Tuesday, December 06, 2016



Sometimes in our lives we are given access to the equivalency
of a Hyatt Regency, you know, just for a night or two. And that is that.

A decorative pastel melon ball bestowed upon our pillow one morning
to be followed only by the crushed orbital residues of its mushy pith
on all those thereafter.

And still, etiquette prescribes that the bulk of our transactions be carried out
as if born strictly from complex personal indiscretions, pursued via means
of a long series of courtesy removal forms, generally accompanied
by disingenuous requests for feedback on services rendered.

Every ninety days, our status is reviewed. And the results of this review
are always the same. Postponed release. Prolonged confinement.
Another three-month statutory hit.

The arm of justice is long. We grant you that. It may not be just,
but its length is exemplary. A grandiose show of extension and dexterity.

The eyes of the security apparatus and staff are open. We grant you that.
They may be neither reliable nor discerning, but they are open, and firmly so.
Oh brother, are they firm! As if lenses could box and bloody, as well as box in.

In turn, every measure of our health and welfare has been registered,
we grant you that. It has not been cared for, but it has been counted.
Tallied over and over and over again, even if never rallied for.


She’s only the one idea in her head these days, but she sticks to it.
“I want to become more dangerous to the state,” she relays,
“and less dangerous to myself, my friends, my lovers, and my community.”

Within every plutocratic landscape of capitalist repression there are those people
who manage to escape by outright leaving and those who manage to do so
by going deeper in, laying hold to its innermost “useless” “unleveraged” “zones”
the swamp, the dump, the desert, the alley, the abandoned factory,
the half-constructed tract home, the iridescent tailing ponds.

There’s something beyond the overwhelming pressure of offgassing that can conjure
forth strange hatchings, producing something rangier than the usual mop-up
operations, reaching past regimentation into sponginess.

When Michel de Montaigne notes, in the 16th century, how “our modern seamen
have already all but discovered that it is not an island,” the all but in his construction
is not a peripheral gesture. It is a qualification of consequence. In other words,
the seamen, in their majority, still do believe themselves to be surrounded by water,
lapped at on all sides.

I.e. We had all but won that round. We had all but come to our senses,
all but defensively capitulating to a state of permanent negation.
You had all but risen to the occasion. The two of them
had all but seen eye to eye. They had all but tried.

Meanwhile, there he stood before you, all but smiling.
Trying to, dying to, but all but smiling.


They see in this system their death and so there simply has to be something beyond it.
They’re alive after all. They’re stressed out and messed up perhaps, but they’re definitely
breathing. “Remember,” someone offers, “that veritable chorus of countless things
which you were repeatedly told were marginal, deserving little note.”

“And now recall how often those selfsame elements were your very life, a symbolic cypher
of overpowering meaning and importance – how there was nothing negligible there,
nothing to be narrowly dismissed or treated carelessly.

In other words, it’s not marginal to those women.
It’s not marginal to those who were planning to eat that.
It’s not marginal to those that are caged inside, or to those now wholly
defined by hundreds of pending and enterprise-driven legal entanglements.
It’s not marginal to you or to me or to any three of our nearest neighbors.

Sound travels best, we are told, through thick materials. A person hears better
underwater than they do in air. And better still when swept under the scalding
runnels of molten lava. And yet, are there not potentially legitimate reasons
as to why we do not tend to meet and listen and love whilst trapped below
the hard, fiery volcanic drubbing of an active eruption?

Distortion is a versatile creature. It exists in any influence relationship,
in any total institution. It doesn’t require a whip or even a lick of intuition
to pick up that Stop & Frisk can act as a dispersal agent, not unlike tear gas,
producing its own asthmatic conditions and crippling toxicities.

We grew up just up the street.
We grew up doubled up in our clamor to move up the ladder.
We grew up upchucking in overdosed patterns.
We grew up up up and then we splattered.

*This section title is drawn from an essay on poetics by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Hopkins writes: “No doubt my poetry errs on the side of oddness… Now it is the virtue of design, pattern, or inscape to be distinctive and it is the vice of distinctiveness to become queer. This vice I cannot have escaped.”
**A phrase uttered by activist Malik Rahim (of the Louisiana-based community organization Common Ground) as he describes the first organized refusal on the part of his New Orleans neighborhood to yield to police violence in the 1970s.

