Zachary Schomburg’s from the fjords, review by Clayton T. Michaels.

Zachary Schomburg – from the fjords. Spork, 2010. $10. Reviewed by Clayton T. Michaels.

With the publication of 2009’s Scary, No Scary, Zachary Schomburg cemented his status as one the most compelling and original poets publishing today. As with his debut full-length The Man Suit, his less-is-more aesthetic, which relies primarily on repetition to create rhythms and build tension, made Scary, No Scary both incredibly readable and deceptively dense; it holds up to multiple readings and reveals something new each time.

Schomburg’s latest is from the fjords, a chapbook from the ultra-hip Spork Press, and it is another fantastic collection from a poet who seemingly can do no wrong. This is not to say, however, that from the fjords is a kind of Scary, No Scary redux; in some ways, the poems in this chapbook are a departure from Schomburg’s usual style. For starters, the repetition that was such a large part of his previous work is much less frequent in this collection, making it seem more varied than some of his previous work; each of the prose poems in this chapbook could stand alone instead of seeming like parts of a longer sequence. There is, however, still a great deal of thematic unity that makes the lack of repetition seem more like a natural evolution in style than some kind of radical reinvention. His characteristic dark sense of humor is still very present in these poems, too: for example, in ‘Meat Counter,’ the speaker wakes up inside the meat display case in his grandfather’s grocery store; in ‘New Job Serving Fried Pies,’ the speaker’s three co-workers mysteriously drop dead inside their pie trailer; and in ‘The Donut Hawk,’ the speaker is hunting, as the title would suggest, hawks made out of donuts.

Any review of from the fjords would be incomplete without a mention of the look of the chapbook itself. From a purely aesthetic perspective, Spork is putting out some of the best looking chapbooks around—with their letterpressed rawboard covers and hinged spines, they look like hardback children’s books from the 1970’s, and each book comes with a two-color vinyl sticker of the book’s cover art. A lot of time and care clearly goes into the design of each chapbook, which is one more reason to own a copy.

Kelcey Parker’s For Sale By Owner, review by Ryan Smith.

Kelcey Parker – For Sale By Owner. Kore Press, 2011. $16. Reviewed by Ryan Smith.

For Sale By Owner by Kelcey Parker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kelcey Parker’s debut collection of stories will leave you feeling, among other things, very surprised. The surprise at work is not because of the material she works with—the seemingly quotidian bricks of the domestic Midwestern suburbs—but in the way she infuses those materials with a truly unique velocity and darkly playful touch. The suburbs and soccer moms and unfaithful husbands aren’t the ones you read about in books or watch on sitcoms, but the ones you yourself drive past every day and speculate about as your mind wanders.

To me these stories have done what few have managed, and that is to bypass what we think we mean with terms like ‘realist’ that are supposed to reference a familiar framework—our own ‘real’ lives. So we’ll find ourselves or people we know in them, their stories are ours, and so goes their supposed (and often effective) premise. But Parker has done the real trick, has reached a territory of the real that shows just how far fiction of this typ might push when it bothers to stop and trouble itself first. You might not find your story in this collection but they all seem close at hand, in the yelling from the neighbor’s house or the lone woman you spot checking into a dingy motel.

I was also at all times enjoyably perplexed by the emotions and humor Parker has woven, complicating every thought and piece of dialogue such that it seems one might labor under the very real sensation of experiencing several, even conflicting emotions at once. Are these stories hopeful? Nihilistic? Heartbreaking? Heart-affirming? Every sentence seems to turn where you think they’re going, which is the real key to this kind of reality, the one we genuinely recognize as our own: the stories don’t know, the characters don’t, just as we often don’t. Sometimes we do feel affirmed or utterly broken, but such concrete places are few—these stories aren’t selling anything or playing dress-up.

This notion leads to my final appreciation which is that this collection feels like it comes from a veteran source; there’s no lack of confidence or deftness to Parker’s gesturing, a steadied hand at the wheel as she careens us around the burning suburbs of her sophisticated, sharply imagined inner world.

June 11: Kalamazoo Book Arts Center’s “Poets in Print”

Taking place at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, Adam Clay and Pablo Peschiera will be reading on June 11th at 7pm. Broadsides featuring the poets’ work, created by KBAC artists, Lauren Scharfenberg and RobE, will also be available for sale and signing among the poets’ other works.

The reading is free to attend and open to the public, and refreshments will be available.

Doors open at 6:30pm, and the reading will begin at 7pm.

Adam Clay is the author of The Wash (Parlor Press) and A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World, which is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Denver Quarterly, The Laurel Review, and elsewhere. He co-edits Typo Magazine, and since 2008 has been the coordinator and editor of the Poets in Print series at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. He lives in Kalamazoo with his wife and daughter.

