffalo and the WNYCOSH Worker Center.

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