Emily Abendroth is a poet, teacher and anti-prison activist living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her works are often published in limited edition, handcrafted chapbooks by small and micropresses such as Albion Press, Belladonna, Horse Less Press, Little Red Leaves, and Zumbar. She is the author of ]Exclosures[ from Ahsahta Press and The Instead (a collaboration with fiction writer Miranda Mellis) from Carville Annex Press. She is an active organizer with Decarcerate PA (a grassroots campaign working to end mass incarceration in Pennsylvania) and is co-founder of Address This! (an education and empowerment project that provides innovative, social justice correspondence courses to individuals incarcerated in Pennsylvania). She has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony and the Headlands Center for the Arts, and was named a 2013 Pew Fellow in Poetry.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Thursday, December 01, 2016

dusie kollektiv #8 : curated by rob mclennan : now online

The 8th “dusie kollektiv,” as curated by myself, is now online! Pdfs of chapbooks produced and mailed last year as part of this 8th curated kollektiv. See the link here to read all sorts of dusie goodness from across North America (and occasionally beyond!). The list of titles online include:

Gary Barwin, A History of Awkward Silences
Hugh Behm-Steinberg, The Sound of Music
Joe Blades, november poems
Rob Budde, TESTES
Amanda Chiado, prime cuts
Jason Christie, night
Michelle Detorie, the primitive undreamed
Amanda Earl, a book of miracles
kevin mcpherson eckhoff, Laughing Text
Jon Henson, Brittle Bit
Hailey Higdon, yes & what happens
Larkin Higgins, comb- ing mine- ings
Jen Hofer and franciszka voeltz, i copy your copy
Paul Klinger, mouth piece
Megan Kaminski and Anne Yoder, SIGIL & SIGH
Bob Marcacci, skyn otsk ying
James Maughn, Dialogue of Crane and Snake
Nicole Mauro, SUPERZER0IC (Wonder Woman and Superman, an Anti-Romance)
rob mclennan, Texture: Louisiana,
Marci Nelligan, NASCENT
Marthe Reed, a transparent reality
Elizabeth Robinson, ON SILENCE
Michael Ruby, Coastal Elements
Sarah Sarai, The Risen Barbie
Michael Sikkema, light seed
Jessica Smith, TRAUMA MOUTH
Chris Turnbull, Candid
Stalina Villarreal, Pinko App & So-Called Ring
annie won, did the wind blow it
Elisabeth Workman, In the Event of Not Having an Answer


In spring 2015, Dusie Emperor Susana Gardner allowed me to curate the eighth “dusie kollektiv,” the results of which we are finally able to present to you here.

Organized and fueled by Gardner, a poet and American expat (she has since returned to the continental United States), the “dusie kollektiv” is a series of curated lists of poets who each self-produce a small publication in a large enough quantity to send copies to everyone else in their specific “kollektiv.” With eight “kollektivs” completed so far, it was originally produced as an extension of her work through the online pdf poetry journal dusie, founded after Gardner moved to Switzerland as a way to keep in contact with her American poet-friends, but it might just have developed a life of its own.

What I’ve admired about the gift-economy structure of the “kollektiv” is in its simple ambition: allowing a group of engaged writers to interact with each other across vast distances. When I participated in the fifth kollektiv a few years back, it involved sending chapbooks out to a list of ninety other participants; chapbooks appeared in my mailbox for weeks, many by poets I wasn’t previously aware of. For my part, I mailed six to Europe and the remainder to the United States, which cost a small fortune, given I was the only Canadian resident, and but one of two Canadian participants (the other being Frances Kruk in London, England).

For my “kollektiv,” I offered an open invitation to previous participants (most of whom are poets scattered across the United States), as well as solicitations to a whole swath of Canadian poets engaged with small and micro-press, attempting to connect a series of communities and individuals that otherwise might never have met. The results have been intriguing, knowing that there were multiple poets being introduced to each other for the first time. Some cross-pollination has already occurred, with familiar names appearing at Amanda Earl’s NationalPoetryMonth.ca, for example. One hopes that such cross-overs continue, are many, and wide-ranging.

And now you, too, can see what all the fuss was about. Read on:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday poem #191 : Kiki Petrosino : OUGHT

We’ll have to hurry if we want to get started.
It’s high time to consider beginning at all.
Time, at least, to think about starting

to start. After all, we’ve only just gotten up   
& running, but now? We’re almost too late.
We’ll have to hurry. If we want to get started

we’ll have to start now. We’ll have to work
round the clock, the gold moon, right on—
We ought to think about starting, at least. But

it’s tougher than ever. We can’t even begin
to explain what it’s like. To start with, we know
we should want to hurry. At least, we’re starting

to time it. That’s almost too tough to say
at the start. Still, we’re sure we’ll begin any moment.
It’s time to get started, we think. Let’s consider

getting up & running. By then, it’ll just sort of start
& we’ll have begun. Zut alors! It’s a plan & a party!
It’s just—we should hurry. If we want to get started
we better begin. But it’s tough. Just look at the time.        

