"This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender." —Jan Beatty

Posts tagged ‘Press 53’

Monday Must Read! Leopard Lady: A Life in Verse by Valerie Nieman

Love this book! 

Buy Leopard Lady Here from Press 53

Leopard+Lady Nieman

You have not before read a book like this one. This one will take you where you have never been. Yes, you may have seen a circus but that is not exactly what is here. Nor have you met these people before. Unique, deeply moving, funny, and withal composed on the edge of danger and enlightenment, Leopard Lady is masterful. Nieman’s syntax, rhymes, meter and scenes make music while the reader is charged with an energy that takes us closer and closer to the singular truth we must bear.

—Kelly Cherry, former Poet Laureate of Virginia

Here, readers are taken on an unexpected adventure. In “Destroyed by Fire Flood and Ice,” the Gypsy Queen asks, “Do you dare see the secrets past the veil?” Readers, be ready to find what you did not know you were seeking, as the Leopard Lady will take you on an unforeseen journey and, indeed, you will discover secrets as you travel these wondrous paths.

—Jill Gerard, Editor, Chautauqua

Monday Must Read! Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust

Rebecca Foust won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry for Paradise Drive. Her other books include God, Seed: Poetry & Art About the Natural World (Tebot Bach, 2010), a collaboration with artist Lorna Stevens that received a 2010 Foreword Book of the Year Award; All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song (Many Mountains Moving, 2010), which received the 2008 MMM Press Poetry Book Prize; and two chapbooks, Mom’s Canoe (Texas Review Press, 2009), and Dark Card (Texas Review Press, 2008), both winners of the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook prize. Foust earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College in 2010 and is the recipient of fellowships from The Frost Place and The MacDowell Colony. Her poems have appeared widely in journals including The Hudson ReviewThe Massachusetts ReviewNarrativeNorth American Review, and Sewanee Review, and her prose is in American Book Review, Chautauqua, Poetry Flash, The Rumpus, Tikkun Daily, and other journals. Her essay, “Venn Diagram,” won the Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize from The Malahat Review in 2014. Foust lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area as a writer, freelance editor, teacher, and Marin Poetry Center board member.

Purchase Paradise Drive here! 

Learn more about Rebecca here!


Praise for Paradise Drive 

“There is great music in these poems, and sonnet after sonnet is masterful. Not since Berryman’s Henry have I been so engaged by a persona: Pilgrim, who ‘like most of we’ is good and bad, hapless sometimes, other times approaching wisdom, always sending deeper and deeper her primary roots.” — Thomas Lux

“In Rebecca Foust’s splendid book-length sonnet sequence, Paradise Drive, we come upon a Pilgrim contemplating the deadly sins while hiding out in the bathrooms at some of Marin County, California’s swankiest parties. Foust drives her Keatsian sensibility straight into the 21st century of terrorism and autism, divorce and yoga, soldiers and syringes, booze and valet parking, determined to prove that truth makes beauty.” — Molly Peacock

“Foust does it: she reinvents the sonnet form, making it a unit of expression again, not a museum piece sitting on its plinth, forlornly wishing we’d quit paying homage to it. She strews the individual poems with savagely sparkling jewels of satire, insight, and wit. This is a masterful book, yes, and also a great deal of fun to read.” — James Cummins

Monday Must Read! Bully Love by Patricia Murphy

A Must Read by a fabulous poet, Trish Murphy, founder of one of my favorite litmags, Superstition Review ❤ Get this one, y’all. For real. 

Patricia Colleen Murphy is a principal lecturer at Arizona State University, where she founded the literary magazine Superstition Review. She is also an alumna of the Department of English’s creative writing program, having graduated with her Master of Fine Arts in 1996.

Bully Love

Purchase Bully Love here! 

Bully Love, Patricia Colleen Murphy’s second book, won the 2019 Press 53 Award for Poetry, selected by Poetry Series Editor Tom Lombardo.

Bully Love follows the poet from Ohio to Arizona, from cows and cornfields to the Sonoran Desert, from youth to middle age, from daughter to orphan, from child to childfree, from loneliness to love. As the poet leaves a broken home to build a new life for herself, she struggles to adapt to a land teaming with dangers. Against a searing sunny backdrop, the poems describe how she makes peace with an inhospitable life and landscape as she overcomes hardships such as madness, death, depression, fear, anger, loneliness, heat, and hills. She ultimately finds beauty in the desert Edward Abbey called, “not the most suitable of environments for human habitation.” The poems in Bully Love examine the long-term effects of displacement: a mother displaced from her home by mental illness, a women displaced from the Midwest to the Southwest, a girl scout camp displaced by a Uranium processing plant, desert wildlife displaced by urban sprawl and mining, wilderness displaced by careless tourists, ranches displaced by freeways, solitude displaced by companionship, fear displaced by joy. The collection examines how humans form relationships with both landscapes and lovers, all through the eyes of a woman who leaves a forlorn home, suffers relentless loss, and falls in love in and with one of the world’s harshest ecosystems.

