My Week In Books


Featherbone by Erica Mena

from Featherbone:

Searshut your throat & open soundless:
again—it pierces your back—
spins—you lurch and plummet—
light is:      to blame you:      unother.
The light is already bleaching your veins
—blooming in the cracks the fissures.

This is my book, Featherbone. It’s a cyborg feminist retelling of Icarus, driven by compound neologisms. The cover art is by Wangechi Mutu, titled “Love’s a Witch, Orfeo’s Underworld Coronation for Euridice,” 2006. Mutu is a Kenyan-born artist and sculptor who resides in Brooklyn, and is maybe the coolest human alive. We finally got it all off to the printer!



from Drown/Sever/Sing:

“The devil doesn’t always dream, and when he does, if he does, he rarely remembers. It’s all colors and fragments. White plastic spiders on blue strings, silver doorknobs and black rats covered in sugar and broken glass. But sometimes, when he stares into the same spot for a very long time, he sees something sort of like a dream that feels more like someone else’s memory. A sinking boat, a sleepy bird in someone’s hands, an ocelot sneaking into a hen house for the very first time. Then something cracks in the fire, or a stalactite breaks, or the devil finally blinks, or is woken by the whistling of an accordionist walking up the side of the Treinta mountains.”

We also finally got all the Anomalous Press interiors off to the printer. This title, Drown/Sever/Sing by Lina Maria Ferriera Cabeza-Vanegas features amazing illustrations by A. Kendra Greene. While Kendra did all the hard work of, you know, actually drawing them, Lina and I spent a lot of time perfecting these stories, and I have to say, this is a damn great book.




from To The Secret:

these landscapes where
one should be able
at once
to stare deeply
and not find anything more
around oneself

I have the great pleasure of designing some books for La Presse, with Cole Swensen. We just got this one off to print too, and you really do want to know these secrets.


The Ground I Stand On Cover Final Spine


from The Ground I Stand On Is Not My Ground:


Was a person to act as though dying
had become mere?
A kill
was expected of me.

I don’t get to take much credit for this one, the design and majority of the work were done by Collier Nogues and Bailey Lewis, but I did get to dip my fingers in at the end and finalize the files before sending them to print. This book, winner of the Drunken Boat inaugural Poetry Book Contest judged by Forrest Gander, is (as he says) “the best erasure since Srikanth Reddy’s Voyager.” And it’s full of QR codes. Yeah.

Magpiety excerptOne of my first professional experiences was working with Askold Melnyczuk and Cat Parnell in Boston for Arrowsmith Press, a phenomena of a micro-press that did something like sixteen titles in three years, selling out of almost all of them at these incredible launch-parties. It’s still one of my favorite experiences I’ve had in the publishing world. What was powerful and motivating about that was the excitement and community, the launch parties at Lame Duck Books and the Pierre Menard Gallery (no longer there) in Harvard Square, getting to meet and work with poets like Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, Frank Bidart, and Jorie Graham, and getting to put out books by some of the most interesting emerging and some of the most undeservedly lesser-known writers I’ve ever worked with. We did Maureen McLane’s first book, which is still among my favorites. The last title we did before the press went on hiatus in 2007 was Melissa Green’s Fifty-Two, which was one of the most fun to design. So when Askold asked if I’d do another book with them this year, Melissa Green’s Selected Poems, I jumped at the chance despite my over-full plate.

This book is really incredible. I did the design for Jorie Graham’s Selected Poems From the New World with Jorie in the first half of 2014, and I love that I’m now spending the first half of 2015 on another incredible woman in Boston’s selected poems. The book doesn’t have a cover yet, and it’s due out in December 2015, but the ARCs just went to the printer, so I’m feeling pretty excited about it coming into existence as a physical object.


printed cover


from The All-New:

minute new distinctions flowing over milk teeth pearly trite
superficially all-over calculus
look ! *
         math twink sparkling dom poncho shrouding garbage-flagged objects
o ! loveless rag                                                                        crackling yellow fir relic
rolled to strike a hapless pigeon then calmly recrumpled ; dreck
around an old løld rock
unthrown                                        thru an all-new lube maize window
moldering rock coated                                                                      dry kate moss seeds
trust spores              spores sprouting
al l  –   n    e

Printing for the first time at the San Francisco Center for the Book, I used the largest Vandercook I’ve ever been on! I was actually too short to run the press properly, and my shoulder is reminding me of that today, but in two runs (silver, then black) in four hours, I got Ian Hatcher’s all-new cover for his all-new book The All-New done and off to the printer. It was designed by Chris Wegman, and is gorgeous!

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