Kiki Petrosino is the author of two books of poetry: Hymn for the Black Terrific (2013) and Fort Red Border (2009), both from Sarabande Books. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The New York Times, FENCE, Gulf Coast, Jubilat, Tin House and elsewhere. She is founder and co-editor of Transom, an independent on-line poetry journal. She is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisville, where she directs the Creative Writing Program.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tuesday poem #190 : Anne Cecelia Holmes : A Very Harsh Hoax

I don't know how else to posture
myself against these notions
of adulthood except to say
I am nothing but posturing.
All the books in my house
lean toward one another
like they are waiting to be
excised from a more monstrous
thing. I've learned you can
drag your body around but
unless you take instruction
from your bones it's a pretty
disappointing ride. How about
I mimic the oncoming weather
or better yet make a small
noise for all the days I
have stayed inside. If I am
straying too far I do apologize
for confusing the herd.
I'm afraid I have lost my
ethical compass and in exchange
I see myself as I really am.
I feel like punching my way
through a reservoir.
Everyone I know takes
more pictures with books
than with people and I'm
starting to believe we make
the world we fell into.
I know I think too much
about cruelty. Again
and again the advice I
receive is to stick my face
in a fountain to understand
how real that feeling is.

Anne Cecelia Holmes is the author of The Jitters (horse less press 2015) and the chapbooks Dead Year (Sixth Finch Books 2016), Junk Parade (dancing girl press 2012), and I Am A Natural Wonder (with Lily Ladewig; Blue Hour Press 2011). She co-edits Jellyfish Magazine and lives in Western Massachusetts.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tuesday poem #189 : Shannon Bramer : ODE TO ER

She’s so much gentler kinder taller thinner warmer smarter
She’s so much better harder louder fatter sadder wilder uglier
She’s just so much angrier poorer quieter lonelier emptier

She’s water
She’s older
She’s just another mother

She’s tender
She’s feather

Let her

Shannon Bramer [photo credit: Sadie Derry] is a poet and playwright. Her fourth collection of poetry, PRECIOUS ENERGY, is forthcoming from BookThug in the autumn of 2017.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Tuesday poem #188 : Donato Mancini : BY THE LIGHT OF THE

Donato Mancini makes visual and procedural poetry, bookworks and visual art. His books and chapbooks include: Snowline (2015), Buffet World (2011) Fact 'N' Value (2011), Hell Passport no.22 (2008), Æthel (2007), 58 Free Coffees (2006) and Ligatures (2005). Notable exhibitions ofMancini’s visual artworks have included exhibitions through Artspeak, Western Front, Gallery Atsui, Malaspina Printmaker's Society, and CSA. He performed with Gabriel Saloman in their noisepoetry/noisecomedy/noisemusic ensemble in the 2013 LIVE! Biennale of performance art, and as part of Concrete Scores at Open Space. Mancini's published critical writing includes work on the archive, time and memory in Anamnesia: Unforgetting (2011), and a discourse analysis of poetry reviews in You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence (2012). His most recent full length book, Loitersack (2014), is a labyrinthine commonplace book where critical, theoretical and paraliterary tendencies intersect in the forms of poetry, poetics, theory, theory theatre, laugh particles and many many questions. A new book of accumulation texts, SAME DIFF, is forthcoming from Talonbooks in 2017.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Tuesday poem #187 : Natalie Lyalin : A Mollusk

Blue-like, a blue like a mollusk melting in air
A thin air, an air in which whips
my mouth and nose and ears, that assaults them
in a funny way, a gentle way
                                    I think the air is saying why
Did you come to the Himalayas? Why are you here?
And the others all trudging up my side? But I did not
care. I did not take a care card with me on the trip.
                                                When I was planning
the trip I was on beach reading a book. A book about
Himalayas because before I thought it was just a word
like salt. And I was on the beach and I saw a blue
Mollusk and I thought of the pink salt and felt
sane. And safe!
            But it was not safe. There was a chance of
my carcass freezing to the mountain. Clinging to the
mountain like a tongue to a poll. Like the shock of
how painful it is and the instant regret like nothing else.
Like the air. The thinness of the air. The veil of it. Like
I was marrying the horror of dying alone on a hostile
mountain that did not want me. That did not care.
                                    I left my confidence on the
beach. Who was I to deal with nature like that. I only
studied danger in passing. Like the bubbling waves
before a tsunami and standing in the doorway during
an earthquake and hiding in the cellar during a tornado.
                                                Did I really care to learn. No.
I did not really care to learn. I did not really care
for much at all.

Natalie Lyalin is the author of two books of poetry, Blood Makes Me Faint, But I Go For It (Ugly Duckling Presse 2014), and Pink & Hot Pink Habitat (Coconut Books 2009), as well as a chapbook, Try A Little Time Travel (Ugly Duckling Presse 2010). She lives in Philadelphia.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan