"Charles Flowers’ long-awaited collection, The Idea of Him, evokes the implacable power of desire, from its earliest appearance in boyhood to the ache of adult experience. These wrenchingly honest, beautifully felt poems make clear nothing less than the soul hunger that lies deep in the body’s dreams."
"In The Idea of Him, this first volume of superb lyric testimonies, we meet the adolescent male body awakening into a forbidden sexuality, then its adult counterpart abandoned by casual encounters, aggrieved by this constancy of loss, barely sustained by a wish to regain connection with paradise through the meager portions of love afforded by ordinary life. Yet it is poetry itself, its compassionate and yet elegiac meditations more sensitive than any lover’s touch, that fulfills this chronic wanting, the work full of awakened tenderness as though the universe of stars that Rilke once imagined had bent down and kissed the shining hair of its own miraculous newborn. This exceedingly mature poetry is full of these moments, cast in strophes supple as a lover’s milkshirt of skin. Charles Flowers is our own terrible angel, possessed of an unbearable raiment of light that allows no shadow. The Idea of Him shines with angelic orders of extraordinary love."
"In The Idea of Him, Charles Flowers is true to the lifelong, unrelenting force of desire that can emerge any place, anywhere--the longing that makes others 'instruments of safety and respite,' and also offers the exquisite pain and beauty of 'the pull of flesh toward flesh.' If you have known desire's 'strange closeness'–in the flesh or in the mind alone--you will find yourself somewhere in these poems."
–Minnie Bruce Pratt
Charles Flowers graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vanderbilt University and received his MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon. His poems have appeared in Puerto Del Sol, Barrow Street, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, and Assaracus.He was the founder and editor of BLOOM, a journal for LGBT poetry, prose, and art, which Edmund White called “the most exciting new queer literary publication to emerge in years.” Charles has served in a leadership capacity at the Academy of American Poets, Lambda Literary Foundation, and Arts for LA, the regional arts advocacy organization. Currently, he serves as the Poet Laureate for the City of West Hollywood (October 2018 - October 2020).
The newest collection of haunting, magical poems by Francesca Lia Block, author of Fairy Tales in Electri-City, draws on myth and fable to explore the roles women play in many archetypal stories–and gives voice to these female characters, to let them tell their tales in their own words.
Wasn’t it pervert Edgar Allen Poe who said, “The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world?” Francesca Lia Block’s book Dead Girls begs to differ.Here we see the exploitation of girls—spun into the very DNA of our Western culture of myth and fairy tales—for what it is. Block gives voice to these women and girls, including the “wicked” queens and stepmothers, revealing a complexity and despair as only a truly great poet can.I’ll tell you what is the most poetical topic in the world—beautiful girls who are very much alive in these exquisite poems.
In the gorgeous realms of these poems we might hear beguiling instructions: “Heed my advice / Take your heart from your chest / Let it bleed in your hands / Talk to it softly / as if to a lover,” and then wander into their alluring spaces of darkness. Bristling with violence and eroticism, the wilderness here resonates with current and crucial concerns.Listen close and follow Francesca Lia Block’s seductive voice as it speaks through these fabular figures: “I want to tell my history / Can you hear my stories?”
Francesca Lia Block has described her work as "contemporary fairy tales with an edge," where the real world and its trouble find solace through the magic of creative expression and love. She has received numerous honors, including the Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award and the Phoenix Award, as well as citations from the American Library Association, the New York Times Book Review, and School Library Journal. Her previous titles include the bestselling Weetzie Bat series (HarperCollins), the memoir/craft book The Thorn Necklace: Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process (Seal Press), the novel The Elementals (St. Martin's), the erotic fairy tale collection Nymph (Circlet), and poetry collection Fairy Tales in Electri-City (A Midsummer Night's Press), among many others. She lives in Los Angeles.
Tracing the Unspoken is the English-language debut of an award-winning Slovenian poet and translator, which dares to openly speak (or write) the name of gay desire, in these compact, precise poems in prose.
“In Tracing the Unspoken, Milan Šelj has compiled a ledger of obsession: by applying language to shapeless silence, the individual tries to make sense of desire. In these fragments of narrative, the tacit, the implicit, the unspoken and the unspeakable are all eventually given voice. Passion is blocked by indifference, indifference unblocked by passion. And somehow love, once put into words, survives to thrive. The process is compelling, the expression eloquent.”
“Instants of great sexual and emotional tension, caught in needle-sharp language of utter clarity and purity.”
Milan Šelj is a Slovenian poet and translator. He is the author of four poetry collections, and co-author of a satirical epistolary novel, Spolitika. Tracing the Unspoken is his most recent collection and his first in English translation. His own poems and his translations into Slovene appear in Moral bi spet priti, an anthology of contemporary European gay poetry. In translation, his poems have been published: in English, in The Queer Riveter magazine; in Hebrew in Kavafis’ Sons and Grandsons, an anthology of gay poetry published in Israel; and in Italian in the magazine Fili d’aquilone. Milan lives and works in London.
