Category Archives: chapbooks

Fall 2012 Black River Chapbook Competition Finalists & Semi-Finalists

Here they are: the finalists & semi-finalists for the Fall 2012 Black River Chapbook Competition! Now that we have a short list to focus on, we’ll be announcing a winner from among the finalists in the next week or so. Many thanks to all who sent manuscripts our way; we were blown away by the submissions this time around!

POETRY FINALISTS

 In the Village That Is Not Burning Down by Travis Brown
The Polychrome Clinic by Caroline Crew
A Necessary Erosion by Caleb Curtiss
The New Sorrow Is Less Than the Old Sorrow by Jenny Drai
Length of Fetch by Jesse Lichtenstein
Speak and Let the Serpent Crawl Out by Matthew Minicucci
Trace by Simone Muench
Canopy by Barbara Tomash

FICTION FINALISTS

Dizzy Bridge Stories by Kevin Carey
Neverending Journey by Angela Jane Fountas
Two Stories by Otis Haschemyer
The Aquarium by Jen Knox
Oh My Darling by Cate Stevens-Davis
Another Demon Lober by Robley Wilson

POETRY SEMI-FINALISTS

Field Recordings by Brian Barker
machine gun villa by Lillian Bertram
The Oar by Sara Gelston
200 Moons by Charles Hood
Best Poems by Mike Krutel
Facts, and Other Things by Joel Lee
Songs of the Immortals by M. B. McLatchey
The Hollow More Than Shape Is Certain by Jill Osier

FICTION SEMI-FINALISTS

The Method by Aaron Apps
Klaus And Jill by John Colasacco
Thirteen Ways of Looking at Love, Flowers, and the Statue of Liberty by Dale Edmonds
Carter’s Orchard and Into the Big Smoke by Matt Hobson
The Secret Garden by James Musgrave
Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone by Sequoia Nagamatsu
Alone by Kathryn Shaver

New Review of PURGATORY

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has wonderful things to say about Amelia Martens’ prizewinning chapbook: “Amelia Martens has resurrected the idea of purgatory in her volume of poetry by the same name: Purgatory. And it is hella good stuff. …Not only is Martens a constructive genius, she’s a talented writer. Some of her descriptions are better than good or great. They approach awesome. Like this one: ‘Across the field, you can hear bees warming up their wings, the hive vibrating as a thousand tiny tongues lick dry mouths.’ That’s visceral writing, which takes talent and, let’s be honest, a certain knack. And Martens has both in copious quantities.” Read the entire review here, and buy a copy of this fantastic chap here.

 

New Review of THE BRANCHES, THE AXE, THE MISSING

Corduroy Books recently reviewed Charlotte Pence’s prizewinning chapbook, and writes “Ms Pence’s weirdly intriguing, come-backly-tugging book is fixated on is this light/heat source we’re drawn toward and, simultaneously, whatever we traded for the clarity or shine of fire-light. Period. It’s ultimately a book of rigorous measurement, a thin chapbook attempting in its way to consider something like transaction—wildness or elemental aspects for the ordered clarity that comes with taming chaos, the ambiguous could-be of the unknown for the fenced-in boundariness of definition. It’s a weirdly masterful little book.” Read the entire review here, and buy The Branches… here.

New Review of THE BRANCHES, THE AXE, THE MISSING

NewPages raves about Charlotte Pence’s “nuanced” and “refined” poetry chapbook: “Varied in form and length, each poem adds another link to the narrative chain that brings together a complex and sophisticated extended poem that dwells on our evolutionary desire to communicate…Displaying a keen sense for nuanced storytelling while remaining in the realm of carefully refined poetic language, Pence creates multiple narrative lines within the limitations of the chapbook. Each condensation of language allows the reader to read and re-read the chapbook, piecing together new arcs every time.” Buy it here.

Reminder: BLP at the Boston Book Festival: Tomorrow!

