Sunday, January 31, 2010

11 things I am loving..

English breakfast tea
silk brocades
pink toile patterned dishes
knit ballet slippers
rereading Plath's Ariel
strawberry cheescake
antique compasses
mead composition books
japanese hair sticks
vintage buttons

Saturday, January 30, 2010

in which I shamelessly plug new books by my friends...

In the seventeenth century, the closest a woman ever got to a theater was just outside the door, selling sweet "china" oranges at sixpence each––or maybe herself––to the audience. Simone Muench's third collection of poetry, Orange Crush, pays tribute to these figures, known as "Orange Girls," in passionate, astonishing language. The poems travel in and out of history in what Muench calls "a loop instead of a line," cannily reclaiming centuries of lost women and revisiting the various binds in which they find themselves. Her "language portraits" also pay homage to contemporary women, particularly writers, thus re-embodying and reinventing the idea of "Orange Girls." Muench's poems seem to stem directly from the four elements––earth, wind, water, and fire––and affect us immediately, more like drugs or fantastic food. It's been a long time since we’ve had an American expressionist poet like this, combining intellect, compassion, and lightning associations. read more & order

A glimpse of the titles in this book—“My Mother Can’t Stand This Poem,” “Why I Hate Ian Harris,” “Reality TV Has Ruined My Childhood”—hints at the energy, sass, and verve we find here in this freshly observed world. Displaying an admirable range, Brandi Homan offers us both the haunting prose poem sequence, “Recurring Dream House,” and the seemingly casual, at times caustic, observations of a “Drugstore Cowgirl.” Homan excels at the telling detail; Bobcat Country opens and closes with poems deeply rooted in the 1980s Midwest. This texture provides welcome humor in a bleak landscape as we follow the exploits of troubled teenage girls wearing “blue Wet-n-Wild nail polish” who drink “Zima through licorice straws.” The accomplishment of this book is that through careful observation and precise, painterly detail, Homan does more than capture one time, one place—she gives us a deeply felt, reverberating world.

—Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Unmentionables, W. W. Norton

How can a line of language be so directed and searing and still entertain the messy feast of the bleary eyed ever-birthing world? Brandi Homan’s work wakes the nervous system and embodies the difficult beauty and complexity of the question. Lucky readers, lucky us.
—Selah Saterstrom, author of The Meat and Spirit Plan, Coffee House Press

read more & order...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

a couple of things

Way, way back in the fall I answered a few questions for John Madera at The Chapbook Review. (somehow I TOTALLY forgot about this in my autumnal chaos, thus I am posting it now ).

also, a very nice review of Deirde Dore's We Sing You, Jimmy Sky at Radish King. (though I probably shouldn't tell Rebecca we are publishing a selection of Carol Guess' The Doll Studies this spring..)

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Last night, I dreamed that I fell asleep in the studio for a few hours and woke up to find the city outside flooded up to the 8th floor or so. It was an almost delightfully horrific and surreal sight. People were rowing boats around, cowering on rooftops, in skyscrapers,, and everyone in the Fine Arts had retreated to the 9th & 10th floors, including the giant South Loop roaches, of which a couple had appeared in studio and I was frantically trying to kill with my ridiculously floppy ballet flats. My sister was there for some reason, and because, oddly, we still had electricity and internet access, were frantically searching the web for the cause of the disaster and could find none. The local news was reproting local events as usual despite the 8 stories of water, which was getting higher and the elevator guys were urging people towards the roof access. People were panicking, though, and there was a boat full who were threatening us with sicks when we wouldn't open the window to let them in which would also let in more water that had been spilling over the lip of the windowledge.

Though probably not as telling as the dreams I have about crashing planes and rounding up kittens or children, I was thinking about applications to waking life. Admittedly, I am having issues with boundaries lately, mostly people crossing them, or maybe just fear of that, of their insistance. And my response of course is to lock myself away and just avoid dealing with it. I hide alot lately, and want to hide some more. Sometimes the day is just a huge clusterfuck of misunderstandings, misrememberings, missteps..My head is actually a less cluttered place lately (I have moved to again to compulsive listmaking to get me through the week.) So maybe I am just noticing things more, dwelling on things more. So much feels like interruption, distraction, from the things I need to be doing (which is what?--writing, creating, the dishes in the sink, my taxes?). So much feels like too many bees buzzing in my head to let me focus.