Harvey Vincent is a New York director, actor and teacher. A founding member of the American Theater Group of Paris he was invited by the Sorbonne's Institut d'Etudes théâtrales to write an experiential doctoral thesis on his work as a director and teacher of French students and professionals.
BERLIN POEMS is the story of an interlinguistic love affair set against an indelible cityscape, an archaeology of unrequited passion, a frenzied attempt to remember against the inevitable flux of time. In it, language is at once a failure (it miscommunicates or can't communicate), a metaphor for near-misses (Landrum is gifted at creating significances in the sonic resonances within and across languages), and a recourse against both failures and near-misses, insofar as it affords the ability to re-imagine the past, to "say all this now that it's too late to matter."
Matthew Landrum is a writer, speaker, and teacher. Born in 1984 in Lafayette, Indiana, he studied writing at Bennington College. His work has appeared widely in literary journals including Agni, Image, The Baltimore Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, Asymptote, and The Michigan Quarterly Review. His translation of Katrin Ottarsdóttir's book Are there Copper Pipes in Heaven? is forthcoming from The Operating System. He lives in Detroit where he teaches at a private school for students on the autism spectrum.
WHAT WE DIDN’T SAY
I never learned to speak the language you dreamed in. You never asked me to stay, to trade this life in for another.
Once I asked you to run away to the Baltic with me but didn’t bring it up again. You’ve never once spoken
your boyfriend’s name in all the years we’ve known each other. I’ve taken this as a sign but didn’t say so.
On a resurrection morning outside a café, you laughed and leaned in. And for a moment, my hand on your cheek,
you in my arms, a lightness thinning the sky. I can say all this now that it’s too late to matter.
“In Golan Haji’s poems and prose-poems, fable and myth are incised into history and contemporanaeity, al-Ma’arri’s verses are re-inscribed upon the Odyssey, made to reflect on the ongoing tragedy of the Kurdish people, and of each individual exile. A young Syrian poet now living in France, Haji, polyglot and humanist, is a luminous arrival for world poetry. Is there a word for “saudade” in Arabic? His poems, in Stephen Watts’ fine-honed translations, are imbued with it.”—Marilyn Hacker
“I met Golan Haji at the Al-Sendian (Al-Mallajeh) Festival in Syria in 2010, a beautiful gathering of poets, artists, photographers, children, and villagers, and the last of its kind before the appalling years of rupture exploded in 2011. We’ve translated these poems across the intervening years whenever there was an opportunity to snatch time to sit, or walk, together—this shared space being vital because it gives the scope to directly test and coax the fluency, physicality, verve and edge of the poetry into something not too dissimilar in English. When it works (and intuitively we feel it often does) then ‘a happy journey’ is perhaps the most appropriate description of this dialogue of translation, and one that may afford a more life-giving take on the meaning of migration.”—Stephen Watts
Golan Haji is a Kurdish Syrian poet writing in Arabic. He has published three poetry books, most recentlyScale Of Injury(2016), as well as a bilingual collection with Italian translation in 2013. He trained as a pathologist and practiced as a doctor in Damascus until 2010. At the end of 2011 he left for Jordan and in 2012 came to Paris where he currently lives with his wife, the French writer and Arabic scholar Nathalie Bontemps, and their daughter. In 2016 with Estayqazat, a Syrian feminist movement, he published a collection of women’s voices from the Syrian Uprising that he edited from a series of interviews. In addition to his own writing, he is also an energetic translator into Arabic, mainly of prose, including works by Alberto Manguel and Robert Louis Stevenson. This is the first book of his poetry in English translation.
Stephen Watts is a poet, editor, and translator who lives in London. Recent co-translations include Adnan al-Sayegh’sPages From The Biography Of An Exile(Arc Publications, 2016) and contributions to the anthologySix Georgian Poets(Arc Publications, 2016). His own poetry collections includeAncient Sunlight(Enitharmon, 2014) andRepublic Of Dogs/Republic Of Birds(Test Centre, 2016). He has just co-edited the anthologyBritish Bangladeshi Poetrypublished for the Dhaka Book Fair 2017. He is completing a series of short essays on his friend W.G. Sebald and co-translating the poetry of Tonino Guerra with Cristina Viti. He is also a bibliographer of modern world poetry in English translation.
A Tree Whose Name I Don’t Know by Golan Haji translated by Stephen Watts & Golan Haji A Midsummer Night’s Press
ISBN: 978-1-938334-27-6 Poetry/Translation/Syria
64 pages/paperback with French flaps Published: October 2017