Saturday, March 03, 2007

Dog Watch by Valerie Lawson

Poets Michael Brown and Valerie Lawson.
Dog Watch. Valerie Lawson. ( Ragged Sky Press 270 Griggs Drive Princeton, N.J. 08540) $10.

Valerie Lawson, a veteran of the Boston poetry scene is known for her work both in the Slam and the more traditional Spoken Word genre. She is a dramatic reader and her writing speaks as well on the page as the stage. In her new collection “Dog Watch” Lawson covers pets, downtown Boston, the passage of time; with vivid and memorable language. Take her portrait of two lovers in the poem “1369 Coffeehouse”,” a well-known coffee haunt in Cambridge, Mass. In this poem Lawson appoints the stage with telling and evocative detail:

“ You wore that brown sweater and plaid shirt.
Throat clearing sounds of coffee machines.
The counter man was funny, said,
“Get desert, he’s buying.”
Food unnecessary,
we sit at the tiny table in front,
ignore cups of tea.
You face the back,
I the street.
Above our head hangs a map of Cambridge.
You show your first poem of the new year,
Images in my mind an Escher print.
I give you a turkey feather,
it gleams as you twirl it,
as you smooth the barbs.

And in “Time Addict” Lawson captures the frenzied nature of the rat race—a maddening, life-deadening pace:

“ I can make it, I know I can,
less than living wage just a point
on the line, I need to run faster, work later
do more, shave sleep fifteen minutes at a time,
sleep is the drug for the weak, give me some sleep deprivation,
heady buzz a counterpoint to the pounding in my temples,
gotta go, got a thing, got to get somewhere, fast,
where’d the time go?”


Friday, March 02, 2007

Presa No. Five

Presa Number 5. Spring 2007. ( Presa Press POBOX 792 Rockford, MI 49341) $8.50

The new issue of Eric Greinke’s excellent small press lit. mag “Presa” has just hit the streets. In this issue Harry Smith ( the publisher of the famed small press magazine “The Smith”) has an essay titled” Poetic Personae and Our Fictional Selves.” The featured poet is ANTLER, who was much praised by the late Allen Ginsberg. There is also a review of Hugh Fox’s controversial memoir “Way, Way Off the Road…” ( Ibbetson Street) by Larry Hill, as well as a review from one of the doyens of small press reviews Charles Ries. The poets included in this issue are: Alan Catlin, Linda Lerner, Richard Kostelanetz, B.Z. Niditch, and Doug Holder to name just a few. Presa, in a very short time has made its name on the alternative press scene. Highly Recommended.
Doug Holder/Ibbetson Update/March 2007

Monday, February 26, 2007

"the new renaissance" at Endicott College


Several months ago I approached an acquaintance of mine Dan Sklar, head of Creative Writing at Endicott College in Beverely, Mass. about sponsoring "the new renaissance" literary magazine at Endicott. ( I am on the advisory boardof the magazine) Dan set up an initial meeting forLouise Reynolds, the founder, and myself, and today after meeting with thepresident, and Peter Eden, the Dean of Arts and Sciences, we reached an agreement about setting up an office, and establishing an affiliation withthe college. We hope to have an association with Endicott like Ploughshares has at Emerson, Salamander at Suffolk University, etc...