Wednesday, November 29, 2006



The Dictionary Poems: Some Bees
Lauren Bender
Newlights Press

This well made 20 page chapbook, put out by Newlights Press, is from a larger on-going project by Lauren Bender. There is a bit of mystery in the production of this book. There is no title page, nor info about the Press, nor a webaddress, nor a physical address. Interesting, curious. As are the poems. Very interesting and curious.

I got a chance to hear the poet read in 2005. She’s worth reading, check her out.

Black Diamond
Karen Blomain
Nightshade Press
Troy, Maine

Karen Blomain is a professor at Kutztown University in Pennyslvania. This is the second edition of her first chapbook. It was published by Nightshade Press, a well known small Press with a wonderful track record. The cover illustration is by Carolyn Page. It shows a woman in front of a coal mine with a baby carriage lined up behind a coal cart, suggesting that the baby in the carriage is destined to be in the mines as well. The work is solid and for anyone familiar at all with the coal region of Pennsylvania, an accurate portrayal of the area. Especially the poem ‘Centralia’ about the now abandoned town in Central PA where a fire still burns underground, burning seams of coal, burning endlessly.

a Bestiary
Kim Carlin
Shattered Wig
Baltimore, MD

I have written before about Shattered Wig and the Baltimore scene a bit. Here’s another example of it. ‘a bestiary’ is a 23 page chapbook with pink cover stock and a collage by Claire Rusko-Berger on the front of a rather untypical feast in which animals with human bodies dine on plates of food including a stuffed human head. The poems themselves are inventive and different. Ms. Carlin is part of the core group that makes up Shattered Wig, all a bit mysterious and lurking in the shadows but sometimes one needs to remain invisible to observe and write without detection.

Ann Stephenson
Tent Editions
New York, New York

Published in May 2006, this seemingly simple chapbook is one of the best-made books I have held in years. Tent Editions has a knack for creating quality products. This is no exception. Her voice is strong and her images crisp. ‘Poem’ is especially touching. Go find this book!