Pablo Peschiera’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pleaides, Shenandoah, Copper Nickel, and other places, and he writes and edits reviews for Diagram. He teaches at Hope College in Holland, MI, and he’s currently reading Pinker’s The Language Instinct.

Kalamazoo Book Arts Center
Suite 103A, Park Trades Center
326 W. Kalamazoo Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Click here to view this event and the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center Website

Poems of the Week



Venus Tree

I planted my oranges with teeth.
I offered my crush a piece of spiked fruit;
next thing I knew, he was missing an arm.

Could this be transcendence in a newfangled way
or were we just consuming each other? How do we
move past our mutilation into our desired sweet bite?

Forbidden to talk about hunger, we suffer
involuntary movements of the tongue—
weevils, vowels, forking out.

My tongue flicking, my limbs twitching
like orange-splotched salamander tails.
I wanted to chew and swallow, but I spewed it—

a bloody spume of glitter dripping down.


Havoc Yonder World

The hours pass like bloodhounds & flashlights
trailing a criminal through the ever-
greens. “See with what heat these Dogs of Hell advance,”

says the book. (It is safe there.) No room
left to walk out of in eastern Tennessee.
See with what wind the adjectives begin

to disappear. Pasture gone of its gradations
of green, stripped of its flitty-winged, worn through
to its last musky dank. You lowered storm-

screens & deadbolted doors, yet trouble came.
No reason & no right season: it advances
under snow skies glinting as the bluing

on a rifle; under sun-drenched citrus
trees, how like the derailing of a train
it comes, the shrieking wind knocked out of you.

(I put my hand
over my mouth

I put my hand
over my mouth)


To the Student Who Asked You What My Poems Mean

for David Graham

I cannot find my hands. Nor will a tongue against
wet cobblestone help triangulate one’s
penultimate destination. Let us first turn
our desks into a circle. From the street I cannot locate
the original box the Xmas lights came in, though from space
the earth does appear to explain somewhat the question
of surface tension. At eye level one might say
we still share monkey hair down there. Such soft places
grow wild between us. Page 53 for example. Say chesterfield, say
gingham, say Burl Ives. You see I’m only visiting. Can you
not make the reading? For the life of me I can’t comprehend
this motel nightstand testament. I’m a little taken aback
by that. Please explain to me the difference
between indifference and differed inference. Stare down
the cat. Stare down the barrel of a flower. Yes I am
imagining your tantric flush right now. Say dissonance,
because it rhymes with childhood. Allow me to rephrase:
I cannot find my legs, nor is the full-length mirror
perched against my precarious procrastination (see
Appendix A of my forthcoming). Don’t get me wrong. I’m not
guarding my words as much as skinnying them out
for a midnight swim. I shouldn’t have mentioned
“the ear in my chest” nor the probable whereabouts
of “Future Brent.” You won’t catch me
tea-bagging the char of the GOP. Is that too
duplicative? I do not wish to imply
your SUV dredges home the same anchor moon
mind does most nights. So now we know ourselves
better? Regarding the strongest synonyms for subtext,
will this burning geographical survey suffice? I mean
I’ve finally found my feet and they weren’t at all
where I remember planting them.



I know there were years

I lived in the valley

of what couldn’t be true.

But how to explain

the way its inhabitants called me? His violent way

of looking at the world,

the way the hummingbird’s chin

was indigo in light, then suddenly, marauders.

How I fingered my ruffles and wept. You could say it was wrong,

but the moment seemed grosgrain and urgent. So I hung

my belief on a hook (little noose).

Like a slip you might leave at his place;

what was once

so pale and alive there.


all from Barn Owl Review 4 (2011), Eds. Mary Biddinger and Jay Robinson

Christine Garren’s Chapbook is Now Available at 42 Miles Press

Christine Garren’s chapbook, The Difficult Here, is now available at 42 Miles Press.

Cost: $12.00

If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please write a check to Indiana University.

If you have any questions about making a purchase, please contact McKenzie Tozan at


A View into The Difficult Here:

The Lamp

it is midnight, but I have found the lamp

of the forest

left on, always left on – this waterfall – its surge – its white

wattage lights the hall of woods –

the rock’s moss – the stick paths – this lamp left on


what you once did – my missed one – come again –


the dark

2011 42 Miles Press Poetry Contest

42 Miles Press Poetry Prize Guidelines

Judge: David Dodd Lee, Series Editor

The 42 Miles Press Poetry Award is being created in an effort to bring fresh and original voices to the poetry reading public. The prize will be offered annually to any poet writing in English, including poets who have never published a full length book as well as poets who have published several. New and Selected collections of poems are also welcome.

The winning poet will receive $1,000 and publication of his or her book. The winner will also be invited to give a reading at Indiana University South Bend as part of the release of the book. The final selection will be made by the Series Editor. Current or former students or employees of Indiana University South Bend, as well as friends of the Series Editor, are not eligible for the prize.