Praise for Bully Love

In this quietly fierce collection of poems, the dynamic between profound longing and clear-eyed testament is palpable everywhere. “And so I will live the rest of my life / just short of rapture,” suggests one poem, but the whole collection is mapped in that instant. And in this world, all things are complicit: the landscape–“From our windows windmills are obedient fan palms”–and the animals–“the Dean Martin of mourning doves”–themselves also necessary characters in these striking life-tellings. Bridging a young view of Ohio with an older eye toward Arizona, these poems search for, if not understanding, redemptive acceptance. –Alberto Rios, Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and Arizona Poet Laureate

The austerity of the desert is almost a character in Bully Love, almost a beloved. In leaving the Midwest, a mother’s madness, a family’s dissolution, the poet travels west mythically and actually. “It is easy to be pious when / your life is not on fire” simultaneously invokes human suffering and suggests that faith of any kind–in love or place or God–cannot be gained without it. For some, a desert is a place of baptism: the difficulty of existence clarifies its worth. You don’t need to think of the desert as a place to be reborn–Patricia Murphy has done that for you. –Bob Hicok, author of Hold

“My only power is the ability to name,” one speaker in Patricia Murphy’s new collection, Bully Love, states, but as Murphy richly explores, the power derived from that ability–after all, the power of the poet–is both potent and partial. “What’s that?” another speaker asks, hearing a birdsong she can’t identify on a hike. “Olive warbler? Painted orangestart? Scissor-tailed flycatcher?” Names are invoked like spells to tell the future, wards to face the ghosts of the past. There’s wondrous courage conjured in these crystalline poems, which sparkle with Murphy’s verve, enabling her to confront the hard truth she names: not love but bully love, the effects of which she exorcises in the glorious music of this edgy, dazzlingly sharp-witted and necessary book. –Cynthia Hogue, author of In June the Labyrinth


Happy Reading! 


Monday Must Read! When She Was Bad by Gabrielle Brant Freeman

An amazing first collection from a fierce and amazing poet! 

Gabrielle Brant Freeman‘s poetry has been published in many journals, including Barrelhouse, Hobart, Melancholy Hyperbole, Rappahannock Review, Shenandoah, storySouth, and Waxwing. She was nominated twice for the Best of the Net, and was a 2014 finalist. Freeman won the 2015 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition, and she received a Regional Artist Grant in 2015 from the North Carolina Arts Council. Freeman earned her MFA through Converse College. When She Was Bad is her first book of poetry.

Visit Press 53 to buy this beautiful book here


Praise for When She Was Bad

Lust. Love. Betrayal and loyalty. Temptation and hilarity. Gabrielle Freeman dissects her speakers’ hearts, tenderly, with supreme attention to what it is to be human, female, and fierce. Gabrielle Freeman’s poems are bad—by which I mean badass bold. Michael Jackson bad. Freeman’s bad and you know it. That’s why you read her. When She Was Bad is a smart, compassionate, tightly crafted and explosive debut.

—Denise Duhamel, author of Blowout

The poems of Gabrielle Freeman’s When She Was Bad are by turns amorous, witty, fierce, ironic and erudite, but they are always sensual and often erotic. As the title suggests, Freeman explores the promises and surprises of the human heart, and her deft free verse addresses temptations, rewards and disappointments. Her bold inquiries sharpen both her eye and her tongue, but her first collection is far from single-minded, as she makes room for owls, spider wort, Bela Lugosi, Stephen King, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Renoir. When She Was Bad is entertaining and enlightening, and with its publication Gabrielle Freeman steps onto the stage in full voice, singing true.

—R.T. Smith, editor of Shenandoah Review and author of Messenger: Poems


Monday Must Read! Clare Martin, Eating the Heart First, and Seek the Holy Dark

clare-martinClare L. Martin is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and lifelong Louisiana resident. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies both online and in print, including Avatar Review, Blue Fifth Review, Literary Mama, Louisiana Literature, and Poets and Artists, among others. Her poems have been included in the anthologies The Red Room: Writings from Press 1, Best of Farmhouse Magazine Vol. 1, and Beyond Katrina. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize (2012), Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web (2011), Best New Poets (2009), and Sundress Publication’s Best of the Net (2008 and 2011).

Visit Clare’s website here: https://clarelmartin.com/

Buy Clare’s beautiful books!

Eating the Heart First


Preorder Clare’s new book Seek the Holy Dark!


Seek the Holy Dark  available for pre-order. Trade paperback, 66 pages, only $10. Pre-orders will ship in early February.

Praise for Eating the Heart First

Clare L. Martin pulls off an impressive balancing act in her debut book of poems Eating the Heart First. In this collection, divided into three sections, she manages trust of her intuitive powers while she tats her findings onto poems built with technical expertise. She is a believer of dreams, and the whole of the work can be read as an oneiric treatise guided by the powers she believes in: the power of memory, the power of water, the power of moons, the powers of longing, and the power of love. In one of the late poems a crow in a dream asks, ‘Let me be a whorl of darkness— / Let me be a fist in the sun.’ All of the poems in this collection have the impact of that crow’s call and of the trope it creates. Gradually the poems reveal richly textured revelations of a heart tied to human experience in that ‘dream we cannot know completely.’ And, while we may not ever know the dream completely, Ms. Martin hands us a guidebook to dreams and to the art that uses dream and dreaming as the scaffolding from which to make something beautiful, and useful, and mysterious all at the same time.” 

— Darrell Bourque, former Poet Laureate of Louisiana and author of In Ordinary Light, New and Selected Poems

Clare L. Martin is a fine young poet whose work is dark and lovely and full of a deep organic pulse. Like the landscape of her beloved Louisiana, her work is alive with mystery. You could swim in this hot water, but there are things down inside its darkness that might pull you away forever. It is an exquisite drowning.” — Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Queen of America

Praise for Seek the Holy Dark

From the holy dark of horror storms and freedom in the hand, to starving wolves and old women who live in woods, Clare Martin’s poetic imagery seeks in myth to locate depth of soul. She incants salvation “bone by bone” up from the shadows. Her writing has a beautiful fury, a hard questing and secret exultation that keep the reader poised and intoxicated. “Do you seek the heart too” the opening poem asks, and of course, we answer Yes and read breathlessly on. These poems “drop through this world/into dark awakening.” The strong-hearted will understand.

~Rachel Dacus, author of Gods of Water and Air

Seek the Holy Dark is a book of revelations in poems.  Clare L. Martin sees the richness and the poverty that are bedmates, proffers them as gifts, lays them at our feet.  Her poems suggest we join in the quest to be both humbled and exalted. Martin, who never looks away, fully understands the duality of nature, its light and darkness, exploring both in this lush and lyrical new collection.

~Susan Tepper, author of dear Petrov and The Merrill Diaries

Visit Clare’s beautiful litmag: MockingHeart Review!


Read More from Clare Online







Hear Clare Read!


Happy Reading!



Monday Must Read! Gabrielle Brant Freeman, When She Was Bad

gabbyAnd we’re back—with the amazing Gabrielle Brant Freeman, author of the stunning debut collection When She Was Bad. Gabrielle’s poetry has been published in many journals, most recently in Barrelhouse, Hobart, Melancholy Hyperbole, Rappahannock Review, storySouth, and Waxwing. She was nominated twice for the Best of the Net, and she was a 2014 finalist. Gabrielle won the 2015 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition. Press 53 published her first book, When She Was Bad, in 2016. Gabrielle earned her MFA through Converse College.

Visit Gabrielle’s Website


Buy Gabrielle’s Beautiful Book! At Press 53!


Praise for When She Was Bad

Lust. Love. Betrayal and loyalty. Temptation and hilarity. Gabrielle Freeman dissects her speakers’ hearts, tenderly, with supreme attention to what it is to be human, female, and fierce. Gabrielle Freeman’s poems are bad–by which I mean badass bold. Michael Jackson bad. Freeman’s bad and you know it. That’s why you read her. When She Was Bad is a smart, compassionate, tightly crafted and explosive debut. — Denise Duhamel

Read More from Gabby Online




Hear Gabby Read!


You don’t want to miss this poet!

Happy Reading!




Monday Must Read: Rebecca Foust: Paradise Drive

Monday Must Read!

Rebecca-FoustThis week meet Rebecca Foust, the author of three full-length poetry collections. Paradise Drive (Press 53 2015) winner of the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry and among Shelf Unbound’s 100 Notable Books of 2015, has been reviewed or featured in more than 40 venues since its release in April. Foust collaborated with artist Lorna Stevens on God, Seed: Poetry & Art about the Natural World (Tebot Bach 2010), winner of a 2010 Foreword Book of the Year Award. All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song (Many Mountains Moving 2010) won the Many Mountains Moving Book Prize, was a finalist for the Paterson Prize, and was nominated for the Poet’s Prize. Foust’s chapbooks, Dark Card (2008) and Mom’s Canoe (2009) won the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize in consecutive years and were published by Texas Review Press. Her poems, essays, short stories and book reviews are widely published in the American Academy of Poets, Hudson Review, Massachusetts Review, Prairie Schooner, Sewanee Review, and others. Foust was the 2014 Dartmouth Poet-in Residence, and her awards include The 2015 American Literary Review Writing Award for fiction, The 2014 Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Award (Malahat Review) and fellowships from The Frost Place, the MacDowell Colony, Sewanee Writing Conference, and West Chester Poetry Conference. The Poetry Editor for Women’s Voices for Change and an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine, Foust lives in the San Franciso Bay Area with her husband.