Friday, January 22, 2010

chapbook sale

It's that time of year again, when we'd like to thank all of readers with a nifty little sale option so you can stock up on new titles (or old ones..) Books are available by more than 50 dancing girl press authors for a mere $4 each, close to 40%off the usual list price. Offer is good through the end of February...

go here for details

Available Titles:

The Plath Poems, Nava Fader
The Classic Game of Murder, Kate Cappello
Land Wide to Get a Hold Lost In, Shelly Taylor
People Who Are in Love will Read This Book Differently , Cindy St. John
Silt, Erica Wright
The Chainsaw Bears, Erin Elizabeth Smith
Outgrowth, Jen Blair
Calculus of Owls, Sarah Gardner
We Sing You, Jimmy Sky, Deirdre Dore
Lost Colony, Jaqueline Lyons
Flood Year, Sarah Tracey
Sawdust, Sugarcube , Sarah J. Den Boer
The Choral Mimeographs, Stephanie Anderson
The Blue Grotto, Rachel Webster
The Nested Object, Dawn Lonsinger
Squint, Kristen Orser
The Mae West Defense, Julie Strand
This Admirable Miry Clay, Talia Reed
Fragments Found in a 1937 Aviators Boot, Kate Durbin
Apocrypha, Susan Slaviero
The Sad Epistles, Emma Bolden
Cabinet, Claire Hero
The Match Array, Heather Green
Wiving, Anne Heide
Locate, Edward smallfield and Miriam Pirone
The Fire-Wife, Melissa Culbertson
Divided highway, Kim Young
Elsewhere & Wise, Kristi Maxwell
Lit, Danielle Vogel
The Residents, Kim Gek Lin Short
The History of a Lake Never Drowns, Julia Cohen
How to Mend A Broken Heart with Vengeance, Leigh Stein
Deep in the Safe House: Ten Poems after Henry Darger, Maggie Ginestra
Mock Martyrs / Abound, Julia Drescher
Brute Fact, Melissa Severin
The Partial Autobiography of Jane Doe, Daniela Olszewska
Recovering the Body, Nicole Cartwright Denison
Bee Spit, Kristy Odelius
Kitchen Witch, Theresa Boyar
Alphabet for M, Jesse Nissim
Orange Girl, Simone Muench
Alluvium, Erin Bertram
No Isla Encanta, Khadijah Queen
Sugaring, Ann Cefola
See Also Electric Light, Jen Tynes
Two Kinds of Arson, Brandi Homan
Parapherna, Donora Hillard
The Traffic in Women, Kristina Marie Darling
Vestigial Portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Robyn Art
How to Study Birds, Sarah Gardner
The Animal Husband, Christine Hamm
The Terrible Baby, Rebecca Cook

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

winter blahs

Today, paused at the intersection where the bike path joins the lakefront at Ardmore, in warmer months usually thronged with bikers and beachgoers, I was hit with such an acute longing for summer and warm weather that it put me in a funk all day. I am still debating the feasibility of a birthday trip to SC in April, a much needed getaway, but part of me wishes I had planned something for now, when winter seriously begins to wear out it’s welcome, (if it had one at all.)