If you’ll be near Boston this weekend, make sure to visit Copley Square and the Boston Book Festival! BLP will be holding court at Booth 14 from 10am-5pm, showing off our ridiculously awesome catalog. Special bonus: author Helen Marie Casey, whose biography of Florence Hosmer is so gorgeous, will sign copies of her book at noon. Hope to see you there!

TJ Beitelman and Black Lawrence Press Team Up for a Fourth Time

I’ve been asked a number of times to describe the best part of my job as an editor. My answer: discovery. What I love about being an editor is also what I love about being a reader–finding an author who has written something wonderful, something that shifts the way I look at the world, the people in it, my place in it, the words that I use to talk about it. I have very fond memories of reading, for the first time, authors who would go on to becoming lifelong companions–Steinbeck, Atwood, Moore. Discovering their books for the first time was a delicious experience. Not only did I love what I read, but I knew that there was more to come.


As an editor, finding a true gem in the submissions pile is a thrill. And I experienced that thrill when I first read Pilgrims: A Love Story by T.J. Beitelman.  Pilgrims was an entry in the Spring, 2008 Black River Chapbook Competition. It was clear after a few pages of reading that this manuscript was going to be a top contender. By the time I finished reading, I had a very strong sense that I had found the winner. We finished reading all of the submissions to the competition and shortly thereafter contacted TJ to let him know that he’d won.

But Pilgrims was just the beginning. In 2010, Black Lawrence Press accepted In Order to Form a More Perfect Union, TJ’s full-length poetry collection. There are many things that I love about this collection, but I will borrow a line from Maurice Manning’s blurb to summarize: “The reach of this exuberant and anguished book is potent, and made more so by the force of restraint.” In short, the magic was still there. And then some.

But this would not be the last time the work of TJ Beitelman would hit me in the heartbone. After we accepted Union, TJ sent us a novel he’d be working on. John the Revelator took over my world as I read. It’s due out next year, so stay tuned. Then, just last week, I read Americana, TJ’s most recent chapbook. I’ll leave you with this, one of the poems from the new collection, which I accepted for publication mere hours after reading. But first, I’d like to return to that question about the best part of my job. The best part is discovering authors like TJ Beitelman who wow me from the beginning and keep returning with more and even better work.

 

–Yours,
Diane Goettel
Executive Editor, Black Lawrence Press

AN AUBADE FOR THE AFRICAN QUEEN AND ITS BIG BANG

       Rose:           I’m all turned around Charlie—which way is the east shore?
       Charlie:     The way we’re swimming old girl!

Had I not been zooming through the Cosmos,
as yet unfettered by material forms, I could
have told Bogey: It’s always the detonators
that take some doing. Everything’s a powder
keg: a ratty vessel taking on water or a thimble-
sized universe. No matter—it’s all waiting
to combust. The trick is the tinder. The spark.
The thing that transforms potential to kinetic.
Could be, yes, cartridges, nails, boxes of soft
wood—a makeshift torpedo at the water line.
But why think small? After all, something
touched off the exponential cosmic explosion
we’re swimming through. What’re the odds
it was a broken boat, floating in wait? Billions
and billions to one. It had to be something
like a Rose: sharp-tongued, chiseled, gorgeous
with a dirty face, obvious in her catholic charms.
In the face of such a face, even Kaiser’s doomed
navy men would freely choose to do the deed,
dutifully pledge to let no man put it asunder,
even as the impregnable world they know erupts.

 

New Review of THE BRANCHES, THE AXE, THE MISSING

Grady Harp, via Literary Aficionado, has lovely things to say about Charlotte Pence’s prizewinning poetry chapbook: “[Pence] establishes herself quite quietly as an artist to heed. The collection of poems is only 20 pages in length, but the manner in which she ties together all of the poems in this little tome, each poem enhancing the others – a fact that becomes obvious only as the last entry is read, and then the reader realizes that this is not a collection of poems but a binding of synapses both profound and gentle – this technique is subtle, creative, and challenging.” Seriously, this chap is a must-read: buy a copy here (and read the rest of this great review here).