Learn more:


Buy Rebecca’s books here:

Paradise Drive


God, Seed and All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song


All Books




Selected Poetry Online:

Abeyance,” American Academy of Poets Poem-A-Day series 2015, http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/abeyance

Courtesy Flush” and “Oops” reprinted in Poemeleon 2015, http://www.poemeleon.org/-rebecca-foust/

The Notch,” “Bright Juice,” “Nuns Fret Not,” and “Dirt,” The Hudson Review, 2015, http://hudsonreview.com/2015/01/the-notch-bright-juice-nuns-fret-not-dirt/#.VnElSEorLV3

Prayer for my New Daughter,” “Sufferance,” “Blame,” “Gratitude,” and “Only,” reprinted in Poethead 2015, https://poethead.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/sufferance-and-other-poems-by-rebecca-foust/

Contradance” The Hopkins Review 2015, http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/the_hopkins_review/v008/8.2.foust.pdf

Blazon” http://www.cortlandreview.com/features/14/winter/foust.php#1, “Promise Me,” http://www.cortlandreview.com/features/14/winter/foust.php#2, Cortland Review 2014 and “Petals,” Cortland Review 2012, http://www.cortlandreview.com/issue/58/foust.php#1

Biography,” “But What Can Wake You,” and “Eulogy,” Omniverse 2014, http://omniverse.us/poetry-rebecca-foust/

Last Bison Gone” and “Perennial,” The Humanist 2011, http://thehumanist.com/magazine/march-april-2011/poetry/last-bison-gone

Prodigal,” http://www.valpo.edu/vpr/v14n2/v14n2poetry/foustprodigal.php and “Elocution Lesson,” http://www.valpo.edu/vpr/foustelocution.html in Valparaiso Poetry Review

Dark Ecology,” “Spec House Foundation Cut into Hillside,” “Rebuke,” “Food-Not-Bombs” (2014), http://www.unf.edu/mudlark/flashes/foust.html and “Bee Fugue” (2011), https://www.unf.edu/mudlark/flashes/bee_fugue.html

Don’t,” Bomb Magazine 2009, http://bombmagazine.org/article/4589/don-t

Broadsides from God, Seed: Poetry & Art about the Natural World with art by Lorna Stevens:

Tikkun Daily, 2011, http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2011/02/13/god-seed-poetry-and-art-about-the-natural-world/

Terrain 2009, http://terrain.org/poetry/24/god_seed/

Selected Essays and Book Reviews online:

Poetry Daily, 4/21/15, “Poet’s Pick” essay on “An Irish Airman Foresees his Death” by William Butler Yeats, http://poems.com/Poets’%20Picks%202015/0421_Foust.html

Interview of Susan Terris, “She Asked for Light,” Poetry Flash 2015, http://poetryflash.org/features/

Guest Blog for Brian A. Klems, “The Writer’s Dig,” Writer’s Digest, http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/its-never-too-late-on-becoming-a-writer-at-50

Guest Blog on “Writing Sonnets,” 4/12/15, Savvy Verse and Wit, http://savvyverseandwit.com/category/guest-post

Review of Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, The Rumpus 2014, http://therumpus.net/2014/05/al-mutanabbi-street-starts-here-edited-by-beau-beausoleil-and-deema-shehabi/

Review of After the Firestorm by Susan Kolodny, Poetry Flash 2012, http://poetryflash.org/reviews/

Review of Bacchus Wynd by Catherine Edmunds, Wordgathering 2014, http://www.wordgathering.com/past_issues/issue30/reviews/edmunds.html

Review of Beamish Boy by Albert Flynn DeSilver The Rumpus 2013, http://therumpus.net/?s=beamish+boy

North American ReviewThrowback Thursday” series, 9/7/15, http://northamericanreview.org/throwback-thursday-featuring-rebecca-foust-strip-mine-from-vol-292-2/

Weekly Poetry Columns for Women’s Voices for Change,


Selected Book Review links for Paradise Drive

San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Edition (Diana Whitney) http://m.sfgate.com/books/article/Poetry-John-Burnside-Jane-Hirshfield-Rebecca-6401935.php#photo-8336857

Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Edition (Frank Wilson)

Washington Independent Review of Books (Grace Cavalieri) “National Poetry Month’s Best Picks,” http://www.washingtonindependentreviewofbooks.com/features/april-exemplars-national-poetry-months-best-picks-by-grace-cavalieri

The Huffington Post (Dean Rader) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dean-rader/three-books-for-autumn_b_8090182.html



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