I am trudging along, however, and feel a bit more on top of things this week than usual. Of course, chaos always seems to skirt the edges, so I am cautious of order and quiet. I always feel like November is the bad month, when everything feels in danger of falling apart, but this winter, that feeling has been pervasive and I wish I could shake it. It’s just weather and moodiness and I’ll snap out of it come spring, surely. In the meantime, there are books and busyness, poems and new crushes, myriad little projects and maybe some adventures. I have managed to catch up enough to remove that weight on my chest lately whenever I ponder the to-do list. I’m hoping I can distract myself enough from fretting until May.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

the bigger picture

Last night's reading at Quimby's with Julie and Cindy was great, a full house and two unbelievably awsome poets. I think I also liked the two poets vs. three we usually do, which gave both a little bit longer and gave the audience greater scope of their work. I was thinking afterward about how sometimes I get so bogged down in the logistics of running the press, laying things out, all that printing and stapling and trimming, and lately the frenetic pace of everything, that sometimes I feel like I miss out on some of the enjoyment of it. But to hear the work aloud and to stop for a moment to really listen is almost a lull in the chaos. I admittedly sometimes feel very scientific about the work as I lay it out, and get so caught up in the details and what goes where and what step comes next that I forget about the poems themselves and how wonderful they really are. Usually, in the midst of layout at least once, though, I will read through a portion and realize again how amazed and honored I am that these poets let me publish their work.

And there is still so much to come, so many great poets are on tap for 2010. I know, I've been promising to tell you who for weeks, I'm such a poetry tease, but I'm trying to figure out how long it's going to take me to get through the 2009 stragglers before I start the new ones, which most likely be March or April. I am also getting ready for a book sale, so keep your eye on the blog in the next few days..

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I was thinking this morning about what to do with the girl show manuscript that has landed once again in my lap, possibly a couple presses and contests I might like to send it to...(I had given Ghost Road the first look, so I never really sent it out to anyone else..)I am also grateful that I'm not freaking out about the whole thing in the way I would have been years ago, which perhaps shows how much I've matured and gotten a bit more perspective on things than I initially had when I was younger (I've also lost some of the drive, which may be a bad side effect, but maybe it's just my energies are more diffused among various things and not all fixated on publication of my own work and moreso on the press and the shop.) It was dissapointing news, for sure, especially since it sort of sat there under contract for two and a half years when I could have been doing other things with it. However, as pissed as I was when I read the e-mail and was planning on ranting to whoever happened to come home first, my sister was layed off from her job that morning, so I felt a little silly being pissed over a measly little book that wouldn't be published when she could like..well..starve (okay, not really, but you get my point.)

I've had a weird relationship with writing from the beginning, since it has always felt like something that doesn't necessarily fit into my "real life"--there is "poetry life" where book contracts and rejections have weight, and then there is "real life" (work,family, my personal life) where those things all seem really small and insignificant compared to the things you do to live, to survive. To be honest, people around me have gone through some serious shit (illness, job loss, legal battles) and all my little poetry woes and triumphs seem so unimportant alot of the time when seen in the big picture. Or maybe it's that the poems still feel like they're important to me personally, the writing itself, but the writing world is less so. And it's not that I've lost pleasure in them necessarily, but more that I've stopped needing for them to be so woefully important. Poetry and the things you do to get poetry out there should be fun, not angst ridden. Or maybe I've just mellowed as I've gotten older.

Monday, January 11, 2010

This Friday @ Quimby's

Friday, January 15th
1854 W. North Avenue

dancing girl press poets Cindy St. John (People in Love Will Read this Book Differently) and Julie Strand (The Mae West Defense) will read from their work.

Cindy St. John lives in Austin, TX. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The Southern Review, and The Florida Review.

Julie Strand lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is the Education Coordinator at Woodland Pattern Book Center. Her poetry has appeared in Wicked Alice, Arsenic Lobster, WOMB Poetry, Rock Heals (A Narrow House Weekly) and others.

The dancing girl press chapbook series was founded in 2004 to publish and promote the work of women poets and artists through chapbooks, journals, book arts projects, and anthologies. Spawned by the online zine wicked alice, dgp seeks to publish work that bridges the gaps between schools and poetic techniques–work that’s fresh, innovative, and exciting. The press has published over 50 titles by emerging women poets in delectable handmade editions.

For more info:

Thursday, January 07, 2010

7 things I am loving

long hot showers
hot cocoa with marshmallows
Jenny Boully's Book of Beginnings and Endings
green tea body butter
cherry blossoms
french inspired burlap pillows
bossa nova

Sunday, January 03, 2010

a new year...

new and pretty things in the shop