Category Archives: publicity

Preview of Tandon’s Quality of Life

Jason Tandon’s poem “Fatherhood, Beginnings,” appears in the summer issue of Prairie Schooner and will appear in his next collection, Quality of Life (due out from BLP in February, 2013).  This issue also includes poems by Sharon Olds, Maxine Kumin, Bruce Bond, Paul Dickey, Robert Gibb, John Kinsella, Donald Platt, Robert McNamara, Chad Prevost, Floyd Skloot, Alexandra Teague, Katie Umans, and Charles Harper Webb, among many other contributors. To pre-order a copy of Quality of Life, please click one of the links below.

Amazon (U.S.)

Amazon (Canada)

Amazon (U.K.)


Dzanc Books Write a Thon!

Yo, all ya all,

Again, like last year, I am participating in the Dzanc Books Write-A-Thon which will take place July 21st through July 24th.   I plan to spend twenty hours on those days, writing away with the same furious obsession that Captain Ahab had when pursuing the elusive white whale of fate. 

Not only will it be a treat for me to have a dedicated time for my writing, but hopefully this will also benefit Dzanc.  Last year I produced two stories during the four days, both which I quickly placed in established literary journals: Fiction International and The Indiana Review. This year I may attempt a novella, depending on the writing prompt theme.

Dzanc is a wonderful non-profit independent publishing company that supports literary magazines, small presses, and publishes fantastic work; after all, their imprint, Black Lawrence Press, published my collection of stories, Pictures of Houses with Water Damage, last year. Also, Dzanc funds writing programs in public schools where creative writing classes are not offered. They also sponsor the Dzanc Prize which benefits not only the writer awarded it, but pays for a community based project like writing workshops in prisons, cancer centers, or working with immigrant populations.

I would be honored if you would sponsor my writing this year. Your dollars will help Dzanc Books to continue to support great writing and foster the creative talent of public school kids. If you’d like to pitch in, please click on the following link that will take you to a page where you can make a donation: 

Hit the donate button to the left and make it in my name. You will need a Paypal account. Paypal is a wonderful online method of virtual currency with zero gold or silver backing up the symboligy of what we deem money.  A sign of the end times? What they hey…and please remember to do so in my name, and good luck with the big drawing they’ll have for all people that donate!

Thanks for your time!


Michael Hemmingson

David Rigsbee on Poetry Daily

David Rigsbee’s work was recently featured on Poetry Daily. David is a former winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition and has two titles forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press. Stay tuned for news about his chapbook The Pilot House, which will be available from BLP in short order.

Is language our sexiest proboscis? (New poetry title from BLP)

At first glance, Laura McCullough’s collection, Speech Acts—borrowing its title from the branch of linguistics interested in the nature and intention of artifacts of language and their effect in communication—may seem overly sensational, the surface subject matter at times blatantly sexual, but on closer interrogation, McCullough is attempting to strip away the obfuscations of language(s), the barriers between genders, the difficulties of intimacy and reveal the relational and power balances between people. Behind the sometimes erotically charged poems in Speech Acts is a real concern for linguistics, the philosophy of, the tools of.  Beneath the bawdy, glittering surface and language play in Speech Acts is McCullough’s desire to “kiss the mouth of another/ language,” to go beyond the veils that separate people, nations, perhaps this world from whatever comes after. These poems are not just about love; they grieve over the impossibility of ever fully comprehending anything at all, let alone another human being.

Speech Acts is available from Black Lawrence Press and Amazon.