There is a $25, non-refundable, entry fee, made payable to I.U. South Bend. There is no limit on the number of entries an author may submit. Simultaneous submissions are fine, in fact they are encouraged, just please withdraw your manuscript if it gets taken for publication elsewhere. Please include a SASE with each entry. Please include a self-addressed postage paid postcard if you desire confirmation of manuscript receipt. No manuscripts will be returned. Entries sent by e-mail or fax are not permitted; they will be disqualified. On your cover sheet include name, address, phone number, and e-mail. The manuscript should be paginated and include a table of contents and acknowledgments page.

Manuscripts will be accepted starting December 1, 2010, and the ending deadline will be March 1, 2011.

Manuscripts received prior to December 1, or postmarked after March 1, will be recycled and the entry fee returned. The winner will receive 50 copies of his or her book. With questions e-mail

Mail manuscripts to:

42 Miles Press Poetry Award
Indiana University South Bend
Department of English
1700 Mishawaka Avenue
P. O. Box 7111
South Bend, IN 46634-7111

Manuscripts submitted for the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award should exhibit an awareness of the contemporary “voice” in American poetry, an awareness of our moment in time as poets. We are excited to receive poetry that is experimental as well as work of a more formalist bent, as long as it reflects a complexity and sophistication of thought and language. Urgency, yes; melodrama, not so much. Winners will be announced via this website, as well as through the mail. We will also announce the winner in major magazines (Poets & Writers) and blogs, including this one. The winning book, and any others chosen from the pool of entries, will be published in 2012.

Announcing the Winner of the 2010 42 Miles Press Poetry Award

Carrie Oeding, of Houston, Texas, has won the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award for her manuscript, Our List of Solutions. The award includes a $1,000 dollar prize and publication by 42 Miles Press. Her work has appeared in the Best New Poets, 2005 anthology and several journals including DIAGRAM, Colorado Review, 32 Poems, Mid-American Review, Third Coast, Gulf Coast, Greensboro Review, Barn Owl Review, South Dakota Review, storySouth and Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction. Brenda Hillman selected her poems for second place in The Poetry Center of Chicago’s 2009 Juried Reading Award. She earned her MFA from Eastern Washington University. She then held a post-doctoral Fellowship from Ohio University where she received her Ph.D. and was awarded the Claude Kantner Fellowship. Carrie currently teaches as a Houston Writing Fellow.

from Our List of Solutions:

“Someone come back and ask me to stay
so I can feel good about getting my tires rotated
and leave.”

Wolfson Contest Finalists


*Ansie Baird,  Strategies for an Enclosed Space
Rebecca Aronson,  Afterglow
*Peter Jay Shippy,  Unearthlings
*Carrie Oeding,  Our List of Solutions
Donald Levering,  Algonquins Planted Salmon
*Henrietta Goodman,  Hungry Moon
Gail Newman,  One World
Jennifer Barber,  Given Away
Sharon Chmielarz,  In This Clockless Time
*m loncar, “but i’m not a dick (i’m a reporter)”
*Amy McNamara,  The New Head Chronometrist
*Katie Umans,  Flock Book
Barbara Louise Unger,  Charlotte Bronte, You Ruined My Life
*Todd Fredson,  The Crucifix-Blocks
*Mark Wisniewski,  Come August
*Allan Peterson,  Nothing That Simple
Carol Guess,  Rogue Agent Burlesque
*Nils Michals,  Chantepleure
Johnny Horton,  Theater of the Misheard
George Moore,  Children’s Drawings of the Universe
Amanda Reynolds,  Ghost City
Sarah Stern,  My Father’s Hat
Peter Klein,  House Hold
Lou Lipsitz,  If This World Falls Apart
Herman Beavers,  Omphalos
Andrew Gottlieb,  Ritual Leavings
Stephen Massimilla,  Almost a Second Thought
Mark Neeley,  Dogs of Indiana
Kyle Flak,  a tiny feeling that our house has legs
Elaine Terranova,  Ghost Wife
Kevin McKelvey,  Brute Ecology
Melissa Morphew,  Bluster
*Robert Grunst,  Orange, Lion, Train Wreck

winner announced on July 9

A New Chapbook from Christine Garren

A new chapbook of poems, written since Garren’s The Piercing appeared in 2006, will be published by 42 Miles Press in late summer/fall, 2010. Here is a sample, a poem that originally appeared in Poetry:

The Water

they fetched the water

and then when they reached the house, it was useless

fecal and chemical–

miles they’d walked– a life

along a ridge on into the next country, to the covert waterfall–

had they been dreaming?

yes, they had been dreaming–

that was her favorite part– the dream part– all the sun and


and the poppies

by a church wall– the dream part

when the water gatherers were certain

they could ease their mother’s dying