Laura McCullough’s book Speech Acts lives up to its title—so  many of thesepoems take  as their starting point the social occasion of a speaker wondering how to talk—naughty or nice-like?,  over-educated, or heartfelt?; the results are bright with velocity, lexical intelligence, and a distinctive fusion of headiness and carnality. McCullough’s poems  are manic, heartfelt and humane; and they crackle with  what the Reverend Marvin Gaye would have called  “textual healing.” —Tony Hoagland

“Is language our sexiest proboscis?” asks Laura McCullough, then responds with  unabashed word-slinging to bolster her rhetorical affirmation. If her lines charge each poem with vibrancy—“it’s all in the syntax”—it’s because McCullough knows “how good secrets can be handled right, / by the various names we give them.” Her enthusiasms for Adam’s task as well as for Eve’s sensuality provide Speech Acts with a rollicking measure.  “You gotta like it / to do it well,” McCullough half-jokes, and her pleasures become our own in this provocative and wildly entertaining book.—Michael Waters

The word “acts” in Laura McCullough’s Speech Acts is as much verb as it is noun. What her speech does in these stunning poems is restlessly sift through language and experience alike, searching for words, lips, hearts, and truths that might just keep one from spinning off into the coldest, emptiest reaches of being. Bold, witty, erotic, and provocative, McCullough’s poems re-imagine for our time E. M. Forster’s tremendous artistic and humane injunction: “only connect!” —Fred Marchant

The poems in Laura McCullough’s Speech Acts search deep into the interior of language to recover and explore the resources of our most intimate lives. It is that rare collection which disassembles the very constructions of thought itself (while simultaneously embracing the reader with surprisingly tender gestures). Speech Acts refuses to shy away from the difficult, the necessary. It recognizes the tenuous qualities of the moment and lifts them up with reverence. It is a collection which offers fresh insights with each reading. —Brian Turner

About the Author

Laura McCullough has been a fellow in both prose and poetry for the NJ State Arts Council and has an MFA in fiction from Goddard College. Her poetry, prose, essays, interviews, and reviews have appeared widely  places such as The American Poetry Review, The Writer’s Chronicle, The Painted Bride Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Iron Horse Quarterly, Hotel Amerika, Poetry East, The Portland Review, and others. Visit it her at


The economy of Madagascar collapsed overnight when Coca-cola changed its formula, switching from real vanilla to a synthetic and didn’t bounce back until New Coke failed and Classic Coke was reintroduced, with vanilla back in. Malagasies were relieved, but conspiracy theorists thrilled to the fact that sugar was gone, replaced by High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Vanilla come mainly from Madagascar, and grows
on a vine, its flowers both male and female; from planting

to pod can take 5 years. The language of Malagasy has no
grammatical gender. It is not a Romantic language, but has

borrowed a little from the French who took so much.
It’s an island language, Austronesion, and plurals are managed

with a beautiful efficiency: more than one book: book-book;
more than one child: child-child. It’s hard for the Latinate

mind to imagine. They say men give love to get sex and
women give sex to get love, and today a man told me

he doesn’t trust a woman who gives blow jobs. It’s all
about power, he said, and her need to control the man.

I didn’t buy it; I have my own conspiracy theories, prefer
real vanilla to synthetic, sugar cane to HFS. I rarely give in

to a sweet tooth, but now and then, I do, and when I do,
I want it, not like jet fuel, but a slow, complex burn,

the line between control and surrender delicate and uncertain,
like dependent economies, and tenuous like the vanilla flower

blooming for only one day, both male and female, the thinnest
of membranes between them waiting to be stripped away.


ISBN: 978-0-9826364-4-2, $14

Please contact Diane Goettel at for media inquiries and review copies.

Black Lawrence Press titles are distributed by Consortium. For wholesale orders, visit



The Story of Dzanc Books

Black Lawrence Press could not exist as it does today if it were not for two guys, Steven Gillis and Dan Wickett, the founders of Dzanc Books. To learn more about their story and about the company that Publishers Weekly called “the future of publishing”, read this article from Poets & Writers.

Hudson Prize Winner Sarah Suzor to Read in NYC on 11/6

Sarah Suzor, who won this year’s Hudson Prize with her manuscript The Principle Agent, will read in New York City on November 11. She will read from Isle of Dogs, which was recently published by Toadlily Press. Sarah will be joined by Elizabeth Austen, Andrea Bates and Carol Stevens Kner.

Here are the details:

Hudson Prize Winner on The Nervous Breakdown

In case you missed it, 2010 Hudson Prize winner Sarah Suzor was featured on The Nervous Breakdown last weekend. To see the feature and read her poem “In Seclusion”, follow this link. Happy reading!